Social media is now just part of having a business. While there’s the odd company that can go without a Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn account, for most businesses, it’ll play a critical role in their marketing setup.
It’s the easiest, cheapest, no-brainer solution for connecting with potential clients and customers.
But it doesn’t take long to discover that it’s not as simple as throwing taco pics on IG every Tuesday. It takes planning, and a big part of that plan is figuring out a social media schedule that will put you in front of your followers at the right time.
Here we’ll walk you through a quick and easy method to figuring out a simple posting schedule, so you can focus on connecting with your audience and getting that ROI.
First Thing’s First, Get a Scheduling Tool
Typically, when we take on a new client, we’ll tell them — even if they aren’t having us monitor their social media — that they need to post more. The immediate response is typically, “We don’t have the time!”
Using scheduling tools makes it easier to batch content production and schedule ahead, freeing up your time and mental bandwidth for the rest of the week (or month). Hootsuite and Buffer are longstanding giants in offering these solutions, but there are plenty of options to choose from.
Regardless, poke around and weigh your options. The best tool is the one that’s the easiest for you to learn.
How Often Should You Post?
Ultimately, this is a personal decision, but that doesn’t mean personal to your preference. There are more factors that come into play. What region or time zone is your audience located in? What days and times are they most active? What days are they most likely to buy? What days would they prefer to just engage?
Different schedules work for different businesses, and you’ll have to find what schedule works best for you.
Here are some specific questions that can help you figure this out:
How Often Do You Want to Take On New Clients/Customers?
If you said “every day,” then a daily posting schedule is your best choice. If you’re running a small shop that takes on a handful of larger clients per month, then you have a little more flexibility without needing to worry. You could post 4 to 5 times a week instead of daily, and be in the clear.
Decide what balance you want to shoot for to start, but be ready to test and refine as you go. You might find it takes a little more or less than you originally planned. When in doubt, check to see what your competitors are doing.
Don’t Overdo It
While there is such a thing as posting too little, you can also post too much depending on the platform you are using.
For instance, you can put several posts on Twitter in a short period of time in a thread or conversation and no one will bat an eye. Whereas if you did that on Facebook, your audience is likely to think it strange and will mute or unfollow you out of annoyance.
The recommendation here is to read the room. Check out your competitors and your audience to see what volume of posting seems appropriate. Unless there’s good reason not to, go with the flow.
Quality Over Quantity
Of course this section wouldn’t be complete with the most important rule: it doesn’t matter how often you post if quality is lacking.
It’s more important to build relationships and leave lasting impressions on your audience than it is to flood their feeds, grasping at straws of attention. While it can be great to go wide, be highly active, and play the algorithm, remember that the entire point of social media is to actually connect with people. The more meaningful the connection, the more loyal they’ll grow to your brand.
Once you figure out about how often you want to post, it’s time to…
Find the Best Times
After figuring out how often you can handle posting, it’s time to find the best times to do it. You might be tired of hearing this, but the “best times” will depend on the industry you’re in, your audience, time zone and more.
So here are some tips to help you find the answer quickly and give you a solid starting point.
Your Baseline: The Early Bird Gets the Worm
If you have no idea what the best times could possibly be, the safest guess is to post in the morning. A common trend across almost every audience in every market and industry is that they like to check their phones soon after getting out of bed. Even if they wait until after their morning routine, the routine surely doesn’t take long.
So the logic behind this rule is to get to them when you know they’re probably available.
Earlier starts also give your posts a longer shelf-life than posting later in the day on most platforms (because it has more time to float around the newsfeeds before your audience heads to bed).
You also give the algorithm more time to work its magic (on some key platforms). Facebook & LinkedIn, for example, bump posts that are getting engagement back up into the newsfeeds of more users. Every time someone comments on it, someone else will see it and hopefully engage, and so on.
So, whether you’re an early riser or use the scheduling tool, start your social posting day when your audience is starting theirs.
Remember That Tool?
Once you get your baseline posting flow working well, don’t forget to test other options. Try the obvious down-times like lunch, dinner, and the late-evening before bed, but test others between to see if something else works more.
The best part is you can use the tool you chose earlier to help you get some clarity on what times work best. Most of them come with analytics features that will show you what days and times users are the most engaged.
Just make sure you test different times of day to give it more information to work with.
Some tools, like Hootsuite, have an auto-scheduling feature that will post at the best time without you having to manually figure it out.
This is often a premium feature, but worth it if social media is your bread and butter. ROI is what really matters in the end.
So, now you have a tool, an idea of how often you want to post, and an idea of what times you want to post. There’s only one thing left.
You have all you need — you’ve just got to get started.
Social media is not a sprint — it’s a marathon. You might not see growth overnight, but you will see consistent growth over time.
Remember that posting on social media is a process that requires you to be consistent, but also flexible enough to refine along the way. So try not to be a perfectionist starting out. What’s more important than the posting schedule, is the quality of the content and interaction with your audience.
The algorithms will change over time, as well as your market. So make sure to roll with them as they change, and keep showing up for your audience.
Still feeling overwhelmed? Our social media experts can help you craft a posting strategy that can help grow your business. Contact us!