Don't believe advice on when and how often to post on social media

Don’t believe advice on when and how often to post on social media

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The internet is awash with advice on how brands should manage their social media presences – some useful and some less so. Perhaps the most frequent is advice on how often a brand should post on various social media channels, or when is the best time of day to post. Sometimes this advice is based on research across multiple brands and updates; sometimes the source is less clear. But

This advice is often presented as ‘science’. Don’t post more than three times a day on Twitter, we are told. And these tweets should be a 12pm, 5pm and 6pm apparently. Simple.

Of course, the natural extension of this – every brand in the world posting at exactly the same times – is unlikely to happen. But advice like this, even when it is supported by research, is damaging to many brands attempts to get success and value from social media and digital engagement.

Social media channels are merely tools that can be used in different ways – from supporting customer service to product information and brand engagement. Generic advice on how often and when to post doesn’t take this variance into account. A channel used for delivering product information, for example, may not have something to say that often; a channel supporting customer service may have too much to say.

Even assuming this advice only applies to channels aimed at ‘brand engagement’, any generic advice like this cannot be relevant for all brands. Just because engagement goes down on the 4th tweet of the day in a set of brand tweets does not make that 4th tweet useless. And just because mean click-throughs is highest at 5pm does not mean that all Tweets will get the best click-through rate at that time. Nor does it mean that your three Tweets will get any engagement or you 5pm Tweet any click-throughs.

This kind of research reduces the nuances of different channels (and the audiences you engage with and the content you have) to nothing. It also eliminates the most useful part of any social media strategy for brands – the ability to use data to test and refine what performs best for your audiences.

Brands should be spending time understanding their own audiences and communities across their social media channels, what matters to them and how their content is received. This will give them the best advice on how often to post, and when to post – advice that is 100% tailored to them.