If you have a business page then you may know the struggles of taking the time to make a great post, only to find that it doesn’t get the response that you’d like. It can be frustrating to work on something you just know will get interactions, only to have it fall flat. Good news! It might not be your content but rather, when you’re posting it. In this article, I’ll be talking about some basic answers to questions you may have to help you understand the things that will influence how many people can see the posts you make as well as how to find the best times to make posts for your business page. Some of the algorithms I talk about also apply to your personal pages, which may be useful if you share things of interest about your business.
How long is a post active?
The first thing you should know is that the average organic lifespan for a Facebook post is about two hours after publishing. (Organic meaning no ads or boosts have been added to this post.) It really begins to hit people’s feeds about 15 minutes after you post, going to those who interact with you most often first, and if you haven’t had enough interaction after about 1 hour 45 minutes, it begins to leave your audiences news feeds. This means that post you made at 3 a.m. isn’t going to get the attention it deserves, no matter how amazing it is. The question I’m often asked at this point is how a person can be certain to get online and create a post at the right time. The great thing is, unless you are posting an event or a small portion of other types of content that is shared from another place, you have the option to schedule your posts. On phones the option is after the question of how would you like to post this. It should say “Publish” at first but you want it to say “Schedule” and while each phone is a little different, the option is usually placed in the “Publish Now” area. The option is always open for computer users in a drop down menu.
What if I’m sharing content that will not allow scheduling, such as some event pages?
If this is the case then you still have options, it just gets a little more involved:
Option one – Leave Facebook open while you sleep and publish it when you wake up.
Option two – Ask a friend to make comments you can reply to at a certain time the next day to boost the post a little. Comments make posts active no matter when it was published and no matter the type of comments they are. The more comments, the longer your post will get into feeds. Get enough comments and it will push its way into people’s news stories that don’t follow you closely but do like your page. This also works in your personal profile posts.
Option three – If it isn’t absolutely time sensitive to get it out in the next 12 hours, hold off until you can publish it at a better time.
So… How do I find the best times to post?
There is a best time to post but there is no one time that works for everyone. Every page is different and reaches a different audience. One thing to consider is the Facebook habits of people in your target audience – people who attend live shows are probably busy after 6 p.m. on a weekend night, teens are not usually on their phones during school hours, people who work during the week often check their phone at lunchtime or after. One thing that can easily help you find your best post time is to get on your computer and check out your back office Insights section. Unfortunately, many Insights features are unavailable for the phone app so computers might be the way to go from time to time to get the information from this section that you will need to help you engage your audience and grow.
On the Insights page you’re going to find a bunch of stuff but the thing we’re concentrating on in this article is on the left labeled “Posts”. Click on that and at the very top you should see a chart labeled “When Your Fans Are Online” (top left of image). Run your mouse over that chart without clicking and the numbers will change along with the times. This is your simple posting guide – the time a general amount of people who have liked your page are online during the week. The bars at the top show when people are online the most per day. Hover over the day of the week and you’ll see a black chart overlay for that day to give you a better idea of when your audience was available to you the previous week. Take a moment each week to look this over and you’ll see a pattern for your audience to guide you on when to post.
If your page has been a little less active or you’ve been putting out posts at times that haven’t been reaching your audience, you’re going to be trying to gain your audience back first. Posting engaging content (we’ll go over that in another article) will build reactions from those who have been active with your page and that interest will begin putting future posts into the feeds of others who have liked your page. After you have started to see an increase you should be trying to tailor it to the specific times that work for you. One tip is to try posting at the top of the audience curve first for a week and then start moving it around slightly. You might find there are better times to post for likes and another time is best for shares. It only takes a little time each week to begin understanding your audience and start posting content at times that will help increase traffic and response on your page.
A final thought – While some people use auto posting sites such as Hootsuite, Facebook has changed a bit and gives less attention to auto shared content. It isn’t put into feeds like organically published posts and sometimes gets skipped over entirely as even having been posted, no matter what times it uses. Finding a way to post your content yourself is the best way to go.