Category Archives: value for money

Facebook insights – a unique look at your friends

Do you know who your friends are? In real life you’d be able to answer yes pretty confidently, but when it comes to social media the answer’s not so easy. 

Keeping track of who your friends are and where they are is a somewhat difficult, if not impossible task. However, with Facebook’s nifty little Insights tool, you can at least get a unique glimpse of who’s liking your page.

Why is this important? Well not only does it show you who you’re targeting with your engagement activities, it’s also a useful tool to show you the groups you’re failing to hit. It’s with this in mind I’d like to share with you a little glimpse into our special little Flagship friendship circle…

Once you’ve set up a Facebook profile, edited it to your liking and set out your wares, with any luck your friends will come. By clicking ‘ View Insights’ you’ll be greeted with a whole bunch of statistics.

Page overview

The page overview part of Insights gives you a snapshot of your success with your Facebook profile over time. You can choose the figures over a month-by-month basis, or simply choose the timeframe you’re interested in.

From the overview, currently Flagship has 655 monthly active users (up 5.1% on the previous month), with our posts being viewed 27,315 times. These are great statistics to prove value for money – how much would it cost to send 27,000 texts or make 27,000 phonecalls?


The users tab gives a unique insight into your friends’ activity. From the chart below I can see, for example, that we get more new likes around the start of the week rather than the end. This could indicate that I need to do more work with engaging friends and potential friends at the end of the week to try and encourage more sign-up.

But here’s the best part of the Users Insights – your friends’ demographics…

According to the figures, 75% of our friends are female! 75%! Without wanting to make some wild accusations, perhaps this is understandable? As a social housing provider, perhaps we have to learn to accept that we’re not a cool brand that appeals to men like your Sky Sports, Manchester Uniteds or Carlsbergs of this world… Perhaps women are more inclined to like you, simply because we appeal more to them.

(I could also say it’s because women love a good chat and a moan, but that’d be wrong…right? :p)

Anyway, I digress…

What is even more fascinating, is that out of all ages….

  • 36% are aged 25-34
  • 24% are aged 35-44
  • 16% aged 18-24
  • 13% aged 45-54
  • 7% aged 55+

This shows us that most of our friends are customers who are in the most expensive times in their lives. Aged between 25 and 34, they have the most drain on their resources – perhaps they are responsible for a young family? It’s not surprising then that content messages tailored to saving money, freebies, deals and discounts go down very well. It’s also not surprising that posts targeting younger customers don’t get much response.

As a result of this, I’m now coming up with more ideas to try and reach our younger customers. Things like free days out to theme parks and local attractions and competitions to win a trip to the cinema…


The final Insight tab, interactions, shows you which posts exactly brought about the most response / impressions. I can see here that a post about the Royal Wedding at 10am on a Thursday got 1,419 impressions, whereas a short congratulations message to a local group about their success with a crossing on a busy road got 843. Made at 16:49 on a Friday it gives me an really useful insight into the best times to get messages out there.

To sum up…

Facebook’s Insights is a wonderful little tool to give you some really useful figures in how you’re using social media and who your friend base is. It shows you the things you’re doing well, it shows you who you’re hitting with your messages and how you’re hitting them and for me it is a godsend.

However, when it comes to social media, there’s always lots more you could do. No one is an expert in the right way to do things – social media is such a new field it’s a game of hit and miss as to what will and won’t work. I can say with 110% certainty, for example, that I will never get our friend base to 50% male and 50% female – it will never happen!

To conclude, whilst Insights won’t ever give you the answer for what you need to do better, it can at least give you a hint!


Does social media provide ‘Value For Money’?

‘Value For Money’ – those three simple words which are so important in these turbulent times. When it comes to social media, a big question you’ll be asked is “Does it provide value for money to your organisation?”

“Yes!” I hear you cry. “It’s free! It definitely provides VFM…”

But is that really the case?

I must admit I struggled with this question when setting up Flagship‘s Facebook and Twitter profiles. Yes, social media channels are free and take literally minutes to set up, but there are so many added costs involved that you do need to consider.

1) Resources

Your time is a cost to your business. Managing social media effectively is a cost – it should not be seen as a role just ‘tacked on’ to your day job. You need to be proactive, to formulate plans, to schedule updates, to react to feedback and sometimes crisis manage. After all, if you set up a Facebook profile you will receive complaints and you will need to implement a process to manage them.

I tend to spend around 2-3 hours a day in managing Flagship’s social media. This involves engaging with followers and friends, writing and updating the website and pointing people to new developments and new content. I work closely with staff in our contact centre (two are appointed to specifically deal with complaints) and am in regular contact with them so they understand what I’m doing on the engagement side, and flag up issues they may not have seen complaint-wise.

I would estimate that social media takes up around 30 hours a week in total across our group – and when you think about it like that it’s virtually a full-time role – something you need to seriously consider if you want to do social media successfully.

2) External fees

As I spoke about in previous posts, advertising Flagship’s Facebook and Twitter profiles has come at a financial cost to us. We designed a poster to display in reception areas and community notice boards, we paid a small fee to set up the ‘F’ and ‘T’ buttons on our website and embedded on email disclaimers. We also have these displayed on company vans and signage… all of these costs do add up.

3) Prize draws and competitions

We have found that holding prize draws when we reach a friend target or a competition specifically for social media friends are extremely popular. These are very small prizes, perhaps £10 or £20 at the most and take the shape of Love2Shop vouchers, but do they provide VFM? Although we only have 700 friends out of 21,000 properties, I would argue that they do…

  • You will get positive feedback from friends who will engage with you
  • You can generate some excellent publicity and advertise this in your tenant newsletters
  • You can use it to demonstrate how many people you can hit with a simple update through the page impressions….after all, sending out 700 letters costs far more than £10!

However, if you plan to go down this route, make sure that as many people know you are holding a prize draw or competition as possible. Also remember to stipulate that it is only for your tenants only – else you could leave yourself open to criticism.

Overall, I do think social media provides value for money. It’s a free and instant way to reach and engage with your tenants, provide them with information and generate some excellent feedback. However, there are costs involved which need to be carefully considered – if you are happy you can assign adequate resources to it and are able to advertise it in ways other than your customer newsletter then go for it!