A recent post by the social media content management system Buffer chronicles how they increased their Facebook engagement significantly by decreasing post volume. They cut down the number of posts published and saw reach, engagement and other metrics go up.
Years ago – early 2012, I believe – I had a similar experience with a program I was working on. The multiple Facebook pages I managed with my team were seeing engagement that was alright, but there was so much news coming out that we felt pressured to publish it all to one or more of those pages. So we were publishing every hour or so to one page in particular and 10 times or more to some other pages.
I knew something wasn’t right and so began digging into the metrics for those pages. I wasn’t so much concerned, at least not at first, with engagement. Instead I looked specifically at Likes and Unlikes. Pulling up six months of data I compared the number of posts each day to the number of New Likes and the number of New Unlikes for the page on that day.
There was a direct correlation that appeared almost immediately that the more we published the more people left the page. We were turning them off. That was confirmed when I looked at the comments and other engagement and saw high post volume lead to low engagement and comments that called out how they didn’t like seeing so many posts. Fan attention was being abused.
So I looked more carefully at the numbers and began to establish guidelines that would eventually be encoded into the program’s official style guide. I laid out that X page could get Y number of posts per day before the tipping point between New Likes and New Unlikes was reached. It was clear that any more than that and we’d start to again lose fans at a high rate. We may still net out with fan growth, but it wouldn’t be as good as it could be if we published less. Those ceilings were created for the dozen pages being managed.
It wasn’t as simple as that, though. There were still client stakeholders who were focused on using all available platforms to promote every possible message. First we needed to convince our main client contact of the wisdom of our proposed approach and only then, after we had made some adjustments and crafted our pitch, were we able to convey this new strategy and have it understood and accepted by all. It’s another example of why having an internal champion is so important for agencies.
With all the talk about playing to algorithms and the ever-shifting guidance Facebook and other platforms provide about how best to achieve organic reach, there are a number of things you, as a content program manager, can do today to effect change. Dig into the numbers a bit and you may find solutions that are easy to implement and will result in wins of some level or another.
It also reinforces a point I make consistently: While the internet is lousy with studies and reports about when the best time to post to Facebook or Twitter is or how often you should do so, the best guidance will come from looking at your own numbers. General best practices are fine, but they can’t replace the insights to be gained by looking internally, not at something overly generic.