Conventional wisdom says that social media best practices, such as posting frequently, boosting interaction and using advanced audience reach tactics like A/B split testing, are essential for engaging your audience and growing your brand. But recent data indicates that perhaps this formula is not as cut-and-dried as marketers once thought. As more research is conducted regarding consumer habits, it's becoming clear that the social landscape is fairly complex and that post timing, post frequency and overall trends can change drastically depending on the brand and channel involved.
When to Post
Although most marketers agree that posting multiple times a day to your social networking accounts is essential, when you post may actually be just as important as what you post. A report from Microsoft Enterprise shows that the best days and times to post vary by social media platform. For example, Thursday and Friday are the best days to post to Facebook, while Monday through Friday is best for Twitter. Facebook users are most active between 1 and 3 p.m., while the best posting times for Twitter are noon, 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the time zone where the greatest percentage of your users are based.
How Often to Post
While following usage trends to plot your posting schedule is clearly helpful, there's less agreement about proper posting frequency. As Fast Company highlights, you need to strike a happy balance between making sure the word gets out about your business and annoying your consumers with too-frequent contact. To avoid alienating customers, you'll want to start small with only a post or two a day and then build your posting schedule gradually over time, comparing engagement, reach and reception as more posts are added. Audit these metrics on a monthly basis, and then tweak your post frequency accordingly. If you notice a spike in unfollows or negative comments, you might be posting too often.
When to Buck Trends
Broad trends and social media best practices are certainly great to consider when planning your social strategy, but sometimes you just need to buck the trends and do what works for you. For example, Microsoft Enterprise shows that Instagram users are less active on the weekends. But if you're promoting a local brewing company that has a special weekend happy hour, you may find that posting to Instagram on Saturdays and Sundays is the best way to reach your target audience — those looking for something to do on the weekends. While it goes against trend, it makes sense for your business and connects with your users, which is your primary goal, after all.
While making the most of current data is great, keep in mind that there's always room for tweaking your social media schedule and honing your marketing strategy to find what's best for you.