When are the best times to post on my Facebook Business Like Page?

We get asked this question quite a lot, so we thought it was about time we answered it! And as usual with social media the answer is ‘it depends’!

The real question should be – when does my audience use Facebook?

We get asked this question mostly with social media marketing on Facebook, so let us focus on this platform here. We will address Twitter, YouTube, Google+ etc here very soon…

So – when to post? …Well that depends!

Firstly – your content has to be dazzling and engaging, it should provide value to your visitor and it should leave them wanting more, just like the drum roll on the cliff-hanger of each episode of the BBC’s Eastenders!

So don’t post until you are sure your content is good enough! It might even make sense to write a couple of week’s worth of content and plan the whole roll out of your copy. You then have your high quality content ready and you will only have to worry about when to share it!

Secondly – and to continue the Eastenders analogy – you want to show your talents when your audience are most likely to be watching. The BBC schedules Eastenders during the peak evening viewing slot because this is when most people are watching. They have returned home from a long day at work, had their dinner and are settling down to relax in front of the box. So we need to do the same as the BBC is doing with Eastenders with our content.

So when are the peak ‘viewing times’ for Facebook? On average, according to a study by Vitrue (http://www.vitrue.com/education/white-papers) peak time is 3pm on a Wednesday afternoon. BUT…

…the real answer is; well it depends..!

Try the following with your Facebook Business Like Page:

1. Think about who your audience is…

If you are selling or talking about music, tickets for concerts or managing a new rock band, your audience is probably mainly 15-30, of both sexes. They check Facebook more regularly than average, probably on their phones or other mobile devices and may have a shorter than average attention span.  They probably are not on Facebook a lot early in the day but almost definitely at lunchtime at work or college. They are also probably sneakily looking in the afternoon and definitely for an hour or two in the evening. They might check Facebook at the weekends, but not so much.

If you are selling baby products you are probably talking to young mothers that are looking at Facebook mid-morning whist the baby is asleep. They might also be up a bit earlier than the music fans and are looking for entertainment and a sense of community on Facebook during the day. They might be too tired for Facebook in the evenings, but might engage briefly after the little one is asleep for the night.

So the answer is – know your market. Think like them, experiment and even ask them.

2. Test your engaging content…

When you think you know when your audience will be looking try out your great content. Post it at the key times, but keep consistent timings for a week. Then try moving the timings slightly for the next week and see if you get better or worse results (do this within reason – don’t post at 3 in the morning, just because you have not tried that yet – we can tell you now – it won’t work)! Try to make sure that everything else you are doing is not too different between the weeks you are testing, as you don’t want to influence the results with a one-off cool competition or give-away. Just focus on these post timings for a month or so if you can.

The challenge is to keep the content equally as engaging through the testing period. One way of doing this is to use the same thread of content consistently for a particular day of the week. This is where you can use a well thought out Conversation Calendar

3. Check what is happening by using Facebook Insights…

If possible try this for 3 or 4 weeks in total and use Facebook Insights to see the results. Compare the numbers of likes, comments and shares you get each week, as well as the post views and reach. Assess the Monday of week 1 against the Monday of week 2 and so on…

4. Give them a cliff-hanger and tell them when the next episode is…

Tell them when the next episode (installment/part of the competition/ step in the process is)! All Eastenders fans know when the next episode is and what happened at the end of the last!! If the post is part of a whole content strategy then it makes sense to give a taster about upcoming posts at the end (or in the comments) of previous posts.

Example: Let’s say you are running a competition to give away tickets for a musical event:  Reveal winners every day and name them on your Facebook Page. Send the winners an email to say that they have won and that their name will be published on your Facebook Page and they should go to your Page and comment on the post. This will help increase the Facebook Edgerank of that post, meaning more people will view and see that others have won. In the post, in addition to naming the winners you should finish the post by saying that you will be drawing 5 extra winners tomorrow/next week and this is how you enter <link to competition> (obviously if you are running a competition on Facebook make sure that you obey the Facebook rules for competitions). These types of ‘cliff-hanger’ techniques help generate a great buzz around a promotion or competition and can trigger exciting conversations and help to build a great community. Enjoy it and your community will enjoy it too!

5. Design a publishing schedule (and stick to it)…!

When you have seen which timings work best, format them into a schedule and make sure that you or your team adhere to this plan! You then have a publishing schedule tuned for your market. Remember though, if your market demographic changes (for example you launch a new and quite different product) then you may have to change your post timings.

6. Monitor and adjust if necessary…

Of course it is good to have a plan like this in place. However never stop monitoring your Facebook Insights and sometimes slightly change your posting times as a sanity check to make sure that nothing has changed significantly out there in your Facebook Fan land.

Let us know how you get on. Post your comments below…

Social Stamp… Make a mark with social media