The Long Tail of New Zealand Facebook Pages

As we mentioned in one of our January newsletters, we’ve been steadily crunching our way through thousands of New Zealand Facebook pages (6,251 of them at last count) in our efforts to map the Kiwi social sphere. We’ll be turning our efforts into a Social Trends Report which will be on offer in due course, but these are some of our top-line conclusions.

There’s plenty of room for improvement when it comes to Kiwi businesses and social media. Most New Zealand Facebook pages attract no more than a few hundred fans at best:

  • A quarter of all New Zealand Facebook pages have 100 likes or less
  • Slightly more than half (56%) have up to 400 likes
  • 79% have less than 1600 likes
  • Just 74 pages have more than 50,000 likes
  • Only 19 have managed more than 200,000 likes
  • At the very top, only seven NZ-related pages have more than 500,000 likes

The numbers are even more challenging if we attempt to identify those New Zealand Facebook pages that are effectively engaging with their followers.

How do we measure engagement? In this instance, by determining how many people are “talking about” each Facebook page.

“People Talking About This” is a Facebook measurement which, according to Facebook, quantifies “the number of unique people who have created a story about your Page [in the course of the previous week]. These stories include liking your Page, posting to your Page’s wall, liking, commenting on or sharing one of your Page’s Posts, answering a Question you posted, RVSPing to on of your events, mentioning your Page, phototagging your Page, checking in at your Place or recommending your Place.”

So what exactly have we found?

In late January 2012:

  • 14% of New Zealand Facebook pages had absolutely NOBODY talking about them
  • 11% were interacting with just one person
  • 57% had between 2 and 50 people talking
  • 2% had more than 1,000 interactions in progress
  • Just 5 pages had more than 20,000 people talking
  • Only one page had more than 100,000 conversations in progress

Does it matter if you’re being talked about on Facebook or not?

Yes it does, and it’s far, far more important than you might realise — Facebook uses an algorithm called EdgeRank, which determines whether or not your posts will show on the newsfeeds of those who ‘like’ you. One of the most important ingredients of that algorithm, is, not surprisingly, based on the proportion of your followers who are talking about you. Fail at that level and you simply won’t get seen on anybody’s newsfeed.

Our conclusions, based on our research thus far:

There’s huge scope for improvement for most New Zealand organisations who have planted a virtual outpost on Facebook. There are now more than two million Kiwi Facebook users yet 97% of our local Facebook pages couldn’t manage to engage the interest of even 500 of those Kiwi users.

That doesn’t mean we should just give up on social media. A handful of our top achievers have managed to score some seriously large Facebook followings — and an awesome few have many thousands of people engaging and interacting with their pages. Their performances are inspiring and aspirational — clearly Kiwis are willing to engage, if you can catch their interest and attention. Silence is not golden in the social space — it’s a critical failure.

So — if you’re one of the 5,571 Kiwi businesses with less than 100 people talking about you, will you take up the challenge to engage your way to the top?

(Ahem — if you’re not sure how to do that, may we respectfully encourage you to check out our Facebook Accelerator course here (Early Bird Offer, saving you $100, closes tomorrow); or, if you outsource your social media efforts, see our course on How To Prepare An Effective Social Media Brief here (Early Bird booking deadline Monday, so grab it now).

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