There are two types of social media these days. One is actually “social”, which is Facebook. It is where people chat to each other and be social. Usage statistics show that the amount of social activity happening on Facebook dwarfs what is going on with all the other supposedly “social networks” added together. Social media IS Facebook; it dominates like nothing else.
However, there are plenty of other networks, like Twitter or LinkedIn, or Pinterest, or Instagram and so on. These days, such networks are much less “social” and much more “broadcast”. These networks have become places where you show other people “interesting stuff”. They can then click on a link or an image and take a look.
The frequency with which you are “social”, doesn’t matter too much. The algorithm within Facebook knows who you are most friendly with and even if you haven’t chatted on the network for a while, the software, called EdgeRank takes into account 100,000 elements of your activity. So, you can be pretty sure that you will be social with the people you want to be social with, particularly since Facebook also has a system called “OpenGraph” that investigates your interests and activities on – and off – Facebook. The result is that you don’t need to worry about the frequency of personal posting on Facebook as the system is so sophisticated that people will see what you are posting.
It’s different, though, if you have a Facebook business page. There, Facebook limits the exposure of what you post to a random 9% of the people who have liked your page. So if you have 100 “likes”, only nine people will get to see what you have written. As a result, for business use of Facebook, the frequency of posting does become an issue.
It is also a problem on Twitter, where over 90% of all the activity for a single Tweet is done within the first 10 minutes of its publication. After an hour, virtually no-one sees your Tweets. Meanwhile, on LinkedIn, your status updates will only be seen for 20 minutes or so, but an article tends to last for 24 hours – thereby providing significantly more potential exposure.
Much of what a business does on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or even on Facebook pages, is designed to gain web traffic or to establish subject authority. True, many businesses also use Twitter as a customer relations and support provision tool, but for the most part, these social networks are all about getting people to notice you and click on what you have posted.
So, how often should you post items so that you are noticed? The answer, I’m afraid, is not simple. It depends on each network. Twitter, for instance, is rapid and you need to post items much more frequently there than you would on LinkedIn, for example.
Luckily, there is plenty of research data to show what the best frequencies of posting are for each of the different networks. But there is also logic. If a Tweet isn’t visible after an hour, then to make sure you are pretty reasonably visible on Twitter you need to be posting every hour as a minimum. If you have customers around the world that means a minimum of 24 Tweets a day. If your clients are all in one timezone, then studies show that the accounts that Tweet 15 times each day are the ones getting the best engagement. That’s a Tweet every half an hour for a typical working day.
Over at LinkedIn, data analysis shows that you need to post an article (not a status update) every day between 10 am and 11 am when reading articles is at its peak on this network.
Meanwhile, if you post material on Pinterest, you need to be doing that at least 11 times a day, preferably up to 30 posts every 24 hours as that’s what garners the most interest.
Various studies also show that you need to be posting on Google+ twice a day, three times each day on Instagram, and to get to all of your Facebook business page fans, around ten times a day.
In other words, if you want to be noticed in these “broadcast-style” social networks you need to be posting around 40-60 items every day; that’s as much as one item every eight minutes of your working day. If you are not achieving that, you are much less noticeable. Indeed, the bulk of what you are doing is, frankly, talking to yourself.
Coping with social media demands
To ensure that you do get noticed, receive the web traffic you want and to improve your reputation, your social networking activity needs to be significant. There is so much “noise” out there these days unless you too are “noisy” you won’t get a look in.
However, unless you have nothing else to do all day – like running America – then you can play on social media as much as you like. For the rest of us, though, we haven’t got time to be posting something on social media every eight minutes. So, we need to automate things.
Here’s what I use to ensure I post as much as possible.- you may find it useful yourself to use the same tools.
I use HootSuite to monitor my social media activity across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and YouTube. It means in one place I can see what people are saying and whether they are engaging with me. That means I can quickly send out replies and comments as necessary. It’s a five-minute job every morning. I also use HootSuite to schedule regular posts over the course of the year ahead. These include, for instance, the Tweet every Friday about my “#followfriday” list. HootSuite sets that all up at the beginning of the year and I don’t have to worry about it. That’s a couple of Tweets a day already taken care of, in about 10 minutes per year.
In addition, I use Buffer. This is a scheduling system which integrates well with my RSS reader, Feedly. This means I can take a quick look through my RSS feeds each morning and pick out several that can be posted to social media. I just click the Buffer icon next to the relevant item that I want to post, and the app does the rest automatically, lining up a whole series of posts for the day ahead, all with just five or ten minutes of my time.
I also use DrumUp. This is a handy service as it trawls the web for articles that are linked to the kind of material that my social networking connections and followers are interested in. I can take a quick look at what DrumUp recommends and click a button to post the article on several social networks.
Also, I use Quuu. This uses real people to find me material that is relevant to my audience and then schedule it on my social networks for me. I can set it and forget it.
On top of these services, my website is connected to CoSchedule. This is a blog and social media editorial calendar system. It allows me to set – and forget – regular social media activity for every blog post I write. There are Tweets lined up already for 2018 bringing old articles to a new audience who didn’t see the Tweet when they were originally published. Each time I write something at least 14 different items of social media are scheduled in the first week, adding to the social media activity with no real additional effort.
Using these various services, it means in 20-30 minutes each day I will have scheduled 50 or more items to appear on my social networks. The result is a constant and daily increase in followers and connections, as well as a steady rise in traffic to my website from people who notice me on social media. It is organic, real growth.
You might think that the broadcast nature of most social networks is difficult to cope with, but using just a handful of services you can line-up vast amounts of material that gets you noticed.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+