According to Buddy Media’s study “Strategies for Effective Wall Posts: A Timeline Analysis,” the time that you post content on Facebook can make a big difference in the response you get from your online community. The research uses data from 1,800 of the largest brand pages on social media from April 1 to May 31 this year.
Here are some key points that the report uncovered:
The worst time in the week to post or advertise on Facebook is on Wednesdays. During Wednesday, users interact at lower rates than on other days of the week. On average, they will only share, comment or like your posts at 7.4 percent below the average interaction rate for the whole week.
The best times to post content are on Saturdays and Sundays, as the weekend appears to stimulate more interaction between Facebook users. Brand posts during these days experience an average 14.5 percent improvement in likes, shares and comments.
Interestingly, the study found that currently most companies are posting at the wrong time. Wednesday is the most common day for brands to post on Facebook, while they only post about 14 percent of their content on weekends. To some extent, this makes sense, as companies generally take the weekend off.
Advertising and consulting content during the weekends receives 69 percent more interaction although brands typically only post about 11 percent of these types of posts on Saturday and Sunday.
Some industries, however, do not follow the general pattern, according to the study. For example, Monday appears as the best day for “general retail” brands, while the “clothing and fashion” industry have the best results on Thursdays.
Currently, brand marketers are also making the mistake of posting too much during the night. The research shows that Facebook users interact more to content posted during daylight hours. The best hours for posting are between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., while 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. are “non-busy” hours. Buddy Media suggests that people are more likely to use social media when they are at work.
Brands should not post too much content, as this appears to hinder interaction. The report states that between one and two posts a day gets a 19 percent better response than posting three or more posts a day. According to the study, this may result from Facebook’s newsfeed optimization algorithm penalizing excessive posting.
According to Buddy Media, it is best to limit text postings to no more than 80 characters. This limit is much lower than even Twitter’s 140-character cutoff. The report says that posts under 80 characters receive 23 percent more interaction than longer posts. Currently, about 75 percent of Facebook posts exceed this length. The report also found that posting a picture improves results. A photo post gets a 39 percent higher interaction rate than the average post. Text only posts receive a 12 percent higher interaction rate while video and link posts perform below the average interaction rate.
One of the best ways to get responses on Facebook is to ask questions. A post with a question generated a 92 percent higher comment rate than non-question posts.
Buddy Media suggests that links should give the user an idea of what to expect if they click through to the page. For example, use something like “sales.com/shoes.”
In the same say that asking a question prompts responses; it is also effective to ask users to perform an action. For example, a post in which you ask others for comments is 3.3 times more likely to get comments than posts with no call to action. Posts asking others for “likes” are three times more likely to receive a like. A post that requests that others share the post is seven times more likely to receive a share than one without the same call to action.
Apparently emoticons like and are highly effective and get about twice the response rate as other emoticons. In general, posts with emoticons get a 52 percent higher interaction rate than those without emoticons. The report shows that emoticons work best for the health and childcare industry followed by food and beverage brands.
The Buddy Media study shows that most brands are not posting during optimum weekdays or during the right time of the day. They could significantly improve results by changing posting times and by taking other steps like asking questions frequently to your social media trainers.