If you really want to maximise the exposure of your content on Facebook, you should really look at the clock before posting.
It may seem like common sense but it is still something that media professionals and many businesses neglect to plan around when developing a communication strategy.
Back in 2010, Virtue, a social media marketing business conducted a study to see when Facebook users were most active and validated the idea that you need to think about when you are posting content.
Mashable did a fantastic write up of the study in 2010 and I’ve selected some of the highlights they noted which we should all consider.
- The three biggest usage spikes tend to occur on weekdays at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
- The biggest spike occurs at 3:00 p.m. on weekdays.
- Weekday usage is pretty steady, however Wednesday at 3:00 pm is consistently the busiest period.
- Fans are less active on Sunday compared to all other days of the week.
- Although most posts and comments appear around 3:00 p.m., posts published in the morning tend to perform better than those published in the afternoon.
- (Christina Warren, Mashable, 2010)
These are strong points that you should consider when designing a communication strategy to connect with your fans, potential customers and other third parties via Facebook. If you look at the usage spikes they start to make a fair bit of sense. However, I think the 8pm usage spike may have grown since the 2010 study.
Around 11am most people are generally a few hours into their workday and are getting ready to have a break, moving between meetings or taking a breather. If your engaging content is out there early and they see it, chances are they will like it then or follow it up later.
Around 3pm most people are two-thirds of the way through their daily work routine and chances are they’re looking for a break in their day’s monotony by checking out what’s on Facebook. Likewise around this time schools will be finishing for the day, meetings will be ending and it really is a prime time to check their newsfeed before they get into homework, start the commute home, cook tea etc. Again, If your engaging content is out there early and they see it, chances are they will like it then or follow it up later.
Finally, 8pm makes a lot of sense for a peak time of Facebook usage. By this time the household is generally winding down and your target audiences are getting a chance to really sit down and check out their newsfeed. This is an important time for you to snag that engagement with your users as they’re generally not going to be checking it fleetingly (no boss to make sure you’re doing your job at home!).
In my experience this is the prime-time where I see questions asked on Facebook pages and other engagement and is a great time for you to engage and make real connections with your audience (even if it is a simple liking of their comment etc).
However this is also a prime time for trolls and others out to cause mayhem or hi-jack a comment thread. It pays to have someone keeping an eye out for spam, abusive comments or other unsavoury content as this is when it generally happens (because of the prime time audience). It can help to fix a small issue now, than fix a problem later.
Hopefully this has given you some food for thought about when you are posting content to Facebook (and other social media too). Don’t take this to be a guide to follow to the letter, your target audiences may have an entirely different peak usage times and chances are you will need to do your own analysis to see what time your audiences are most active and engaging.
Let me know what you think and until next time, happy Facebooking!
Courtesy link to Mashable http://mashable.com/2010/10/28/facebook-activity-study/