Nothing in business should be done randomly. Playing a guessing game with your business and your money is as smart as taking your life savings to a blackjack table without even knowing the rules of the game. Thankfully, there’s no part of business that you can’t apply statistics, studies, and science to for determining how to proceed, even with social media.
Ask a Dozen Experts, Get a Dozen Answers
Unfortunately, there are two major problems in deciding what your company’s social media strategy should be in terms of when and how often to post. The first problem is social media itself. The medium is still relatively new, and it’s ever changing. The rules today are slightly different than they were a few years ago, and they’ll be different again in the future.
The second problem is that you’re dealing with people, and more specifically with new generations of people who are changing the rules as quickly as technology changes. Neither of these problems are new, but the fast pace of technological world requires that we stay much more attuned to new developments, which come much more quickly than in the past.
There are widely varying opinions on the subject, so the most accurate way to design your strategy is by starting with averages and consensus. However, the one aspect that is universally agreed upon is that social media, and digital marketing in general, requires consistency. While your schedule recommendations may need tweaking as you go, blogging when you feel like it and posting to social sites sporadically is definitely a waste of time. Set a schedule and stick to it until you have enough data to tell you how to tweak it.
Here’s Your Baseline
Based on the suggestions of many social media experts, here are the best times and frequencies to post to the various platforms.
Facebook – Post twice a day. After two posts in a day, the likes and comments start falling off fairly dramatically. Personally I recommend posting every day, but the most effective days and times according to the averages are Wednesday through Sunday in the early afternoon (12-4pm).
Twitter – Post 3-5 times per day, although many successful businesses tweet up to 15 times per day. Weekdays are more effective than weekends, around lunch and early dinner times (12-3pm and 5-6pm).
LinkedIn – Once per day seems to be the consensus. Monday through Thursday are the best days, and there are three optimal times: 7:30-8:30am, 12pm, and 5-6pm.
Google+ – Three times per day. Every weekday would be fine, but for some reason Wednesdays from 9-11am is considered the optimal time. And yes, Google+ does still exist (at least at the time of this writing, at the time of posting who knows?).
Pinterest – Pinterest is a different animal in almost every aspect. Post 5 times per day or more. There’s really not a top number. The times are also different, and a bit odd: 2-4am and 2-4pm every day, Fridays at 3pm, and 8-11pm on Saturdays.
Instagram – Twice per day or more, there’s no engagement drop-off for more posts as long as your post count stays pretty consistent. Weekdays are best, and videos do best when posted after 9pm for some reason.
Blog – Your blog also needs to be consistent, with at least 2 posts per week. In fact, one study found that increasing blog posts from once to twice per week almost double their leads.
This is Only a Test
The real secret to finding your best schedule is time, effort, and analysis. Use these days and times to set your initial schedule and stick to it consistently for about three months. Use analytics to see how well it’s working, and adjust from there. Your target audience is not the same as another company’s target audience, and your results may vary. And then there’s also the almost guaranteed fact that all of the algorithms for the platforms will be changed in the near future, which will automatically require a strategy adjustment of some kind.
One shortcut that might help you in getting started is to analyse your competition’s posting and blogging habits and see what kind of results they’re getting, since they’ll have the same target audience as you. The entire process takes time and effort, which is why most small and medium sized companies choose to use a social media agency to do the heavy lifting for them.