It’s an interesting time for Facebook. As we’ve discussed before, the company has been proposing massive, clear-eyed plans for the future – even as its present seems more than a little bit murky.
On the positive side? Facebook’s total audience is continuing to grow; as of this year, it reported that 1.32 billion people used the platform daily, and 2.01 billion did so monthly.
On the negative? The company has been coming under fire for allowing foreign interference in an American election via its platforms; its relationship with fringe and alternative media has recently been thrown into sharp relief; its top execs continue to make headlines for their bizarre, sometimes tone deaf behavior; and many of the features that the company has been heavily promoting (like Facebook Stories) have been met with a near-universal “meh” from users.
So those are the big-picture problems. On the micro level, too, Facebook is still facing scrutiny, because… Well, it’s just not performing the way it used to, particularly for businesses using the platform for marketing.
Organic reach on the social network has been declining for some time now, and while paid advertising on the platform is still netting great results for businesses, there is reason to believe that Facebook may have actually misled marketers about its overall efficacy.
At the same time, continual retooling of the news feed algorithm makes it increasingly difficult to settle on a posting strategy for brands. As we can say from experience, a posting tactic that works one week will fizzle the next.
So with so much turbulence – for both Facebook the company and Facebook the platform – how can small and local businesses be expected to keep up? How can you be sure that the strategies you’re using right now are the best ones – or that they’ll even still be feasible in a few months, when the social network retools itself again?
Consider this your starting point. With our thanks to Hubspot for sharing some of its remarkable research, here’s what you need to know in order to successfully use Facebook to post content and promote your brand, right now:
Why Post on Facebook?
First and foremost, it’s important to remember all of the good things about Facebook – and why it’s still a useful content marketing channel for your brand, all things considered.
To start, being active on Facebook today is now, in many ways, a pre-requisite when it comes to finding and converting new customers. It’s an essential starting point, as many, many people still use social media to discover and research local businesses and brands before making a decision. If your page looks deserted – devoid of activity or recent content – your potential customers won’t hesitate to take their business to a brand that seems more engaged and up-to-date.
What’s more, Facebook is also still perhaps the most effective paid advertising platform in all of social media; its targeting options are sophisticated, its reach is extensive, and it has a proven track record of generating ROI for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
And speaking of reach, Facebook offers the greatest chance for a post or share to “go viral.” Over the course of a Hubspot study, for instance, the “maximum clicks that a single Facebook Page received” was 8,000; in contrast, the peak number of clicks on LinkedIn was about 1,000, and, on Twitter, 7,000.
Seeing that level of success on Facebook would make you an outlier, for reasons we’ll get into in a moment; but, as Hubspot determined, “the number of outliers [seen] at every level is substantial,” and “the upside is very, very high.”
How Often Should You Post on Facebook?
So, with all of this taken into account, let’s get into the nitty-gritty details – when, and how often, you should be posting to Facebook.
And, before we go any further and break your heart, we should be clear: A lot of it is up to chance. As the Hubspot research shows us, there is no one guaranteed posting schedule or strategy that’s going to work for every business or audience.
With that said, what do we know?
First, the bad news: Most Facebook posts see virtually no clicks, regardless of when they’re posted, according to Hubspot. When looking at both day of the week and time of day, the median trends towards zero.
Looking at the outliers, we can just make out a few trends, though:
- Posts perform better at the beginning and end of the day, when there is less competition
- There is a dip in post frequency and engagement on Friday and Saturday, and a boom on Sunday
- Pages see the most success when publishing just two to five times per week on Facebook; any more than that, and you risk lowering your engagement level and getting dinged by the algorithm
If timing and frequency, then, are unpredictable and unsatisfying as performance metrics, how can your brand determine a successful posting strategy? Instead of thinking about quantity, consider quality.
That means asking yourself…
What Types of Content Should You Post on Facebook?
If it’s not the when, it must be the what and the how that matter.
First, it’s important that the content that you’re posting is informative, well-researched, and interesting. Is it written with a compelling voice, or does it tell a story? Does it showcase a unique or interesting point of view? Will it grab a user’s attention in just a few seconds?
With this in mind, it’s also important that you make sure that the content you’re sharing is appealing to your unique audience base. Are you writing (or snapping, or shooting) in a way that will be relevant and engaging to your ideal consumer? To this end, it’s important that you engage in social listening and prospecting, so that you can determine who is already interacting with your brand on Facebook, and suss out what kinds of content they’re consuming and sharing on their own time.
After all, different audiences interact with marketing content in different ways; how are you going to reach the group of consumers that’s going to create the most value for you?
Beyond creating the type of content that your audience wants to see, it’s important that you provide it to your audience in the right format. Increasingly, on Facebook, that means image-based posts, and, above all, videos.
How much of a difference can creating infographics, posting high quality images, and packaging your content with a social video really make for your clickthrough and engagement rates? Well, studies have shown that Facebook users watch a total of 8 billion videos every day, and that posts featuring videos score the highest rates of organic engagement; image posts similarly boast high rates of engagement - at rates up to 2.3% higher than posts without images!
The Bottom Line: How to Succeed With Facebook Today
The bottom line? While Facebook isn’t the end-all, be-all platform for content publishers that it was even a few years ago, it’s still a powerful tool for connecting with clients and promoting your brand.
To see the best results possible from your posting strategy, you’ll want to employ a mix of organic content and paid social promotions; in both cases, consider mixing up the types of media that you post – images, videos, photo albums, and text posts with links all offer value in their own unique ways.
The other thing to remember? Facebook isn’t just about posting your message and calling it a day – and it never really was. Instead, to see the most success with Facebook in 2017 and beyond, it may help to recalibrate the way you think of the social network.
Instead of looking at it like a content delivery system, think of Facebook as a virtual home, and be sure to consider all aspects of your Facebook business page, as you would your own website. You’ll want to make sure that every single element of your Facebook presence is optimized to create value. That means taking time to consider:
- The design of your page (including your cover photo/video, profile picture, and layout)
- If all of your contact information is accurate, visible, and up-to-date
- How you’ll handle Facebook testimonials and reviews, both positive and negative
- Whether you’ll take advantage of other Facebook page options – like adding an ecommerce section, posting want ads, or hosting events
Ready to make your Facebook page more productive? Curious about our unique approach to social media scheduling? Looking for help getting started with paid social media advertising? Whatever you need, Geek is here to help!
Our team of Facebook fans knows just what it takes to make this social platform work for your local business. Drop us a line today to keep the conversation going!