Time magazine recently published an article that looked at why people quit Facebook. The researchers who inspired the story found that most of the 310 people had participated in a survey about a Quit Facebook Day campaign (72 percent) were men. The top reason they cited for leaving was “concern about privacy.”
A little while back, ShortStack quit Facebook, too — for a whole week! — because we wanted to see what it would do to our engagement. Even though this was before Facebook officially dropped the term “EdgeRank” and the recent algorithm changes, the core findings still hold true.
We’ve been on Facebook for several years and in the last year and a half we’ve seen exceptional growth and success. Yet our posts were still reaching a mere 2 percent of our audience and often getting lackluster engagement. So we had an idea: Let’s go dark. Our theory was, if we only posted once a day or even once a week, Facebook would let the posts reach more people organically. We figured that by posting 3-4 times a day we were limiting the scope of our reach to just a handful of the people who were seeing our posts on a daily basis.
Our experiment involved reducing the frequency of posts. The first week we posted once a day. The second week we didn’t post a single thing. The following week we posted once or twice a day, and the week after that we decided to bump it up to 3-5 posts a day.
This experiment led us to learn more about our Facebook Page and audience than we ever knew before. As always, when we try something new and it fails miserably, we want to share our experience with you. We hope you’ll discover new ways to increase your social media presence and learn a thing or two from our mistakes.
Here is a breakdown of our Facebook post frequency during the “dark” days:
Week 1: May 19-May 26 – posted once a day
Week 2: May 26-June 2 – posted nothing on Facebook
Week 3: June 2-9 – posted once to twice a day
Week 4: June 9-16 – posted once to twice a day
Week 5: June 16 – July 23 – posted 3-5 times a day
Week 6: June 23-June 30 – posted 3-5 times a day
So what did we learn? Never take a vacation from Facebook!
From looking at our Insights you can see that we saw a major drop in Reach and our Talking About Us numbers during the time period where we reduced activity on Facebook. In fact, our Talking About Us number dropped from around 3,000 to 600. It took us several weeks to build that number back up. What’s more, without announcements on our Facebook page about our latest blog posts, traffic to our blog took a major hit.
Running these tests forced us to take an in-depth look at our analytics and dig deep to discover what excited and engaged our fans. Prior to this test we were posting a wide assortment of content on Facebook, and some stuff would get more interaction than others. After testing different types of status updates, we learned what excites our fans and gets them to interact with us. Once we buckled down and focused on posting quality content, engagement returned.
Today, we are back to posting 3-5 times a day. We’ve stopped posting the things that ShortStack fans really weren’t interested in and have given them more of what gets them talking. We learned that for us, posting multiple times a day, while linking to other Pages such as our blog and website, enhanced our overall marketing efforts.
If you’re upset with your current Facebook engagement we recommend spending some time looking at your insights and running some tests on Facebook. If you plan to experiment try and give yourself at least a week for each experiment. But still, never take a vacation!
Have you ever taken a vacation from Facebook? Please use the comments below to let us know what happened.
A version of this post ran on Smart Blog on Social Media.