A clear cut question, explored in multiple studies. But it’s without a clear cut answer. Businesses have different objectives and audiences, and thus the optimum strategy for posting will differ. But whatever your business, when making decisions about when to post on social media you should always follow these three principles:
- Quality over quantity
- Consistency over frequency
- Look to your audience for your answer
Before we delve into their detail, to kill any curiosity, here are some of the channel-specific recommendations from across studies. As already emphasised, it is the three principles that are king. But for those at the early stages of social media for business, you may wish to be aware of these recommendations so that you have a general idea of where you could start.
Facebook: most studies agree that once per day is optimal. Only if you’ve got more than 10,000 followers would two posts per day be recommended (Hubspot found that pages under 10,000 fans experienced a 50% drop in engagement per post if they posted more than once per day).
Instagram: the general consensus is to post once a day, and no more than 3 times per day. It is worth noting that a Union Metrics study found that, for Instagram, consistency is more important than frequency. If you make a habit of posting several times a day and then transition to only a few times a week, you will start to lose followers and generate less engagement per post. So find a pace and stick to it.
Linkedin: at least twice a week, and no more than once each business day. Post in the mornings; Linkedin is a business community activity and tends to drop off after 5pm.
Twitter: there’s much debate about this one. Recommendations range from once per day to 51 times per day. Ultimately, it comes down to your goals. If you want to optimise your engagement per tweet, aim for 1-5 tweets per day. If you want to generate more total responses, tweet away (even 51 times). It’s important to remember that tweets have an incredibly short shelf-life, on average 15-20 minutes, so be sure to spread your tweets throughout the day.
Digest these figures, but, as previously stressed, posting frequency strategy is not one size fits all. What you need to focus on first and foremostly, is these three principles:
-Quality is more important than quantity
There’s a balance to be struck. If you post too infrequently, your audience may forget you exist. Post too much and you’ll irritate them, making them scroll straight past you by default and potentially unfollowing you.
But what’s worse than never posting, is posting something pointless. You should not post something just to fill a slot in your schedule. Post poor quality content and you’ll lose engagement. And this will affect your reach: many social media channels use content quality and engagement as factors in their algorithms (the clever formulas that decide which content shows on whose feed and in which part of it). So what makes content ‘good quality’? Content is of a high quality when it genuinely adds value to your audience and they actually engage. Specifically what adds value and engages will vary from audience to audience (see the third principle).
-Consistency is more important than frequency
You don’t want to overwhelm your followers. Choose your posting pace and stick to it. This will aid follower retention and acquisition; followers will know what to expect. One tactic to support this is packaging some of your content: naming content that is always on the same theme and always posted at the same time. It creates a ‘feature’ feel. We do this with our ‘Hello Lincoln’ post every Wednesday.
Another great example is Morning Coffee Thoughts by Zanna Van Dijk. Every morning she posts an Instagram story of three thoughts she had during her first coffee. Each thought/question is a bullet point of no more than 10 words and ranges from the profound and motivational to the ‘boring’ and basic, from ‘Your best is enough’ to ‘I cannot wait to watch Last Kingdom tonight.’ Doesn’t sound like ‘genuine value’ to you? Well, she did a poll with her followers on whether they wanted her to continue with Morning Coffee Thoughts or not, and a massive 91% said yes. It’s no surprise; as discussed in last week’s article about honesty on social media, people love relatability and realness and connect with those who show it. This case, where Zanna polled her followers, is also a great example of making content decisions based on your audience…
-Base your decisions on your audience (and use analytics to help you)
Different businesses have different audiences. To develop the best posting strategy for your business, you need to understand your audiences on your channels. Use the insights tools that the social media channels provide to help you do this. Find out who’s viewing and interacting with your content? Do posts get more engagement in the morning or at night? Do different tests to help you find out what works best for your audience (e.g. try posting at different times of day, different content themes, formats etc). If you want to dig deeper than the insights tools provided by the channels, there are additional analytics tools available.
In summary, there is no magic answer to the question of how often to post on social media. What is key is consistently posting quality content, and using analytics to help you discover what works best for your audience.
If you’d like to talk more about your social media, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]