It’s become one of the most prevalent questions in the social media industry. And, to me, also one of the most frustrating. Mostly because of article’s like Hootsuite’s recent post “How Often to Post to Social Media in 2021”.
You see, most of these “how often to post” articles always wind up with the same conclusion: you need to post A LOT. In this most recent case, here are Hootsuite’s recommendations:
- On Instagram, post between 3-7 times per week.
- On Facebook, post between 1 and 2 times a day.
- On Twitter, post between 1 and 5 Tweets a day.
- On LinkedIn, post between 1 and 5 times a day.
OK, let’s do some additional math. By my count, this would mean, Hootsuite is recommending you post to your Insta page 12-28 times per month; to your Facebook page 30-60 times per month; to Twitter 30-150 times per month; and to LinkedIn a whopping 30-150 times per month.
Grand total: That’s 388 posts per month (on the high end)!
I’ve been doing social media audits for midsized and large companies for years. And one of the key outcomes of those audits is almost always the same: you’re posting way too much. Apparently, most companies are taking advice from Hootsuite! But, dialing back the posting frequency can be MUCH more effective–and can help save your team’s sanity. For two big reasons.
First, very few marketing or comms teams have the capacity (or endurance) to post 300+ times per month across these four channels. Recent reports I’ve seen, put most social media teams in the 1-3 person range. There’s just no way those teams could post this often. Not even close.
Second, I’m a big believer in the quality over quantity mantra when it comes to social content marketing. After all, how are you going to come up with 300 different killer social media posts in one month? And then do it month after month after month? That’s just not sustainable–and it’s not smart. Instead, as a very general rule, I usually recommend posting a handful of times a week to a channel like LinkedIn. This is more than enough for most brands. And, if your posts get decent engagement (which they should if you’re taking more time), they tend to live in the feed a little longer.
Finally, keep in mind who’s releasing most of these “how often to post” reports and surveys: The social media management tools. They want brands to post more–it makes their tools more attractive. So, inherently, there’s a conflict right away. So, I suggest taking their advice with a grain of salt (or, feel free to ignore it altogether–unless you want to try to come up with 388 posts every month!)
So, what’s the real answer to the question “how often should we post?” The answer, as it is so often in social media marketing: It depends on a number of factors. Notably:
Do you have the staff time or budget to produce 388 posts per month? Most don’t. So, figure out the cadence that does work within your existing resources.
Are you measuring the effectiveness of your existing content? What does engagement look like when you post a lot? Does it differ when you post just a handful of times per month? Do some experimenting, check the results and plan from there.
Do you know what your audience really wants or needs from you, as a brand? Do they want to see content from you 3-4 times per day? Have you asked them? Have you surveyed them on this question?
Reluctance or desire to get involved in conversations
If you’re posting say, 30-40 times a month on Facebook, do you have the staff power to moderate all the comments on those posts? And does your brand have the ability and desire to get involved with tougher conversations? If the answer is no to these two questions, you probably want to ratchet down frequency a bit.
In the end, the “how often to post” conversation is a nuanced one that’s different for almost every company. And it shouldn’t be based on “survey data” from large platforms who benefit when you use their product more–it should be based on your own data, observations and resources. Plain and simple.