It’s a common question from businesses using social media. How often should we post?
Competing in the increasingly noisy social media circus, we’re all walking a tightrope between adding value and being annoying – and that fine line’s not the same for every business and every audience. Sorry to say but there is no “one size fits all” approach.
However, there are guidelines and considerations that you can take into account when planning your social media activity.
Every social media platform is different…
…and the reasons people use them are also different. For most people their primary motivation for being on Facebook is to catch up with friends and family, whereas on Twitter it’s more about information-seeking and “social networking”. Pinterest users are browsing and “window shopping” while Instagram users are getting caught up in the visual smorgasbord. Posting the same content, and the same number of posts, across each of the platforms ignores the nuances, and won’t yield the best results.
Know Your Target Audience
Firstly, know exactly who makes up your target audience, and the demographic and lifestyle factors that would impact their social media consumption. Are they busy, time-poor professionals who glance quickly?Are they browsers, always looking for detailed information? Knowing and understanding your target audience helps you plan and post more effectively.
If you have a global audience, you might need to post more frequently to be seen in different time zones.
If it’s not high value, don’t post it.
If your content isn’t high value (either educational, informative, inspiring or entertaining), then don’t post it. Don’t get caught in the trap of posting sub-par content just to make a quota. One effective, high value post is worth way more than 100 spammy, forced, low quality pieces of content.
Creating quality content is an investment of resources
Before getting caught up in some arbitrary idea of the “right number” of posts, don’t forget that creating high quality content takes time and resources. At the very least it’s either your time or a member of your team’s time. Make sure that this investment is providing an adequate return.
It’s not a one way thing
When you’re allocating resources to social media, remember that posting your content is just one part of the strategy. Social media is a conversation and resources need to be allocated to responding and interacting with your audience.
Consistency is as important as frequency
Posting consistently across your chosen social media platforms is as important as the frequency. So don’t get all gung-ho and post 5 times a day on Facebook this week, only to drop off the face of the news feed for a few weeks. While it doesn’t have to be the same time every day, an element of consistency is important – your customers like to know what to expect.
Put yourself in their shoes
Pay attention to the things that annoy you or inspire you as you use social media. Does seeing 20 similar pins in a row on Pinterest from the one pinner drive you nuts (or is that just me)? Do you tune out or unfollow people or brands that over do it? Thinking like a social media user, not a marketer, will help guide you.
Monitor and measure
Want to find out the magic number of posts for your audience? Test, measure and test again. And keep testing, because things change. If you think posting more often is appropriate, try it for a while. Keep an eye out for noticeable drops in the number of followers, or their engagement. If there is a negative impact, drop it back a notch and measure again. Keep an eye on your insights and metrics at all times. That way you’ll know what works for your audience.
So as promised, here are some GUIDELINES for each of the major social media platforms.
As I said earlier, most people head to Facebook to
stalk catch up with friends and family. While they might interact with brands they like, no Facebook user wants to be bombarded with brand content.
Many guidelines suggest 1-2 posts per day for Facebook. If posting twice, aim for opposite ends of the day.
Twitter is a fast-moving platform, so more frequent posts are acceptable as only a selection of your followers will see any given post (it is said that the life cycle of a tweet is less than 20 minutes). Recommended guidelines vary depending on the information source, but at least a few times per day is needed to spread your reach. Just space out your tweets so you’re not bombarding the tweet stream.
Instagram is also a fairly fast moving social media platform, so a couple of times a day is appropriate. But again, space these out (I suggest 3-4 hours between each post) so that you’re not hogging the insta-limelight.
Similar to Facebook, 1-2 posts per day is suitable for Google+.
LinkedIn is not as fast-moving as some of the other social media platforms, so once a day (or even once every other day) is enough.
A few times a day on Pinterest is also suitable – but don’t take over the Pinterest feed by pinning too many things at once. By spacing them out you give yourself a better chance of capturing the attention and engagement of your followers.
What is your experience? Do you have a formula that’s working for you? Please share it below.