Words by Lucia Philip
It is one of the important questions of our time.
Will world diplomatic ties survive a Trump Presidency intact, will Australians vote in favour of gay marriage, and how often should you post to social media?
Much research has been conducted into the best times to post to social media. People argue about whether posting daily is necessary and whether posting too soon can kill your previous post.
Some time ago, I even wrote a blog post about when to post on social media. I trawled through the latest research from the most reputable social media experts and it was one of my best performing posts. But that was before “the algorithm” in its various forms had spread its tentacles through the platforms we know and love.
If I had to rewrite that post now, it would look like this:
When To Post On Social Media
It (really) doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter because asking ‘when should I post to social media,’ is asking the wrong question. And it is the wrong question because a social media post does not exist in a vacuum. When you post to social media, and how often you post to social media, matter only at the margins.
Above all else, what matters to a post’s success is this:
Did it provide value …… for your customer?
Put another way, there are no neutral posts on social media. Every piece of content you share is either increasing your customers’ positive regard for your brand, or it is decreasing it.
If you post something useful, funny, engaging or beautiful to social media, you move your brand forward in the hearts and minds of your customer.
But post something irrelevant, annoying, pointless or off topic and you’ll move your brand backwards and instantly diminish your customers’ regard for your brand.
Forward. Backwards. Affinity. Annoyance.
This has always been the case but it is more so now. Why?
Because the algorithms on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are designed to evaluate each piece of content. A post that gets a high number of likes, comments and follows will be shown to more people within the platform (this is called reach).
But when your post receives a disproportionately low number of likes, comments and follows the algorithms also notice. And the post is shown to fewer people.
I am not a developer but I am willing to bet that each platform’s algorithm also makes decisions about your new post’s reach based on the engagement you’ve received on previous posts.
We are so often told that posting daily is the key to social media success. We read that we should post immediately before lunch, or during the evening commute or while toddlers might be napping. And in our eagerness to grow our accounts, it becomes tempting to ‘just post something, anything,’ to keep up this punishing schedule.
But every time you do this, you are digging yourself further into a hole.
I often get asked how often one should post on social media. My answer?
When you have something to share, that your audience will love.
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