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February 23 2010

How often should I post to my organization's Facebook page?

As we stumble headlong into the age of social media, certain hoary questions continue to rear their shaggy heads. Among these "oldies-but-goodies" is the timeless question: How often should I post to my organization's Facebook Fan Page?
How often should I post to my organization's Facebook page?

So tuning you out.

As we stumble headlong into the age of social media, certain hoary questions continue to rear their shaggy heads.  Among these "oldies-but-goodies" is the timeless question:

How often should I post to my organization's Facebook Fan Page?

It's the same question that we've been asked about:

  • email newsletters
  • blogs
  • Twitter feeds

... and pretty much every one-to-many online communications channel that's been invented.

Our rule of thumb

While there are no hard-and-fast rules, here's a rule of thumb that works for us:

We post 3-5 times per week.

Post too much (we are starting to see a little over-posting, are you?), and your audience will tune you out by hiding your posts in their news feed (unsubscribing) or removing themselves as a fan of your page. Post too little, and you are missing an opportunity to expand your network through reposts and sharing.

The caveats

Now, on to the caveats:

Your mileage can and will vary. Trust your instincts, and the feedback you get from your audience.  Even better, trust your data.  (You're measuring engagement, right?  If not, let's talk.)

Think about the context. What are you doing?  What kind of information are you offering?  What's the rhythm of your work?  Most importantly, what does your audience expect of you?

If you're the Red Cross offering updates on a breaking disaster, your audience probably needs, wants and expects more than 2-3 posts per week. If you're doing updates on issues in your state legislature, once or twice per week probably works, unless your audience is stacked with hardcore professional policy wonks.

Don't post more than once a day, unless it's a a campaign day. Then, try the following rough formula:

  1. Name the campaign in the morning: "Today is grow our fan base day", "Today is the day we need everyone to call Senator ___'s office in support of ________."
  2. Make three relevant posts with actions throughout the day: AM, noon, final.
  3. Resist the urge to post every hour with breaking news.  You've asked your fans to help. They know what to do.
  4. At the end of the day, announce the results: "500 new fans!" "100 calls on behalf of green jobs!"

Look for Trends

As a page administrator of your Facebook Fan Page, you can see the number of people who hide your posts on any given day, aka "unsubscribed fans".

To see unsubscribed fans:
Go to the Insights box located in the left-hand column of your Fan Page.
Click on See All.
Under the Pages tab, go to the bottom graph: All Fans of "Your Organization" and in the drop-down menu, click on Total Fans/Unsubscribed Fans.

All-Fans-FB-Graph

 


From All Fans of "Your Organization",  you can also choose the drop-down menu of New / Removed Fans which will tell you the number of people who have become a new fan of your page or stopped being a fan of your page.

And While We're on the subject

How often should you post to Twitter?

The "flow" nature of Twitter means that infrequent checkers will miss your stuff, and that's OK.  It also means Twitter can take more posts than Facebook -- one post a day on average, with peaks of 2-3 in a day.

How often should you email your list?

Send broadcast email at least once a month, and not more than once a week.

Hey Groundwire - Thanks for all of the social media advice! I just have to suggest that with twitter it's really use it or lose it. I've found that it's best to tweet frequently and actively engage your followers & those you are following. Tweeting once or twice a day doesn't always cut it, and you end up missing opportunities for dialogue.
Hey Lisa, Thanks! How are you using Twitter to actively engage your followers? What have you seen out there in the Twittersphere that you've liked?
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