How often should you post to social media to be informative, and not annoying?

By Jim James,

Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of the SPEAK|pr Podcast

The SPEAK|pr program has five fundamental parts: Storify, Personalise, Engage, Amplify, and Know, and the focus today is on social media posting, which highlights the Amplification part of the program. It’s important to determine at what stage is the attempt to be informative drifting into being annoying, and in what state is the desire to share end up being intrusive. I think everyone wonders how much social media is enough. People definitely consume a lot, but the question is, how much should people be producing? With the SPEAK|pr Mastermind, using a platform called Lately, EASTWEST PR is able to have autogenerated content. 

According to a blog post by Constant Contact, Facebook is now a low volume-high value network and that means you shouldn’t be posting too frequently, because people get annoyed if there are too many posts. This means each post should be of value to the audience. They say frequency should be somewhere between 3-10 times per week. Your personal posts could be lower than your professional ones, but still not a great deal more. A Socialbakers report shows that big brands are posting an average of just once per day. The idea is basically to not post too many times into your Facebook company account. The challenge here is that if you post too little, you could lose the connection with your audience, so one has to find the balance between posting too much as to be annoying and too little as to be forgotten. 

One of the benefits of a platform like Lately is it also takes the same content and repurpose it. They change the headlines, the body content, and more, so you don’t necessarily have to think about creating new content all the time. You could simply be repackaging the existing content I have. Facebook, on the other hand, values fresh content, so it’s not so much about just posting the same thing in slightly different variations, but you have to think about it being new content. There’s an Edge Rank study on the Moz blog that said you can increase your frequency, but it has to be compelling and fresh content each time. The recurring theme seems to be that if you’re posting to Facebook, it should be not too often and great quality.

How much should you post to Twitter, Facebook, & LinkedIn?

Photo from Social Talent

A Socialbakers study analyzed over 11,000 tweets from top brands, and they found that three tweets per day is where brands start to see big engagement, so they suggest that three tweets is the magic number for a company account for optimal posting. Once you tweet four or five times, the response per tweet peaks and then drops off. Actually, when you look at their charts, they don’t drop as steeply as you might think. But if you’ve got a time value equation on Twitter, five times a day for a company is the optimal number, apparently. This doesn’t mean to say that past the fifth tweet, there is no longer any response. There will still be engagement, don’t worry. They are merely suggesting that, again, the caveat being that you’ve got fresh content, which you can create with a platform like Lately, you can post up to 30 times a day and not lose any followers. If you’ve got a global presence, you need to be posting 24 hours a day, so geotargeting is definitely something you need to consider. 

The chart from Socialbakers shows that the more opportunities you want to have, the more often you need to tweet, but the content does need to be unique for each tweet, as Twitter won’t let you repost the same tweet twice. It’s a study in scale, but as we talk about in the SPEAK|pr program, it’s personalization at scale. Greater volume should correlate to greater total response, which it does, but as the percentage of engagement rate will decline with volume, the total number will have gone up. Alexandra Skey of Spokal believes that small business owners are better off sticking to the five tweets per day rule, because it gets you the maximum bang for your buck. That’s great if you’ve got a one-timezone business in my view and if you are spending an average of 12 minutes to write one social media post. 

Apparently, a tweet lasts only approximately 18 minutes. Peter Bray ran a survey on the Moz website, and at the 18-minute mark, half of the tweets will have disappeared, and half of them then will have ceased to be of any value to you or your audience. So, after the 12 minutes it took you to compose that post, it will last for about 18 minutes. In a way, it’s not a great return on investment, so you do have to think about when you post, because if you’re posting at times when people are not interested, it’ll be gone by the time they’ve actually had a chance to look at their social media. Facebook, interestingly, has a half-life of 90 minutes. That’s a better ROI than your tweet if it takes you 12 minutes to write a Facebook post. The challenge is if it’s not taking you 12 minutes and you do it too quickly, then it’s considered to have no value and it could possibly annoy your audience and then you get unfollowed. The bottom line, really, is the a tweet lasts 20 minutes, while a Facebook post lasts 90 minutes, and so you have make your content count and worth your followers’ attention, because within two hours, all that work you’ve done is gone. 

For LinkedIn, which is one those with businesses will prioritise the most because of the 590 million plus LinkedIn members all around the world, guidelines from LinkedIn itself suggest that 20 posts per month allows you to reach 60% of your audience. In other words, it’s one post per weekday. They say if you post to your own website or to your own LinkedIn profile, one a day is good, but you can post two to three on your company page. That’s just because those people have already dedicated themselves to your business, and this may not take into account posting into groups, because posting to a group is counted as a separate post and it doesn’t appear on your feed. You could probably increase that frequency then, but it is a lot of work, because each post into each group is a dedicated piece of work.

When should you schedule your posts?

Photo from Sprout Social

The next dimension to think about is time and when to schedule posts. Again, for international businesses, they would need to plan their scheduling across three timezones, and that’s where platforms like Lately, Zoho, Buffer, or HubSpot come in thanks to their sophisticated targeting. With mailing lists, you can also start to create campaigns by geography, so that people are receiving these newsletters at the appropriate time for them. Social media is just the same. Scheduling becomes quite a big aspect, and so there are companies with dedicated social media managers working out which posts have got the right content for their engagement levels, which is the right platform, and which is the right timeline. Don’t forget: each platform will deal with your content differently in different levels of engagement with different kinds of content. 

Lately is a $200-$300+ subscription per month, and there are others platforms like Lately as well that can help you create and schedule the content with different levels of support. Headliner helps you generate appropriate headlines but doesn’t schedule them for you. You just cut and paste the headlines. There are lots of different tools mentioned on the SPEAK|pr program which are also on this website. At SPEAK|pr, you’ll find the Technology Applications Directory, which has got over 100 of these platforms listed in it. 

All businesses should have an editorial calendar. It’s no longer sufficient to be just posting content. Gary Vee, the social media sensation, has apparently got two to three years of legacy content already loaded thanks to Lately. In other words, even when Gary Vee stops working, he’ll still be online and posting for another 24-36 months. This is connected to batch processing content, and this is obviously the social media distribution part of batch processing. It’s lining things up in advance by channel and by timezone. 

In summary, a minimum workload is posting to Twitter five times a day every couple of hours, between seven in the morning and 11 o’clock at night, posting to Facebook five to 10 times per week, seven times a day, between 10am and 4pm, assuming you’re doing this for your business, and for LinkedIn, just once per day on weekdays before 10 o’clock in the morning or at lunchtime. Those would then get you the three biggest channels. There’s Instagram and YouTube as well, but they’re a whole different story. There is a methodology in all of this social media madness, but it is possible to keep up and frankly, it is essential now to have a social media strategy. The secret is not to get overwhelmed and make it take over your whole strategy and your whole schedule. With that, take into consideration what you’ve learned today and keep on posting on social media, not too much, but just the right amount at the right time and on the right platform.

This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast SPEAK|pr, you can listen here.

Cover Photo from Search Engine Journal

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