October 27, 2011

Post After Hours to Get The Most Out of Your Facebook Posts

(By Steve Lenski | The Star Group)

Raise your hand if you’re a brand marketer who thinks posting to Facebook during “normal” business hours is the way to go? It’s ok if you have your hand raised because you’re not alone. However, you would also be wrong as a new study reveals that the best time to post a branded message to Facebook is in fact AFTER “normal” business hours.

The study, done by social enterprise software company Buddy Media, revealed that many marketers and brands are missing the proverbial boat when it comes to maximizing their Facebook posts. How much are they in fact missing said boat? Well consider the fact that brands that post AFTER “normal” business hours saw a 20% increase in engagement when compared to those posts posted during “normal” business hours.

the star group

To me this is a clear example of the importance of having a Facebook post appear the top of your fans’ News Feeds during the times of the day when they are most likely to be on Facebook, AKA not between 9AM and 5PM. So the moral here is don’t post just because it’s convenient for you, do it when you know your fans’ – your brand ambassadors, are likely to see it and share it. However, do not make the mistake – the tragic mistake, yes tragic, of using a 3rd party app like TweetDeck or HootSuite to schedule your Facebook posts for you. Why? Well, as I wrote about in my aptly titled post not long ago, Facebook Autoposting – A Social Media No No … on  average, Facebook Pages that show posts via a third party app such as HootSuite or TweetDeck, as opposed to linking the old fashioned manual way, receive 70% fewer likes and comments.

The Day Of The Week Matters, Too…

The study also revealed that which day of the week you post to Facebook to affects the level of engagement, too as Thursday and Friday seem to be the best days to post. As noted in the survey findings itself… “This finding coincides with data recently revealed by Facebook showing that the “Happiness Index” on Facebook spikes by 10% on Friday.” In other words, people, consumers, customers – whatever you want to call them/us are more receptive and more likely to engage with a Facebook post with the weekend right in front of them as opposed to earlier in the week when the weekend looks a million miles away.

When To Facebook Post By Industry…

However, posting predominantly on Thursdays and Fridays is not always the best method of operation for as the survey also showed, it also depends on which industry you happen to work in. For example in the Retail Industry, it would appear that Sundays are good but Fridays not so good. As you can see from the chart below, retail brands posted the most on Fridays, maybe thinking it was a good time to hit them up with a sale or something heading into the weekend. But look at the number of posts (blue bar) compared to the level of engagement (green line.)

the star group

Then we have the Business and Finance Industry – your banks, insurance companies, etc. What day of the week do you think is best for those in this industry to post to Facebook? If you guessed Wednesday and Thursday, take a dollar out of petty cash for you are right.

the star group

Why the higher engagement rates on Wednesday and Thursday for these industries? I do not know. Perhaps because these folks are so inundated with emails from the weekend that they don’t have time to check Facebook until Wednesday?

One other industry I want to highlight is the Food and Beverage Industry which sees a higher Facebook post engagement during midweek and then again on Saturdays.

the star group

From the findings… “Of all the industries reviewed, food and beverage brands were proportionately more active with publishing on the weekend as compared to other industries, although engagement rates peaked on Tuesday and Wednesday, and again on Saturday.”

There are additional industry breakdowns such as fashion, health & beauty and entertainment. You can see the entire survey findings here.

But one thing to keep in mind when reading the results and that is these are not hard and fast rules i.e. best times to post to Facebook and best days to post. Social media is all about people and people are different of course. The point I am trying to make is you may work in the  retail industry yet for your company you see a high enagement on Fridays. Are you suddenly going to shift your Facebook strategy to align with the survey findings and post and lessen the amount of posts you make on Fridays? No, with a capital N and a capital O. Your customers, your fans will dictate to you when they are most engaged with you on Facebook. Listen to them, literally and you will never go wrong.

So, what do you take away from the findings of the survey? Do you see a similarity to what the findings showed and what you see from your Facebook fans?

(Sources:  Buddy Media | The Star Groups)

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