The use of social media to promote your business is yet another key ingredient in the Internet Marketing recipe. What many people don’t realize is how much time is actually required to successfully manage social media accounts. They often just think that creating an account, in order to have a presence in the most popular social media arenas (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), is all that it takes, and web traffic will start rolling in.
They don’t realize that once an account is created, a community has to be cultivated and maintained through creating and sharing unique content that those that have connected to you find relevant and useful. The tough part for many small businesses is that they lack the time and/or manpower required to give the proper attention to their social media accounts.
In an attempt to place a fraction of their available focus on gaining visibility for their company through social media, I’ve often heard clients ask, “How often should I post to (Insert Popular Social Media Platform Here)?” I would love to respond with a clear-cut number, but as is often the case in the Internet Marketing world, I have to answer with “It depends”.
There are many different factors that come into play when it comes to frequency of social media posts, such as industry, audience, topic(s), etc. When working with social media, marketers are constantly walking a fine line between under- and over-sharing with their audience. Not sharing enough will not get you noticed; yet sharing too much may drive away followers. They key is to find a way to be informative without being annoying…To share, but also listen. That said, my experience, along with research that I’ve done on the topic of Social Media post frequency, has provided me with the following guidelines to act as a starting point when determining how often to post on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
In a recent study done by Socialbakers, they analyzed 3 months worth of Facebook posts of 10 of the world’s top brands. They found that posting once per week on Facebook was not enough to maintain a connection with their audience, but posting more than twice per day was crossing the line into annoying. Their research suggests that the ideal number is between 5 – 10 posts per week as a brand.
In looking into the lifecycle, or “shelf life”, of a Facebook post, Wisemetrics found that the 90-minute mark was the point at which Facebook posts receive 50% of their potential engagement. Thus, suggesting that the average Facebook post reaches its height of popularity an hour and a half after its’ initially been posted.
Social Bakers also studied Twitter, taking a random sample of 11,000 tweets from top brands and measured “engagement per tweet”. Their findings concluded that 3 tweets per day is the point where brands start seeing big engagement. In a similar study, Track Social found engagement per tweet to peak at 5 tweets per day, and then drop off. Combining the two studies, it appears that a good starting point would be 3 – 5 tweets per day as a brand.
It is also important to note the sense, or expectation, of immediacy that goes along with Twitter. Moz’s Peter Bray conducted some research surrounding the lifespan of a tweet and found that 18-minutes is the amount of time it takes for half of a tweet’s re-tweets to occur. In other words, once a tweet has been live for 18 minutes, it has reached the peak of its engagement. Subsequent engagement may follow, but its highest point of popularity is over.
The most helpful information about frequency of sharing on LinkedIn actually comes from the site itself. LinkedIn published a marketing guide that claimed that 20 posts per month allow a person to reach 60% of their audience. That basically comes out to one post per weekday. Though I haven’t been able to track down any concrete data, my experience has shown that the lifecycle of a LinkedIn post is longer than that of a Facebook post.
Based on the aforementioned data, you can now see that there are a lot of factors that must be taken into account when deciding how often to post on social media. There truly is a delicate balance to achieve across each of the different platforms. Though these suggestions can serve as guidelines, they are in no way meant to be a solution that works for everyone, all the time. The best way to find your individual “sweet spot” is to set goals, test, measure and then optimize accordingly, always seeking to provide the audience with useful/relevant information.