New research by Recommend.ly has found that 82% of Facebook brand pages issue less than five updates per month.

Local businesses were found to be the least active, participating in just 6% of the conversations on their pages.

On average 91% of conversation pages are left unattended.

Recommend.ly’s findings, which are based on analysis of 1.7m Facebook pages, indicate that companies are still struggling to understand how they should be using Facebook to promote their brands and engage with users.

Nearly all companies now have a Facebook page, but what’s the point if you aren’t going to use it?

It also raises the familiar question of the actual value of a Facebook fan?

Facebook has been seeking to educate SME’s to the value of its ad platform and recently launched a marketing classroom with worksheets and tutorials to help businesses build their presence on the social network.

In January it also announced that it would be offering free advertising to SME’s across Europe worth around £80.

But does the fact that business don’t post content to their Facebook pages necessarily mean they are doing something wrong?

Curating a Facebook page can be a time consuming process and many companies can’t afford to employ a social media manager.

So is there any harm in having an inactive Facebook page? It gives some SEO benefit and can help drive traffic back to your homepage.

Recommend.ly CEO Venkata Ramana said: “Businesses are stumbling at the starting blocks. Failing to share the right type of content at the right time; respond adequately to fans; participate in conversations; and understand engagement metrics.”

But realistically, not all businesses stand to gain tangible benefit from publishing daily content to their Facebook pages.

So while the fact that 82% of brand pages are updated less than five times per month is surprising, it is down to Facebook to convince these brands that there is value in frequent updates.

The results echo those of an earlier survey which found that companies respond to just 5% of questions via Facebook