Thoughts on a consistent social media schedule.
Small businesses often times have a hard time integrating a cogent social media strategy into their marketing. Unless you have a budget to hire an outside firm or to establish an experienced in-house team, you are probably stuck with figuring things out as you go along.
One of the most daunting questions many businesses face when trying to establish a social media presence is how much should I post? If you were to search Google, you would get a thousand differing opinions, most of them based on the assumption that you have a team in place to handle continuous posting and content generation. If you aren't in that position however, much of the advice can seem daunting or even impossible to stick to. In my 10+ years in marketing, I've seen both realistic and wildly unrealistic schedules, both with varying success. From my perspective most people tend to jump straight into the marathon of marketing, instead of slowly working their way up. I prefer to approach things in a more realistic manner, immediately addressing the number one question you need to ask yourself: how much fresh and relevant content can I actually create every week? If your schedule doesn't seem sustainable, it isn't. Once a deadline approaches or a crisis occurs, all of your carefully planned timetables and marketing calendars will be the first thing to fall apart and suddenly you'll find out that it's been weeks since your last post. That isn't the way to legitimately establish yourself on social media.
So what is the best approach then? How much posting is really too much, or too little? Once you establish a realistic content schedule that can be maintained regardless of the week, there are a couple of additional considerations regarding the 3 major social media platforms that you should take into account as you set up your schedule.
Large companies who have a dedicated marketing and content generation team can get away with posting multiple times a day to Facebook. Every post is on-point, and targeted towards a measurable ROI. For the rest of us though, posting several times a day to Facebook ends up producing too much noise, and your primary message gets drowned out. If you're just starting out, I would recommend posting once a day to Facebook, max. If you find that to challenging, consider cutting it down to 3 times a week until you can get some momentum going. Once your company has more time and budget to devote to marketing, this needs to be increased. Until then, consistency is the golden rule. LinkedIn should be treated much the same way as Facebook. As long as the content is relevant to the business sector, focus first on consistent weekly posts, then work your way up to consistent daily posts. Along the way, measure the engagement of each, and assess if the content or timing needs to be increased or decreased as resources permit.
Twitter, on the other hand, is a different brand entirely. Instead of focusing on the traditional longer content pieces that do so well on Facebook and LinkedIn, on Twitter shorter and frequency are paramount. When you begin to research and look into how much some brands tweet, this schedule can begin to seem insurmountable. In truth, the more short, relevant content you can post to Twitter the better. However, even starting with several times a day will help you begin to establish your brand. If you're having a hard time generating specific content for Twitter, consider splitting apart what you're posting to Facebook (as long as it is able to standalone) until you are able to get into a groove. Consistency again is the key factor you need to focus on, whether its 5 times a week or twice a day. Stick to it if you want to build your brand.
In all of this advice, what is the takeaway?
Start with what you can realistically manage.
Until you make those your foundation, you may find yourself floundering in the social media pool, unable to make any headway as you frantically churn out content that no one ever sees. Don't try taking on more than you can handle. Once you are able to master a consistent marketing schedule, you will find plenty of opportunities for growth, and people will applaud your carefully planned approach that produces results.
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