Have you ever wondered what is the “optimum frequency” that you should be posting on social media with?
The honest answer is, it depends.
The most important criteria, should be based on your business objectives, as well as the availability of content, coupled with the time it takes to produce, and deliver the content out through your social channels in an appropriate format.
So if you don’t have enough stories to share, or content that would genuinely be of value to your audience, then as a default, don’t try to come up with stuff just because you feel you should. Every word, every image, every bit and byte that gets posted has to add value, and if it doesn’t then scrap it. It’s better to go silent, than to add to the noise.
As it stands, there’s far too much content being produced daily on the internet for any human on the planet to consume it all, so get off your high horse, let down your ego gently, and just accept, that your content’s value, and contribution needs to be the number one priority, ahead of how often, and how frequently you should be posting.
If you don’t have something useful, valuable, helpful, or beneficial to your audience, then don’t post for the sake of posting.
It’s why platforms like Facebook and Twitter penalise brands for posting on social with content that gets low engagement rates. A part of it is to do with there being too much content on the platforms to consume for the average user. But the other part is that poor quantity will damage your reputation with your audience on the platform, and end up costing you more in the long run to get back the attention of the fans that you worked so hard to acquire in the first place.
There are, on the flip side, plenty of bits of research and evidence that demonstrate that having a regular and consistent posting schedule generates consistent gains and benefits to a brand, or an individual. I’d suggest taking some of it with a pinch of salt. There’s been experiments, with Twitter for example, that show a direct correlation between frequency of posting, and growth in following.
There is definitely a basic effect. If you post more often, then you’ll get more exposure to your audience, which will lead to them potentially liking/sharing or responding more often. The key is to get your audience responding on a regular and frequent basis. That’s a lot easier, when you post regularly, and to a schedule. It also gives you a bit more structure too with which to work.
Post to a consistent schedule. Your audience will get conditioned into seeing your posts at the same time/day each week.
That helps in cultivating a regularity and frequency that your audience can respond to, and also structures your work, by giving you clear deadlines, and a schedule to work with.
Let’s be clear though, if you don’t have something useful, or valuable to contribute, then you are going to struggle with a schedule, especially if you’re short on content. That’s where it’s important to make sure you think of your users needs, ahead of your own. It’s helpful to know who your perfect audience is, and what they like/dislike. The better you know your audience, the easier it becomes to make sure your content will be fit for purpose.
Know who your perfect audience is, and keep them in mind, when preparing your content calendar.
As you start to serve your audience better, you’ll get much more of a positive reception, both through social, as well as through other mediums. Intuitively, you’ll start to develop a better sense of what works, and what doesn’t work. However, intuition can be misleading, and with a large enough audience, a single post, taken out of context can introduce in bias into what everyone thinks works, or doesn’t work for your audience.
To eliminate bias, and objectively look at how you’re meeting the needs of your audience, it’s important to look at hard stats.
The numbers don’t lie. Engagement levels, or response rates, will tell you clearly what it is that you’re accomplishing with your efforts.
Of course, you should already have a clear idea of your objectives, and measures of success for social, but if you don’t regularly measure, and report those, you won’t get the insights, or feedback you need to see what needs work, and what’s performing well.
Measure the performance of your social content regularly and often.
You’ll find with time, once you’ve established a baseline of performance, that you’ll now have an objective basis from which to adjust, and make changes to your posting schedule, as well as to the types of content that you post, and how well it performs for your audience.
This brings me to next rule of posting frequency:
Promote your audience and your peers, more than yourself.
When it comes to giving compliments, everyone loves receiving them.
If you start to actively share the content from others, from your audience, from the brands and celebrities who you would be happy to endorse, or acknowledge and from peers in your industry, or colleagues in other organisations, it speaks volumes about you.
The fact that you’re willing to provide your audience with the best content for them, regardless of where it comes from, means that you’re more interested in giving them things that you believe would be of value to them, more than just promoting yourself, and bigging yourself up on Social.
It’s a humble one, but it’s one that pays dividends. The research, in general, shows, that the more often you share things about others, and not just yourself, the more people trust, and respect you. Especially if as a voice in your field, you’re able to have an opinion on someone else’s perspective, that adds value to what you share, rather than just blanket passing on someone else’s content.
The next point, and this is a super important one is:
Post when your audience are online.
This might seem like a bit of a foolish bit of advice, but hear me out.
If your audience are people that go to work, then chances are they’ll be busy during office hours. So you need to think about that, and bear that in mind, when you publish your posts. Will the people you want to have see your posts be online at the time your post goes live?
The reason why it’s important, is because if they’re not going to be online when you post it, then chances are that no-one’s going to see it.
Most people don’t go and personally review everything that a brand posts. (Unless they’re a competitor or a marketer, it just isn’t going to happen 9 times out of 10!) That is unless someone has explicitly engaged with the content, and responded, reacted, or engaged in a way that brings others into the conversation. But that initial stimulus, that initial spurt of activity can only occur if the people you want to reach are likely to be checking their social networks then.
Typical times include commuting times, lunch times, evenings when sat in front of the TV. Just bear timing in mind, and look at people from your key audience segments, and see what their online habits are, before you expect success in your posting schedule.
Final bit of guidance:
Set your own rules.
There are no fixed rules that work for everyone.
What I’ve suggested here is an approach of how you could go about developing your posting frequency. But at the end of the day, you need to take ownership of it for yourself.
You need to define and agree upon something that is practical and that works for you.
For myself for example, I’ve deliberately refrained from posting too often on this blog, as well as my ‘brand’ social media channels for ConsciousComms, because I’ve been swamped with client work, that has kept me from wanting to be too visible, or share too much of what’s been happening.
That said, I’ve come to realise that a lot of the insights, learnings, and perspectives I’ve been picking up along the way could be super useful to colleagues, and peers in the industry, as well as people new to the field. So with that in mind, I’ve started to deliberately start a weekly posting schedule again. More to share what I have learnt, as it felt selfish not to, than for any other reason.
I’m excited whenever I post on any social channels. I know what I have to share is useful and valuable. If it’s for a client, and their audience, or for myself, and my audiences, I know, regardless, that people will benefit from the content. But I’m also really clear on where the value isn’t and unless there’s a business rationale that dictates otherwise, I always make sure I only ever post on social channels, when there’s genuine value, and a consistency of frequency involved.
If business needs change, or posting frequency needs to be revised, then I’m all for changing things along the way. However, it needs to be deliberate and conscious, with a specific intent, not just posting for the sake of posting.
I would love to hear what you think!
Do you agree with the guidance I shared?
If you do, post a comment below, on which is the most important/valuable rule for you.
If you don’t agree, I would love to hear your perspective in a reply on what you disagree with and why?
Finally if I’ve missed something out, or you think there’s something else that you would add, then please do share, your thoughts of what that might be, in the comments section below.
I look forward to connecting again soon, and leave your responses below, with your feedback!
Thanks for reading, and for sharing the article with anyone you think might benefit from the advice.