Can You Overdo Social Media?

While wrapping up a social media evaluation recently, a client leaned forward and asked “Hey, is it possible to overdo this social media thing?".  This person, a director of a health club, was not managing the social media directly, but rather had assigned it to an entry-level employee.  This employee  knew how to use some social media, but had no marketing experience.  We were called in since there were some concerns over how the club was coming across on social media.  One of our findings in the evaluation was that they might be posting too much on Facebook.  There were roughly 10 posts per day.  Some of these were good content (great photos and other visuals, news, updates, and community events), but many of them were superfluous.  Despite having over 600 Likes on their page, they were only reaching around 60 people per week.  That"s strong evidence that a lot of the Likes had hidden the page, since that many posts per day should have reached a lot more people.

Some Facebook pages and other social media profiles can get away with prolific posting.  Lady Gaga, Charlie Sheen, and other celebrities can post about something as mundane as toe nail clipping 12 times a day and get Likes, comments, and interaction every time.  But the average business, even a larger one, rarely has that much star power.  Furthermore, businesses will post about specials and other news, posts that while interesting, are hardly earth shattering with excitement.  Some companies will always sell, sell more social media, but that just does not make sense for all situations.  So what is overdoing it?

Underdoing it has been written much more often.  It"s easier to talk about social media profiles with virtual tumbleweeds rolling through them.  Overdoing it is much harder to quantify, but here are a few factors to keep in mind.

1.  How many Likes do you have?  As your Like numbers increase, you should feel less, not more, urgency to post more updates.  Unless you"re already underposting, that means keeping the number of updates steady, or even with a small drop, as the page grows.

2.  How exciting are you?  You may be an accountant and love, love, love numbers.  You might even be creative and make posts fun and interesting.  That said, a lot of people will not want to read nonstop posts about accounting.  Objectively evaluating your profession requires a hard and honest glance.  The accountant will have a hard time building as much excitement as say a Monster Truck Park.

3.  Are there visuals?  Your product might be very visual (photography, landscaping, remodeling) or not so much.  Visuals keep things interesting and you can generally post more if you have good ones.

4.  Is anything time driven?  If you"re involved in a charity, running a neat special, or anything else with a date attached, you might temporarily post more, including updates like money raised, contest winners, and so on.

With the above in mind, there"s no hard and fast rule, but for the average small business around 3 Facebook posts per week is a good goal.  That"s enough to get noticed, but not too much to become annoying.  Other good practices are trying to avoid a multiple stream of posts in the same day.  Mix up the times you make posts to reach more of your audience.  As a last resort, ask your Aunt Ethel at the next family gathering if she hid your business page because you were posting too much.  If her eyes fall to the ground and she starts rubbing her hands nervously, you might have a problem.

Matt Cail

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