…This blog post was written by Tiffany Hathorn…
“How often should I post on social media?”
This is a question that every internet marketer asks themselves at some point in their careers. We know that having a solid social media strategy can help us to not only establish our expertise, but to generate leads. These two things are key components when it comes to generating consistent sales.
The problem we face, though, is knowing how often we should post on social media. We don’t want to post so infrequently that our audience forgets who we are. We also don’t want their feeds to become so oversaturated with our content that they begin to tune us out.
How do you find that sweet spot where you are posting enough to be of immense value, but not so much that you become immensely annoying?
That is the question that has launched a thousand blog posts. And here I am with another one. Why? Because it’s a damn important question. And one that deserves an answer.
So, here’s how we’re going to do this.
First, I’m going to tell you about some industry recommendations for social media posting frequency. Then, I’m going to talk about applying these findings to your social media strategy. After that, we’re going to talk about what every business should do after implementing a new strategy. Finally, I’m going to share some social media best practices to keep in mind.
The goal is to help you create an impactful social media marketing strategy that will establish your expertise, bring in solid leads, and generate massive income for your business.
Let’s start by looking at what six social media experts have to say about social media frequency. There are a ton of studies out there, but I honed in on insight from Adobe Spark, Constant Contact, Buffer, Quick Sprout, Dow Social, and CoSchedule. For each report, I will share their recommendations and research findings regarding social media frequency on the different platforms. These reports share insight on posting to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google+.
Post 1-2 times daily on weekdays and once on weekends. As we were reminded by Facebook’s recent announcement, Facebook was built on the idea of bringing people closer together and building relationships. While it is a platform that can help influences purchasing decisions, Facebook is still mostly a place for people to hang out, catch up, and share things that feel meaningful to them. Most people aren’t on there strictly to do business or see what they can buy. Your goal should be to add value consistently, but not come off as pushy. Posting more than 1-2 times a day can result in people tuning you out or (worse) hitting ‘unlike’ on your fan page.
If your focus is Twitter, you should aim for 3 tweets daily. Beyond that, research suggests that your engagement will decrease significantly. However, this does not include having conversations with other Twitter users. You can also engage with people by retweeting or favoriting their content as well as engaging directly in conversation. Use Twitter to really socialize with people – not just push your products and/or services.
Pin new images 4-10 times daily for maximum engagement. Pinterest is a content-heavy platform. You also don’t have to worry about being annoying because your pins won’t show up in people’s feeds unless they are actively seeking out content like yours. The more you pin valuable content to search engine optimized boards, the more likely people will follow you on Pinterest.
Instagram is a bit tricky because your posting frequency should be guided by your brand and your goals. While it’s recommended that you post at least once daily, the key is to experiment with how often you post and figure out what works best as far as getting organic engagement.
With Facebook, the focus is on high value and low volume. This means you should post great content less often than on other platforms. In other words, if you’re going to post something, make sure it serves a purpose. Facebook is not the place to post content just to fill in a schedule. Each piece of content should either provide value or be interesting – preferably both. The ideal posting frequency is 3-10 times per week.
Twitter is the opposite of Facebook. Because of its fast-paced nature (where your tweets can easily be lost in the mix), Twitter is high volume and low value. But don’t misinterpret “low value” to mean you should post a bunch of garbage just to remain consistent with your posting schedule. You should still create or curate content that is of value or interesting to your audience. It is recommended that you tweet at least 5 times per day. There is no maximum recommendation.
On LinkedIn, your focus should be on sharing content (both original and curated) that is relevant to your industry in general and your business specifically. That’s why LinkedIn is a high value/low volume platform. Aim for 2-5 posts per week.
Not surprisingly, Google is another high value/low volume platform. Your focus on Google+ should be creating content that is index-worthy. In other words, share content that includes relevant keywords so that Google can find it and include it in search results.
Post twice per day. Beyond that, you will likely experience a significant drop in engagement.
Post at least 3 times a day. You can post more often, but expect less engagement after the third tweet.
The most successful growth strategy on Pinterest is to post new pins at least 5 times a day.
Major brands post 1.5 times per day (don’t squint your eyes at me like that – that’s what their research says). However, they also noted that there’s no real drop in engagement if you post more frequently – as long as you can keep up the pace.
Posting once per weekday (an average of 20 times per month) will give you the furthest reach amongst your network. This is based on advice from LinkedIn’s Small Business Guide, which states that posting 20 times per month enables you to reach 60% of your audience.
Post 3 times per day and post consistently. You may experience a 50% decrease in engagement if you fail to keep up your usual posting frequency.
Though this article is about social media, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to mention that Buffer found that brands who increase their blogging efforts to twice weekly nearly doubled their leads.
How often you post is dependent on the size of your audience. Brands with small (up to 200 fans) and medium (201-10,000 fans) followings should aim for 16-30 posts per month. However, those with large audiences (over 10,000 fans) should post at least 31 times per month.
To make up for the fact that a single tweet has a short lifespan, you should post 5-20 times per day. QuickSprout owner, Neil Patel, recommends aiming for the lower end if posting on the higher end isn’t sustainable.
Patel refers to the LinkedIn Small Business Guide’s assertion that posting 20 times per month is the best strategy.
Due to algorithm changes, it is better to focus on sending out less frequent posts and to boost posts when possible. The recommendation is two posts per day.
Post once every hour during business hours, on top of strategic engagement (such as retweets, answering questions, and joining conversations).
Share 3 pins per day. It can be original content or content from other sources that your audience will find relevant.
Share eye-catching images three times a day.
Keep your audience updated about what is going on in your business by posting once daily.
Post 3 times per day to improve your SEO. Although this is not proven to work, it is not believed to have a negative impact.
Share content on Facebook once per day. Anything more than that and you risk coming off as spammy.
A good daily recommendation is 15 tweets spread throughout the day.
While you can go as low as 3 and as high as 30, Coschedule believes that 15 pins per day is the perfect number. It is recommended that you spread them out rather than going on a pinning spree in a short space of time.
For Instagram, post 1-2 times per day. Focus on your own content rather than reposting other people’s content.
Your goal on here should be no more than two posts per day.
Post no more than once daily.
As you can see, there is no set-in-stone answer to “how often should I post on social media”. Experts still can’t agree on the best answer – even with all of the research that has been conducted.
And that right there is your real answer: research.
As much as we all want to know that there are shortcuts to this thing called business, there really aren’t. What we DO have, though, are guidelines based on research. Your job is to study social media guidelines, apply them to your business, and then test them out. Analyze the results and formulate a strategy based on them. You can pick one of these sets of guidelines (either the one that seems to make the most sense to you or just pick one at random to avoid analysis paralysis.
Perhaps you will find that the first strategy you choose is the perfect fit. If so, awesome! However, don’t be surprised if you have to tinker with it a bit before you find the schedule that generates consistent engagement. That’s where testing comes into play. (By the way, I can’t move on without emphasizing the need to be flexible and understand that things may need to change over time. You never know when the social media powers-that-be will decide to switch up their algorithms or implement new content policies, forcing you to come up with a new game plan.)
Analyzing and Testing
How do you know whether your social media strategy is working? You crunch the numbers. Thankfully, there are several tools available that can help you with this task.
Facebook makes it easy for you to see how your posts are being receive by and engaged with your audience. Their analytics tool, Insights, is available with all fan pages. To access your pages insights, all you need to do is log into your business fan page, click on Insights at the top of the page, and then select posts on the left of the page.
Here, you can see how much reach each post has gained and details on how you audience engaged with your content. If you click on individual posts, you can see detailed information on which actions people took when they encountered that post, including positive engagement (likes, shares, comments, clicking on links) and negative engagement (hide post, hide all posts, report post, unlike page). You can even see info like what days your audience is online, what times of the day, and the type of content that they really enjoy. Use this information to tweak your Facebook content strategy.
You should also keep your eye on your Twitter analytics. It can be helpful in showing you the relationship between how often you post and the engagement you get. Once you are logged in to Twitter’s Analytics dashboard, click on Tweets at the top of the screen. Now, you will be able to see each Tweet, how many impressions it received (how many people saw it), how many people engaged with it, and your rate of engagement.
When you hover your mouse over the dated bar graph, you can see how many tweets you posted that day as well as the number of impressions. Then you can scroll down to match up the impressions with the dates, times, and content of your tweets. All of this information combined can paint a picture for you of what your audience likes, how often, and when.
Pinterest Analytics also helps you to see how your pins perform on any given day. Once you are inside Pinterest Analytics, click on profile. From there you can explore stats about impressions, saves, and clicks during the week.
Instagram business profiles have access to a mobile analytics tool that can show you information such as weekly impressions and reach for your posts, how many people visited your profile, how many clicked over to your website, and how people engaged with your content. If you prefer a desktop tool Iconosquare can also help you keep track of quite a bit of info, including engagement within a selected time frame. It also has a feature that helps you identify the best times to post for your specific audience.
LinkedIn’s Analytics feature isn’t the most robust out there, but it can still be used to see how your network engages with your updates. You can use this as a guide when you start testing how often you post content. Check out this video from LinkedIn that shows how to get the most out of their Analytics tool on LinkedIn business profiles.
Last, but not least, Google+ has a native analytics dashboard for business pages that can help you glean some valuable information about engagement on your posts. Simply go to your Google+ business page and click on My Business on the left. There, you can view your page insights for the past 30 days (among other things).
What’s the ROI?
The truth is, none of these analytics mean anything out of (business) context. Here’s the question you need to ask yourself:
Is my social media activity generating more customers for my business?
If you ask 9 out of 10 social media marketers this, they won’t know the answer. It probably never even crossed their mind to find out. The analytics they are used to reporting on (reach, engagement, audience growth) are what serious marketers call “Vanity Metrics”.
That is, they make you feel like you’re doing something significant when you really aren’t. The good thing about an integrated platform like Hubspot is it ties your social media activity to the numbers that grow your business:
This focus on ROI is baked into the Hubspot social media reporting tools. Here are screenshots from Ubrik’s social media dashboard.
How does this help you?
Well, if you’re a marketing manager, you can demonstrate that social media is actually making your business money.
Because every new lead has a $-values attached – the cost of acquiring it and the revenue generated per lead. What’s more, if you can deliver those leads at a lower cost than other channels, you’ll be able to show the power of social media in black and white, in the only language a business understands: dollar bills.
If you’re a business owner, you can hold your marketing managers accountable.
You won’t be looking at meaningless reports on reach, engagement, follower growth, etc., and have to sit through CYA (Cover Your A**) discussions about, “building our brand”, “digital activation”, and “mind share”. You can weigh your investment in social media against the revenue it generates, and either make adjustments or drop channels entirely.
Quality > Quantity
Although it is important to be consistent when posting to social media, what you don’t want to do is post content just for the sake of filling in your social media schedule. Every piece of content you post should pass a three-point litmus test.
- It should be relevant to your audience.
- It should be timely.
- It should serve a purpose.
If a piece of content does not fit all three criteria, rethink including it in your social media line-up. After all, you want to be viewed as an expert who provides value. Not one that tosses out fluff and filler just to stay on schedule. Make every post count. You never know who will see it (or if that is the only chance you have of making a positive impression with them).
Each Platform Serves a Different Purpose
The various platforms are not interchangeable. The content that you share on Instagram will be different than the content that you share on Twitter or Linkedin. The audiences on these platforms are also there for different reasons. You should keep that in mind when creating content. Because if you’re consistently posting the wrong type of content to a platform, you might as well not post anything at all.
Facebook is where people go to connect with people (and brands) that they care about. Your focus should be on engaging with your audience and building your brand.
Twitter is where people go for direct conversations about (or with) the people, brands, and ideas that matter to them. Use it to share important news, get (or look for) feedback on your brand, and provide customer support.
Pinterest is where people go or inspiration, to share the things that are important to them, and to find new products. It’s a terrific place to conduct research on your target market’s habits and interests, to drive traffic to your website, and to generate some real social ROI.
People love Instagram because it’s a great way to share snapshots of your life as well as to see behind the scenes of your favorite people, brands, and celebrities. Use it to show the personal and creative side of your business.
LinkedIn is where the professionals hang out to learn more about their industries and to share insight. It’s the perfect place for B2B marketers to show their expertise and network with your target audience (and others in your field).
Google+ is built on sharing relevant information and building communities. Use it to establish your expertise and get to know your audience on a more personal level through community feature.
Outsourcing is a Worthy Investment
If you’ve been reading this article and found yourself wondering how in the world you’re going to figure all of this out and implement a social media strategy that works, then perhaps it’s time to consider growing your team.
There’s a reason that there are so many social media autoscheduling tools out there. And why so many companies have success teaching about social media marketing. It’s because it’s complex, takes time to get results, and can have a steep learning curve. So, if you find the whole topic of social media to be frustrating yet you realize the critical role it plays in modern-day marketing, you are not alone.
That’s why many small businesses choose to hire a digital marketing team professional (or an entire team, depending on their needs) to design, implement, and manage their social media campaigns. Digital marketing experts have a firm grasp of social media, stay in the loop where it concerns best practices, and can get results faster than a novice trying to figure things out on their own. Having the right people on your team can ensure that your social media profiles are filled with great content that gets results.
I know that this is a lot to take in, so I’ll sum everything up in 5 simple takeaways:
- Start off with some industry recommendations for posting frequency. Don’t think too hard about it. Just pick a set of tried-and-true research findings and apply them to your business.
- Use native and 3rd party analytics tools to gauge your engagement. Pay close attention to posting times, how your audience engaged (both positively and negatively), and they type of content they engage with the most.
- If engagement is not where it needs to be, don’t get discouraged. Accept it as part of the process and then test things out. Post more often. Or less often. Post at different times of the day. Rinse and repeat until you find your “sweet spot”.
- Post great content on the right platforms. Not “meh” content wherever you can squeeze it in. Imagine that everyone who sees your content has just ONE CHANCE to see it. Then make that one chance count. Every. Single. Time.
- Don’t be afraid (or too proud) to outsource your digital marketing strategy. It’s okay if it’s not your “zone of genius”. Hire someone who lives and breathes digital marketing so that they can work their magic and you can spend more time doing the things that YOU do best. Your business will thank you for it.
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