I’ve seen a few different posts floating around purporting to have solved the mystery behind ‘the best time to post’ on various social media platforms. Most of these claims are contradictory, and all of them tend to be overly simplistic and unhelpful for marketers.
The problem with these types of claims is that they present a one-size-fits-all type of approach to posting, regardless of the industry or audience. Different audiences interact on these platforms in diverse ways, and there are insights available that provide a concrete look into the most advantageous post times.
Take the guesswork out of post times on Facebook with these tips:
1. Understand the Facebook algorithm, specifically time decay.
Although you may have 500 fans on Facebook, this doesn’t mean all 500 fans will see your updates in their newsfeeds thanks to the Facebook algorithm, EdgeRank.
EdgeRank is like a credit score, unique to each post, and scored according to three metrics: affinity score, weight and time decay.
In terms of the best time to post, time decay is an important factor.
As the name suggests, the EdgeRank score of a post (i.e. the likelihood that it will appear in your fans’ newsfeeds) decreases as time elapses. Knowing when your audience is on Facebook will help guide your posting schedule and ensure that your content has a fighting chance of being seen by the largest possible number of users.
2. Use Facebook Insights
Administrators of a brand page on Facebook have access to page analytics and insights. From the ‘posts’ tab within Insights, you can view when your fans are online. This tabs displays the days of the week and time of day that your fans are logged into Facebook.
Using this data, you can determine the most advantageous time to post.
From the example below, the proportion of fan activity across days of the week is fairly consistent – with Thursday tipping the scales at 21,000 fans logged in.
The hours of the day chart also shows an even range around late afternoon/evening, reaching its peak at 9:00 pm with 9,303 fans logged in.
For this individual brand page, the best time to post (to ensure the largest possible number of fans see the content) is Thursday at 9 pm.
3. Experiment with Post Times
For a brand page in its infancy, with a small number of fans and little historical data, try experimenting with different post times and evaluating the engagement.
Again, the ‘posts’ tab within Insights provides a chart of all page posts including the date and time, post reach and the amount of post engagement.
Use this chart to easily evaluate which posts received the most engagement and reach, and identify any trends in posting times.
There is no single solution, tip or perfect time of day that will help you capture the largest possible audience with your Facebook posts. There are a number of factors that have to be considered, and a number of tools that can be used.
Understanding that your posts are scored and displayed according to EdgeRank is an important first step in reaching your audience. There is a science behind how your posts are displayed, and luckily, also tools that will help you understand the information behind it.
Facebook Insights can help you determine when your fans are online, what posts they are seeing and what content they are engaging with.
When combined, these tips and tools can help you reach your maximum potential audience, at the right time with the right information.