The network effect and Facebook “Weekly Total Reach”

Can I have a moment with our colleagues new to the Social Media game?
If you’re a Facebook or Social Media veteran, you can skip this post — I won’t be offended.

If you’re new to Social Media you’ll soon find these services provide you various statistics about your page. Today I’d like to explain Facebook’s “Weekly Total Reach” as an example of the network effect.

Here’s a weekly statistics report from our WMCreative page on Facebook:

William & Mary Creative Services (04-Oct-2012)

  • New Likes: 1
  • Total Likes: 108
  • Talking About This: 2
  • Weekly Total Reach: 1,005

“New Likes” is straight-forward. And “Talking About” is the number of folks posting and commenting this week.

But what is this “Total Reach” thing?

The “Total Reach” is the number of people who could potentially have seen our updates. For instance, because I like WMCreative on Facebook, every new WMCreative update gets posted to my timeline. My 204 friends could potentially see that update on my timeline. If I comment on that post, my comment will go out to my friends’ timelines (main column) or live stream (right column) depending on how closely they’ve chosen to follow me.

Many of my friends won’t see the post. Others will ignore it. A number of my friends already like WMCreative and therefore already received the update. But even so, when you add the friends of all 108 people who like WMCreative you get roughly 1,000 unique individuals.

Which means we could potentially reach 10x more people on Facebook than currently like our page. And as our 108 likers join our discussion (via posts, comments, likes, etc.) odds increase that some of their 1000 friends will take note.

And that is why: the “network effect” is a powerful force; it’s a good idea to post on a regular (but not insane) basis; and those who engage their communities in a dialogue get a disproportionate return in the form of social attention.

As always, comments and questions are welcome. And if you haven’t yet, you might want to check out both the WMCreative page as well as the William & Mary Social Media Users Group on Facebook.

– Andrew Bauserman

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