When we sit down with new clients to talk about their social media strategy, there are a lot of questions we get asked. What platforms make the most sense for our business? How do I grow my audience? What types of images and videos should we share? Are ads on [insert social media platform here] a quality investment?
But the most common question? How often should we be posting on social media?
A quick Google search reveals that our clients are by no means outliers. In fact, there are thousands of articles devoted specifically to the topic of social media posting frequency. Good news, right? This means that a bunch of experts got together and “cracked the social media code”.
Well, not exactly. If you take the time to look at any of these articles/studies, you’ll quickly realize that the information provided conflicts greatly from one source to another. In fact, a quick look at postings from “social media experts” – all written within the last 12 months – tells me that a brand should post anywhere from 2-10 times per week to maximize their results on Facebook.
2-10x per week. That’s a massive range! More than anything, it tells me that in all honesty, no one truly knows what the right posting frequency is. These numbers just represent the average of all business pages they poll. They are not representative of any one business or industry category. Meaning that the 2-10x per week range is incredibly misleading.
So, how often should your brand be posting on social media? The answer: it depends.
First things first, you need to remember what social media platforms are: a business. That’s right, just like yourself, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all the other platforms exist as a for-profit business. Meaning that at the end of the day, the decisions they make about their platforms are by and large made to support their ability to drive revenue.
So, how do social media channels generate revenue? Primarily through advertising. Their product is ads. And how do they sell more of their product? By adding more users, and increasing the engagement of the users they already have.
The larger, the more active, and the more engaged the user base, the more attractive that platform is to advertisers. So social media platforms go to incredible lengths to create a platform that keeps users coming back again and again for longer periods of time. But there’s a catch: social media platforms don’t actually generate the content that keeps users engaged! It’s peer generated. Facebook doesn’t post low-carb bread recipes or crazy videos of cats – that’s the bakery down the street and your Aunt Sally!
So, how can these businesses drive greater user engagement when they don’t actually control or generate the content? Simple: they reward the top-performing “publishers” and punish the worst-performing ones.
When a person or a business posts content to their social media page, the platform meticulously judges its performance, looking to understand who sees the post and scrolls right by, vs. who sees the post and saves it, shares it, or otherwise engages it. Every post is given an Engagement Rate, which is the percentage of people that somehow engage with a post divided by the number that saw it (for example, say 100 people saw your Aunt Sally’s cat video post, and 10 of them chose to like or comment on it, the Engagement Rate of that post would be 10%).
Long term, social media platforms look to reward people and pages with the highest engagement rates, serving their posts to a larger audience. The reason? These pages have been mathematically proven to generate more interest among the entire user base. And more interest means a more active user base, which in the end means…yep, you guessed it…more ad revenue for the social media company!
Why does this matter to you and your business? Because if you can understand this concept, you can understand that there is no “magic number” when it comes to posting frequency of your page. Facebook or Twitter won’t reward or punish you based on you deciding to post twice a day instead of once. All they care about is how well you engage your audience. Because an engaged audience is a profitable one, and they will happily serve your posts as long as they continue to be engaging.
So, your brand shouldn’t be asking how frequently it needs to be posting on social media. Instead, it should be asking the following:
Do I have something interesting to say?
This question should be the number one driver of your social media strategy. Content is king when it comes to the major social media platforms, and asking this question before each and every post ensure you will only be releasing the most quality, engaging content your page are capable of delivering.
Too often, we see businesses pages littered with non-engaging, low value posts. Think things like “Happy Friday” or “Congrats to our softball team for winning their game last night.” When asked why they went to the trouble to post such mundane announcements, the answer we usually receive is “we were told it’s good to post twice a day, but it’s hard to come up with new content that frequently.” So they resort to posting general announcements that are of little to no value to their general audience.
This is a clear example of why there is no right answer to how frequently you should be posting on social media. Posting low-engaging posts twice a day will actually do more harm than not posting at all. And on the other hand, if you have a great social media team in place that can drum up lots of quality, engaging content, there is no reason you shouldn’t be posting 5-10 times per day.
At the end of the day, your brand’s posting strategy should be about the value and engagement you create for your audience, and not some magic posting number, period.