You got all the information filled out, agreed to (but didn’t read) the Terms of Service, and finally got everything on your revamped, optimized Facebook page set up and ready to unleash on the world.
Your initial temptation may be to start posting immediately, randomly, and constantly. Don’t. Make your efforts count. Before you start posting to Facebook, take time to consider what you’re going to post, when you’re going to post it, and how often you will be posting. After careful consideration, you should have a good idea of what to post (if not, we can help!), but what about the when?
According to research, the pages that are the most effective on Facebook publish once every two days. That’s it. They don’t post every 30 minutes, once an hour, or even once a day. When it comes to digesting content, it turns out people would rather drink from a steady stream than a fire hose.
In light of that, and in order to reach the most people without spreading content like buckshot, here’s a 4-step plan to optimize your Facebook reach while maintaining a healthy posting schedule.
Step 1 – Consider the Network
Imagine if a company decided to treat all of its advertising the same and just created one ad for television and radio. How well would that work? Television is an extremely visual medium, while radio is not. In the same vein, you can’t assume that all social media networks are created equal. Each one has its own quirks and expectations from the audience. Likewise, your posting schedule should be equally nuanced to best fit the wants and habits of the people on that particular site. Make sure that what is being posted on Facebook is being done in a unique way, and also consider doing and offering things specifically for your fans on Facebook and no one else.
In other words, if you currently link or have thought of linking your Twitter account to your Facebook posts, put the mouse down and back away slowly.
Step 2 – Find your Peak Times
The world would be so much easier if you could be sure that your whole audience saw every post you made. Unfortunately, the internet moves too fast for any one person to see everything everyone posts. Your goal, therefore, should be to post at a time when you can reach the most people. Facebook Insights are a gold mine of information for finding out how that audience interacts with your page. It does a great job of showing you the times when the most people are on your page and receiving content you post. It won’t be 100%, but it will be much better than posting at a time when no one is online to read it.
Step 3 – Plan In Advance
News flash: your best time might be 6am. Does this mean that you need to get up with the sun to get your content on Facebook? Maybe, but you’re much better suited to schedule your posts in advance. Here is a great tutorial on how to do just that from Facebook, or maybe consider using one of the many social media management tools available online to schedule out a good amount of your posts ahead of time. Not only will this ensure that you’re hitting your peak times, it also lets you knock out days – even weeks – of posting out in one sitting. As much as we all love social media, there are always better things we can be doing with our time.
Step 4 – Use at least 1,000 words in as many posts as possible
Sound like a lot? Not if you remember that a picture is worth a thousand words.
(Was that a reach? Probably.)
Since you won’t be posting very often, you’ll want to make each one count, and a visual element always adds a punch to any Facebook post. It doesn’t have to be a stand-alone photo, either – you can select the image that displays with any link you attach to Facebook. It’s easier to catch someone’s eye with something that stands out, and having an engaging image will draw eyes, clicks, and (hopefully) shares.
[ Bonus Protip: if you link to a url on Facebook, feel free to delete the link from the status after Facebook recognizes the article. You don’t actually need to post the link in your status for the it to attached to your update. ]
With a bit of advance planning, your Facebook page can actually take less time to maintain than you might think. Careful consideration of your audience’s habits, coupled with targeted and relevant content, can help your page to stand out among those that post too often or too infrequently. Do your homework on the front end and you’ll reap the benefits of a tightly controlled social media strategy in the long run.