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Welcome back to our series on writing great Facebook posts! 

Now that you know how to recognize a great Facebook post, you should also learn to recognize a bad post, understand why it didn't perform well, and understand how to correct the problem. By the end of this post, you'll be able to do all 3!


Why Aren't My Facebook Posts Already Great?

How to Tell If You're Writing Great Facebook Posts

After learning about the post-level metrics available to you and what they mean in part one, you've already figured out whether your posts are driving quality interactions and you're probably starting to get an idea of how well they are currently performing. The next step in writing great posts is to understand why a Facebook post that isn't great didn't perform well.

An easy way to dig deeper into why your Facebook posts aren't doing so hot is to check out the negative feedback metrics that Facebook provides.

Step 1: Export Post Data from Facebook Insights:

  1. Find "Insights" on the menu bar on your Facebook page.
  2. Click "Export" from the menu bar on the "Insights" Page.
  3. Select "Post Data" and choose an appropriate date range for the posts you want to learn more about. The more data you have to analyze, the better.
  4. Click the "Export Data" button.

How to Tell If You're Writing Great Facebook Posts


Step 2: Examine Your Data and Pull Out Your Best and Worst Posts

  1. Click the Excel file you exported from Facebook Insights to open the spreadsheet.
  2. Look for the tabs at the bottom left of the spreadsheet. There will be a lot of them. You want the tab called "Lifetime Negative Feedback."
  3. Take note of the 4 negative feedback metrics. You get a count for each type of negative interaction on each post from the date range you selected. I'll explain these in just a second.
  4. Look for posts that received a lot of negative interactions, and posts that received very few.
  5. Identify your best and worst posts and open up each to give them a closer look. If you only have 20 posts, do your top and bottom 5. If you have more data, try to fit a larger sampling into your top and bottom posts.

How to Tell If You're Writing Great Facebook Posts


What Do These Metrics Mean?

  • Hide All Clicks. This one is pretty rough. It means that your post upset someone enough that they clicked on the chevron in the upper right corner of your post in the News Feed and told Facebook that they don't want to see any more posts from you - ever.
  • Hide Clicks. This one is less harsh. They still didn't like your post, but they probably felt like this was an isolated issue for you, and they still want to see more posts about other topics (or maybe posts that are positioned better or more targeted for them) from you in the future.
  • Report Spam Clicks. Someone was really upset with your post, they either felt it was spam or felt that it was untrustworthy enough to report it to Facebook as spam. This doesn't necessarily mean it really was spammy, some people even view all ads that appear in the News Feed as spam, no matter how trustworthy the advertiser or well-target the content, but if you're getting a lot of these then you need to start looking into why that's happening.
  • Unlike Page Clicks. This means someone unliked your page from this post. Functionally it's almost the same as "Hide All Clicks" but unliking not only keeps them from seeing your posts in their News Feed, but also removes them from your total likes count for your Facebook page. One important difference though is that since they haven't hidden all posts from you, if one of their friends shares a great post from you in the future, they could see it in their News Feed and return to your page. 


Step 3Look for Trends to spot Great Facebook Posts

This is where things get less procedural. At first this is probably going to be difficult for you, but the more you do this, the better you'll get at analyzing the data and you'll also begin developing a lot of deep understanding about your Facebook community that will help you to write great posts that specifically cater to your audience's interests and needs.

The more data you have from steps one and two, the more likely you are to be able to spot useful trends about why your posts did or didn't perform well.

Since you're new to this, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • The target audience. Maybe a post scored so little (or so much) negative feedback because it was advertised to an audience that wasn't right for the content. Or for a multinational corporation it could be region specific content (like a product or a sweepstakes that's only available in one country) that wasn't post targeted to only that region. That could make fans who feel left out angry. 
  • The positioning. Did you accurately describe the content with the headline you selected, or did you pull the ol' link bait and switch? You might get more clicks from a sensational headline, but more clicks alone don't tell the real story of how well your post was received and how likely your audience is to want to click again in the future. Make sure the content you share delivers on what your headline promised.
  • The post image. Again, it obviously needs to match the content. If it doesn't people could feel like you're trying to mislead them or that your post is spammy. You don't have to be a graphic design wizard, just make sure that your images don't contradict your content and the way you've positioned it with your headline and link description. 

Basically, what you're looking for is trends between posts that performed well (what did these posts have in common?) and trends between posts that didn't. Once you've identified these, you can start to do something about what you've learned.


How Does This Help Me Write Great Facebook Posts?

How to Tell If You're Writing Great Facebook Posts

I'm glad you asked! 

  1. Use your new insights to make informed decisions about the content you post, how you position it, and how you target it, rather than taking a shotgun approach to engaging your audience.
  2. Follow up every insight you act on with some analysis to confirm (or disprove) your theories. For example, if you think you know why you're getting a lot of negative feedback and you've used that insight to change your posting habits for the better, don't forget to follow up in a week or two in order to make sure negative feedback has actually decreased as a result.
  3. Experiment with ways to take advantage of your insights to take your posts to the next level. If you notice that trending news stories kick the hell out of everything else you post, try posting those more often to see what happens.

Post by Zachary Chastain
May 14, 2015