In social media, timing is everything
You’re on Facebook and Twitter! Now what?
So you’ve done it! You have finished creating attractive social pages for your business or organization. You have completely branded your Facebook and Twitter pages with cover photos, backgrounds, buttons, etc. If you build it, they will come… right?
Well, not exactly. Similar to a brick and mortar business, you can’t just open your doors and expect people to come flocking in. It takes marketing, advertising and good public relations or word of mouth. You’re not going to get thousands of new fans overnight, so don’t get frustrated. Creating a social following is something that takes a solid strategy, consistency and patience.
How do you begin planning your content? One strategy for planning your social media is the creation of a content calendar or editorial calendar. Planning out your social media posts in advance gives you time to design custom themes for a particular month (e.g. holidays, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, etc.). Decide on a posting schedule that works for your business (daily, weekly, monthly) and stick to it.
What types of things should your business be posting on social media? Facebook and Twitter are social platforms, therefore customers expect you to interact with them in an informal manner. Engagement is key with your content. Avoid boring followers with lengthy, wordy posts, or complex industry jargon. Instead, post photos, which receive the highest level of engagement, according to recent studies. The next most engaging types of posts are statuses, videos, and links.
You want to alternate between different types of posts to keep it interesting. Try uploading photos of your products or employees, asking people questions, sharing interesting articles pertaining to your business, or creating a video blog. Post things that establish you as an “expert” in your industry, but keep it human and non-robotic.
When should you post to Facebook and Twitter? Thanks to a recent study by bitly, an online link shortening and tracking service, we now have data that shows which times during the week have the highest engagement for social media postings. According to the study, Wednesday at 3 p.m. EST is the peak time of the week to post on Facebook. Status updates posted between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. EST during the week will receive more impressions than other times. Stay away from weekend posts unless they are relevant to special events or news.
For Twitter, bitly suggests Tweeting earlier in the afternoon, early in the week - say 1-3 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Avoid Tweeting after 8 p.m. or after 3 p.m. on Fridays. Tweets also get less attention on weekends.
How often should you post to Facebook and Twitter? The average visibility of a Facebook post is 3 hours. This means that you want to wait at least 3 hours between posts, but don’t post EVERY 3 hours. 8 posts a day may annoy people and decrease engagement. It’s reasonable to post to Facebook maybe 1-3 times per day.
Twitter’s platform and culture is different from Facebook. The average visibility of a Tweet is about 2.8 hours according to bitly. Tweets show up in an ongoing stream from people all over the world and in chronological order. If you Tweet once per day, chances are that by the end of the day your message is buried way down the list. For maximum Twitter engagement try posting 1-4 times per hour.
How do you make sure your posts show up on Facebook? Though you now have some insight into the best times to post on Facebook, this is only a piece of the engagement puzzle. It’s also important to understand that Facebook uses a complex algorithm to determine which status updates show up (and where) in your news feed - this is called EdgeRank. There are three major factors that influence a brand’s EdgeRank:
Affinity - How close of a relationship a brand has with a fan. This is influenced by actions such as liking, clicking, sharing, commenting, and messaging.
Weight - A system created by Facebook to determine the value of certain actions. A comment has a higher value than a like because it is more involved.
Time Decay - Time Decay refers to how long an update has been live. Posts suffer Time Decay every 1 second.The older it is, the less valuable it is.
Knowing how to leverage EdgeRank will help your brand show up in the top of a fan’s news feed. Keep in mind, if your updates are not engaging enough or if you post too frequently, you could be punished by EdgeRank limiting your news feed visibility.
What if you don’t have time to post on Facebook and Twitter? If you are like most business owners, you don’t have time to stop what you are doing on Wednesday at 3:00 PM and post something. There are some platforms out there that will allow you to schedule postings for specific dates and times, however that can still be very labor intensive.
On one hand, creating a social media presence for your company is beneficial in terms of SEO, since most social sites have a high page rank on Google searches. On the other hand, in terms of branding, having no page at all is better than having a poorly maintained one. Just as you wouldn’t want customers to walk into your store and see nothing on the shelves, you wouldn’t want them seeing a blank or out of date Facebook or Twitter page. Weigh your options. You might consider hiring a consultant or agency to do this for you. After all, your time is valuable.
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