A couple of years ago, it was an upstart social network for college students. Then it was the everyman’s social network, spreading like wildfire to teenagers and grandparents alike. And today, Facebook has taken hold as a significant and important player not just for individuals, but for companies who are looking to interact and engage with their customers online.
As a social media company, we absolutely understand the importance and significance of Facebook for our customers as well as the social media industry as a whole. So we wanted to talk with you a bit about how Radian6 approaches Facebook, and a few things you should know and keep in mind when including it in your listening and engagement strategy.
What We Cover
Radian6′s coverage of Facebook is built onFacebook’s Graph API. In clear terms, what that means is that Facebook provides us with a data stream of:
• public wall posts or status updates
• wall posts on Facebook Pages (or Fan Pages, as they’re commonly known)
• wall posts on Facebook Community Pages.
Also, a cool new feature: Facebook “likes” (from the Facebook Likes “plugin”) are now included in the “Votes and Likes” metrics on your Radian6 dashboard. Our current support is for the Like Plugin embedded on websites external to Facebook.
So if 20 people Like an on-topic piece of content where you’ve got the plugin installed, we’ll count it in the Votes and Likes metric in your dashboard.
(Note: while you’ll see Facebook posts in your search results, Facebook still requires you to log in to be able to view the public individual profile wall posts on Facebook itself.)
As it stands right now, the Facebook Graph API doesn’t include comments on wall posts. So, for instance, if someone posts a link on your Facebook wall and 10 people comment underneath that, those comments won’t be included in your Radian6 search results (even if they include keywords from your Topic Profile). It’s a current limitation, but we’re actively working on adding this capability.
As Facebook continues to build out their Graph API, we’ll continue to expand and refine the coverage that we can provide via Radian6. We’re going to continue carrying out coverage checks and enhancements on an ongoing basis, and we’ll keep you updated on how that coverage evolves.
It’s important to note that comparing exact metrics of brand mentions on Twitter versus Facebook can be misleading, because conversations in open-access areas of Facebook only represent a snapshot of the potential total brand mentions. If a mention is posted in a closed or private area of Facebook, we won’t be able to include it in your results. As a business, it’s important to keep this distinction in mind, because it will impact the way you can measure and account for Facebook results in your monitoring and measurement activities.
A Note About Privacy
Something that’s very important to make clear: if your individual Facebook profile privacy settings are set to anything other than being viewable by “Everyone”, or if your Group is set to Closed/Secret, neither we nor any other search or monitoring provider will be able to see or find anything posted there.
Facebook is only a partially open network by design, which means that what’s visible to the outside world is dictated by the users themselves, and controllable via profile settings and preferences. For individuals, you can find those settings on your profile under Account > Privacy Settings. For Page administrators, you can adjust who can post to your page Wall your admin section, but wall posts on Pages are, by design, public. Facebook Groups can be made Open (completely public), Closed, or Secret, the last two only being visible to group members (and controllable by the administrator).
If your individual profile is private but you post to the Wall of a Facebook Page or public Group for a company or brand, that post will be publicly visible and available to Radian6 and other monitoring or search tools via the Social Graph API.
In short, Radian6 can and will only ever cover items that are classified as public, or that are posted in Facebook’s public areas.
We know how important it is to you that we stay on top of what’s happening in social media, and how important Facebook is to you. We’re listening, and we’re continuing to build out our coverage capabilities daily so that you never miss a relevant post.
Facebook presents a unique challenge in the social space, but we’re up for it. And we’ll continue to keep you posted as our coverage and capabilities for Facebook grow.
Have any questions about what you can and can’t do with Facebook data, or what you’re able to find via listening? Let us know. We’ll do our best to answer.