If you’re considering social media or in the beginning phases of planning your efforts, you’ve probably asked yourself the loaded question of, “How much do I post?” Or even, “What day and time should I post?”
Like all other questions involving encouraging humans interacting favorably, the answer is, “It’s complicated.” Sure, your audience is unique but you still need somewhere to start, right? I approach social media, and really all marketing, like a big science experiment. As you begin the experiment you start with what you know, make a good hypothesis about what might happen, watch the results then adjust the variables and rerun the experiment.
To build our “how much to post” hypothesis I checked with the “experts”. When I refer to the “experts” I’m talking about HubSpot, Constant Contact, Buffer, Dow Social, LocalVox, Nulou and Quick Sprout. All these folks are proven thought leaders in the social media sphere and fortunately for us decided to run multiple studies in the past year (no less than 10) in an effort to answer the ominous questions of how much and when.
For the longest time marketers have suggested a benchmark of two posts per day on Facebook. And after reading these studies it turns out that isn’t all true. If you have 10,000+ followers then yes, two times a day is perfect for engaging viewers. However if you have less than 10,000 followers, which many of us do, you should post far less to connect with but not bombard your audience.
Facebook engagement and posting frequency varies widely by industry, so widely I could write a whole article just about that. For our purposes let’s discuss Facebook engagement (likes, shares, clicks and follows) for a page with a following between 201 and 1,000. HubSpot found posting as little as 1-5 times per month to that size audience will yield the most link clicks. Per post clicks decrease as number of posts increase. However, posting up to 30 times per month is still advisable to drive the maximum number of visitors to your site. The study suggests over 30 posts per month delivers less clicks per month than just 15 posts.
Not a big surprise, Twitter’s posting cadence is faster and more frequent than Facebook. The algorithm displaying content to viewers on Twitter places far more weight on a tweet’s recency than Facebook. Plus Twitter allows its account holders to decide how they want their news feeds sorted so there’s a wider variety of how people receive content.
If what you’re going for on Twitter is maximum post engagement work towards 1-5 tweets per day. If you want to maximize total responses you can tweet until you’re blue in face. The studies show you can post up to 50 times a day without over sharing.
Like Facebook, LinkedIn seems more manageable to maintain from a time investment perspective. All the experts agree, over sharing on LinkedIn is a terrible strategy. Though any post on the network may reach around 20% of your contacts, so don’t neglect your audience in entirely. Try to post once a day during the weekdays for best results.
Regardless of the network, your industry or the size of your audience, everyone, experts and audiences alike, agrees on one thing: if you don’t have something interesting to say don’t say anything at all. Your social posting plan should emphasize quality over quantity. There’s certainly a minimum of quality posts you’ll need to make but posting just to post so you can reach a goal of posts per month isn’t worth your time. Use these benchmarks as a guide, paired with the time you have available to create quality content to make a hypothesis about how much and when you should post your social media content. Then, like a good scientist, review your data, tweak and repeat.
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