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.

The Right Social Networks

It is clear nowadays that there is not one recommendation you can make about social media for all businesses.

Though Facebook launched in 2006, it was a niche for at least a year until it was opened to everyone in late 2007. At that time, it had 100,000 business pages (pages which allowed companies to promote themselves and attract customers).

At that time, clients would ask me “Shouldn’t we have a Facebook page?” though they weren’t sure why they needed one, but it seemed to be the “thing to do.”

Today, every business probably needs a social media presence, but the question to ask is which networks do they need. Which networks are right for them?

The 7 biggest networks have been relatively the same for the past few years.

  1. Facebook still has the widest penetration of any social network in the U.S. 68% of U.S. adults are on Facebook.
  2. Instagram – owned by Facebook – has come on strong the past few years and has now surpassed a billion monthly users. While younger people seem to be leaving Facebook for their parents, Instagram with its easy image-focused mobile interface has grabbed the 18-29-year-old share.
  3. And if the teen to young adult segment is important to your brand, then Snapchat is a network to use. It’s most popular with 13-24-year-olds, and especially with teenage girls.
  4. If the Millennial (arguably 18-29) users with their generally higher income bracket are your target, Twitter is a social network to use. It also has more of an even split between male and female users.
  5. The popular image-based network Pinterest bridges both the 18-29-year-olds and the 30-49-year-old markets and has a predominantly female user base. It also skews towards women with young children. But the women points out that 40% of new sign-ups are from men, so a shift is occurring.
  6. Many people still don’t think about YouTube as a social network but only as a place to find videos. Not only is one of the top social networks, but it is also the second-largest search engine. Why? Because people are very often looking for video results. That is certainly a major consideration for any brand.
  7. LinkedIn continues to be a popular network with higher income-level users, and for businesses to be more B2B, generate sales leads and find employment candidates. The fact that it is not popular for teens and the younger demographics is what makes it popular with another segment.

A topic for another post that jumps off for here concerns the many other social networks that are smaller and more niche but that might be more importance to some brands. Are you a restaurant? Then Yelp and other review sites are more important to you than other industries. Having a presence in the top 7 networks may be an important start to your SM strategy, but it certainly does not end there.