How to Determine the Best Times to Post on Your Facebook Page

Do you know the best time to post on your Facebook page? I’m not talking about the recommended best times, or the times when most of your followers are online, but the times to post that garner the most reach and engagement on your posts.

ShortStackTimesOfDayWrittenDown650Do you know the best time to post on your Facebook page? I’m not talking about the recommended best times, or the times when most of your followers are online, but the times to post that garner the most reach and engagement on your posts.

I’ll admit that for a bit too long, I ignored our page’s insights. They’re confusing, hard-to-follow and time-consuming. I keep up on social media best practices, so I figured that I knew the best times to post based on everyone else’s studies.

One day, that strategy stopped working. I was posting roughly three to five times per day (the general recommended amount), and I was posting at peak times when our audience was online, and one time in off hours, since we have an international audience.

Then, all of a sudden, Facebook’s algorithm hit our Facebook reach. Hard. Our posts went from being seen by 2,000 to 3,000 people to just 200 to 300 people. Even worse, they were getting no engagement. Something had to change.

So I set out to discover once and for all the best time to post on our Facebook page. Here’s how I did it.

First, I began posting more frequently.

The battle of post frequency is ongoing. Some people say that too much will drive your audience away, and others say that too little may cause that one post to be shown more frequently.

The only way to truly find out is to test. You may remember that we once tested what would happen if we stopped posting on Facebook altogether for one week. That didn’t go as we had hoped, but we learned a lot.

Now, we were going to do the exact opposite. I have to thank Post Planner because it was my motivation to post more frequently. Just as our Facebook page seemed to be spiraling downward, Post Planner’s was taking off, so I did a little investigation into what they were doing. It turns out that Post Planner was posting every two to three hours, every single day.

So I thought: Why not? Let’s give that a try.

As you’ll see below, on some days, I posted as many as 12 times in one day. As far as time of day goes, I decided I would post every two to three hours, and I ignored the “peak” hours.

I’ll admit, this was a little scary, and I felt like it was appropriate to warn our followers that we were testing more frequent posts and that we were open to feedback.

ShortStackTestingPostingMoreFrequently

ShortStackPostsSpreadsheetAfter almost two weeks of posting between nine and 12 posts per day, I felt like I was ready to look at the analytics.

It should be noted that for this particular article, I’m not focusing on the type of content that was posted. I was strictly interested in finding out which times of day our content reached more of our fans. Obviously, the type of content can have an impact on reach and engagement, but I continued to post the same content we usually post, which consists of educational articles, funny photos, business quotes and photos and videos that give insight into our company. I just amped up the frequency of these posts.

Second, I analyzed the data.

I was looking for two things when I looked at the insights from my posting test: best times for reach and best times for engagement.

If you can discover when your fans are more likely to engage with your posts and what times of day your posts are reaching them the most, you’re in the money.

First, I exported my post level insights. To do this, head to your insights and click “export” in the top-right-hand corner.

Under “data type,” click “post data” and set your date range and file format.

ShortStackExportInsightsData

The insights will load in a spreadsheet, which I looked at in Microsoft Excel.

Your spreadsheet is going to look something like this:

ShortStackExportInsightsDataSpreadsheet

For the purpose of this study, we’re really only interested in four columns, type, posted, lifetime post organic reach and lifetime engaged users. Note: I find it easier to delete the columns I’m not using.

Next, I sorted my spreadsheet based on lifetime engaged users, from most engaged post to least engaged post.

From there, I focused on the top 12 posts that received the most engagement.

ShortStackTop12Posts

I wrote down the top times that my posts saw engagement.

I then sorted my list based on lifetime post organic reach, from most reach to least reach.

ShortStackLifetimePostOrganicReach

Once again, I wrote down the times when my posts received the most reach.

It was now time to compare the top times for engagement with the top times for reach.

I quickly started to notice that the two set of times were very similar. This makes sense because the more engagement a post gets, the better reach it gets. If a few different posts fell into the same hour or hour-and-a-half, I combined them.

For example, three of our posts with the best reach were posted at the following times — 2:24 p.m., 2:22 p.m. and 3:14 p.m. — and I categorized all of these into the time frame of 2:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

ShortStackTimesOfDayWrittenDown

I was able to cut down the top 12 best times for engagement and reach to six different posting times:

  • 6 a.m.
  • 10 a.m.
  • Noon to 1 p.m.
  • 2:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
  • 2 a.m.
  • 9 p.m.

This, folks, is how you determine the absolute best times to post on your Facebook page.

It doesn’t hurt to take this opportunity to also glance at which posts received the best reach and engagement. For us, it was mostly link posts and occasional videos and photos.

Discovering the best time to post is the first step in enhancing your Facebook presence. Now that you know the best times to post on your Facebook page, you can use this information to test the type of posts your fans engage with the most.

Sara Piccola is the mistress of propaganda at social marketing software provider and Facebook application creator ShortStack.