I’m teaching a class and the question comes up again.
“How many Facebook posts per day is a good amount?”
The question may be the same but my answer has changed over the years. Facebook has changed too and recently I’ve started to suspect they’re trying to tell us something.
Namely, could they be encouraging us to post less frequently to our Facebook business pages?
Let’s start by considering how Facebook uses marketers
We’re an easy bunch to manipulate. Our constant hunger for reach means that they can bend us to their will with a faint promise of extra eyes on our content.
Remember when they wanted to take on YouTube as a video host? They started giving massive reach to video posts from pages. We responded by posting video content like mad.
And it worked. We’re now uploading more video to Facebook than YouTube (according to Social Bakers).
Next they took on Periscope by launching Facebook Live. Again, they hooked us with reach bait and we all happily complied by creating live video.
What has this got to do with Facebook post frequency?
Knowing that Facebook want to manipulate us, I’m always on the look out for their next trick. Although Live video still gets great reach, it’s in decline.
A couple of weeks ago I started getting notifications from Facebook. They’d tell me that a page I follow had posted for the first time in a while.
I kept clicking each time this happened. Those page owners must have been delighted with the reach and engagement those posts got.
Why is Facebook doing this? What does it mean?
There are two key reasons that they could be doing this:
1. They want us to post less frequently to our Facebook pages
If we are rewarded for posting less with increased reach and engagement we might start being more selective about our content.
This is consistent with their blog which, each time there is an algorithm update, reminds us that “Pages should continue to post stories that are relevant to their audiences.”
Facebook always puts the focus on valuable content.
They seem to be telling us that it’s not how many Facebook posts per day we share but the quality of those posts that matters.
2. They want pages who have stopped posting to post more frequently
I meet a lot of business owners who have given up on their Facebook pages. In the past, they’d post lots of content — at least once a day — but as reach has declined, they lost interest.
If they haven’t posted in a while and they suddenly find their content gets a lot of reach and engagement, they are more likely to come back and try again. Facebook needs businesses to be on Facebook so it can encourage them to buy ads.
So far my hunch is inconclusive. Facebook is trying to get us to do something but it’s unclear what it is.
But then let’s look at the new page design. In the past content has been front and centre of our Facebook pages but this new update has replaced our Timeline with informational units.
New Facebook page layout seems to favour information over content.
You’ll find reviews, photos, videos, a map and other useful information way above your most recent post.
This takes the focus off of our content and puts it on the information. Pages have become far more website-y. Perhaps Facebook wants to discourage us from building sites by offering us a more valuable space on their site.
Or could it be that they see that pages are posting less because of limited reach and want to keep us on board so they are offering us value in a different way?
Look at Instagram
I was asked about Facebook but the question could just as easily have been “How often should I post on Instagram?”
Instagram is Facebook’s little brother. In many ways, it has adopted the cool features Facebook had. It has a like button, ads, and an algorithm. But its big brother has started mimicking its cooler little brother too.
It was on Instagram that we first got notifications about friends who hadn’t posted for a while. It was on Instagram that we first got stories. It was on Instagram that quality content has always mattered most.
Maybe we need to look at hints on Instagram — like its introduction of Stories — to figure out what’s going on with Facebook.
Sue B. Zimmerman lists “Posting Less Frequently” as the number one way to overcome the Instagram algorithm. She tells us the secret is to “share one fabulous photo instead of 20 mediocre images.”
Sounds like a strong strategy right? Is Facebook hoping that we’ll take the hint and do the same with our page content?
How many Facebook posts per day?
So to answer the question I was asked during class. The answer isn’t a number — it’s about quality.
Before you hit publish on your next Facebook post take a look at it and ask yourself:
- Is it relevant to your audience?
- Is it valuable to your audience?
- Is it the best post you can create for the day?
If the answer is yes, post it. If the answer is no, hold off until you do have something valuable to say.
Have you noticed an increase in reach if you post less often on Facebook? Have you picked up any tricks for getting more reach? Leave me a comment below with your thoughts.