I was recently working on a social media strategy for a client and decided to refresh my knowledge with some research about the ideal number of posts per day on various platforms. The information I found about Facebook seemed a bit off. Most analyses focus on how to optimize the number of engagements per post. But is this the right metric? Do you think it’s the right one for you?
Individual post engagement is interesting, for sure (especially when comparing posts with each other), but for most pages it misses the ultimate function of social media: to drive some kind of outcome, like brand exposure, link clicks, or app downloads. This article will show why the number of engagements over time – across all posts – is a better metric to use for companies that are using social media to drive traffic, and how more posts is probably better.
HubSpot is a great source for digital marketing advice, but I think they’re getting Facebook frequency wrong. This HubSpot blog post offers “insights on how post frequency affects clickthrough rate” and relies on this graph:
It does a good job showing that pages with less than 10,000 followers have higher engagement per post with fewer posts per month. But if you optimize for engagement per post, HubSpot’s analysis would suggest that you’re best off with only 1-5 posts per month, which few marketers would recommend. Louise Myers’ blog cites the HubSpot article but then suggests 30-60 posts per month, not 1-5, because while 1-5 posts per month might maximize engagements per post, it’s clearly not enough to maintain a consistent digital relationship with your audience and drive traffic to your website, physical location, or app.
If a Facebook page’s primary goal is to engage an audience and/or drive traffic, shouldn’t we assess total engagements over time, not just engagements per post?
Let’s look at this using HubSpot’s data but a different analysis I created:
Instead of clicks per post, this analysis looks at clicks per month combined across all posts in that month. I’ll explain using the 1001-10,000 follower group (green) and the 16-30 post-per-month category. I took the median posts per month for this category, 23, and multiplied it by the group’s “indexed clicks per post”, which is 80. That means that the average page with 1000-10,000 followers posting 23 times per month would get 1,840 clicks per month total. Isn’t this a better measure of how much value the Facebook page creates?
When you look at this engagement-per-month metric across all page sizes and post frequencies, you see that as post frequency goes up, clicks per month go up.
You may ask: what about the cost of over-communicating and losing followers? It’s baked into this analysis. The Facebook pages that HubSpot monitored that had lots of posts per month probably lost some followers, but they still saw more clicks per month.
This probably means that higher frequency winnows down your audience a little by driving away people who are annoyed by the content, but since the remaining people are more interested in the page’s content, they engage more, which drives up overall visibility on the platform, which increases the number of new people reached, some of whom will remain active members of your audience.
Fans of frequent posters are true fans.
It’s the lesson we learned from Roger Ailes and Fox News (and then Netflix and the internet generally): don’t try to serve everyone; delight a segment.
So if you’re a Facebook page manager, try posting more frequently (as long as you can still maintain quality content), and see how it affects total engagements per month across all your posts.
P.S. Here are some questions for further consideration:
- How does post frequency affect the number of people who click per month (in other words, adjust for people who click frequently)?
- How does it affect the total reach of the page?
- Pages with more than 10,000 followers have the strongest connection between frequency and engagement. Is this because they have the largest budgets to pay expert social media marketers? This gets at the factor that correlation between frequency and engagement does not necessarily mean causation, though it’s a strong indicator. It would be especially interesting to look at pages that have changed their own post frequency and see if their total engagement changes (as opposed to comparing pages with each other).
P.P.S. Since we’re talking about Facebook marketing, start a group for your brand! Look out for a forthcoming post about why this is an important tactic 🙂