Facebook Content and Timing: Best Practices

Last week I wrote about the best times to tweet on Twitter. I thought I’d follow up with what the research says about Facebook.

When to post

Facebook sharing by hour of day

More sharing occurs on Facebook at 9:00am ET than at any other time of day.

According to research by social media scientist Dan Zarrella, more far more Facebook posts get shared on Saturdays and Sundays than on other day of the week, and at 9am and 7pm (U.S. Eastern Time). The next-most-popular sharing times amount to breakfast-time, lunchtime, and bedtime. These would be the best times to post to Facebook, then, if you wanted your fans to share your posts with their friends.

How to post

Dan Zarrella’s linguistic analysis has also found patterns in the kind of language that gets shared on Facebook:

  • Simple language, because the lower the reading level, the more often a post gets shared.
  • Nouns and verbs, rather than adverbs and adjectives.
  • Digits significantly increases its odds of being shared on Facebook.

He has even determined the most shared words and least shared words in Facebook posts.

What to post

But Facebook isn’t all about words. Research by Vitrue shows that posts with images are far more engaging than posts with either text or (surprisingly) video:

  • 54% more than text posts
  • 22% more than video posts

How to encourage sharing

Facebook says people who “Like” content–so-called “Likers”– click on 5.3 times more links to external sites than other Facebook members do and have 2.4 times the number of friends (as if we needed more incentive to appeal to these folks). To encourage Facebook “Likers” to share your site content, Facebook advises:

  1. Use the Like button on your site to make it easy for visitors to share your content with their friends. If you optimize it by including profile pictures, you can improve click-through rates 3-5 times.
  2. Use the Activity Feed or Recommendations plugins. Highlighting most popular content on your site leads people to view more articles. Those who click on the Activity Feed plugin in particular generate 4 times as many page views as the average media site viewer. Place it above the fold on your home page and at the bottom of each article for maximum engagement

Do these statistics match with your results?