Are people talking about your travel brand on Facebook?

In a fit of procrastination this morning I looked at the Facebook pages for a dozen travel brands along with ten travel bloggers and collected the two numbers in the left hand column: “Like this” and “Talk about this”. I was curious if there was much correlation between the two — seems there is.

Most are familiar with the Like This number. It represents the number of people (or bots masquerading as people) who have, at some stage in their like “liked” your page.

For Talk About This I went to Googletron which sent me to Quora which sent me to the Clix Group where I learned that “Essentially, the metric tracks the number of people who have created a story from the page in the past seven days.” There is a number of ways you can do that, by liking the page, posting on the wall, commenting on the wall and so on (see the Clix Group page for a full list).

So, I think I’m right in saying Like is everyone who has ever liked you and Talking about is those who have somehow interacted with you in the past seven days.

What I then did was select a dozen travel brands and ten bloggers and collated their likes and talking abouts. The only criteria was that the site had to have at least 1,000 people who had liked it. I then divided the number of talks about by the number of likes, which gave me a percentage score for each site.

The Facebook pages are (in alphabetical order):

Travel brands
Bootsnall https://www.facebook.com/BootsnAllTravel
FodorsTravel https://www.facebook.com/FodorsTravel
FootprintBooks https://www.facebook.com/FootprintBooks
Frommers https://www.facebook.com/Frommers
KLM https://www.facebook.com/KLM
LonelyPlanet https://www.facebook.com/lonelyplanet
MatadorNetwork https://www.facebook.com/matadornetwork
RoughGuides https://www.facebook.com/roughguides
Travelfish https://www.facebook.com/travelfish
Travellerspoint https://www.facebook.com/Travellerspoint
TripAdvisor https://www.facebook.com/TripAdvisor
VisitBritain https://www.facebook.com/LoveUK

I picked the above as examples of either major legacy publishers in travel (eg Lonely Planet, Rough Guides) or new media (Bootsnall, Matador etc). Travelfish.org is my site. Why KLM and Visit Britain you ask? Because they’re both often talked of as best case examples, so I wanted to include them to provide a benchmark of sorts.

Travel bloggers
AlmostFearless https://www.facebook.com/almostfearless
Everything Everywhere https://www.facebook.com/EverythingEverywhere
Indie Travel Podcast https://www.facebook.com/indietravel
JonnyVagabond https://www.facebook.com/johnnyvagabond.rtw
LegalNomads https://www.facebook.com/LegalNomads
Malaysia Asia https://www.facebook.com/MalaysiaAsiaPage
NomadicMatt https://www.facebook.com/nomadicmatt
TwentySomethingTravel https://www.facebook.com/TwentySomethingTravel
TwoBackpackers https://www.facebook.com/twobackpackers
Uncornered Market https://www.facebook.com/UncorneredMarket

In picking the bloggers, some (Everything Everywhere, Legalnomads, NomadicMatt and Uncornered Market) I know personally, others I follow or have heard of them frequently. Nothing scientific at work here.

The results
Save a couple of outliers (KLM for travel brands and Legal Nomads for bloggers) anything over 3% and you’re ahead of the pack. The bloggers tended to rank slightly higher, perhaps due to the more interactive vibe of that slice of the web or also perhaps because of generally lower overall numbers.

Chart of Facebook user interaction

Chart of Facebook user interaction

Some more thoughts:

Have budget? Use it wisely
I guess it helps to be an international airline like KLM as they’ve some budget to do some pretty cool things to get more energy out of the page, but then VisitBritain, which has received considerable praise (and I assume budget) was lagging a bit in the crowd.

Be yourself
I dropped Jodi (of Legalnomads) a line to ask after her Facebook activity and she replied saying “I don’t tend to post based on what I think my FB fans might like so much as I post the things that I find engaging or interesting, which I hope is what led them to the page in the first place. Times when I travel I post less external links & more photos from the road. It’s been very rewarding to have such a great response and engagement on the page.”

Makes sense. If you’re trying to make a connection with people, it’s best to try and be yourself. Perhaps more of a challenge for a brand than a blogger — which may explain the slightly higher rate for bloggers.

Post frequently
With the Travelfish.org Facebook page we post four to five times a day Monday to Friday (less on weekends) and that appears to have helped the reader interactions. Compare that to say Rough Guides, which is publishing to the wall every now and then, often with stretches of 3-4 days between posts.

Post photos
Photos, regardless of quality tend to get a lot of likes and comments. Images embedded in the wall-stream get better interaction than a link to a photo off-site, but then you lose the traffic across to your site. Bit of a tradeoff here and one needs to make a decision where you want people to be consuming your content.

Is it worth it?
I’m no Facebook fan personally, my true allegience lay with Twitter, but at the start of the year we decided to make a concerted push to increase our presence on Facebook. We set a goal of attaining 10,000 fans in the year (which we’re not going to make) and to post on the site frequently.

Facebook is now our second largest source of traffic after Google. Facebook brings us more visitors than Bing or Yahoo Google and it tends towards good traffic.

So yes, it is worth it :)

I’m no genius with numbers, the data I used for the graph above is here if you’d like to cook it up other ways — do let me know what you come up with.

5 thoughts on “Are people talking about your travel brand on Facebook?

  1. Interesting Stuart. I am definitely not a fan of facebook for business, but there’s no denying – that’s where the traffic is, unless you want to play the Google game. Of course, if you’re going about it the ‘right’ way, you’re into both – like you are.

    I’ve experimented a lot with Youtube as a bringer of traffic to Thaipulse.com/blog/. Rather than create a 4-5 posts per day for facebook, I’d rather drop a big video on Youtube. Problem is, it’s hit or miss. I don’t have the big subscriber numbers there yet (almost 3,000).

    I’ve done nothing with AimforAwesome.com on Youtube. Not being IN Hawaii has something to do with that! I’m going to have to give a bigger push at Facebook for AFA – and I’ve started reading your tips and others about how to do that. Your links are sometimes quite informative so don’t stop tweeting those!

    If you make it to Krabi, zap me an email, would like to buy you a cold beer – with ice, of course.

  2. Had you taken the data 2 weeks ago, my engagement rate would have been about 3x higher. The data they use is only valid for the last several days, not long periods of time.

    I was busy going through Germany so I didn’t do as much on my Facebook page.

    There is a fair amount of fluctuation in engagement. One post, image or poll that gets really popular can really change things.

    Also, when you have a smaller number of fans, your personal friends constitute a much larger percentage of the fans and you can see higher percentages of engagement.

    I’m guessing that a company like KLM is so high because they are currently running an ad campaign to get fans. If you look at the page for G Adventures, it is almost 66%! Becoming a fan is considered engagement during the period in question.

  3. @Vern – see you in Krabi :) I’ve not looked into video at Youtube — I imagine the overhead in putting vids together would be a bit too much time for us for now, but travel + video are made for one another.

    @Gary – “Talking about” is based on the last seven days on interactions. Above was just a snapshot taken yesterday morning and agree there will always be ebbs and flows in people’s interaction levels. Tricky to get everyone on a good day though. I (briefly) considered doing this on a seven day shifting average over a month, but that would have brought my procrastination to a new level.

    Also agree re sites with smaller numbers being skewed — that was why I set it at 1,000 (arbitrary I know, but much higher than that and I’d have struggled to find ten travel bloggers).

    KLM I picked on the back of their WTM keynote video – but yes that G Adevntures figure is nuts — interesting. Looks like it’s being driven by that You’ll never forget it thing and a promiscuous approach to comments. Good for them.

    Next time procrastination hits perhaps I’ll compare tour companies ;-)

  4. You can feel free to embed some of my youtube videos about Thailand on your travelfish site ;) (youtubesite/user/thaipulsedotcom)

  5. Thanks for that Stuart. It’s an interesting way of measuring, though as Gary said, it’s only really a snapshot and doesn’t really show which pages are doing better on the whole.

    Had a look at our own internal page stats and if you had checked a week ago, the “talked about” numbers would have been double for the Travellerspoint page which changes things a lot.

    I imagine these charts would make for a fun “Facebook Page Ranking” graph if you could track these numbers over long periods. Just in case you need something to do when procrastinating next time ;)

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