Our friends at Columbia River PUD in Deer Island, Oregon, asked a great question this month:
How often should a utility post on Facebook?
With more than 2 billion Facebook users, there’s a lot of content to wade through. In 2007 almost everyone who liked your page would see your posts. By 2016, organic reach—the number of people who see your posts for free—dropped to less than 2 percent, according to HubSpot.
Why is it so hard for people to see your content? Competition. 4 years ago, Facebook revealed the average person could see up to 1,500 posts each time they logged on to the social giant.
How can your message stand out? Let’s look at frequency studies and News Feed changes. Then we’ll give you three strategies for reaching your Facebook fans.
How Much is Too Much?
In 2016, Buffer created a handy guide for posting frequency on several social channels. They recommend posting no more than twice a day on Facebook, about 5-7 times a week. This was based on 2012 and 2011 research, and a lot has changed since then.
The size of your Facebook Page’s fan base plays a role in how often you should post. If you have more than 10,000 fans, Forbes reports the sweet spot for engagement is between 31 to 60 posts per month. Have fewer followers? Be picky about what you post. Your engagement drops by 50% per post if you post more than once a day. And if you want people to click on a post—not simply see it—aim for about 5 quality posts each month.
There is a lot of content out there, and how often you post is just one piece of the puzzle. That’s why understanding the News Feed algorithm—how Facebook decides which posts are seen first on the News Feed—matters.
News Feed Changes
A redesign of Facebook’s News Feed was announced in January. Over the next year, news from friends and family will be seen before Facebook Pages content.
Priority goes to content that sparks meaningful conversations and interactions, according to Facebook’s Head of News Feed, Adam Mosseri.
This video explains the shift:
News Feed weighs 4 main factors when deciding who sees a post:
- Who posted it
- When it was posted
- Type of content (text, image, link, video, live video)
- Interactions with the post (like, comment, or share)
- Person to person ranks higher than person to page.
- Longer replies rank higher than short responses or likes.
There’s a workaround if there is a Facebook Page you want to prioritize, or “See First,” in your feed. (We wrote a story on how to see news from a utility first for our social media program subscribers.)
What You Can Do
Despite these challenges, Facebook remains an important way to reach your consumers. Here are 3 ways to feed your News Feed:
Quality over Quality
Think carefully about the type of content you share. It’s not just about how much or how often you post—the quality of your posts matters. Buffer suggests sharing one or two worthwhile posts a day on Facebook. During an outage you can safely ignore this advice, although we recommend updating the original outage post instead of posting updates separately.
The metrics constantly shift, but for now videos are the best type of content you can share, especially if you’re streaming live.
When You Post Matters
In addition to creating content with value, consider when you post. If you post in the middle of the night, odds are most of your fans will never see your content. Think about when you use Facebook. Do you scroll the need while sipping coffee in the morning? Browse posts after lunch?
There’s no universal best time to post, but you can easily find out when your consumers are online. Use Facebook Insights. You’ll see the best day of the week and optimal times to reach consumers.
Pay to Promote Content
Budget for promoting your most important posts. Worried about breaking the bank? Don’t be. You could probably budget $20 a month and be set. For example, last month I spent $3 to make sure more people saw a post about our #MorePowerfulTogether content. I reached 20 people organically; another 129 people saw the post because of the promotion.
One caution: avoid simply boosting a post. Instead, use Facebook Ads Manager to make the most of your promotion.
The only certain thing about social media is that everything will change.
For example, Facebook’s testing a new section in the app called “Today In.” If you live in Olympia, Washington, or Billings, Montana, you’re in one of six test markets. Similar to the app’s Marketplace feature, “Today In” will focus on local news and events. As part of Facebook’s Journalism Project Initiative, this is mainly to help local media outlets. But since public power utilities focus on local needs and news, this might be a new way to reach consumers.
Want to stay on top of social media news? Here are some of our favorite sources:
Let us know what works for you!