When and how much to post

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Though I’ve posted on this topic before, I get a lot of questions on this one. How often, and how much, to post is a hot topic for Information Workers trying to leverage Social Media in their work lives, so here are my usual recommendations:

Twitter: Tweet often. How much “often” is will vary from person to person and business to business, but there are some general guidelines. Try to post at least twice per day, and no more than three or four posts per day should be direct advertising (“Come see our new product website,” or “Call your local sales rep” etc.). Ask general questions about your industry and try to engage in discussions instead. This means that you should also be replying to DM’s and @Replies as often as is reasonable for you, but at least twice per day.

Facebook: Update your fan pages and your own profile page at least once per workday. As with Twitter, avoid direct and point-blank advertising posts for the majority of your updates. Reply to messages whenever convenient, at least twice each day if possible.

Other Social Networks: Typically, with networks like LinkedIn and others, the basic advice is the same as with Facebook.

NOTE: Always know your limits. If you can only actively work with three networks or risk fewer updates, then limit yourself to three networks. It’s better to offer great content on a few sites, then to not update at all on seven.

Blogs: Once per week is the minimum for most types of blogs. More often is not a bad idea, but unless your blog is a clearing house for industry news, try to update no more than three times per week.

As to when, that’s a much easier answer. Update, tweet and post when your users are most likely to see it. If you’re a local business, then you want to make your updates in the best times in your local time zone, but if you have a far-reaching business you may need to stagger your updates to hit multiple time zones. Tools like HootSuite and BufferApp can help a great deal with that task by letting you create updates, but post them on a schedule.

Also remember that your customers may be looking for information at times you might not think about. Most folks are swamped from 9am to 10am in their local time zones, and again from noon until about 3pm.

Another thing is to try to hit your customers when they’re most likely to be looking for that info. So if you sell food or entertainment, you want to get your updates out around 11am and 3pm to 7pm, the times that most customers are looking for a place to eat or meet up for lunch or after work.

Most times, you can rely on common sense for when to post and how often. Going with your gut is usually not a bad idea. Just remember that the goal is to get people talking to and about your business, not just create a new advertising venue.

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