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Facebook Marketing in 2012: Mastering Timing
By: Elaine Reed
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When Facebook rolled out their new changes earlier this year, one of the big modifications was how updates appear in users’ timelines. Instead of seeing the most recent posts upon logging in, Facebook now sorts posts by what they deem as the most popular.

Updates from people you interact with often get priority, followed by posts that get the most likes, comments, or shares. The remaining updates fall in line after those. Facebook does give the option to switch between the most recent and most popular posts, and even provides tools to de-prioritize or hide stories from the timeline.

So how do brands get the interaction that will propel them to the top of the list? The most important factor is relevancy of content. If a brand is focused on clothing, posting an update about food is not relevant and not likely to get as much interaction. (Unless the update has something to do with getting food stains out of clothes.)

Yes, there are all kinds of studies and advice that say a certain percentage of updates can and should be off topic and more related to the life of the person posting the updates. But remember: off-topic posts should make up less than 20% of all updates.

Another consideration is the type of update. Updates that include videos, images, and polls are more likely to get interaction than basic updates or updates with just a standard link.

Finally, you must consider timing. The older an update is, the less likely it is to appear at the top of a timeline unless there is a lot of interaction. And updates are most likely to get interaction if they are posted when the most people are likely to see them. So how do you know when to post?  

There are several tactics you can use:
  • Track how many clicks you get from Facebook through your analytics package and marry that to when your website gets the most traffic.
  • Experiment by posting on different days and times to see when you get the most interaction.
  • Use a service like Edgerank Checker. Edgerank Checker analyzes your updates to let you know the optimum time(s) for interaction.
The best approach is probably a combination of two or all three of these methods. Well-managed analytics provide up-to-date insight on customer activity. A third-party service with expertise in how Facebook ranks content is a great tool to have in your arsenal. But as any successful marketer can attest, knowing your target audience inside and out is essential to a building a productive marketing channel.

Even with all of this at play, don’t forget one of the biggest lessons we’ve learned from Internet marketing: content is king. And now you have the knowledge you need to keep your content on the throne longer.

   

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About the Author
Elaine Reed is a marketing professional with heavy emphasis on e-commerce and Internet marketing. She blogs regularly on her website and tweets often.
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