Man, I feel like a broken record. What I’m about to say is something that I write in about 90% of my blog posts, I think. But here it goes: before you can optimize your Facebook page, you need to start with your goals. Optimizing is just a fancy way of saying that you are trying to do more of something. So, what are you trying to do more of?Before you can optimize your Facebook page, you need to start with your goals. Click To Tweet
Here are some ideas of ways you can optimize your Facebook page:
- Reach more people in the newsfeed
- Increase clicks through to your website
- Improve engagement (more likes, comments and shares)
When you know what you want to do more of, then you know what kind of information you are looking for in your Facebook page insights. For the purpose of this article, I’m focusing on how to improve your organic Facebook page reach… meaning, how to analyze your data and take action so you will reach more people with your posts.
Just in case you haven’t already taken a peek… find your Facebook analytics (Insights) by going to your page and clicking the Insights tab at the top.
Inside, you’ll find a bunch of goodies. But, don’t get overwhelmed. I’m going to show you three simple things I analyze to improve my Facebook page reach:
- Time of day to post
- Day of week to post
- Type of content to post (video, link, image only, image with caption)
Your default view when you land in Insights is the Overview tab. At the top is a link to Export Data. We are going to grab some data out of here in a spreadsheet so we can crunch numbers.
When you click the Export Data link, you get a pop-up deal. Select Post Data, and set your date range. Choosing a three-month date range gives you a good amount of data to analyze, but you can use as little as one month. Then click Export Data.
Now we will start working in the spreadsheet that we just downloaded. There are a lot of columns and tabs in this spreadsheet, but we are going to focus on just a couple of them. In fact, I delete all of the columns, except for these:
- Permalink – I keep this because if I want to refer back to the original post, I can just paste the URL in my browser
- Post Message – Keep for reference, so I can see, at a glance, what post I’m evaluating
- Type – the type of post: link, photo, video, etc.
- Posted – the date and time of when it’s posted
- Lifetime Post Organic Reach – the number of people the post reached organically. Not paid! The point of this article is to help you increase your organic reach, so this is the column we want.
Optimizing for Day of Week
Unfortunately, in this example, it looks like I was neglecting my Facebook page a bit (happens to the best of us). Hopefully, you have more data. First, add a column for Day of Week, and populate which day each post was shared.
Then, I find my average reach for each day of the week. On this spreadsheet, I shared on two Mondays, so I would add my reach and divide by 2. During this time period, when I posted on a Monday, I reached 255 people. When I posted on Wednesdays, I only reached an average of 138 people. Now I can rank my best to worst posting days: Tuesday, Monday, Sunday, Thursday, Wednesday, Friday… and we don’t know about Saturday! [See the table I built to the right of the photo, above]
Unofficially, I am finding on my own Facebook page, and those that I manage, that when I post only a few times a week (instead of daily), my reach improves. Using this data, I might want to prioritize sharing on Tuesdays, Mondays and Sundays.
Optimizing for Time of Day
Some people will look under Facebook Insights > Posts at this chart (below) to see when their fans are online, find a peak, and pick that as their optimal posting time.
But, I’m not sold on that strategy. Peak times tend to look fairly standard for most businesses, so these are busy times to be on Facebook. Should you really be competing for attention at 6pm? Or should you be posting at 3pm to get some quick engagement and get boosted into the feed by 6pm? It’s hard to say, which is why I analyze this differently.
Again, I add up total reach for each hour of the day. There were a few times that were *thisclose* to the next hour, so I grouped them together to make life easier on myself.
You can see from this data that 9pm looks like a really great time for me, and 11 am is not.
Optimizing Type of Content
Finally, you can look for trends in the type of content you post, to see what performs best. You can try to post more of that style of content to reach more people in the news feed. Obviously, this has it’s limitations. For example, maybe photos do best… but if you only shared photos, you would never get clicks to your website (problematic!). I repeated the same process that I’ve described above, to find my average reach per content type.
From this, it looks like photos are the clear winner, and links… well, are not. I actually thought video would get the best reach, so it pays to check these things from time to time.
A Simple Approach
This is a very simple approach to identifying when and how to improve your Facebook page reach.