How often to post on Facebook?
Stephanie Ferguson, Social Media Specialist, The Idea Tree Consulting
January 23, 2014
For non-profits and NGOs, how often to post on Facebook is a common question. New Facebook users may be tempted to post as often as they can, and others might make the mistake of underutilizing their account. Both of these approaches are not optimal and don’t allow you to make the most of your social media efforts.
First let’s look at what the “optimal” level of posting is like based on studies that have asked this question. A look at 2,600 of the most liked Facebook pages and how many posts they posted per day showed that the best liked pages posted less than once per day, or 4-6 posts per week.[i] Another study by Socialbakers suggested 5-10 posts is a good number for typical brands.[ii] MobilisationLab looked at top performing NGOS and found they posted an average of 7 posts per week, or one per day.[iii] An experiment by Nonprofit Organizations’ Facebook page tried several different levels of posting frequency to get the optimum number of likes while minimizing unlikes, and settled on 4-6 posts per week.[iv] Another survey by Darren Barefoot of Capulet Communications looked at 20 NGOs on Facebook, with an average 450,000 likes, and none fewer than 40,000. He found that 19 of the 20 organizations posted an average of 5.7 times a week, or roughly once every weekday and once on the weekend.[v]
It would appear that somewhere between 5-10 posts a week is the sweet spot or 1-2 times a day. If in doubt, always go with the rule, quality over quantity. Every page is different and you may find that fewer posts or more posts than the average suits you and your audience.
So what happens when you post more than that “optimal number”? Posting too many posts per week can tend to lower the engagement rate for each post. According to the analysis involving the top 2,600 Facebook pages, after one post per day, especially more than 3 per day, engagement rates for posts begin to fall.[vi]
Posting too often could also earn you unlikes. In a survey of 1000 social media users, by Lab42, one of the questions asked as why people unlike Facebook pages, and the number one reason was posting too frequently.[vii] So it’s worth it to try and find the best number of posts per week for your page, lest you lose those hard-earned likes.
If you are choosing to post 3 or more times a day, follow two guidelines. One, be sure you’re posting interesting, original, shareable content as much as possible. Two, schedule your posts for different times throughout the day. It’s a shame to see a great social media account with 3 or 4 good posts, but all one right after the other in your newsfeed: it’s unquestionably annoying.
On the other side of the coin, not posting enough means you’re not getting anything out of your social media presence. Have you ever found an organization you’re interested in, go to their Facebook page or another social media account, and found out their last update was a month ago? It doesn’t give a very good impression. If you treat a social media account as if it were a website or an email list which you only update or mail out to once a month or every other week, you’re missing the point of it. Social media is up-to-date, fast, it’s a network through which the latest information spreads. It’s an opportunity to keep supporters involved, informed and inspired on a regular basis.
If your networks, especially your Facebook page is underutilized, create a volunteer role to manage it. These roles are very popular and give volunteers a meaningful communications job to do for the organization. Be sure to outline a brief social media strategy to figure out what kind of content you will create, what kind of content you’ll share from other sources, and how often you will do so, going for something reasonable to start out with, anywhere from 3-5 posts per week and build from there. Keep in mind that The Idea Tree offers social media strategy consulting, as well as social media training for new volunteers and staff which can be done in person or via Skype.