So you’ve finally decided to upgrade your Facebook Profile for “Joe’s Coffee” to a proper Facebook Page for your business. You have posted a few updates and are starting to acquire fans. Now what? The best way to engage with fans is posting status updates, which appear on the page’s wall and in each fan’s news feed. The key to optimizing visibility within your fans’ Top News involves more than just posting status updates. The Top News is based on an algorithm and each fan’s feed is unique based on their number of friends and fan pages among several other factors. One component to optimizing your fan page’s visibility in fans’ Top News is the timing of your status updates. If you post updates at the wrong time it is likely that the update will be drowned out by other noise and may fall on deaf ears. To solve this issue we’ve compiled a list of 5 tips to determine the best time to post updates to your Facebook fan page (Hint: the answer is not “whenever you have time”)
1. Put yourself in their shoes
Think about Facebook usage from the perspective of your customer. If you’re targeting parents, chances are they are not going to login to Facebook in the morning when they are getting their kids ready for school, but they might check Facebook before their kids wake up or after they’ve gone to bed in the evening. White-collar workers stereotypically work from 9 am to 5 pm, but they may get sluggish around 3 pm and start browsing Facebook. As a local lunch spot you may want to post daily specials around 11 am when people start thinking about what they’re going to eat for lunch. If you are not a member of your target audience then talk to some people in your life who are to find out more about their routine.
Remember that Facebook has an international reach. You may be based in Los Angeles, but if most of your fans are in Beijing you should base your updates on their time zone. How do you figure out where your fans are? Well that’s where step two comes in….
2. Look at the Fan Page Insights
If you have more than 10,000 fans then you as administrator of the page will see the impressions and feedback for each post on the wall. If you’re not quite at 10,000 fans, then you can gauge individual posts’ success based on the number of likes and comments by just looking at the status updates on the wall tab. Insights will also tell you the total number of interactions for the day based on all the likes and comments to all of your posts for that day.
In addition to this, Facebook offers a slew of other information about your fans that can help you optimize timing, especially which days of the week in which your fans are more active. Facebook insights show you demographic and geographic information about your fans (keep in mind AOL is not a random city you’ve never heard of, but rather AOL does not release the IP addresses of its users). You can check daily page views to determine which days of the week get the most traffic. If you ran ads on certain days you may see a unique spike in traffic so it’s best to analyze page views figures over an extended period of time.
3. Check times of comments
Do updates you post in the evening receive more likes and comments than those you post in the morning? You should also check comments on older posts. If you posted an update in the afternoon on Tuesday, but you received a lot of fan comments the following morning you know that is when fans have time to check the page. While the Facebook insights don’t break down post interactions based on time of day, each post is time stamped so you can easily see what time of day your fans engage with you the most.
4. Look at other pages
If your page is new and you haven’t built up a large number of fans yet, do a Facebook search for pages similar to yours. Analyze what types of updates and what times of day they get the most engagement. Find businesses in your similar industry, but also those in other industries that are in your area. You can find a directory of all pages with the ability to search by name of category here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/
It is incredibly important to manually monitor and respond to fan updates and comments, but a limited number of automation can help you manage your Facebook presence especially if you are short on time and/or staff. This is especially helpful if your fans reside in a different time zone than yours so you don’t have to wake up at 3 am just to post an update. Hootsuite is a helpful software as a service platform where you can manage your online presence across platforms. They have integration with MySpace, Facebook profiles, Facebook pages, Twitter, LinkedIn, Ping.fm and WordPress. Hootsuite allows you not only to schedule updates, but also to check the statistics on all links shared over time. SocialOomph is another software as a service with similar offerings.
There are no hard and fast rules, so post various updates at various times and see what works best for you and your fans. Timing isn’t the only component to optimizing your fan page status updates, but an important one. Check back for more tips on how to maximize your brand’s visibility on Facebook.