The Goldilocks Zone of Social Media Posting

A frequent question I am asked by people new to social media – particularly those using it for commercial purposes – is how often and when should they be posting content.

First, there is no one-fits-all answer. A general rule is don’t not post. In other words, don’t create a Twitter, facebook, Instagram et al account and then not use it. Frequency of posts definitely affects how often people will interact with your content.

But what is that sweet spot between not enough and too much? I’ll call it the “Goldilocks Zone” of posting. I borrow the term from astronomers who look for exoplanets in their “Goldilocks Zone” which is the habitable zone where a planet is in the range of distance with the right temperatures for water to remain liquid and life can occur.

Just like when email marketing becomes overwhelming and followers opt to unsubscribe and the other end of the zone where followers forget you exist, there is some point in between that is right for you.

Hootsuite makes these suggestions:
On Instagram, post between 3-7 times per week.
On Facebook, post between 1 and 2 times a day.
On Twitter, post between 1 and 5 Tweets a day.
On LinkedIn, post between 1 and 5 times a day.

For my personal social media use, I try to post once a day but rarely post anywhere 5 times a day. But if I was promoting a product, that might change. Do you have new content on your main site every day? That would be a reason for daily posts. Do you rarely have new content on the main site? That might be a reason to be more active on your social media accounts.

Tools like Hootsuite make it easy to share posts on multiple sites simultabeously. That makes it easy to do but it is isn’t necessarily a good thing. If someone follows all your social media, you don’t want them seeing the same thing posted 4 times at 12:00PM. At the least, if you’re litearrly using the same content on 4 platforms, spreadthose posts out during the day.

Which brings us to when is the best time to post? Again, according to Hootsuite:

The best times to post on social media overall is 10:00 AM on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
The best time to post on Facebook is 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The best time to post on Instagram is 11:00 AM on Wednesdays.
The best time to post on Twitter is 8:00 AM on Mondays and Thursdays.
The best time to post on LinkedIn is 9:00 AM on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

But you need to test and analyze the results of your posting times. You see that those times all fall withing the 9-5 business day on weekdays. there arereach people after work when they are home and relaxing and on weekends when they have time to read and place orders.

Do you have an overall social media strategy? These timings and a calendar is certainly a part of it.

Look for articles on these topics and especilly for the specific platforms you are using. For example, look at how to use Facebook statistics and Facebook demographics. With all the criticisms of Facebook, it is still the world’s third most-visited website with more than half of American users checking it several times per day and the average user spending 34 minutes per day on Facebook. Also keep in mind that 80% of those people accessing the platform are using mobile only. Is your site optimized for mobile? Luckliy, all the major social media sites are optimized for mobile.

Social Media Expanded

I wrote about the history of social networks. You weren’t around in 1844 when some electronic dots and dashes were tapped out by hand on a telegraph machine to send a first electronic message. Some of us are more familiar with services such as Compuserve and younger readers might only have entered social with Facebook and Twitter.

A social media trend that is more recent is social-enhanced websites. So many new companies and websites in categories such as the sharing economy have added their own social elements and tools. Do you ever leave reviews on a shopping site? Do you review restaurants and businesses? All of those are using social tools, and they may also piggyback on the big social sites by allowing you to post reviews or share posts and articles via Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or old-fashioned email.

I see enhanced social media used in peer-to-peer lending platforms, crowdfunding, apartment/house renting and couchsurfing, ride and car-sharing, coworking, knowledge and talent-sharing. 

Social media has come a long way since that telegraph and it still has plenty of new places where it will emerge.