Experiment in Social Media Visibility [Surprising Results]

Social Media Visibility test Maybe you’ve heard the frustrating news that Facebook Pages are going to drop in Organic Reach with the latest change in Facebook’s algorithm.  Very irritating and I’ll have more information on what to do about it in another post.

The change started to be noticed by many Pages already (in fact some were reporting as high as a 44% decline in Reach).  I decided that an experiment was in order.  I wanted to see what my engagement level was across all platforms I was participating on.

Now before you get all scientifically pure on me, this isn’t a perfect experiment.  And let’s be clear that this is my data – not yours.  I would not base your actions on what I found on my statistics.  I would encourage you to run your own types of experiments to see your own results.

The results I got from this experiment were very surprising.

Here is what I did and some disclaimers about my existing social media activity so you know a little about my history.

The Experiment

I posted a simple call to action across all platforms at the same time asking people to “Click Like or Comment”, “Reply with a Yes”, “+1 or Comment” and whatever the appropriate lingo was for that social site.  Note that for Pinterest I created a very generic photo to pin and Instagram I took a picture of my cat, Mavis.

Twitter Google+ 2013-12-12_22-35-20

Facebook Grandma
Facebook personal
Pinterest post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I tracked how many Likes (or Like-equivalent) and comments the post got each hour for 4 hours. Then how many total interactions the post had after 7 hours and 24 hours.

Before we get to the hard data, let’s look at how much I post on each platform and how many followers I have.

  • Facebook Andrea Vahl:  1829 Friends and 9539 Followers (8070 via Lists).  That does total up to a good sum but I wasn’t sure how many of the people who followed via lists might be actively looking at those lists.  I am fairly active on Facebook posting at least 1-2 times per day on my personal profile during the week.
  • Facebook Grandma Mary:  10468 Fans.  Grandma is also fairly active on Facebook, posting about 3-4 times per day on average during the week.  The People Talking About This engagement percentage has been hovering around 3 – 4 % in recent weeks.
  • Twitter Grandma Mary:  14412 Followers and on 345 Lists.  Grandma has not been as active on Twitter.  She tweets about 4-5 times a day with more of the content automated (don’t judge).  She used to be more active but she really found she likes Facebook better.  So I expected this number would be low (but not quite as low as it was!)
  • Twitter Andrea Vahl:  10096 Followers and on 850 Lists.  Again, I’m not quite as active on Twitter (I’m with Grandma on this one) but I participate in tweetchats from time to time, retweet people, and am on a lot of lists.  So I was expecting this number to be lower but a little better than it actually was.
  • LinkedIn:  2187 Connections.  I post about 3-4 updates per week and don’t get a lot of interaction in general.  So I wasn’t expecting this number to be very high.
  • Google+:  3649 have circled me.  I post even more infrequently here and get very little interaction.  I comment on other people’s posts about 1x per week and post my own content 1-2 times per week in a good week.  I really like Google+ but don’t spend as much time there as I would like.
  • Instagram:  227 Followers.  I just started using Instagram a few months ago and have really enjoyed it.  I post personal pictures of my business travels and general scenery shots from the beautiful place I live and get good interaction in general.  But I wasn’t sure what to expect from this experiment – wow was I surprised. Hope I will soon get lot of Followers on Instagram.
  • Pinterest:  698 Followers.  Pinterest is one of my most inconsistent places I participate.  I love Pinterest but almost avoid it because I get sucked into it for hours at a time.  I knew my Pinterest interaction would be very weak.

Now you have a little background about how I use my sites.  You may find that you get much better results from different platforms that you participate on more regularly – if you are a Google+ guru, then you would probably see vastly different results from Google+ than I did for example.  Let’s dive into the data.

The Results

I recorded the total number of Likes (or Like equivalent) and comments each hour for 4 hours to see how each social site preformed and how visible each update was over time.  Then I also recorded the total Likes and Comments after 7 hours and after 24 hours.  You can see the initial numbers I charted here:

Stats hour 1 and 2

 

The total number of Engagements each hour is a little skewed by the sheer number of interactions on Facebook.

Total number of social media engagements

 

But when you look at the Engagement Rate (total number of interactions for the hour divided by number of connections on that platform) each hour, the results are extremely interesting.  Twitter drops to 0 after the 2nd hour and the other sites have a much longer tail of visibility and engagement.

Engagement Rate on social sites

 

The most surprising result of this experiment was that Instagram performed the best for me in terms of engagement and it had a very long tail.

And the other amazing thing was the continued success of the Facebook Posts.  The posts continued to pop up into people’s News Feeds a day later – many people commented that after 24 hours (and after they had already Liked and/or Commented) that the story was again at the top of their News Feed.  This is a direct result of the Story Bump which other social sites don’t have.  You can see  from the chart after 7 hours and after 24 hours that I continued to get interaction on Facebook (many people check their feed in the evening).

Stats hour 7 and 24

 

Then looking at the chart over overall interaction after 24 hours we have a clear winner in Instagram.  Now I don’t use Instagram for a lot of heavy business posts.  So maybe this experiment is slightly skewed.  But what I also see is that Facebook continues to dominate in terms of effectiveness for me.

I went into this experiment knowing that Facebook was doing well for me.  But what I see is the sheer volume of comments and interaction and I know that Facebook is still where it’s at.  Even with their latest Organic Reach change it continues to outperform the other sites by a wide margin.  In fact, if you look at total interactions over 24 hours, my Facebook Page won.  Not quite a fair comparison since LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest don’t have the same number of followers but the Page did extremely well in Engagement Rate also.

Total engagement rate social media

I’m wondering about the wisdom of continuing to participate on Twitter.  I like Twitter.  Twitter drives traffic to my site from people tweeting about my articles.  But I may need to rethink my strategy with how I spend my time there.

I’m definitely going to be focusing more of my efforts on LinkedIn and Google+.  If I can get decent engagement there with minimal effort, just think what can happen with a little more participation!

And Pinterest…..I think I’ll continue to leave that for recipes and decorating ideas.  I know many marketers who are doing fantastic things with Pinterest but we all need to make choices with how we spend our time.

So how about you?  Have you done any experiments on social media to see which social site is most effective for you?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!