Learn to tightrope walk ... on the ideal time & frequency to post
What’s the ideal amount to post per day? How often should you post? When should you post? What should you post? The solid gold, ironclad answer on questions like these is: It depends.
But don't worry. We won't leave you hanging! :) We're happy to share the best practices for ideal timing and frequency, as well as how to think about what type of content to share to social media.
Reading time: 3 minutes
You've chosen your networks. You've filled out your profiles. You've established your voice.
Now we arrive at the specifics.
What should you actually be posting? And when? And how often?
These are questions that social media experts are constantly trying to answer for themselves. There may be no tried-and-true answer; the answers keep changing. That's why any advice you adhere to with social media posting should come along with your own best tests and analysis of what's working for you (or what's not working).
That being said, there's still a lot of good research and strategy out there to give you some ideas for where to start.
Let's start with the basic six types of updates we all post: Links, images, video, quotes, reshares, plain-text updates.
Images are ideal - almost all the time.
Visual content is huge for social media. Photos on Twitter lead to a 35 percent boost in retweets. Places like Pinterest and Google+ are tailor-made for visual content. Maybe the only place where image posts seem to suffer is on Facebook, where video - an alternate form of visual content - is surging.
One way to think about the type of posts you publish is splitting it into a ratio. Here's the way that Buffer's founder Joel Gascoigne shares to his Twitter account.
- Choose a “staple” update, a single type that will make up the majority of your shares
- Create a 4:1 ratio of sharing: for every four “staple” updates, publish one different type for variety
Another way to think about content is in the message. How much should you share of your own stuff? We've found a large number of different strategies that try to create a good balance here - the 4-1-1 sharing method, the Golden Ratio, and more. Feel free to try one on for size.
There are many neat tools to show you the best time of day to post to Facebook, Twitter, and more. These tools look at your followers and your history of posts to see when your audience is online and when historically have been your best times to share.
So what’s someone to do who’s just starting out on these social networks, with no audience and no history?
Here’s an overview of what SumAll found in terms of best practices for social media timing (all times are Eastern Time).
- Facebook – 1-4pm and 2-5pm weekdays
- Twitter – 1-3pm weekdays
- Google+ – 9-11am weekdays
- LinkedIn – 7-8:30am and 5-6pm Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday
- Tumblr – 7-10pm weekdays and 4pm on Fridays
- Instagram – 5-6pm weekdays and 8pm on Mondays with a sweetspot at 6pm
- Pinterest – 2-4pm and 8-11pm weekdays with weekends being the best
The simple answer for frequency: Post as often as you have engaging, entertaining, or useful content to share.
For the specifics, based on research studies and data analysis, here are some reference points for where you might start off with your scheduling (and test and see for yourself what's best).
- Facebook - 1-2 times per day
- Twitter - 5 times per day or more
- LinkedIn - 1 time per day, Monday through Friday
- Google+ - up to 5 times per day
Further reading: How to create a social media posting strategy
Feeling all set? There's so much data and ideas out there about the best ways to share to social media. Take the bits and pieces that make sense to you. Test them out. Try them on. Iterate from there.
You can do it! Grab whichever strategy makes sense to you, and feel free to use a tool like Buffer to build your schedule. We'd be honored to help. :)
Today's action item: Choose a content plan, schedule, and frequency for each social media channel. Write it down or enter it into Buffer.