Facebook page post frequency versus engagement - is there a winning formula?

  • Vanessa Thomas and Neil Edwards of The Marketing Eye look at the level of activity needed to turn Facebook into a central component of your content marketing strategy.

    So, your company has made the giant leap into the social media space!

    Those of you fortunate enough to have social media managers will have somebody developing a strategy that will expand your impact, but if you have not employed one yet - how do you set about using a Facebook Page to help your business?

    /images/facebook_logo.gifFirst things first - why bother with a Facebook page?

    The trend for customers and clients to use social media networks to learn about your business rather than just access your website is due to the fact they are highly likely to be on the social network in the first place.  The latest data shows that the 1.2 billion Facebook users spend on average 15 hours and 33 minutes on the network every month.

    Facebook is incredibly good at keeping its users within Facebook.  Allowing users to see your business and share it with friends is made much easier if you are in the place where your target audience is spending its time.

    Once you have people on your page, they will investigate you.  Facebook is currently the third most important source of referral traffic to The Marketing Eye website and it is the same story for the clients that we have developed Facebook strategies for.

    While we can't say that we get many enquiries directly from Facebook, we can say that it is an integral part of our content distribution strategy and it is getting our audience to where we want it to be - our website.

    Post and promote

    As a Facebook page owner, you will want to maximise the engagement, impressions and traffic driven by the News Feed.  Posts that are present in the News Feed for longer increase the likelihood of engagement.  When a post is liked, shared or commented on, it will exhibit a longer lifespan and its reach will extend.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with paying to build your audience.  We have found Facebook advertising to be a very effective way of increasing the visibility of our page among a relevant target audience - and hence the number of likes we receive.  Unlike Google Adwords where you target search terms, with Facebook you target users based on their profiles and preferences.

    There is also the option to promote your most important posts. Promoted posts appear higher and longer in your fans' News Feeds, so there is a better chance of your audience seeing them.  Take a look at our own experience: unaided, our posts typically receive a few hundred viewings each.  When we promoted the post about our work with Samsung, it was seen by 3321 people!

    Optimal Facebook post frequency

    PostRocket's Mike Maghsoudi says that companies need to post more than once per day.  This is essentially because once a fan has ‘liked' your page, he or she is unlikely to ever visit it again.  Frequency of posting will maintain your brand's visibility in your fans' News Feeds and encourage 'likes' and comments, which, in turn, will extend your reach.

    Is there a magic post number?  Experts suggest it is 3 times a day although it is reported that the most active brands on Facebook post, on average, 1.3 updates a day.  Here at The Marketing Eye, we aim to post a few updates each week.  Like any business, we have our pressures and sometimes we fall short when other issues take precedence.  Nevertheless, we see an immediate impact on the number of new fans and the number of people talking about us when our frequency of posts goes down.

    When it comes to timing posts, Facebook Page analytics company EdgeRank Checker recommends that Facebook Page owners should stagger posts by at least 3 hours.

    Posting times (and frequency) will inevitably differ greatly from page to page since there are variations in the industries, time zones and demographics of the fan base.  Specific events or activities can also alter optimal post frequency.

    Measuring engagement

    Once you have created a Facebook Page and achieved your first 30 'likes', you will be able to access some of the metrics under ‘Insights'.  This Facebook feature gives an idea of how many people have viewed a particular post, what your current reach is and how many people are talking about your page.  For the serial analyst, there are more complex tools available such as those offered by SocialBakers and Sysomos.

    SocialBakers have suggested a formula to measure the level of engagement that is being achieved.

    Formula for Facebook engagement

    Source: Socialbakers Releases Metric to Measure Your Engagement Rate by Marisa Peacock

    Not too little, not too often

    Ultimately, every business is different and listening to your fans while monitoring their reactions and engagement rates will allow you to develop an appropriate posting strategy.

    Post too little and you will disappear.  Post too frequently on the other hand and you will turn your fans off if your updates dominate their News Feed.  Keep in mind also that one careless or inappropriate post can make a fan leave your page forever, so maintaining the quality of your content as well as the well timed quantity is a must.

    For more information on how to develop and maintain a Facebook strategy for your business, please contact us. 

    Visit The Marketing Eye on Facebook (and please don't forget to 'like' us while you are there!)

    References:

    1. Statistics Brain. Social Networking Statistics http://www.statisticbrain.com/social-networking-statistics/ Research date 12 November 2012
    2. Maghsoudi, M. 2012. 4 BIG Reasons You Should Be Posting to Your Facebook Page MORE Than 1x Per Day [Online] http://blog.getpostrocket.com/2012/07/4-big-reasons-you-should-be-posting-to-your-facebook-page-more-than-1x-per-day/
    3. Lafferty, J.2012. How Many Times Should You Post To Your Facebook Page? [Online] http://allfacebook.com/postrocket-facebook-pages_b96044
    4. Constine, J. 2012. Study: Facebook Pages Shouldn't Post More Than 1x Every 3 hours [Online] http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/17/how-often-should-facebook-pages-post/

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