Social media is as much an art form as it is an ongoing science experiment. Delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time is a key determining factor in the success of virtually every update, tweet or post.
Most of the marketers, brands and media outlets that embrace the opportunity to spread their voice and relevant stories on social media aren't exactly playing in the dark. They've learned to rely on automated tools, data from previous campaigns and real-time engagement metrics to understand when to post with the most effect on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms.
Nothing is a sure thing, especially on social media, so although most social marketers follow a well-designed playbook for their activity on social media, they're also acutely aware of the possibilities that can arise without so much as a hint of importance. Mapping out a game plan and scheduling your activity on Twitter and Facebook accordingly is important, but many are quick to point out the increasing need to act fast and intelligently when opportunity comes knocking.
There is also a wide gap between what's considered the sweet spot for the number of posts made by brands and media companies. Generally, media companies have a much longer runway in terms of how many posts they can make each day without turning off their followers.
The 5-3-2 Rule Still Applies
Timing and frequency isn't everything, though. Other rules and practices are still providing guidance for social marketers at various levels. For example, there's the 5-3-2 rule crafted by T.A. McCann, founder of Rival IQ and Gist.com.
According to McCann's framework for social media, out of every 10 tweets or Facebook posts, five should contain content from others that is relevant to your audience, three should be content created or designed by you and two should be something personal and non-work related to help humanize yourself or your brand.
The team at Buffer, an app designed to let you manage and automatically schedule content for multiple social media accounts, recently created a social media frequency guide that aims to take at least some of the guessing work out of social media marketing.
Here's how often Buffer posts to its social media channels:
- Twitter: 14 times per day from midnight to 10 p.m. (CT) and never more than once per hour; seven times per day on weekends from 3 a.m. to 9 p.m. roughly every three hours
- Facebook: Two times per day, seven days a week at 10:08 a.m. and 3:04 p.m.
- LinkedIn: 1 time per day at 8:14 a.m., no weekends
That frequency and schedule isn't set in stone for Buffer, nor should it be for anyone else, the company says. Scheduling posts on social media should be an experiment that can be consistently revised based on the latest analytics.
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