When is the best time to post to your brand Page? 7:00 AM or 11:00 PM
After a series of mostly unwelcome changes, Facebook brand Pages have become even more difficult to administer and to derive value and engagement from. I don't know about you, but with most posts remaining all but invisible unless organizations pay the troll to promote them, Facebook is becoming less interesting as a tool for organizational engagement every day.
However, a new report from Buddy Media shares some insights as to underutilized techniques for content and post timing that heighten engagement without paying the sucker fee for promoted posts. The report is pretty interesting and carries information breakdown by industry; download the full report here.
The report analyzed Facebook posts made to brand pages in a variety of industries (entertainment, retail, fashion, food and beverage, authomotive, healthcare and beauty and more) and evaluated success metrics based on comment rate per post, Like rate per post and "engagement rate" per post (a combination of comment and Like rates). As with most studies, times are reported in Eastern Standard Time.
General tips: keep is short (except for URLs) and be direct
Best keywords. Give simple instructions. The keywords "like" and "post" return the best engagement, indicating that if you want fans to Like a post, just say so. If you want them to post comments, just say so.
Ask a question. Posts that end with a question have a 15% higher engagement rate, so when you ask a question, make sure it is at the end of the post.
Keep it short. The study added fuel to the fire of the philosophy that social media is making us dumber: the most engaging posts were short, 80 characters or less. Posts of that length returned 27% higher engagement rates than longer posts. And, despite the popularity of URL shorteners, the study discovered that engagement rates were three times higher for posts that use full-length URLs versus shortened ones. This might be the reason behind the recent discovery that Facebook posts generated from third-party applications return far less engagement than those posted directly to the Page: I'd like to do some A/B testing of full-URL posts from HootSuite, for example, to see if the engagement level is higher than the dismal rate usually experienced from third-party apps.
The report has a theory on the discovery:
Why? It's likely because the "indicators" a user noramlly gets from reading the text in a full-length URL are missing with a shortened URL. For example, inserting www.buddymedia.com into a Post clearly indicates to the user that clicking on this link will take them to the Buddy media website. With a shortened URL like http://tinyurl.com/yhlw3c6 there is no indication to the user where this link will direct them, so they are less likely to engage with it.
When to post: outside business hours
Not surprisingly, most brands post during business hours. This is a big no-no, according to the report. Why? Because consumers turn to Facebook when they don't want to be working. So they check Facebook more often before 8:00 AM, after 10:00 PM and on weekends.
The best day to post may vary by industry. In general, user engagement peaks on Thursday and Friday: "The less people want to be at work, the more they are on Facebook," says the report. Engagement rates across industries are 18% higher on these days. A quick run-down by industry:
- Retail: engagement spikes sharply on Sunday.
- Automotive: engagement spikes sharply on Sunday.
- Business/Finance: engagement is highest on Wednesday and Thursday.
- Food/Beverage: Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday are best for posting.
- Healthcare/Beauty: engagement peaks on Thursday.
- Sports: sharp spike on Sunday.
If you don't want to pay for promoted posts, make the most of your Facebook presence by asking directly for Likes and posts, post on weekends and weeknights when engagement is highest and use the full URL when posting links.