The Ultimate Social Media Posting Strategy

Social; it’s really not going anywhere. In fact, according to a recent study from Econsultancy and Adobe it formed a much bigger part of a marketer’s arsenal than predicted in 2014. The study of over 6,000 marketers concluded that social was last year’s most exciting opportunity for 16% of them. That’s joint third on the list with mobile, and only 1% behind both content marketing and customer experience. Additionally, with Facebook and Twitter incorporating more enhanced advertising technology (such as Multi-Product Ads or Relevance Scores on Facebook and Product Cards on Twitter), it’s only going to get easier to convert customers from the social networks!

In spite of this, it’s actually getting harder to get found on social media. Organic reach is declining on Facebook and more and more businesses are turning to Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest et al to help with their marketing efforts. With that in mind, organisations (and agencies) who don’t have an overarching social strategy are going to get left behind. One sub-strategy within your overall social strategy should be posting. Posting for the sake of posting will get you nowhere. Posting on all the social networks arbitrarily is not helpful. In order to start using social effectively, an effective posting strategy is crucial to your success online.

The perennial questions

There’s a few things that commonly come up when we talk to in-house teams and organisations that can be broken down into the Five Ws (and one H);

  • Who should post?
  • What should I post?
  • When should I post?
  • Where should I post?
  • Why should I post?
  • How often should I post?

Truth be told, there’s no actual strict set of guidelines that one should follow, and if you come across a consultant who tells you otherwise, my suggestion would be that you should be wary. The reason for this post is to provide some best practice advice on the tactics you should implement when addressing these questions.

Who should post on social?

Here, you have two options. Either someone in-house, or an external agency/company. Ideally, an in-house team member should be posting. Why would I suggest this as an agency ourselves? Well, because that’s the best person to do the job. Nobody knows an organisation better than its employees. If your company is either too small to have an in-house marketer, or needs some help, that’s when the agency should come in. Agencies have the benefit of being specialists in their field. They know the information I’m sharing because that’s their job. I’m not saying get rid of your agency, I’m just saying that you have more industry specific knowledge than they do, so you should be mindful if semantics and specialist understanding is required.

For this reason, it’s also key to note where the future of the agency lies. When reviewing our Social Media Strategy Spectrum, the area where in-house teams may depend on agencies is the creative side (engagement and awareness), and the advertising side (direct acquisition). Where true depth is required, the in-house teams should be proficient enough to cover the community management aspect.

What should I post on social?

The type of content you produce is dependant on a number of variables; your target audience, your product or service and your industry could all dictate the type of content you generate and the social channel(s) you should be focusing on. Once you’ve established the channels, you should then think about what your goal is. Once you’ve determined your goal, you should start thinking about the exact content types to post and on which channel. However, I’m going to cover the “where” later on in this post, so I’ll break down the content you could produce per channel first.


In terms of engagement, photos have previously been king of Facebook. In the past, users have naturally shared photos more than any other content type. However, videos, text-only and links lead the way in terms of reach. We’re not convinced that reach is the best metric to focus on, but if reach is your goal, try videos and links instead of imagery. You can however use a reporting tool that tells you your most engaging content type.


Twitter is slightly different. With a platform that was built (almost) from the ground up using hashtags, these still come into play on the platform today. Twitter themselves highlighted the difference in engagement levels when compared to text only tweets in March 2014;


A recent Socialbakers study highlights photos (at 47%) being the most engaging content type, followed by text-only tweets, with video languishing at a mere 2% when examining the top 10% of tweets in terms of tweet engagement. Twitter themselves also recently announced that photos received over 300% more engagement. An interesting contrast to Facebook whose algorithm is pushing people to promote more video based content.


LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, and with that, we should be producing “more professional” content. This means don’t post cat memes on the platform. In fact, you shouldn’t be posting cat memes anywhere - thanks to Banksy in particular for highlighting this. This is further highlighted by the fact that 60% of LinkedIn members are interested in industry insights. The same Quick Sprout graphic highlights that links drive 200% more engagement, images increase comment rate by 98% and videos result in a 75% increased share rate.

Additionally, LinkedIn opened up long-form posts to all members of the platform last year. This brings a whole new dimension to professionals outside of what LinkedIn terms “Influencers”, or as they put it:

We're expanding LinkedIn's publishing platform by allowing members, in addition to Influencers, to publish long-form posts about their expertise and interests. While publishing a long-form post on LinkedIn doesn't mean you're a LinkedIn Influencer, publishing allows you to further establish your professional identity by expressing your opinions and sharing your experiences.

The publishing option in LinkedIn is a great tool for increased exposure. The posts are shared with your connections and followers. Likes, comments and shares of your post will see your content distributed outside of your immediate network, however, it’s important to understand that long-form posts are just for individuals, not company pages.

Other Social Networks

As for the other primary social networks, the “what” is relatively straight forward. For Pinterest and Instagram, it’s all about creative imagery and videos. The content should loosely stick to “the rule of social thirds” - a blend of brand focused, product focused, and insightful (or “fun”) themed content. It’s key to highlight that this is just a conceptual starting point, not a dedicated split of 33% to each section, you’ll need to test and monitor how your audience responds to each third to establish what works best for your brand.

After breaking this down by channel, you should then look at the content type in a little more detail. If we revisit the rule of social thirds, it’s crucial you don’t start posting/sharing videos that have nothing to do with your business and, or industry. Just because it’s fun, doesn’t mean it’s insightful. The people that will share that video will in all likelihood have very little interest in your business or product, so it’s false engagement. It ties into the debate over the value of holding competitions on social media. This sort of question is tied into your wider content marketing strategy - but you should be aware of this when you start to formulate your posting strategy.

My final point would be for larger organisations - perhaps with multiple brands or local destinations. Duplicating posts across the board is not our recommended strategy. We’ve recently just released editable, multi-brand publishing within our scheduling tool, but this comes with a warning; by duplicating your content across more than one social channel, or more than one brand, the whole process looks automated. Social is meant to be about people connecting with people so by automating too many processes you’re going against the fundamental principles of the platforms themselves. The theory that you shouldn’t post the same content to multiple channels has been around for a while. The same rule should be applied for multiple brands that belong to the same organisation. The followers of one page are not the same as another, so don’t treat them the same. Review the demographic data and tailor your content. If you have a generic marketing message you’d like to push out to all your locations/brands, then you can, but make sure it’s still tailored to your audience.

Overall though, rich media rules the roost in terms of engagement and reach (apart from the Facebook image caveat). This is not surprising - so make your content visual! My main takeaway though is to mix it up. Predominantly, you should be using photos and videos, but that shouldn’t form 95% of everything you release on social. Use a combination, and work out what works best for you and your brand.

When should I post on social?

I’d argue that there are two answers to this question.

  1. When your fans are online
  2. When your fans are most likely to help you achieve your objective

The reason for answer number one is quite simple - there’s no point in posting when nobody’s home. We refer to it as the ‘Eastenders timeslot’. Why does Eastenders air at the time it does? Because that’s when most people are watching their television sets. Make sure you’re posting at prime time. How can you get this information? Head over to Facebook insights for that channel, use a tool like Tweriod or Followerwonk for Twitter. LinkedIn’s optimum times are during working hours - specifically in the morning. You should avoid late afternoon, evenings and weekends - but this doesn’t mean rule them out altogether. You never know, until you’ve tested.

The second answer goes a bit deeper than the first. After establishing your objective (reach, engagement, email sign ups, etc), it needs to be understood that the times when your fans/followers are online may not help your objective. For example, your fans may be online later in the day, but are they more likely to purchase a product or share a post? This is a very subtle difference but one that should be considered nonetheless. The best way to track the success of this is by using a social media analytics tool in combination with the URL Builder for Google Analytics, or similar variant such as Campaign Tracking for SiteCatalyst.

The social media analytics tool will enable you to track your most engaging content, the posts with the most reach, likes, comments, etc, whilst the web analytics tool in combination with the additional URL parameters will allow you to understand social uplift, and conversions from social, be that using last click, first click, linear or any other type of attribution model.

Where should I post?

The where section relates to the channels you should be posting on. I briefly mentioned this earlier, but there are some fundamental questions you need to ask;

  • Are you B2C, B2B or both?
  • Are you primarily a products or services company?
  • Is your key focus on social media excellent customer service, crafting engaging campaigns, or driving leads to your website?
  • Is your content image, copy, media or application focused?
  • Do you have a small, medium or large advertising budget?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll know what channels you should be focusing on. B2C? Well that’s most likely Facebook. B2B? LinkedIn might be your best bet. Want direct leads and have a decent sized ad budget? Twitter and Facebook’s advertising prowess is probably the route to go down. Is your content highly visual? Then Pinterest or Instagram may be for you. The key is - don’t choose every network. Have a goal in mind, understand your market, your customers and then choose the most appropriate social network.

Later in 2015, we’ll be releasing a digital diagnostic tool that will tell you “where to play” - it will be similar to the tool we offered to attendees of our Business Show Social Media Workshops.

Why should I post on social networks?

If we’ve got this far and this question still needs to be answered, I may be barking up the wrong tree. However, I’ll try and summarise it in one paragraph.

Social is here to stay. It is an important part of a marketer’s toolkit. Whilst some large companies abandon some of the platforms, it’s clear that whilst it doesn’t work for all, it does work for many. Just ask Jon Loomer. Is social media the holy grail of digital marketing? Frankly, no. Is social media a great converter? Arguably not. Is it a powerful tool for building an engaged community if used effectively? Absolutely.

How often should I post?

I’m going to return to my favourite phrase - it depends. And it depends on the channel. There is a lot of debate, just check out this Pinterest board. There’s advice there from KISSmetrics, Search Engine Watch, Social Media Today and more. The irritating thing is, none of them say the same thing. Buffer have two posts on the subject from the same author, and even he can’t agree with himself (found here and here)!

I should point out that all of these studies, infographics and articles use different data points in different countries and are done at differing times over the last few years. We can take a few conclusions from this;

    1. Social media is evolving all the time, as are its users
    2. Each country is different
    3. Each industry is different
    4. The law of diminishing returns applies
    5. You need a strategy!

As such, I’m going to give ranges, based on the data I’ve outlined above. These ranges are targeted for engagement, not reach or ROI. It's also crucial to note that in some industries, such as sports, they have great success posting over and above the recommended ranges - so don't be tied into the below recommendations - it's just best practice!


Facebook - 1-2 posts per day, no more than 10 per week

Twitter - 2-3 posts per day, any more and engagement drops

LinkedIn - 1-2 posts per day, not on weekends, and usually in the mornings

Google+ - 2-3 posts per day, with consistent posting

Pinterest - 4+ pins per day, spread evenly

Instagram - 1-2 times per day, but posting more generally doesn’t reduce engagement

If you’d like industry benchmarks, Hubspot have a useful article on their website that details how often people post per week. This is less of a best practice article mind you, and just shows how often people are posting.


So that’s it, my ultimate social media posting strategy. Ultimate could be a bit of a stretch - I haven’t gone into detail on different industries or countries, which I could have done. The objective of my article is merely to answer some of the most enduring questions within the digital marketing, and more specifically social media, sphere. It’s crucial to understand that with so much variation and so much data available, it’s very difficult to do this without expert knowledge or analytics software. We are in an age where data is available freely, and we need that help - from both humans, tools and applications - to enable us as marketers and business owners to do the best job we can, so please don’t think you can do it alone!

Do you agree or disagree with any of my comments? I’d love to hear from you over on Twitter. Happy posting!

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