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.

Generational Attitudes About Websites

bed browsing

Bed browsing – Image by Sincerely Media

One place you can see a generation gap is in attitudes towards websites, especially personal websites and having a web presence.

A study by website building/hosting company Squarespace partnering with The Harris Poll surveyed over 2,000 US adults and found marked differences in attitudes based on age.

The youngest group is of particular interest since they grew up with the Internet, smart devices, etc. Members of Gen Z are those born between 1997 and 2015. This puts the age group in the range of 6-24 years old in 2021.

A summary of some findings:

  • One stat that certainly increased during the pandemic is that 57% of all the Americans surveyed across generations believe that a well-designed online store or website is more important for a business to have than a brick-and-mortar location.
  • Americans browse an average of over 3,000 websites a year. That is 8.4 websites per day.
  • 49% of the Americans surveyed can remember the color of a website better than someone’s eye color. That number is 71% for Millennials and 58% for Gen Zs.
  • Around 60% of Gen Z and 62% of Millennials believe that how you present yourself online is more important than how you present yourself in person.
  • The vast majority (92%) of Gen Z would start their own business. It is 86% of Millennials, 74% of Gen X and 50% of Baby Boomers.
  • Gen Z is more likely to remember off the top of their head the last website they visited (43%) than their partner’s birthday (38%) or their social security number (31%).
  • 44% of Gen Z and 39% of Millennials say they make a better impression online than in person It is only 21% of Gen X and 8% of Baby Boomers who feel that way.
  • Entrepreneurship: Gen Z is the most ambitious generation with 92% saying they would start their own business. Still strong at 86% are Millennials, 74% of Gen X but only 50% of Baby Boomers.
  • What type of business they would start on their own? Top response was offering a service (e.g. teaching a class, offering advice, tutoring) beating out selling a physical product.
  • Broadly, 66% of Americans say that travel is the activity that online research is most important for.
  • But 92% of Gen Z multitask with other activities while browsing websites online. What is diverting their attention? food (59%), listening to music (59%), talking on the phone (45%, dancing (28%), watching TV (59%).
  • Focusing on Gen Z, where are they when they are online? They say while in bed (65%), followed by while on the toilet (43%).
  • Across generations, those surveyed admitted that they spend more time browsing websites than working out (43%) or having sex (42%), in a given week.
  • Who are we looking for online? People they went to school with gets 41%. (That is also the top group who Americans think are looking them up online at 33%.) But 20% of us are looking up exes online in a week and 32% look up their current romantic partner. More specifically, that jumps to over half of Gen Z (51%) and Millennials (55%) looking up their current romantic partner online at least once a week. Finally, 86% of Gen Z and 79% of Millennials look people up online before meeting them for the first time, compared to 65% of Gen X and only 44% of Baby Boomers.
  • And it’s not just people we’re checking up on – 62% of Americans overall (76% of Millennials and 64% of Gen Zers, specifically) always look up a business’ website before shopping, visiting, or eating there. It drops to 65% of Gen X and 49% of Baby Boomers.