By Brian Leigh
As Facebook slowly morphs into a television network, digital marketers must rethink their content strategies.
One thing that demands evaluation is post cadence. How often should brands be posting? What percentage of those posts should be video? When is it appropriate to broadcast Live?
Like most things, there's no one clear answer. Each brand is a snowflake with its own strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and limitations that guide its strategy.
But like most things, there's also a lot to learn by studying the best—which in this case means the world's biggest companies. So we plucked out the Top 50 Global Brands (via Interbrand) and tracked their organic Facebook posts in June.
Here's what we learned in the process.
1. You Don't Have to Post Every Day
Despite gaudy budgets and resources, most top brands don't post every day. Outliers at the top threw off the median numbers—Amazon posts close to four times per day—but for the most part, less can be more:
Additionally, 13 of the 47* brands we studied (28 percent) post less than once every two days. By posting less often, they create more time and budget for producing—and promoting—each piece of content.
Consider this with regard to your own brand's frequency. E-commerce platforms such as Amazon stand to benefit from hyper-awareness, but if you're using social media to sell a message, you can afford to post as scarcely as once per week.
Just make sure that one post is worth it.
*Note: Apple (#1), Zara (#30), and Goldman Sachs (#46) don't have national posts from June.
2. Video is Catching Up to Images
How does a brand make sure each post is worth it? One way is to focus on "premium" media. Images still lead the pack in terms of post type, but videos are closing the gap:
When Facebook VP Nicola Mendelsohn predicted that in five years the network might be "all video," it sent shockwaves through the digital and social media communities. But she made that prediction on June 14, smack dab in the middle of our study, giving brands little time to adjust what they had planned for the back of the month.
Assuming brands made little to no shift in June strategy, these numbers reflect their plans before Mendelsohn's prediction. That's something to keep an eye on moving forward. We'll run a similar study this Fall to show if, and how, the top brands have adjusted their strategies.
Video is clearly the future.
It might be the present as well.
3. The Share Button is Your Friend
If you're insecure about using the Share button—scared that it somehow looks lazy—take solace in the numbers below. More than half the brands we studied shared at least one post in June, and more than a quarter shared at least two:
Yes, the brands we studied are mostly parent companies, and much of what they shared came from subsidiaries. But they also shared a good amount of videos from influencers and partnerships.
The word "videos" in that sentence was important, and so was the principle behind it: that the Share button is a gateway to premium media. Organically, the brands we studied posted one 360-degree concept per 107 posts. Through share, they posted one per every 11.
This Samsung (#7) example speaks volumes, because Samsung's products actually make 360-degree video. Rather than just promoting itself, it shared content from big-name athletes (LeBron James and Karl Anthony Towns) and Sportscenter, lending third-party credibility to its name.
Sharing and working with partners also allows brands to split the cost of bigger content. As Facebook shifts even further toward a quality-over-quantity model (see points 1 & 2), it's important to find production efficiencies. Agreeing to share partners' videos, then having them agree to share back, creates a system by which both parties benefit.
As long as you don't partner with competitors, that's a good thing.
4. Case Studies From the Top
The purpose of this study was to learn from the world's biggest brands. Other than Apple, which doesn't have a Facebook page, no three brands are bigger than Google (#2), Coca-Cola (#3), and Microsoft (#4).
Let's take a look at their strategies:
Images are Facebook's most popular post type, but the three biggest brands on the network posted one image combined during June.
Google and Coca-Cola invested heavily in video, posting a new one roughly every other day. Microsoft posted roughly one video per week, surrounding those posts with links to its website. It also shared one video from its daughter brand, Xbox, bringing all three above points full circle:
Many of the brands further down the list posted more often and relied on images. Again: Each content strategy is a snowflake.
But there has to be a reason that the three biggest brands on Facebook, presumably equipped with the most sophisticated insights money can buy, all post 3-4 times per week and almost only produce custom video.
Maybe that's the strategy of the future.
**See Below for Full List of Post Frequencies**
"Premium" refers to 360 photos, GIFs, carousuels, and all types of video (regular, 360, and live). It also refers to shares of those six types.
How often does your brand post on Facebook? What percentage of those posts are video? Does anything you read above surprise you? Sound off with the Likeable Team below!