Maximizing Facebook Fan engagement and excelling at the ever mysterious “EdgeRank” are top priorities for both business owners and marketing firms in this digital age. Unfortunately these lofty aims often take the backseat to more pressing demands, like actually running a business, rather than just writing about one online. Even if businesses have dedicated staff members available to not just to post but also to actively interact with fans, it can be difficult to coordinate posts for the right time of day for maximum fan engagement. Enter the Facebook scheduling tool for pages, which takes some of the inconsistency and stress out of posting regularly.
How To Use the New Feature
The feature is easy to miss inside the update box, and was added with little fanfare or acknowledgment from Facebook in late May. It appears as a tiny clock in the bottom left side of the box, and offers you the ability to backdate or schedule posts. In order to use the feature, you must first set up a Timeline event for the founding date of your business. After finishing this simple step, you are free to schedule posts in 10 minute increments within a window of more than a year into the future. You are not limited to simply scheduling written posts, as you can also schedule links and images, which appear exactly the same as if you had posted them manually. There have been some issues with the new feature, but most of those were resolved rather quickly by the Facebook development team.
Facebook Scheduler vs. Third Party Scheduling
This new feature is great because it replaces any need to use third party scheduling sites, such as HootSuite or Postling. Many users have reported decreases in EdgeRank when using 3rd party scheduling sites, not to mention the fact that the post is clearly labeled as coming from an outside source. Pictures never looked quite right when scheduled through a third party, and links often seemed to be truncated or dead when the posts finally appeared through Facebook.
One of the major initial complaints about the Facebook scheduling feature was that there was no way to go back and view the posts after scheduling them. This is untrue as a full list of scheduled posts can be obtained under the Admin panel, but is rather difficult to locate unless you already know its there. Once you’re within the “Activity Log” you can change the date of scheduled posts, cancel them, or post them immediately. At this point, there is no way to edit the posts that have already been scheduled, but hopefully that feature will be added eventually.
What We’ve Found
We began using Facebook scheduler instead of HootSuite to publish updates on many of our clients’ pages around June 15th. Over the course of the last few weeks, we have seen a dramatic increase in fan engagement and “likes”, as well as sharing. Here is a screenshot of one of our client’s organic reach over the last month. You can see that it has steadily increased (with a slight and expected dip on July 4th!) and is currently reaching about 500 more fans per week than it was in mid-June. These results are great, but we find something even more remarkable when we look at viral and total reach for this timeframe.
As you can tell from this graph, we do not do any paid fan-building for this client, so this data is based entirely on the increase in visitors and shares on the page. Our organic reach has increased by about 500 fans per week, but our total reach has increased to over 15,000 people per week. This number is especially remarkable because this page only has about 3,400 fans. Not only does it appear that this client’s EdgeRank increased dramatically, but that increase has had a huge effect on the viral nature of our posts, photos, and albums.
Have you tried the Facebook scheduling tool yet? Try it out and let us know if it’s successful for your business in the comments!
Posted on Friday, July 27th, 2012
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