Facebook Pages

When is the best time to post a Facebook Page status?

I’ve often wondered when the best time of day to post an official Facebook Page update was. To find out, I analyzed some of the top Canadian Facebook Pages and the posts they made during the month of November.

What did I do?

I took a look at official Facebook Pages for iTunes Canada, Starbucks Canada, Gatorade Canada, Smirnoff Canada, Bauer Hockey, Nike Training, Reebok Hockey, Best Buy and Doritos. This was a not-quite-random sample of some of the top Canadian Facebook Pages, as per this list published by Social Bakers.

I looked at every official update posted by the page during the month of November, and wrote down what time (Eastern Time) the post was made and how many Likes and Comments the post received. I then took an average of these responses per hour, and created the fun little graph below.

What didn’t I do?

I didn’t analyze the sentiment of the responses, nor did I compare the different types of posts made by the pages (photo, video, external link, etc). I also didn’t look at comments made by users on the wall and not as a response to an official update from the Page.

This study also didn’t take into account any other strategies these pages might have had. If the page was encouraging their users to upload photos, or engage with an application or contest in a separate tab, I didn’t measure that.

What did I find?

It appears that the best time to post a status update from an official page is either early in the work day (9-10am) or in the early evening. Though I don’t have any data on when people are checking Facebook the most, I suspect that they are checking when they wake up or get into work in the morning, and again when are leaving for the day or arriving home. While they might check during other times, these might be the best times for users to interact with their favourite brands.

However, the outlier post at 7:58am one day received 180 responses, far more than that brand’s average. It made me think that perhaps earlier posts like this have a way of breaking through the cluttered Facebook newsfeed.

At the end of the day, you should know your audience and what will resonate best with them. This includes both the types of posts (should they include photos or video? Should they be questions, or encourage action?) and the time of day to post them.

Analyzing and thinking about this data was time well spent, as I’m confident that looking so closely at what all these pages are doing, what has been working for them and what hasn’t been working will provide me with some insight into what I can do for my own clients. ( I’m also confident that this would have been way easier to do with a desk and dual monitors instead of small laptop screen and a notebook on a folding seat-back tray during a cross-country flight.)

Note: I’m not a trained statistician. There are probably all sorts of “standard deviation” and “relevant sample” size things I’m not taking into account here. If you’ve got a better way analyze or present this data I’m not stopping (you). -I purposely did not look at any Facebook pages that I am currently or have previously worked on. -As in the “What I didn’t do” section above, there are lots of factors I didn’t look at. These might have resulted in different conclusions.

What could I have done differently or better with this study? What do you think of the results?

I’ve certainly got some ideas for how this type research could be improved. If you’ve got some spare time on your hands (ahem, students going into break?) and want to help BlogCampaigning, shoot me an email: parker (at) blogcampaigning.com.


PS: Next up: an analysis of Facebook pages managed by PR agencies compared to those managed by ad agencies?

Advice For Anyone Who Wants to Start A Blog

A few days ago, a friend of mine mentioned that she had begun PR school and asked for advice about what to do for the blog she was obligated to do for one of her classes. If you're one of those die-hard BlogCampaigning fans, you probably already know my thoughts on adding another PR blog to the over-saturated sea of PR blogs.

Back then, my advice to my young friend would have been that she should start a blog about something she cares about.

Now, my advice would be that they avoid starting a blog altogether.

Instead, she should start a Facebook Page.

Right at the start, she can populate this Facebook Page with information about herself (or her project) and what the page is about.

Since I'm pretty sure students in these PR classes are encouraged to read each others' blogs, she can then ask her follow students to 'Like' the page (a much easier task than subscribing via RSS).

Instead of daily blog posts, she can write daily status updates for the page. Facebook's newish tagging ability makes it easier to link to other pages, and isn't really that different than the traditional HTML links you'd include in a blog post. These tags have the added ability of ensuring your post is visible on the page that you tagged, potentially increasing your audience. Interactions on these pages (Likes, Comments) will be spread across the social network of her and her friends, encouraging further interaction and becoming much more visible than if these same interactions were made on a blog.

If she does all this, she'll have the framework for a 'blog' that has the potential to be more popular than any of her classmates. She'll also learn a lot about an increasingly relevant tool in the communicators' kit.

She'll still have to ensure her posts are interesting, resonate with her audience and encourage interaction. A supporting website with basic contact information and direction to 'Like' the Facebook page couldn't hurt, either.

What do you think? Is this good advice for a PR/communications student? If you're a teacher, would you give a passing grade to a student who did this instead of starting a traditional blog?