If you’re a Facebook user, you may have noticed some time back that you weren’t seeing posts from some of your friends anymore. Facebook has added filters to allow users to “improve” their experience, but default settings mean you may only see content that is the most engaging (“top news” posts that generated the most comments or reaction) rather than the “most recent” posts. That could matter a lot to a non-profit that is trying to use Facebook to build engagement.
Beth Kanter’s blog post today turned me on to a new (free) research report available from Buddy Media. The research is intended to help answer the questions: 1) when should you post and how often; 2) are there certain words or content that will generate response; and 3) when are people engaging with your content? The findings are based on data from 200 Buddy Media clients (note: primarily not non-profits).
Buddy Media looked at different approaches to managing Facebook content as they affected three success metrics: 1) Number of comments as a percent of fan base; 2) Number of “likes” as a percent of fan base, and, 3) Engagement rate – which is a function of 1 and 2.
Today, let’s look at what the findings said about optimal post lengths, and times/days to post. And be sure to read to the end of this post for an important caveat about industry differences.
1. Keep posts to 80 characters or less (posts of <80 characters have 27% greater engagement rates).
2. When you post a link, use the full-length URL rather than a shortened one (full-length URL’s had 3x the engagement rate of shortened URL’s). Buddy Media hypothesizes that people use the cues that are in full-length URL’s and are more likely to engage if they know what the topic is, and it’s of interest. Man, is that counter-intuitive.
3. Consider posting outside of business hours. Posts in the pre-work morning hours, at the end of the business day and late at night had 20% higher engagement rates.
4. Concentrate posts at the end of the week – especially Thursday and Friday. Engagement rates on those days are 18% higher than other days of the week. Buddy Media suggests that the less people want to be at work, the more they engage on Facebook.
But… and here’s that caveat… Buddy Media also notes that not all industries are created equally. Retailers, for example, should think twice before posting on a Friday and consider Sundays instead.
Check back tomorrow for a post on what the research – and Beth – says about content that increases engagement.