When is the best time to post on Facebook? This has been the biggest, most on-fire question for social media marketers since the unveiling of Facebook Pages for businesses. While there have been several studies, statistics, and general speculation about the topic, no one has ever really cracked the secret answer. Until now.
The Wisemetrics Study
A recent study from Wisemetrics may just be what Facebook marketers need to quell their frustration with low engagement results. The study specifically looked at the lifespan of the average Facebook post (which, by the way, isn’t a new concept for social media marketing studies), but what Wisemetrics did differently in their study was to compare post reach with the other two qualitative metrics on posts: engagement (likes, shares, and comments) and impressions (clicks).
What you’re seeing is correct—in just 30 minutes, your Facebook post has already reached 50% of its total audience. In just two hours, your post will have reached 75% of that same audience. For engagement, it takes a mere hour and a half to get to 50% of total engagement, and just four and a half hours to reach 75% of its total potential based on the time it was posted.
So what does this mean?
Timing is Everything
It’s like the title of this blog says—the best time to post on Facebook is a small window. Wisemetrics’ graph shows that your Page only has roughly 30 minutes of wiggle room when it comes to getting the most out of a post’s reach, engagement, and impressions. If you’ve ever posted something you thought might go viral (or at least get decent engagement with your fans) that didn’t, this data could be the reason why.
In order to get the most out of your efforts in building up your Facebook community in order to drive engagement, you’ll need to get smarter about timing your posts for maximum exposure.
Making Facebook Insights Work for You
If you’ve explored the new Facebook Insights, which were rolled out publicly to Pages at the end of July, you’ve probably noticed all the new metrics your page is now collecting.
One of the most important metrics you can look at when deciding the best times to post on your Facebook brand page is when your fans are online. Navigating over to the Posts tab, then the middle section, “When Your Fans Are Online,” will show you a lovely line graph averaging your fans’ Facebook activity by hour for the last week. You can even get as specific as the day of the week by hovering over the corresponding bar tabs above the graph.
The importance of this graph is in the data it provides you. You are now able to see, comprehensively, when your fans are more active on Facebook (by logging in or navigating to their News Feeds). You can therefore time your posts within minutes of peak activity for your page, netting you more post views, likes, and engagement.
However, a warning: Facebook Insights are not predictive tools—they can only show you what has happened in the past, and even then, only an average. This means that it’s up to you, as the social media manager, to apply what you discover here to what you already know of your fans’ behaviors. If your current strategy gets you the engagement and participation you’re looking for, then keep up the good work, despite what your Insights might say.
I know I didn’t give a straight answer to the big, burning question, “When is the best time to post on Facebook?” Really, the answer isn’t one that a single person can give—it’s up to each manager to determine the right method for their unique Page.
My advice is to use the tools you have in conjunction with your best sense about your community to experiment with post times. You might be surprised to find what times actually work!