How Much Social Promotion is Too Much and When to “Slow Your Roll”

At IronPlane, we have embarked on a 90 day experiment in content creation and social media marketing. The content creation (subject for another time) provides much of the material for the social promotion. We recently got called out on a podcast we respect and listen to often about needing to "slow our roll" on Twitter. I will caveat this whole article with the admission that, despite being in eCommerce since 1999 and running an eCommerce development agency since 2011, I have done relatively little in social media. Personally, I check Facebook once a day or so, but post maybe once every couple of weeks. I took some time to build out my LinkedIn profile, because it seems to be the first place people go to check out who I am. Rarely did I post there, though I probably should. I created my personal Twitter account years ago and I have a total of 5 tweets. And Instagram . . . well, I just cannot seem to get it in my routine. My 8 year old daughter posts regularly and asks me to comment, and yet I still have to be reminded to do it. This was the long way of saying that what you are about to read is not based on long established practice, but rather on "seat of the pants" experimentation. When we decided to engage more actively in social media, I sat down and wrote out what I felt were my objectives for doing it. The 4 objectives I came up with were: Presence - Higher Volume / Lower Quality Objective - Establish a baseline presence in key channels. This requires regular posting and a commitment to do it indefinitely. Regardless of whether you post 5x per day or 5x per month, if the last date you posted is too far in the past your perceived presence will suffer. Bascially, when people visit IronPlane and want to see if we are "real," they should be able to find us in various social media channels and be able to scroll back a few clicks before thinking to themselves, "Ah, they are real." Here, the content tends to be a bit more generic, particularly for people in the field. It will also include non-industry posts - holiday greeting types of things, re-tweets, etc. Credibility - Lower Volume / Higher Quality Objective - This is still about establishing ourselves as a company with some legs, but the content has more depth. We may discuss new site launches, or announce a new service, or feature a partner. It is here where we also promote our clients and partners. Each of these elements begins to establish that we have built "stuff," can deliver "stuff," or that people like our "stuff." Authority - Low Volume / High Quality Objective - This is where we dive into a specific niche, like B2B eCommerce or choosing an eCommerce platform (Magento of course). The content here may have aspects of all the above items, but taken as a whole helps establish us experts in a certain area. Persuasion - This type of content is designed to convince a person to take some kind of action - buy a product, sign up for a webinar, listen to a podcast, etc. This is not our core objective, though it may crop up for specific circumstances or events. So how much is the right amount? If you look at the studies and recommendations of major social marketing agencies you see the following: Twitter - 3 to 10x per day LinkedIn - 1 to 3x per day Facebook - 1 to 2x per day Instagram - 1 to 2x per day Of course, any marketing agency has a vested interest in suggesting more publishing versus less publishing. It's like a development agency suggesting you should be spending at least X hours on your site every month. Sure, it may be accurate, but there is an inherent bias. However, the numbers are telling. Very few of us are actually posting that much. The above recommendations should also be based on the size of your current following. My partner says we should listen to our audience, and at least a part of our audience has said - do less. I think the exact words were that we need to "slow our roll." Defining your audience is critical. The audience I'm targeting with the objectives above is likely a small sliver of my actual audience. People in my real audience do not know about Magento, or maybe they know about Magento, but not as much as they could. Even broader, many of my audience members are just starting to dabble in eCommerce, like the many B2B manufacturers thinking seriously about a transactional web presence. So let's dive into what we are actually doing: Facebook - 1x per day each weekday LinkedIn - 1x per day each weekday Instagram - 1x per day each weekday Twitter - 5 to 10x per day each weekday Email Newsletter - 1x per week Blog and Resource section on site - 1x per day each weekday The content we publish includes: 1.  Snippets from content we post to our blog and resource section 2.  Promoting things we like about our clients 3.  Promoting things we like about our partners 4.  Highlighting other services or publishers we think our audience should know about 5.  Fluff - holiday greetings, fun stuff we like, etc. 6.  New site launches 7.  New services So far, across all the social channels, engagement is growing and our emails are getting an above average open rate and CTR. Based on the current metrics, I believe we will be tweaking as follows: 1.  Taking the email newsletter to once a month but with more in depth information on a single subject 2.  Increasing our engagement on LinkedIn 3.  Holding steady on Facebook and Instagram 4.  Twitter is still an open question - we will likely experiment with a 1-2x daily posting for the next 90 days and see what happens with engagement. We will review this again in 90 days or so. In the meantime, please do not tweet about this article on MageTalk! 🙂