How often should you post on social?

How often should you post on social?

This question comes up frequently in marketing discussions and social media planning meetings. With the various blog posts and articles that cover this topic, many answers are at our fingertips: on our smartphones or being streamed into our social network feeds as we speak. However, are the answers you find likely to be correct? Probably not.

To help understand why, let’s take a more every-day example. Lifehack has a nifty infographic about happiness that suggests, amongst other things, that married people are 10 per cent happier than unmarried people.

Source: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/the-science-happiness.html

Source: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/the-science-happiness.html

 

A little common sense will tell us that the statistic quoted does not indicate that an unmarried individual can improve their happiness by 10 per cent purely by getting married.

We understand that the ‘correlation’ between married people and happiness does not automatically indicate ‘causation’. In other words, we recognise that just because the married people in the study tended to be happier, it does not mean that being married causes happiness.

Let’s take this understanding of correlation vs. causation and apply it to the question of posting on social media.

Let’s assume that our research shows that the vast majority of brands that are successful on social post an average of 2 pieces of content a day and also reveals that brands that do not perform well on social media post much less frequently.

If we review this data in the same way that we see the statistics on marriage and happiness, what we learn is that there is a correlation between success on social media and posting twice a day. However, we should also understand that posting twice a day does not necessarily increase success on social media. It is entirely possible that the poor performing brands post less frequently because they aren’t getting good returns on their investment.

Another factor to consider is that you only see averaged data. Successful brands may be posting anywhere between one and eight posts a day depending on what is happening within their brand and industry. Some may not post daily at all.

Here is how these studies answer the question:

[Metrixa-blog-post]-Conversation

 

So how frequently should you post? 

Before I respond to this question, there is another more important question that you need to consider:

How often can you post and sustain that level of frequency on an ongoing basis? 

In social media, quality and sustained efforts are far more important than quantity. So before trying to work out the ideal number of posts, look at your resources and content generation options, and decide how often your company is able to post high-quality content.

Worked out that number? Great, for now, that is your upper limit. If you are already posting more than that, the quality of your content might be suffering, and you might need to reduce your frequency. If you don’t post that often, don’t increase it just yet. It is time to run some controlled tests.

Try to increase your post frequency for a month and see if your key performance indicators (KPIs) improve. Are more people seeing, liking and engaging with your content? Go back to your baseline, and then try less frequent posts. The chances are that if your content is a good match to your audience, increasing frequency netted you better results.

Keep experimenting towards the higher performance goals and you will most likely hit your resource limit. However, that is not where it ends. There are greater potential performance improvements to be achieved if you increase your frequency even more.

To achieve an even higher publishing rate, start working on streamlining your content development process, invest in more automation and monitoring tools, and some more staff or agency resources if needed. Just make sure that you are not sacrificing on quality. At some point, you will find that the increases in frequency no longer yield enough performance to justify the cost. In other words, your extra few posts a day or week are netting you ten more followers, shares or reposts rather than the 100 that your last increase delivered.

The ideal frequency that your company should be posting on any social network is unique because you are posting to a unique audience. While aggregated data can give you some fantastic insights into the network in general, and can even have significant implications for your audience, the only way to know what is right for you is to test on your audience.
 

What are some methods you’ve used to find that sweet spot on social media?
 

Need help getting to know your social media audience? Give us a call today or tweet me @nathan5ri. Try our Free AdWords Audit.

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