THE BLOG
11/06/2013 04:22 pm ET

How Many People Actually 'Like' the 2014 Candidates?

For the past few months the Reboot Illinois team has been watching the 2014 candidates for Illinois governor carefully, but I have been paying particularly close attention to the candidates’ social media profiles. Why? Because social media is not like any other news source. Unlike your favorite newspaper, Facebook and Twitter were created to encourage people to be social, i.e. two-way communication. So, what do I see when I look at the candidates’ social media pages? Here’s my breakdown of Facebook:

Click here to see my breakdown of the candidates' Twitter accounts!

When most people see a Facebook page that has a high number of “Likes”, the first thought is: “Wow! This page/person/topic must be really popular!”

Surprise! This is not always true.

Since Facebook allows Pages (not personal pages like yours) to advertise, it is easy to buy “Fans” or “Likes” if you throw enough money into Facebook Ads. So, how do you tell the difference between a Facebook page that is actually popular and one that’s pretending to be? Talking About This, also known as "People Talking About This" or PTAT.

What is “Talking About This”?

2013-11-06-PTAT.png

The little number next to the Page’s number of Likes is a great indicator for whether or not a page is actually popular.  

“Talking About This” is defined by Facebook into two different parts:
§  People Engaged: the number of unique people who've clicked on, liked, commented on or shared your posts, which can be found in the People tab
§  Other Page Activity: the number of Page mentions, check-ins and posts by other people on your Page, which can be found in the Visits tab

In short, it is a ticker that tracks the number of people who have interacted in some way with a particular page over the past seven days. Note: The ratio for number of fans: “Talking About This” varies from page to page, the best way to evaluate is to compare to another similar page, i.e. Apple to Microsoft.

Why is “Talking About This” important?

Like in real life, just because you have money, doesn’t make you popular. Anyone can buy Facebook fans, but that doesn’t mean they’re engaging their fans (i.e. getting people to talk about their page) by either putting up interesting Facebook posts, or by replying to their fans’ comments on their posts. So, if you see a page with a TON of Facebook fans, check to see how many people are actually engaging with that page, and compare it to other similar pages. Who is actually popular?

Now that you know how to spot a real, popular Facebook page, let’s see which candidate actually is engaging with those who "like" them:

-Madison Bondi, Reboot Illinois

More content from Reboot Illinois:

Social Media Buzz Meter 2014: Who's got more friends, followers?

2014 and Twitter: Mysteries Revealed!

Check out our fun facts on all the candidates for governor!