By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
SHAKER HEIGHTS — There are a couple of social media questions I get asked a lot. “When are the best times to post?” “How often should we post?”
Now, neither of them is as important as making sure you have the right content for your fans. That’s the big thing. But let’s assume you’re good to go, content-wise. When you post and how often you post will be different depending on the platform you’re talking about. Keep in mind that getting seen only by your fans is not enough. When they start retweeting, sharing, commenting, favorite-ing and liking what you show them, that’s when more and more people will see what you posted.
“How often” really matters on Facebook, much more so than “when.” Posting too often not only causes people to hide your stuff, it also causes Facebook to show your content to fewer people. Some radio stations have a rule that the air talent have to post a certain number of times per day. Go ahead and aim that gun at your foot.
To test the waters, Facebook starts by showing what you post to only a small number of people. If your fans start to react positively, Facebook will show it to more people, including your fans’ friends. This takes time, so one great post can continue to have life, while content that’s not right just slips through the cracks.
So when and how often? For the pages that I work with, I start with three posts a day. I like doing one at the start of the workday, and then two in the evening. That seems to be a good balance of finding enough people on at a time that they’ll react to what you tell them. It then allows you to post more once or twice during the day if you have something especially good and timely.
Twitter is really all about catching people at the right time. There are two ways to deal with this. One is to post a lot, spreading it throughout the day. I prefer using a tool to help me know the best times to reach my followers. I schedule tweets through Crowdbooster, which tells me the best times of the day to reach people.
Almost everybody checking Twitter will start with the most recent posts and scroll down until they run out of time or interest, after a few minutes. So it’s very easy to miss people. There are a couple of tricks to get past that. Unfortunately, this is where Twitter can get time-intensive. Your followers are much more likely to read and react to your content if they feel a Twitter-based connection with you, no matter what their relation with you is away from Twitter. That means more than just pushing content out. It means following back, it means reacting to them, it means sending and answering messages to and from individuals.
Combine the time it takes to do that right with the fact that Facebook leads to action in real life far more than Twitter does … and you see why I tend to de-emphasize the need for Twitter for most businesses.
Tumblr skews younger than many other networks. However, giving one-way marketing messages on Tumblr falls flat. Reblogging others’ posts does nothing for your brand. Furthermore, your content moves down the page very fast, and it can take a long period of reblogging for a significant number of others to see your stuff (if they ever do).
Pinterest skews female, in a demo of working women that a lot of radio stations want to talk to. Still, if you can’t post really great graphic content over and over, don’t go there.
Instagram can be cool, too. Make sure your photos also show up on Facebook or Twitter, or it’s not really worth the time.
Finally, don’t pick a social media platform because it’s trendy, or because of their technology. If you can’t build relationships and affect the numbers by which you’re measured, why waste your time?
Chris Miller, owner of Chris Miller Digital, is a leading radio consultant specializing in research-based strategic planning and smart use of digital media. He can be phoned at 216-236-3955 or e-mailed at chris@chrismillerdigital