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Timing Your Facebook Posts to Reach the Maximum Number of People

The lifespan of a Facebook post can vary from as short as 10 minutes to as long as 10 hours and the one of the keys to getting the greatest time for your posts in the News Feed’s top stories is to post them at the right time for your target demographic. There are a few times of day when the big brands target their audiences on Facebook to reach the maximum possible customers with their posts and by employing this strategy for your own business posts, you can do a lot to reach more people and give your posts a longer shelf life on the site.

How a Facebook Post Lifespan is Determined
When a post is made on Facebook the site examines its content and origins to assign a score to it. This is called its EdgeRank rating. A high EdgeRank rating ensures that the post remains at the top of the News Feed and it slowly slips down the list as its EdgeRank rating deteriorates. This rating is determined by a simple algorithm that takes into account three properties that every post has; the affinity that the person posting it has with the targeted News Feed, the weight of the post’s content such as any images, links or text that it contains, and the time decay that measures the age of the post on the site.

In order to maximize the lifespan of a post it is important to consider how its content will affect its EdgeRank rating and whether it will attract a lot of ‘likes’ or better, comments. The interaction that other Facebook users have with the post not only give it weight but also slow the time decay that it incurs as every comment refreshes the post on the site to a certain degree. Obviously, to attract the greatest amount of interaction with posts, it is important to make them when the largest portion of your target demographic is actually using the site. Large brands have identified 7am, 5pm and 11pm1 as peak times for making their posts to reach the largest audience and to give their posts the longest lifespan in the News Feed possible.

Targeting the Right Time to Post for Your Audience
Not all industries have the same peak viewing times on Facebook, and for example, the entertainment industry would be best to make posts on the weekends whereas business and finance has a peak on Thursdays and Fridays. To determine when your target audience is online in sufficient numbers to give your posts their maximum exposure it is really just a case of experimenting with different days and times to see which ones work for you. Another way of determining when it may be good to make posts to reach the most fans in your niche is to watch when your competitors are making their posts as many companies spend a lot of money to research these details to make their marketing as effective as possible. When you have successfully found the right post time for your niche market then the next goal is to give each post the longest possible lifespan in the News Feed and this is done by manipulating the content to return a consistently high EdgeRank rating.

Maximizing Your Post’s Exposure Using EdgeRank
Facebook’s EdgeRank rating system for posts considers the content of the post and the strength of the connection with the News Feed of the reader to decide where to place it on the page. Building good relationships with your Facebook fans will go a long way to maximizing the affinity of the posts that are made on your page but encouraging interaction like calling for comments or collecting ‘likes’ will also decrease the time decay and keep the post active for longer. This, in turn, will make the time window for making posts wider at the same time.

The other important factor to consider is the actual content of the posts that you make as more dynamic elements like videos and images will generate a better EdgeRank than simple text or even links. This means that posts that have a high ranking element such as a video and accompanying text that solicits likes, shares, or comments will make the best posts for longevity in the News Feeds of your business’ fans.

Using a Flexible Strategy for Timing Your Facebook Posts for Best Results
As there are no hard and fast rules about when any particular business should make posts on Facebook to get the best results and the most workable strategy is to develop a flexible approach to the timing of the posts and the content that you put into them. A practical way to begin is to think about when your target demographic is most likely to be online so, for instance, if you are trying to reach young moms, then posting at 7am is unlikely to catch them as efficiently as a 10am posting might.

Once you have settled on a few times in the day when it is preferable to make the posts, examine what sort of content you put into them to find out what works best at different times of day. It may be that early in the day people in your target audience spend less time on Facebook than they do in the evenings and so posting a video will maintain a higher EdgeRank rating it is put online at 7pm rather than at 7am when an image may get more quick interactions that contribute to its lifespan in the News Feed. Experimenting with making different posts that have alternate kinds of content at the best posting times for your business will help you to determine what to post and when to post it to get the most out of your Facebook marketing efforts.

References:
1. http://blog.involver.com/2011/10/07/social-media-marketing-tips-to-increase-user-engagement/


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