I am probably asked this question more than any other from brand clients? The simple answer is you should post as much as your audience is likely to want to hear from you.
Yes, this answer is somewhat ambiguous, but let’s peal it down a bit. First off, asking this question is not the place to start. Ask yourself, are we jumping to tactics before we have a strategy and plan? Far too many marketers forget marketing fundamentals when establishing a social marketing presence. Consider “Where You Start in Social Media Strategy Defines Where You End Up.”
Next you have to have a rich understanding and empathy for your audience. Social is not about pushing your agenda. It is about your audience, not your product/service. Yes there is a cross section of what your audience values and reinforcing you’re offering. This comes from having a solid message and content strategy. I cannot emphasis enough how important a well thought out content strategy is. Think about providing your audience content that adds value to your offering and reinforces your brand as the knowledge leader in your industry vertical.
So once we have the marketing fundamentals and content strategy in place as described above, we can answer the question of posting numbers, cadence, and timing. If you are producing content that continually provides valuable information and/or compelling entertaining content, you can post more often than if you are simply providing product push. Think about those brands that ask you to subscribe to an email list and then send you a product blast every day. Doesn’t that get tiresome and turn you off to the brand? The same is true for social posting. If you just post product spam, expect your audience to get disenchanted, not engaged, and potentially un-follow your brand.
If you provide valued content, start by posting once a day. See how your audience responds. Examining empirical data to evaluate true audience response is imperative. As an example, I pulled some posting data from Social Bakers for two top notch social brands – Coca-Cola and Starbucks. Starbucks has 34M fans and Coca-Cola 60.5M fans so the magnitude of responses has large variation between the two.
There are three tables for each. I think it is important to look at the number of posts, user engagement (talking about this) and heat maps depicting activity times all together. These three charts help you draw conclusions with regards to the optimal posting for your brand. Yes there are best practices, but each audience reacts differently and you must know your audience behavior and execute accordingly. Notice that responses rates increase with hiring postings. Also, if you witness peak responses as in the case of Starbucks at the end of the month, examine the type of post that produced that spike and take note that the audience responds strongly to that content. It may be worthwhile to do more postings of that particular style.
Also noteworthy – is that postings to different channels should take on different forms. Twitter should be used for quick useful factoids and points of inspiration. Twitter should include a number of curation pieces and RTs from people that reinforce what the brand stands for. FB should be used to engage and extend the conversation and stories of the topics on a brand content hub as well as “tangential” postings of conversations and pieces that the content hub speaks to.
So to answer the question directly, “How Often Should You Post,” start with once a day on Facebook, a couple of times a day on Twitter. Make sure to provide content your target audience will value – not just product promotions. Examine the results (response to types of posts, best times for responses) and modify your posting timing and cadence based on the empirical data.
It is really not rocket science. It is more like the psychology of your audience – understand what makes them tick and play to their emotions.
Make It Happen!