You have a bunch of fans on your Facebook page.
You post something on the page … and then you wait for the likes, or a comment, or a share or best of all – clicks on the link.
But nothing happens. Hours pass. And then days. And everyone – except you – forgets about the post you shared on the page. No likes, no comments, no shares.. worse still: no reach.
Ever since the last Facebook algorithm update, “reach” has become so poor that even the best of Facebook fan pages have been hit hard. Imagine pages with just a couple of thousand likes.
It is not uncommon to see extremely poor – and pathetic – reach percentages. If your page has a thousand fans and you are able to reach a hundred of them with each of your posts, you should consider yourself lucky.
Which is why there’s such a clamor to post at the optimal time on Facebook.
Social media timing has become a scientific art. Not to mention the countless amount of research being done on this.
But a lot of it seems vain. Most research is being done just to create an infographic that grabs eyeballs.
In truth, there is no common “best time to post on Facebook” or any other social media for that matter. There is no general strategy that you can apply to your Facebook page and see similar results.
It all boils down to just one thing.
The best data is always your own. – Agorapulse.
If you want to find out the best time to post on your Facebook page to reach the maximum number of people and gain a ton of engagement, you have to analyze your Facebook page.
Thankfully, with Page Insights and a humble spreadsheet, this is very easy.
In this post, we’ll take a look at how you can:
- read your Facebook page metrics easily
- and figure out what time is best to get maximum reach
Here’s a disclaimer before we start: you don’t need to be anything like a data-nerd (not even remotely so) to do this.
Step 1: Let’s share a lot of things on Facebook first
You don’t need to follow this step if you have already posted a lot of things on your Facebook page and have been (somewhat) active through your page for at least a few months or a year.
But if not, follow this step for one week.
Why is this step important? This process will help you build enough data so that you’ve tested all time intervals in the day. Testing all time intervals is the only way to hone in on the most optimal ones.
What you’re going to do is share a lot of posts on your Facebook page – at different times of the day. We’re doing this because you want to test every time-interval so that your analysis is accurate.
Here’s what you have to do:
- Pick 10-12 posts (photos or links or videos etc.) that you want to share on your page
- Schedule them so that you share 1 post every two hours. (you can use Around.io to do this)
- Repeat the process for a week (or schedule a week’s worth of shares in advance)
At the end of the scheduling process, you’ll have scheduled 10×7=70 posts (or 12×7=84 posts: that’s a huge amount but worth every bit).
Step 2: Let’s grab the data from Facebook (cue: Oh Mighty Know-it-all Page Insights)
In Step 1, what you achieved was epic – you shared a post in a lot of time intervals (of two hours each). With this, you now have a lot of data to make really smart decisions from.
Now, let’s grab that data. Here’s how:
- Login to Facebook and go to your page.
- Click on Insights on top of the page
- Click on Export from the right
- Under Data type, pick Post data
- Set a date-range (for 1 week)
- Click on the Export data using the old template
- Click on the Export data button
Note: In our tests, we used the .csv file format (because in the .xls format, Facebook was not giving us the time of the post)
A spreadsheet file will be downloaded to your computer.
Step 3: Let’s find out what time works best!
Once you have the data, everything else is super easy. The file you just downloaded has all information about every post you shared on your page (this includes total reach and total engagement).
Here’s what we’re going to do: sort the sheet by total reach (highest to lowest) and figure out the best time to post for reach.
- Open the file you downloaded from Facebook. You’ll see something like this:
- Now, apply Data filter to the sheet (so that you can sort the column in the next step).
- Sort in Descending / reverse, Column I (Lifetime Post Total Reach). Like this:
- Now, pull out your pen and paper and note down the time (from Column G).
How many should you note down?
If you are going to be posting 10 things on Facebook every day, note down 10-15 time slots. Then you can use them.
Typically, 2-5 posts per day is a good number. If you post a lot more than that but people don’t like / comment (engage) with your post, Facebook will try to reduce your reach.
Go through the time-slots and you will have a clear idea of what the best time to post on your Facebook page is.
For instance, we figured out that our best times to post – and we got a lot of reach + engagement – was 8.30 AM, 11.30 AM, 01.00 PM (all in PST).
I dug a little deeper to try to find out time intervals and it turned out that 8-8.30am (PST) and 11.15-1.00pm (PST) were good time intervals to post during.
So as you can see, our optimal times fly in the face of general wisdom – which is why you should find out your own “best times” too.
Once you have figured out what times to post on your Facebook page, the next best thing to do is to find out what to post.
Here’s a handy guide to Facebook marketing that covers 7 different post-types you can share on Facebook – and a super-easy way to get content to share on Facebook.
If you did these things consistently, you should end up with a Facebook page that’s popular and has a lot of reach – all good things to get more traffic from your Facebook page to your online shop.
Don’t forget to share this with your other online-seller friends so they can find their best time to post on Facebook.