A new research project by social media analytics and software company Buddy Media analyzing brand interactions for Facebook’s Timeline for Pages reveals that the interactions between fans and brands have changed over the months. Previous research done on Facebook posts is no longer relevant in an age where Timeline is used for all Pages. This new research data makes it possible (and necessary) for musicians and brands to employ new strategies for optimal posting times, content and calls-to-action.
Optimal Posting Times
The new research indicates that the interaction rate for weekend posts are actually 14.5% higher than weekday posts. This is contrary to many brand practices, as brands tend to post items only on weekdays. In addition, Mondays and Tuesdays are good days to post, but Wednesdays tend to see 7.4% fewer interactions. The study also found that entertainment industry pages receive more interactions on the weekends. On average, entertainment pages receive 17% more interactions on Saturdays.
Entertainment Pages rule Facebook interactions on weekdays as well; interactions for entertainment pages are 20% higher than interactions for other pages on weekdays. As for the optimal time of day to post, the research shows that posts during the “non-busy” hours of 8PM to 7AM receive 14% more interactions than items posted during the “busy hours” between 8 AM and 7 PM. This runs contrary to previous data that suggested optimal posting times were during the day. It's important to note that brands that post 1-2 times a day, but not more that 7 times per week, receive the most interactions. Posting excessively bombards fans with too many messages, and Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm often penalizes brands that over-post with lower EdgeRank ratings.
Posts with 80 characters or fewer were found to receive 23% higher interactions than posts with more than 80 characters. Photos are still the most successful types of posts, as posts that contain photos receive 39% higher interactions. Links and videos drive the fewest interactions. In terms of sharing links, the study found that long URLs perform better than shortened URLs. URLs that indicate the link’s final destination yield the most likes, comments, and shares.
In addition to these more general content analyses, two specific content strategies stand out in maximizing post interactions. Posts that ask fans to “caption” a photo receive five times higher comment rates and increase interactions by over 100%. Furthermore, posts that ask fans to “fill in the blank” get four times higher comment rates. Driving comment and interaction rates will improve your brand’s EdgeRank score, which will ensure that more fans of your brand will see your posts.
The most effective calls-to-action are the simplest ones that require the least amount of effort for fans. Simple “caption this”, “yes or no”, and posts that simply ask for a like or a share get the most interactions. More involved calls-to-action, such as those that ask a fan to submit something, buy something, or click on a link tend to underperform.
Asking fans to perform the desired interaction is surprisingly effective. For example, when asked to “Like” a post, fans are three times more likely to actually click “Like”. Asking fans to comment produces a 3.3 times higher comment rate. Most remarkably, asking fans to share a post yields a 7x higher share rate. When running a promotion, using keywords like “giveaway” and “win” get better interaction results than using sales words like “free” “offer” or “exclusive”. Posts that include the words “clearance”, “% off”, or “$ off” get the worst results.
The research presented can only give marketers a soft guideline for optimizing their Facebook marketing efforts. Every fan base is different, and analyzing your Facebook Insights will help you determine what strategies are working for your audience. A dedicated marketing team can tailor the best social media strategy to fit the needs of an artist’s individual fan base.