How Often Should You Post?

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.

social postingsYes, 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.

starbucks and coca-cola FB activity

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!
Social Steve

3 Comments

Filed under brands, content marketing, Facebook, social marketing, social media, social media marketing, social media performance, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve, Twitter

3 responses to “How Often Should You Post?

  1. Jim Matorin

    Steve keep posting and I will keep reading. Always sound advice.

  2. One thing missing that I believe is worth mentioning with respect to audience, is to consider your audience’s time-zone. If you have value to share, and you have researched that your audience is most likely to view/see content, at, say 11:00AM, you have to consider that 11:00AM in NYC is 8:00 AM in San Francisco.

    Like you, Steve, I hear the question of “how often to post” a lot. But to reach the lion’s share of one’s follower-distribution-curve, taking your global audience into account is a good idea – there are 23+ other time zones that sleep for a third of our own waking day.

    How to do it? Well, as one of my favorite b-school economics teachers used to say, “it depends.” And, your approach to test a post, and see reaction is a good one, but realize that if you want to see a reaction/response from SF, and NYC, you will need to post relative to both time zones, and yes, that get’s messy. At 11:00AM in NYC, people are in their cars commuting in SF, so they aren’t reading your posts…we hope!

    Longer term, I think the problem will be solved on the receiver side.More people are getting effective at using tools (hootsuite, tweetdeck, etc.) to filter their streams, monitor their sources and track #hashtags. These tools WILL and MUST become ubiquitous as more and more people get social, and the stream of information multiplies exponentially over time. #SteinVox.

  3. Right on point. Thanks for bringing it back to content strategy and walking in our readers’ shoes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s