Social media marketing requires careful attention to detail, and a posting schedule that keeps your followers interested without annoying or alienating them. It’s a tough balance to strike, since each social platform and each demographic will have different preferences for the types of posts they see and how often they see them. However, if you can start your momentum with a solid social media posting schedule, you’ll be in ideal shape to grow your following and cultivate the loyalty of your existing fans.
In this article, I’ll break down the elements of a perfect social media schedule for each of the three biggest social platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Facebook is the most popular social network around, due in part to its ease of use and widespread appeal. However, it’s mostly used by people who want to keep in contact with their friends and family—not necessarily people who want to read news or promotional materials. Keep that in mind as you arrange your posting schedule for Facebook.
The frequency and timing of your Facebook posts should cater to a Facebook-centered crowd. Most active users on the platform check their news feeds multiple times a day, making it a relatively active network. However, most people only get occasional updates from their list of a few hundred friends—that may seem like a lot, but when you’re checking your news feed often, that only results in a handful of new posts every hour.
Combine this with the fact that most users are checking in to see things their friends have shared or posted, not posts by companies they do business with. Ultimately, you want to post enough to be visible, but not so much that you’re annoying your users, so for Facebook, something in the 1-3 times a day range is suitable. For most small companies, once a day is plenty, preferably around lunchtime when the platform becomes super active.
As for the types of content you post, Facebook gives you plenty of options. Visual content attracts more engagement, so include an image or video with everything you can—even if it’s just a basic status update. Facebook users react best to content that has value to them. This means posting free giveaways or significant discounts, or providing entertainment in the form of an amusing article or funny video. Keep things light and concise—Facebook users aren’t going to go crazy for a business-related infographic as much as they are a cute cat picture (as long as it’s appropriate for your brand).
On Facebook, you should aim to strike a balance between original content and shared content. Schedule your posts in advance, but do leave some wiggle room for sharing posts and content that others come up with. For example, schedule two posts a day for six days out of the week, but leave the seventh day open for content you’ll scout for and share in real-time.
Twitter has a user base rivaling that of Facebook, but the character limits and lightning pace of the platform distinguish it. Twitter demographics tend to fall in the younger range, and your updates are more restricted by the platform’s requirements. Still, it’s a great platform for getting visibility because it what it lacks in individual post flexibility, it makes up for in post volume.
Twitter’s major posting advantage is its rapid-fire news feed. Users check into Twitter much more frequently than Facebook, and their newsfeeds tend to update constantly due to enormous following lists and high-frequency updates. This means you can accommodate a greater frequency of posts without risking the alienation or annoyance of your followers.
If you’re an average business Twitter user, you can get away with posting upwards of 10 times a day (at least through the work week—weekends tend to be slower). Space these posts out by at least a half an hour, and highlight some of the main times people check in—early in the morning, noon, and around 3:30 pm.
Twitter does not have much flexibility with post types, but the same principles of Facebook apply here: people like visual content. Include an image or a video whenever you can, even though the character limit might prevent you from doing so. Since you’ll be making a higher number of posts, don’t worry about it if some of your tweets are purely text updates.
Infographics and videos tend to circulate Twitter quickly, so be sure to include some in your schedule. You’ll also want to leverage Twitter for posting and syndicating your onsite content by posting the title of your articles along with a link.
Twitter is a platform built for social sharing, so leave plenty of room in your schedule for retweets. Create lists on your social profile for industry authorities and interesting accounts, and scroll down your news feed for items to share whenever there’s a gap in your schedule. Sharing others’ content is a great way to capitalize on external trends and build mutual respect with other popular accounts.
LinkedIn is a much more professional network, built exclusively to help business-minded individuals connect with each other for work opportunities. It’s a somewhat pickier crowd than Facebook or Twitter, but if used correctly with a proper posting schedule, it can be highly beneficial.
LinkedIn is a slow-moving network, since only a small percentage of its users check in on a regular basis. If you’re updating your company’s page on LinkedIn, one update a day is plenty. Any more than that, and you’ll likely be wasting your effort or annoying your company’s followers.
On the other hand, if you’re posting content in the promotional sections of LinkedIn Groups or posing questions to group members, feel free to post once a day on each of them. For example, if you run a company page and belong to three groups, you can post up to four times a day—once on your company page and once for each of your three groups.
People on LinkedIn love information. You won’t find many funny viral videos on the platform. Instead, you’ll find highly relevant, targeted information written by experts in their field. Articles and whitepapers are excellent choices for posts on LinkedIn—though that visual rule still applies. Include images with your posts to get some extra attention, and use the group forum to launch meaningful discussions amongst its members.
LinkedIn is a place for authority and professionalism (for the most part). Sharing information is possible (and encouraged, if you want to start a discussion about a specific article). But for the most part, original content is your best bet. Post your new articles and ideas to increase your presence as an authority, and avoid the temptation of relying on shared content on the platform.
The rules and considerations above aren’t outlined in stone. Every brand has a unique voice, and a unique target demographic they’ll need to consider before getting too deep into a social strategy. As you become more experienced in social media marketing, experiment by varying your routine with A/B tests to measure your reader engagement and determine which tactics are most effective for your unique situation.
The perfect social media posting schedule is one that incorporates fundamental best practices with changes that specifically accommodate the preferences of your users. At the end of the day, your goal here is to make your users happy and give them the material they want to see.