When speaking, I can almost guarantee someone will ask me this question. (In addition to 'how much time should I spend on social media?') And I wish there were an easy answer. If you don’t post often enough, you won’t generate the consistent presence needed to gain a loyal, engaged audience and top of mind awareness. If you post too often, you run the risk of being tuned out.
With that in mind, I highly recommend a conservative approach on message frequency to start – one that is relatively easy to maintain, and one that you can easily build from as you become more comfortable with the media and start to gain traction.
Here are some message frequency guidelines for the various media:
Facebook: I like to start my clients with three messages per week and build from there. Go to daily messages during the work week, then maybe seven days a week or twice a day. Anything beyond four Facebook posts per day for a business is excessive for my taste. Another good rule of thumb for business is to post no more than once every three hours, unless something really exciting is going on.
Twitter: For Twitter, it’s difficult to be excessive so long as each tweet offers value. You can tweet to your heart’s content, and some folks tweet unrestrained throughout the day to the delight of their thousands or millions of followers. Once again, though, I recommend starting out “small” – at least three tweets per week for consistency’s sake, then ramping up from there.
LinkedIn: This is similar to Facebook in terms of my recommended frequency for posting messages. But if you’re participating in groups of your target audience, do so as often as you’d like, as long as you’re providing value and not harassing people with blatant sales pitches.
YouTube: Weekly is a great frequency for YouTube videos. I’ve found it helpful to record four or five at a time so that you can generate a month’s worth of content in one filming. In terms of length, I recommend 30 seconds – 2 minutes. And if you really want to push something, maybe you can step it up by doing a daily video for a few days.
Blogs: In my opinion, blogging is the toughest of these to maintain but also has the biggest potential payoff in terms of boosting SEO, forming a personal connection with the audience and leveraging the power of online integration. The minimum? No less frequently than every two weeks so that you can realize the SEO benefit. Then you can build up to once a week, twice a week (where I’ve been for the past year) and so on. Professional bloggers update their blog daily. As long as each post resonates with the audience, the sky is the limit.
But the most important thing to remember in all of these suggestions is to be consistent!
How often do you post to your media? Do you have a ‘rule of thumb?’ What other frequency questions do you have?
I think starting out small makes sense. Your point about sustainable use of social media deserves repeating. Social doesn't do any good if you go crazy out of the gate and then stop completely in two weeks.
That said, when a business starts to become comfortable with using the tools and makes social media use a habit, sometimes the building part doesn't happen because a business is cautious about overloading their customers. I understand that coming from the world of political campaigns, candidates sometimes get skiddish about contacting voters. I always suggest coming up with a number of contacts they think that voters can stand and that you feel a little hesitant about... Then, I suggest to add another contact or two!
I don't think that there is necessarily a direct correlation between traditional grassroots campaign tactics like canvassing and telemarketing to social, but at the same time, businesses have one of two tendencies: to beat people over the head with their message or to be overly conservative. Precious few get it just right. In the case of the overly conservative approach, a little coaxing to tell potential customers about the services that you offer, share industry news, etc. can help.
Great insight, Ben! It's a balance and one that takes some time and testing. I'm a big believer in consistency first and foremost. Then, hone your message from there. The problem is when folks get complacent. There's no room for complacency in the ever-changing world of social media. It's critical to remain consistent but also evaluate each step along the way.