For most broadcasters Facebook is a black box of sorts. It’s something that requires participation and engagement in order to be successful. Yet, it can be hard, if not impossible at times, to know if the effort is on track. Below are three points to get you on your way to success, as well as how to measure it (we’ll dive deeper into measurement in another article).
Try googling “Facebook post frequency,” and you’ll get around 159,000,000 results. Clearly, there are a lot of conflicting opinions about frequency! Some claim that you can post too frequently and spam your audience. Some say you just need one or two posts per week.
Facebook themselves have said that the statistically optimal posting frequency is three to five posts per day. This has been corroborated by our own data.
However, that is a very general statement and is intended to be broadly useful. The truth is that it depends: it depends on your sector, it depends on your content, and it depends on your audience. This number is simply a place to start and anchor your activity.
Here’s a little data to consider before we move on. The most engaging NPR stations (with an Average Engagement Per Post of 60 and above) post an average of about 33 times per day. Other news media organizations post from 14 to 45 times per day, averaging 29. That’s an average of 198 posts per week!
Why the discrepancy between the optimal suggested frequency or three to five and what news media outlets do in practice? Well, as a news outlet (sector), the readers (audience) expects that you will be frequently posting articles (content), of which you have no shortage.
As for the idea that you can spam your audience by posting too frequently, you cannot. The premise of this argument is that all of your audience will see all of your content, all the time; or, that your audience is making it a habit to manually check your Facebook Page a few times a day. This is not the case.
To keep the explanation simple, Facebook’s algorithm shows each post to a random sample of your fans; and, if the post is well received, it goes out to more, and so on. The more someone engages (liking, commenting and sharing) with your content, the more Facebook assumes they want to see your content, and thus more is delivered. Also, no one actually checks your Facebook Page. They see your content in their News Feed.
This is an extremely simplified explanation but, simply put, don’t worry about spamming people with too many posts.
As a broadcasting organization, you should be posting great content, frequently, seven days a week. Yes, that’s a lot of content, but let’s consider the 198 posts per week in the average mentioned above. This is where curation comes in. Original and local content is very important, and yet there are news stories all around from reputable media sources, which are often passed by when they should be shared.
Facebook is a place for sharing stories. Full stop.
Not only does your news/media team not have the time to write that much original content, but your team might also not have the expertise in-house to write about this or that topic. Additionally, it is a great way to piggyback on another organization’s reach on Facebook; don’t forget to tag the original source like this: @NewsSource (@NPR for example).
Timing matters. Again, this is an area of gross generalization. The statistically optimal time to post is 3 p.m. The truth, again, is that it depends on your audience. The ActionSprout audience responds really well at 6 p.m. Other organizations have found that early morning works.
As a broadcasting organization, it is best to have a post scheduled every hour from early morning to early evening. To determine what’s right for you, you’ll have to look at your Page’s Facebook Insights.
Goals and Measuring Success
As a broadcasting organization, your goal should be engagement; fundraising (we have a tool to make fundraising quick and easy, but that’s another article) will be a byproduct of engagement. The metrics you should focus on are: Engagement Score, Average Engagement and People Engaged.