When and how often: scheduling secrets to improve your social media strategy
Joanna Gerber is a copywriter and operations intern at Ready for Social. Her writing has been featured on the New York Times' blog "The Learning Network" and in Cicada Magazine.
Developing a social media strategy for your business is a daunting task. In as few as 280 characters, you need to figure out how to grab your followers’ attention and convey the main idea of the article you’re sharing, the product you’re advertising or the stance you’re taking. In case you didn’t have enough details to worry about, you also need to figure out when and how often to post.
But trust us! Once you understand the lay of the land, it’s not too complicated. Social media users are consistent, and once you learn their habits and patterns, you’ll see easy ways to improve your own social media strategy.
How often should I post?
The question of how often to post depends on the platform you’re using. For LinkedIn, a platform people use primarily for business, it’s recommended to post between two and five times per week. Keep in mind that more isn’t always better; Posting more than once a day on LinkedIn actually decreases your company’s total number of weekly clicks. It’s important to post often enough to remain on your prospects’ and clients’ minds throughout the week without forcing your content down their throat. Your LinkedIn feed is sorted by top-performing posts, so if your posts take a downward turn in popularity, they will be less likely to be spotted by your connections.
Follow similar patterns on Facebook. People quickly lose interest in pages that post too frequently and “spam” their feeds – which is why three to five times per week is the optimal posting frequency for Facebook. Ensure they remember you, but not as “the company that didn’t know when to stop.”
Twitter, however, is an entirely different story. Posts show up in chronological order, so posting frequently should be one of your top priorities. It’s easy for your tweets to get swallowed in a sea of quick-paced posting, and you need to ensure that yours are seen. Most studies suggest posting between three and 30 times per day. Thirty times per day might seem like a lot – and it is! But with over 2 million daily users scrolling and sharing at all times of day, you can’t expect your followers to see each and every one of your posts. Instead, you need to share engaging content as often as possible so that whatever your followers do see has a lasting impact.
When are the best times to post?
Trying to figure out optimal posting times can be challenging. The best times to post vary depending on the platform. But even within one platform, different studies have shown very different results.
Most studies recommend posting on LinkedIn between 10am and noon on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Additionally, others notice a spike in LinkedIn engagement at the end of the workday, between 5 and 6 pm.
The recommendations for Facebook are similar. 9 am is often a popular time to post on Facebook, right as people are opening their computers to start the workday and checking social media for the first time. There is also a spike between 11 am and noon, as people take their lunch break and have time for a leisurely scroll.
As mentioned earlier, there is no wrong time to post on Twitter. Since the lifespan of a tweet is only 15-20 minutes, time of day is far less important than frequency.
However, even for Facebook and LinkedIn, these aren’t hard and fast rules. It’s crucial to account for your audience’s time zones and work habits. Are they predominately located in the same time zone as you? Are most of them working traditional 9-5 jobs? If not, it might be time to reconsider your posting strategies.
Figuring out the best time to post depends on your audience and their specific habits. It takes some trial and error – and we recommend setting aside the time for those trials. For a few weeks, analyze the engagement on your posts with regard to the time of day and day of the week that you posted. Take note of any times that are especially popular (or unpopular) among your followers, and design your future posts around that time frame.
Don’t lose sight of your purpose!
No matter how well curated the timing of your posts is, it won’t make a difference unless your content stands out. Social media is about expressing your voice and sharing the news and ideas you believe need to be heard.
Focus on a variety of topics from industry news to events held by your company. It’s essential to show what makes your company unique and to express your ideas confidently and clearly. With a strong identity and an intentional posting strategy, your company’s social media will blow your competition away.