You have heard the advice before: Set up social media profiles for your business and post regularly. But that (very sound) advice may leave you with one very good question: Exactly HOW often do you post?
You do not want to be that serial poster (You know the one), whose endless stream of posts has you tuned out to what they have to say. Nor do you want to be so quiet on social media that your followers forget you exist.
The good news? There IS a happy middle ground. The bad news? It isn’t quite as simple as posting a certain number of times a day or a week. In fact, posting TOO MUCH on social media can hurt your account, drive down engagement, and make you LESS visible to your target audiences.
A Posting Guideline
To help you get a general idea of how often to post on each social media channel, we have put together the guidelines below. The posting frequency may be lower than you expect. After all, with some businesses posting as many as 100 times a day on Twitter, posting just a few times a week may seem like a counterintuitive way to gain visibility.
The reality, however, is that less is more when it comes to social media posting. Check out our general guidelines and then read on for insights into the factors that influence your posts’ visibility, and why posting frequency plays a role.
|2-3x a week
|2-3x a week
|2-3x a week
|1x a day
|5x a week
|2x a day
|1x a week
Understanding Post Visibility
Ultimately, when you post on social media, you have one goal: To increase visibility and engagement on your chosen platform. Posting frequency should be one tool you use to achieve this goal.
As a result, when deciding how often to create content for social media, you need to begin with what drives post visibility. What makes Facebook, for example, choose to place your post on a potential customer’s news feed?
The answer lies in Facebook’s algorithm, which exists to calculate which posts users are most likely to enjoy. While several factors can determine how an algorithm views your posts (e.g. Type of content, time of posting), there is one factor that is particularly important: Affinity.
Affinity refers to the amount of engagement a user gives your posts. It is an important way of determining how much someone enjoys your company’s posts.
For example, someone who likes 7 out of 10 of your social media posts is demonstrating a strong affinity for your account. Facebook is likely to choose your posts to feature on their news feed as a result. On the other hand, a user who only likes 2 out of 10 of your Facebook posts is showing a low affinity for your account. Facebook is likely to bury your posts at the bottom of their news feed.
A high affinity for your posts among your social media followers also has the potential to spread your posts to a wider audience. For example, say Facebook delivers a post to users who have a high affinity for (interest in) your page, and that particular post generates many likes and comments. Facebook’s algorithm will recognize that content as high-quality material and will begin to show it to a wider audience.
Just like a stone thrown into a pool creates ever-widening ripples, so Facebook will create an ever-widening circle of people who see a particularly valuable social media post. Those posts are the ones that will generate the visibility and engagement your business is looking for.
Posting Too Often
Across most social media platforms, posting too often will drive down engagement and visibility for your posts. For example, in one study, moving from an average of 1.5 posts a day on Instagram to 2.5 posts a day generated a 9 percent drop in engagement. Similarly, posting frequently also led to a drop in the number of people who engaged in each post.
Why does too much posting drive down engagement on social media? There are a few reasons.
- You are posting low quality content.
If you focus on posting frequency rather than on quality, you run the risk of putting up a lot of useless information on your social media page. People will naturally respond less often to content that they find irrelevant or uninteresting, driving down your engagement rate.
- Your many posts are creating disinterest.
If you have ever had a friend on social media who posted an endless stream of links, comments, and thoughts, you may know how your followers feel when you post multiple times a day on social media.
Reading and keeping up with multiple posts every day is very difficult for most people. Over time, they may simply lose interest in what your business has to say, and that leads to less engagement, less visibility, and possibly even fewer followers.
- You are lowering your affinity score.
As a result, posting too often can drive down your affinity score, as users simply do not see or ignore some of your many, many posts. For example, if an individual likes 5 out of 10 posts, that activity generates an affinity score of 50 percent. If they like 5 out of 20 posts, on the other hand, that generates an affinity score of only 25 percent. A lower affinity for your posts among your audiences leads to lower visibility as your social media platform starts hiding your content from disinterested individuals.
Quality Over Quantity
Notice that affinity, and post visibility, have less to do with how many posts you create and more to do with how people interact with those posts. In other words, the quality of your posts matters more than the number of your posts.
If you post high-quality videos, images, and copy once or twice a week, you may earn more followers and engagement than a competitor who posts mediocre content every single day. Why? Because your high-quality content generates interest, likes, and comments that drive up affinity for your posts, encourages sharing across social media, and adds value to your audience’s lives. And, this valuable content is not getting lost amid a flood of material that may or may not matter to your followers.
Here is an example. Say you post mediocre content on Facebook 20 times a month, and each post is viewed by 100 unique people. Then say you post high-quality content on Facebook 10 times a month, and each post is viewed by 200 unique people. You get the same number of total views either way (2,000), but in the second example, each post receives twice as many unique views.
These unique views are what you want: Reaching new people with your products and services every time you post. High-quality content, not constant posting, will generate that kind of visibility.
If you need help identifying the right social media channels for your business, developing a content calendar, creating content, and posting regularly, reach out to a marketing professional like CODESM. The right help can make all the difference in getting your social media presence active, relevant, engaging, and profitable.