A Scientific Approach to Facebook

August 23rd, 2011

by Marcus Snyder

What time of day should I post? How long should my status messages be? Is it okay to ask followers to like something?

These are just a few of the question that every page administrator faces daily. There are a lot of “best practices” floating around out there that helps with these inquiries, however, there isn’t a whole lot of data to back them up … until now.

The people over at Momentus Media analyzed the top 20,000 Facebook pages to find out which posting techniques really work and placed their findings online for the entire world to see. For each analysis, they dissected 10,000 – 250,000 posts to find out exactly what drives interaction, and more importantly, how to replicate it.

1. When is the best time to post something?
Weekends and off-peak hours. Most posts are made during the week with the greatest number of posts on Thursdays and the lowest number of posts on the weekends. The engagement graph looks exactly the opposite. The more posts that are out there, the lower the interaction rate is going to be. Want the best chance at being heard and engaged? Post when other people are not.

2. How many times per day should I post?
As many times as you want. Not surprisingly, the more often you post, the more interactions you can expect. Keep in mind that some people may perceive posting more than 3 times a day as being “spammy.” Unsubscription rates rise as page admins post twice or three times a day, however, these rates tend to level off at higher frequencies. Here’s the bottom line: Post as often as you like, just be sure to keep a close eye on your subscribers.

3. What type of content elicits the most interaction?
#1 Photos. #2 Statuses. Fact: Photos generate 200% more interaction than links. The most shared content type on Facebook is links (which also happens to be the most ignored content type). Photos obviously have a visual draw and connect to people on an emotional level. Starving for some quick interaction? Try posting a photo.

4. Should I ask fans to like and comment on my posts?
Yes! Asking fans to like increases interaction 216% It’s not uncommon to see posts asking for comments or likes. There’s a reason for this: it works. Simply asking your audience to like your post can significantly boost your interaction rate. Asking them to comment produces slightly higher engagement than a post without a call-to-action. The takeaway? Be shameless and ask for a like!

5. Should I ask my fans questions?
Questions don’t increase interaction rate, but they do increase commenting rate. Ask fans to answer your questions with a comment. It’s thought that being conversational and asking questions on Facebook would increase your interaction rate. Ends up that question and non-question posts have about the same interaction rate (the sum of the number of likes and comments, divided by the number of page likes at the time of publishing). If you simply post a question, you’ll have about the same interaction rate as you would if you posted a fact. However, if you post a question and ask that people comment on it, you’ll find that your number of comments will go up!

6. How long should my status messages be?
Long or short. There is no found correlation between length and interaction rate. There’s a slight uptick in interaction as Facebook posts get longer, but it’s not enough to base your strategy on. Post however much or however little as you like – people don’t seem to care.

7. How long do my posts last in the newsfeed?
50% of clicks happen within 1 hour. 90% happen within 9 hours. It’s hard to say how long posts last in the newsfeed. It depends on how many people are in your feed as well as the frequency at which they are posting. However, the data shows that the majority of the clicks that an update will receive happens within the first hour of posting. After two hours, you start to see a gradual decline in interaction. Remember that posting during off-peak times increases your chances of being seen.

Filed under: Content, Marketing, Online Reputation, Social Media | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments »