Posting Updates to Your Facebook Timeline via the Publisher

By Andrea Vahl, John Haydon, Jan Zimmerman

To post an update to your Facebook community, you do so in the Publisher, which is located on your Timeline and contains the prompt, What have you been up to?

The function of the Publisher on your Page is very similar to that of the Publisher on your Profile. When you post a status update to your Profile, however, it goes out to the News Feed of all your Friends, whereas an update to the Timeline on your Page goes out to the News Feed of all those who like you.

Then your Page’s status update shows up in the News Feed, just as a person’s status update shows up in the News Feed of Friends.

The Status Update box in Facebook.

Your update also appears in people’s Tickers (the scrolling real-time updates on the right side of the home page of your Profile). Realize that when you post to your Page Timeline, your post shows up in people’s News Feeds along with all the other posts of their Friends and Pages they like.

Don’t refer to previous posts or things on your business Page that people can’t see right then. If you want people to come to your Page to see those things, make sure that you tell them to come to your Page. Also make sure that each post can stand alone as a complete thought.

Not every single post on your Page will be seen by every single fan, and not every post actually makes it into your fans’ News Feeds. You can actually see how many of your fans potentially saw your post after you post it. Facebook determines whether your post goes into your fans’ News Feeds based on its News Feed algorithm.

How long to make your post

Facebook extended the length of the status updates to a whopping 63,206 characters! It’s almost a small blog post. Note: After you type around 240 characters (depending on word structure), your post will be cut short, and a See More link appears,.

A Facebook user's status update.

Keep your post short so that people can easily read it and not miss anything valuable if they don’t click the See More link.

How often to post an update

One of the most frequently asked questions is, “How often should I post?” The answer will vary depending on your goals and comfort level. Some people worry about “bothering” their community with too many posts, or they worry that some people will un-like or hide their Page if they post too much.

Most of your community members won’t mind your posts if you’re doing them in the right way. That’s why it’s important to provide value.

Also, many people aren’t on Facebook all the time and may not see your posts. Depending on how many Friends a user has or how many Pages a user likes, your post may go through a News Feed fairly quickly.

If you have one person who likes your Page and has ten Friends who post one update per day, and your Page is posting five updates per day, you’ll be very visible, occupying one-third of the daily News Feed.

But if you have a person who likes your Page and has 500 Friends who post one update per day, your updates will just be one percent of the daily News Feed, and that person may miss your posts.

Bottom line: Don’t worry about posting too often. People will miss your updates, and you want to continue to stay visible.

Studies have shown that posting two to five times per day is ideal. If that sounds like too much, at least try to post once daily during the week. Weekends can also be a great time to post — people are checking on Facebook, and there may not be as many other Pages posting on the weekends. But you also need to take a break every once in a while!

What types of material to include

When you go to create a post, think about your community. What do its members need? What’s in it for them? Think of yourself as the funnel that guides the best information to your community — and that will be what keeps your community coming back for more.

Also realize that you’re participating in a conversation. Just as you do at a cocktail party, you want to respond when people comment on your post. Don’t just post and run. (And don’t post when you’ve had too many cocktails; you may regret it in the morning!)

Be sure to vary the types of material you post, too. Following are types of posts that you can use to market yourself as an expert, have fun, and plug your business all at the same time without being annoying:

  • Pictures of a great event you had

  • Video of behind-the-scenes happenings at your business

  • Questions that engage your audience and allow you to do some market research

  • Links to blog posts that solve people’s problems within your niche

    Don’t worry that you’re giving information away for free. Your community will appreciate the information and look to you when they need help that they can hire you for.

  • Controversial news stories within your niche that will spark conversation

  • Events you’re hosting that will benefit your community

  • Links to resources that are helpful for your niche

Again, this is just a partial list of post types. How do you use these types to market your business? You establish yourself as the go-to person for your market. You notice that these posts aren’t all about you and what you’re selling, but you’re continually popping into the News Feed and reminding your community that you’re there. You’re branding yourself as an expert in your business.