Marketers have a bevy of numbers and figures at their disposal these days. All of these metrics are intended to analyze the effectiveness of past marketing decisions and plan future ones. But while this information is helpful, too much data can be overwhelming and counterproductive and Facebook’s Audience Insights are no exception. There’s a lot of detail to sift through, leaving you confused about what actually matters.

If you have a solid strategy for gleaning information from these analytics, and then adjusting your marketing accordingly, you’re bound to succeed. And just as bigger companies use analytics to their advantage with social media posts (Lifelock and Southwest Airlines are good examples), small businesses can use the same techniques. Read on for how to use Facebook’s analytics to know when to (and when not to) post.

The Insights that Matter

The Facebook Audience Insights tool was developed specifically for marketers, providing customer insights that help them better serve target audiences. The tool boasts a look at geography, demographics, purchase behavior and more. If all you want to know is when to post to have the best odds of reaching your ideal buyer, a lot of what the tool gives you is nonessential. Audience Insights breaks down information into six categories: overview, likes, reach, visits, posts and people. While each has its own duty, the one that should matter most to you is “posts.”

The posts section of analytics tells you peak days and times of day that your fans are on Facebook. Before you go any further with figuring out your optimal frequency and timing of posts, scour this section. Look for averages and trends, and then document them. If it seems like your female fans are often online in the mornings, but your male fans tend to browse Facebook in the evenings, you know when to push out certain content based on which gender it’s geared toward. You can also track reach and engagement you’ve gotten for different types of posts (links vs. statuses vs. photos), as well. This is useful in determining what content resonates most with the people you want to reach, so you can produce more of it.

Best Practices

Once you have a grasp on the days and time of day your fans are online (and what types of content get the most attention), you have the foundation for a posting schedule. Try to plan your posts a month ahead. Don’t get too specific, but rather think of this schedule as an outline. Leave room for flexibility in case other news or timely content needs to be slotted in instead of what you’ve planned. Also, don’t get stuck on exact patterns. In other words, don’t post a female-focused link every morning because it worked well once. Cater to your fans’ preferences, but still vary the content so it doesn’t become stagnant or predictable.

If you’re looking for additional times of day to post, there are theories about what’s most effective. Experts at Bridg say weekday afternoons “when the workday winds down” are ideal for Facebook posts, and for the most part, photos make for higher engagement. So if you get stuck on the “when” and “what,” give these suggestions a try.

There’s a huge benefit to using Facebook analytics for influencing your social media decisions. Just be sure to focus on what matters (namely, the “posts” section of Facebook’s Audience Insights) and use your findings to build a posting strategy and schedule. With a firm foundation in place, and some room for spontaneity, you’ll see increased engagement with your fans in no time.