At Kiers one of the components of social media marketing that we’re continuously helping our clients with is answering the question “how often should I post?” This is a great question to be asking and the answer is going to vary based on a number of factors that may surprise you. How often your company/brand posts is referred to in the industry as your social media ‘cadence’. Cadence is primarily defined by “a modulation or inflection of the voice”, but words also associated with it include, ‘rhythm’, ‘tempo’ and ‘beat’.
Why is cadence important?
If you take the literal definition of cadence referring to voice, then your social media posts are the ‘voice’ of your company or brand. Your posts are telling the story of your brand to your audience (both potential and existing customers) and hopefully engaging with them in substantial and meaningful ways. A consistent posting schedule can keep your brand top-of-mind with your audience, in addition to providing them with both useful, actionable information as well as promoting your products and services in a non-intrusive way.
There are other benefits as well. Consistent posting of content that is well received/engaged with by your audience helps social media platform algorithms decide how often and who to show your posts to. In the case of website blog or news posts, new content that changes regularly on a home page or blog section is registered by search engine tools and is one of the many metrics companies like Google use to rank search results.
Decide on Your Posting Schedule
Deciding how often to post content can be driven by a number of factors that will vary from company to company.
First and foremost is the simple question of human resources. Who is the person responsible for the social media management within your organization? Do you have someone dedicated to this – or have you simply tacked it on to the list of things someone in your organization already has to do? One of the pitfalls companies often make is thinking that someone already with a full plate can take on social media management because ‘it’s only a few hours here and there’ – but quite directly – when it comes to social media, you get outof it what you put into it. If you have the means, definitely consider hiring someone either internally or externally to manage your social media. This could be part-time initially but consider that this person will be responsible for generating content – quite possibly on a daily basis depending on your needs – to post to social media. This content can take the form of blog posts, link/article shares, and shorter posts. This person will need to write or source this content, find relevant graphics to include (social media posts that include graphics are proven to perform better – and even the nature of the graphic can be a factor in the success/effectiveness of your post). Ask yourself – if you had to add all this into your daily schedule – could you? More importantly, could you do it effectively and give it the attention it deserves?
If your organization is slim on personnel resources – as many are – there are options to hiring a dedicated social media manager. Consider making it a component of several employees’ job descriptions to contribute to social media management. If blog post responsibility is spread out over several people the load becomes lighter. You could consider making the variety of contributors one of the unique features of your social media story. Want to generate four blog posts a month? Consider tasking four different departments with writing something each month from their unique perspective. Share the load amongst your staff. One important thing to remember when using the ‘collaborative’ approach is to make sure the various parties are in good communication and there is a unified understanding of your brand’s story and messaging. Regular meetings to review, as well as sharing tools that allow internal peer review of posts and content before posting are key in this regard.
Though social media is often thought of as ‘sporadic’ or ‘spontaneous’ the brands that use it effectively are anything but. Their social media posts are strategically planned.
Set up a calendar to map out benchmarks, milestones, or significant product launches or events for your company. If utilizing the ‘collaborative’ management approach mentioned above, make sure this is a shared calendar. Once you have your major events outlined, work backwards from those days and think about posts you could/should make leading up to those. How far out should they be? How many? What does that content look like? Are there regional/national holidays on the calendar which your brand should definitely tie into? Start to actually place planned posts on your calendar. Decide who will be responsible for the content of each and what is required. Do you need a specific photo to go with that? Do you need to interview someone for your blog post? Better to start thinking about these things three months out than three days. And yes I said three months – here at Kiers we look as far out as a year ahead to see what might be coming up or needed. Digital calendars are fantastic for this functionality.
There is a wealth of (sometimes contradictory) information on the web about when is the best time to post on various social media channels – I won’t bother to regurgitate it here – part of the work of developing your cadence is doing this legwork and research. You may decide that you want to post more frequently on Facebook vs. Twitter based on the type of engagement you get – that’s fine. What’s important is that you’re thinking about it and that it’s not random. Some companies will go so far as to designate different channels for different uses, i.e. Twitter for customer service and support/incoming only and Facebook as promotional/informative. By establishing a ‘mission statement’ for each channel – it will help you determine the type of content you post there.
“Pro tip: Write out a mission statement for each network. A one-sentence declaration to keep you focused on a specific goal.–Hootsuite Blog
Example: “We will use Twitter for customer support to keep email and call volumes down.”
One more: “We will use LinkedIn for promoting and sharing our company culture to help with recruitment and employee advocacy.”
If you can’t create a solid mission statement for a particular channel, you may want to ask yourself if it’s worth it.”
How to Execute
This all may seem daunting, but it’s not as much heavy lifting as it sounds. If I had to break it down to two things they would be:
One: Get started.
You don’t necessarily need to have everything in place and figured out before you even make one post. But get started. Simple things like just using the social media channels regularly and familiarizing yourself with their abilities, metrics and tools are a great use of your time. The nature of social media is that it’s constantly shifting and fluid, so even if whatever you’re doing doesn’t take off at first, what’s important is that you’re working on it, and hopefully consistently and in a well-supported fashion. Things may not ‘blow up’ right away, but that’s where Two comes in.
Two: Pay attention.
Once you are posting, pay acute attention to your engagement numbers. Bottom line, this will determine if you are reaching your audience in a meaningful way. If you’re not – you’re free to (and should) adjust. Try some different content, different posting times or different types of content. (What exactly are the types of content? Stay tuned for a future blog post on that.) Quite obviously if you post content that gets a ton of engagement (likes, comments, shares) this is a sign that this resonates with your audience and you should endeavor to generate more content of that kind. Post a ‘how-to video’ that goes through the roof? Definitely slot some more of those into your planning calendar – but don’t forget you’re going to have to line up the resources (video production, script, subject, editing, etc) for each one those. Try to plan those ahead to eliminate stress for everyone involved. Want to do a series of eight videos? Maybe plan to book your video person for a full day and shoot the content for all eight in one day even if the eighth comes out in three months.
There are a ton of tools out there both free and paid to help make managing your social media easier either solo or as part of a collaborative team.
Tools everyone is probably familiar with like the Google Suite of apps are great, inexpensive ways to manage your social media. The benefit of Google – as well as others – is that they provide an environment wherein it’s easy for teams to collaborate. Here I’ll use Google an example:
- Calendar – shareable calendars for team members. Create as many different calendars as you like – perhaps for different social media channels as well as company dates/deadlines. Set reminders/notifications for posts/events.
- Sheets – Set up a spreadsheet to track your posts and content. Have different Sheets or columns for each social media channel. Enter the content for each post right into the spreadsheet so it can be reviewed/edited by all members of the team. Add in links to images or articles relevant to the posts. Have a column to highlight any other accounts to @-mention or any specific hashtags that are relevant and should be included.
- Docs – Generate and save your blog post content and social media post content and allow for team review and editing, as well as facilitate an approval process. You can also maintain a document that contains overall guidelines with regards to company-wide social media best-practices and language that can be updated and viewed by everyone.
- Drive – store all this in folders in your Drive. Categorize, separate and store relevant photos and assets (different product lines for example) in a way that all members of the team can access them. Once cool feature – place a Google link to an image right into your Sheets document to designate which image goes with that post. Anyone can find it and post it, even if the person who wrote the post is on vacation.
Different social media channles also allow various levels of ‘scheduling’ of posts or saving of drafts for a later date. Investigate these options as a way to save time – for example scheduling a bunch of posts at the beginning of the week and then they’re done – all you have to do is pay attention to how they perform.
There are a plethora of paid platforms/tools out there that will allow you to post, schedule, collaborate and manage your social media accounts, and in some-cases this might be a good option. A few examples include Hootsuite, Zoho Social and Sprout Social – but there are many others. These tools allow for a team to collaborate and effectively manage multiple social media channels and a robust posting/content stream in a unified manner that consistently maintains your brand’s story and voice. These tools can be used internally or in collaboration with outside agencies, partners, vendors or other stakeholders. Users can have various levels of access and some include approval processes whereby posts cannot be made until ok’d by a certain person/persons.
Finding Your Company’s Rhythm
Establishing your social media cadence can be an important component in the effectiveness of your social media efforts and presence. Much like growing a following – cadence should be an organic endeavor that changes over time as your company grows and develops – what’s important is that you’re aware of it and attempting to manage it in the most effective way.
How you do this will be determined by what works best for for your organization as well as feedback in the form of engagement. Do some digging. Poke around. One good idea is to seek out brands that you respect or aspire to be like – what are they doing? In your opinion, is it effective? How can you apply their ideas to your strategy?
If you’ve still got questions or are unsure where to start – we’d love to hear from you. At Kiers we’ve helped brands and companies tell their stories for over 35 years and have been around since social media started. Whether you’re just looking for some help getting rolling yourself or are looking for a full-blown collaborative partner to manage your social media – we can help. Our ideas mean business.