Avoid Monday, URL Shorteners on Facebook

I know what you’re doing. It’s Monday, and you’re probably procrastinating. You’re reading this, and probably then going to share it on Facebook, with a URL shortener like bit.ly. That’s okay if you’re sitting in an office in Somewhere, USA, but for a small business or brand, good luck with that ROI. A recent study by Buddy Media that looked at 200 of its clients illustrating best practices for Facebook pages aiming to increase their fan base’s engagement, found that engagement on Facebook was the worst on Monday, best on Thursday, and reduced by links posted using a short URL (like bit.ly). Buddy Media also found that posts with 80 characters or less received 27% more engagement.

Buddy Media’s findings about use of social media by businesses contradict some traditional thought about peak consumption through social media. Though engagement is highest at 4 am, 7 am, and 11 pm, brands still post during business hours. An unrelated recent study by Dan Zarrella explains this is because many companies block Facebook at work, so it is critical that brands take advantage of this trend to reach consumers during off-peak hours.

This also explains Buddy Media’s research that the the media industry’s highest fan engagement day is Saturday, followed closely by Sunday, with a huge dip in engagement on Mondays. Clearly, the 9-5 work week that blocks Facebook at the office does not apply on weekends, and Buddy Media’s research demonstrates that impact. However, in the business industry, Wednesday receives the highest engagement, with a gradual downswing Friday-Sunday, so not everyone is so affected by these restrictions.

Buddy Media also explains that Facebook pages can also create more engaging content by creating posts of of 80 characters or less, as Buddy Media found its clients had 27% more engagement on shorter than longer posts. However, writing shorter posts won’t be as successful when using a short URL, such as a bit.ly link. Facebook users are three times more likely to click on a full-length URL — which may have to do with trusting what’s on the other side of that link, especially in an era where short URLs often take users to spam and phising sites. Additionally, posts with prompts that include the words “where,” “when,” or “would” have much higher engagement rates, even compared to posts with words with prompts such as “why” or “what.” (Buddy Media suggests that “this may be because the latter words may be perceived as challenging or intrusive, and users aren’t willing to take the time to respond.”) Buddy Media ultimately found that Facebook page posts including a question mark at the end had 15% higher engagement than those that did not.

For Buddy Media’s full report on Strategies for Effective Facebook Posts, visit Buddy Media for more info.

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