Small Business Tip Tuesday: How Often Should I Update My Facebook Business Page?

by Ken Mueller on July 12, 2011 · 22 comments

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One of the most frequent questions I get from small business owners relates to how often they should post updates on their Facebook business page. Additionally, I get frustrated when I go to a business page and see very infrequent updates, with gaps of sometimes days or weeks.

So, how much is too much? or too little. How often should you be posting on your business page?

First off, there is no formula, no “one size fits all” answer. There are a number of factors that might determine the frequency of your posts. The one thing that I always tell businesses is:

You are only as good as your last post.

When people log in to Facebook, the first thing they see is their news feed. Most people don’t spend a lot of time scrolling down to check out everything that’s happened since their last log-in. If you aren’t in someone’s news feed when they log in, chances are they won’t see you. If they don’t see you, you don’t exist. Plain and simple.

Having said that, you need to find the right balance for you in terms of posting frequency. Here are a few basic guidelines I think will work for most businesses, while keeping in mind that every situation is unique:

1. Post at least one update a day – With at least one update a day, there’s a good chance that a number of your fans will see you on a given day. One update a day will almost never be seen as “too much” by any of your fans.

2. Two or three updates is better – A few updates spaced throughout the day will give you a greater chance of being seen. Vary the content and you might see an increase in impressions and engagement. Often when I tell businesses to make the jump from one to three posts a day, I hear “So you mean I need to hire a full-time Social Media person?”. Not at all. An update can be very simple and take only 10 to 30 seconds to create. You can create a few meaningful updates in fewer than ten minutes a day.

3. Vary your posting times – Don’t necessarily post at the same time every day. If you mix up your times you have less of a chance of being seen as spammy, and you’ll have a better chance of being seen by more people based on their Facebook using habits.

4. Some posts might require consistency – One exception to the above guideline is if you have a particular feature that should be posted at the same time every day. One of my clients, Isaac’s Famous Grilled Sandwiches, is a regional chain of 20 restaurants. Each day, each of their stores is inundated with phone calls asking about their soup of the day. Many people make their dining decisions based on what that soup of the day is, so as a result, Isaac’s posts their soup of the day on Facebook each morning, as a way of notifying their customers, and these daily posts not only perform well in terms of impressions, but they also do well in terms of engagement, or what Facebook refers to as “feedback”. It’s a post that makes fans actually seek out the fan page each day.

isaacs soup Small Business Tip Tuesday: How Often Should I Update My Facebook Business Page?

5. Vary your content – Status updates can be statements, questions, photos, videos, notes, events, links to interesting articles…pretty much anything. If you have a blog, link your blog to Facebook to post automatically via the free Networked Blogs app. Questions are great because they spur on engagement; some people feel compelled to answer. People also love photos and videos, especially if you have the ability to tag them. Also, remember that not all of your post content should be about you. Generic statements and random questions about current events or local events will also work.

6. Know your audience – You need a good understanding of those who are in your audience on your business page. Who are they? What are the demographics? How many people like your page? One of the reasons this is important is that different types of people have different tolerance levels for frequent posting. In particular, if your fan base is made up of an older demographic, remember that those in that category tend to have fewer Facebook friends, so if you post frequently, they are more likely to see all of them, and will have a lower tolerance for what they see as spam. The older demographics also tend to be newer to computers and Facebook, and therefore might be less tech savvy, and more easily overwhelmed.

7. Check your analytics – Not only will your analytics give you the aforementioned demographic info, but you should frequently take a look at how many people are unsubscribing (hiding) from your updates, and how many are unliking your page. If you see any spikes in either of those, try to figure out what you may have done to cause that. Did you post too much or too often? I have one client who noticed a spike of unlikes on one particular day, and it seemed to correlate with having posted a few updates in a fairly short period of time. They have been more careful since that time, and haven’t seen any more spikes of people leaving. Also, look for the types of posts that get the most feedback or the least feedback and use that information as a guide for future postings.

Those are a few guidelines, but to provide a simple answer to the question asked in the title of this post in a quick and concise way, I’d say:

Post at least once a day, but two or three posts throughout the day might be better.

What have you found that works for you in your specific situation? Have you found that there is such a thing as too many or too few updates?

 Small Business Tip Tuesday: How Often Should I Update My Facebook Business Page?
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19 comments
donnatalarico
donnatalarico

AMEN. I've been preaching this for as long as I can remember. :) Right on the money. Your post today validates that I know what I am talking about, Ken. I wish so much that clients of ecommerce and marketing firms trust the judgement of experts in the field. Social media is so much a response to our 24/7 society --- things get stagnant quicker than ever. Regular updates matter. They do. Thanks for this post! I will share this right... now!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

There was a survey a couple of weeks ago (I think it was on AllFacebook) that showed less than a third of your fans saw any of your updates. They suggested updating seven to eight times a day. I know we all think we're being repetitive, but if you saw @KDillabough blog post yesterday, you'll know we have to see a message 20 (!!) times before we do anything.

VincentLowe
VincentLowe

This is very much the Right Stuff. Not only is this advice sound to the very last drop -- the presentation of this article is attractive and inviting. Complete enchantment here. If I needed a social media expert to consult or join my staff, Ken would look like a very good choice.

Come to think of it, what are you doing next week, Ken?

Disclaimer: I have no prior knowledge of this author or his work. The fact that he's my brother does not color my perception here.

(Just kidding about the brother thing. But I'm dead serious about the rest.)

pcNielsen
pcNielsen

Anymore Facebook is erratic at best when importing RSS feeds.

sharonmostyn
sharonmostyn

Great article, Ken! I especially love that you included analytics since so many times people forget that analytics is the best way to tell how people are interacting with your company. Facebook analytics help, but don't forget to tag links back to your website so you can track the interactions there as well.

Sharon Mostyn

http://sharonmostyn.com

@sharonmostyn

VincentLowe
VincentLowe

@ginidietrich @KDillabough I'm actually not willing to overflow the stream with my messaging just to account for Facebook's quirk of not showing things to my audience the way I intend. It doesn't work for me to risk my audience' good will by posting 7 to 8 times a day.

Ironically, I was moved to rant today about this as one of the differentiators between FB and Google Plus. (http://techwhine.blogspot.com/2011/07/what-matters-in-social-media-fabric.html) It didn't vex me greatly in the past, but now that I see a way out of the trap, I find it intolerable that Facebook's algorithm is opaque and apparently not adaptive.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@ginidietrich @KDillabough I saw that study, and I saw that post. It's a fine line that we need to watch, and your analytics (fans unliking you) will be a big guide. But, I have to admit, you had to request me as a friend 20 times on Facebook before I finally said yes...

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@VincentLowe Thanks, Vincent. I've got some time free just for you next week. How much are you willing to pay me?

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@pcNielsen I haven't had any problems with that, but I suspect it has more to do with which app you are using, than Facebook itself. I use Networked Blogs which has only had a few hiccups over the years. Generally pretty stable and consistent. Which app do you use?

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@sharonmostyn Good point, Sharon. In all that we do with Social Media, one of the goals should be to drive traffic to our website. When I look at my site analytics, Facebook is one of the top referral sources for traffic, both from my page as well as from people sharing my blogs on Facebook.

Etto777
Etto777

Actually, it's not really a quirk with Facebook that things don't get to your audience the way you intend (or even get seen at all)...consider this...

Your audience has their own group of friends (or even audience). Some of your page's likers may have only 10 friends of their own - some, 300 friends.

So depending on each person's own level of friendship on FB,

your business page will basically be in competition with the volume of other postings your liker is bound to receive (me personally, I have friends that literally post 10-14 times a day - their every thought and daily experience it seems :)

Just thought I'd offer that perspective as something to bear in mind.

KDillabough
KDillabough

@KenMueller @ginidietrich Despite my 1885 post, it's hard to imagine that it takes 20+ repetitions for something to sink in, or prompt action...but Ken, you certainly proved that point with your FB comment above.

I try to do the once daily posting on my biz FB page, and up to 3 per day. Your post is interesting, Ken, because I'd read somewhere (heaven only knows where and when) that posting too frequently is "annoying" to FB readers. You, Ken, seem to have hit a solid presence and frequency on FB, as that's where I often launch from, to your site.

Thanks for the tip of the hat to my blog post yesterday, @ginidietrich . Cheers! Kaarina

pcNielsen
pcNielsen

@KenMueller Have always just used Facebook Notes. I think I tried Networked Blogs at some point but didn't get into it for whatever reason. Notes seems to only check a site once every month anymore and then imports en masse. Worked fine for a few years before Facebook became somewhat schizophrenic, making significant modifications to the site so often.

KDillabough
KDillabough

@KenMueller @ginidietrich Great point! And as you said, there's no "one size fits all" answer, and it's a bit of an art and a science: an alchemist's task:) Cheers! Kaarina

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@KDillabough @ginidietrich Again, the frequency really comes down to what your audience will tolerate. Those older demographics, who usually have fewer friends, have a less active newsfeed. Most likely their friends are older as well, and don't update very frequently. Therefore if they see 3 posts from you in their feed, even if it is from 2 different days, they will think "spam".

I taught an intro to Facebook class last night, and all of the participants were in their 50s and up. They understood this. Plus, since that demographic seems to be less tech savvy, they get overwhelmed a bit more easily.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@pcNielsen yeah, im not sure about people blocking it. You can, but you can also block individual blogs. Nothing you can do about it. It's the nature of every social network.

pcNielsen
pcNielsen

@KenMueller My wife is telling me as we sit here with our morning coffee that people are blocking the Networked Blogs app in their FB news feeds now, at least in her circles (knitting and book blogging). Apparently people's feeds are being overrun with NB content.

All in all I don't get much time to blog anymore anyway. If I was still able to create four or five posts a week I'd be more worried about Facebook Note's deficiency. Went from hardly any work the past two years to 50 hour weeks this year, so I'm lucky to find the time and inspiration to write four posts a month at this point in time — not too mention after eight hours in front of the office compy I have no desire to sit in front of my laptop in the evenings for an extended period of time.

If it isn't obvious, though, I do miss the ability to post to my blog.

End rant.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@pcNielsen ah, I generally steer people away from Facebook Notes. It doesn't have the profile and sharability that Networked Blogs does, NB checks as early and as often as you like, and also allows you to build up a base of subscribers right there on NB/FB. I have an additional 200+ subscribers who get my blog that way, above and beyond my regular email and RSS subscribers. I'd give it another chance if I were you.

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  1. [...] Small Business Tip Tuesday: How Often Should I Update My Facebook Business Page? – More great ideas to help you foster better communication with your FB fans [...]

  2. [...] if we feel we are in the right, they will leave us. So it becomes an issue of being vigilant and watching how often we post and the types of messages we [...]

  3. [...] Media, in their tips on how small businesses can use Facebook effectively, recommends that they post at least once daily, and two or three daily posts is even [...]

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