If you’re new to the small business world, changing the way you view social media can be a bit strange at first. Instead of being the on the consumer side, scrolling through your news feed in search of appealing posts, you are now the one who has to create posts that appeal to your audience. Social media is a vast sea of content and creating posts that stand out is no easy task. The good news is, through consistent effort over time, you can build your following as well as an understanding of what your content your audience wants to see. This guide is meant to serve as a starting point for your social media posts that you can adapt according to your results. We’ve pulled some of the best social media data to provide you with a concrete outline for posting effectively across all of your different online channels.
Related: Social Media Pocket Guide
Even the most unique social media posts won’t do your business any good if you don’t post at the right time. If you’re unsure of when to publish your posts, use the guidelines below as a starting point. This will equip you with a baseline for experimenting with other posting times.
Finding the best time to post to Facebook is a little more complicated than other social media platforms due to their News Feed algorithm. With the data available, Hootsuite has found that posts published between 12pm – 3pm Monday – Friday and 12pm – 1pm Saturday & Sunday happen to get the most views and clicks (Source: Hootsuite)
The Twitter newsfeed is a fast-moving animal that can quickly bury posts if you’re not careful. According to the same Hootsuite blog post above, posting at 3pm Monday – Friday should help increase your impressions and overall click-through rate, but testing to see what works best with your target market will ultimately yield the best results. (Source: Hootsuite)
Instagram is another social media platform that builds user newsfeeds based on post popularity. After examining thousands of posts, data suggests that posting between 12pm – 1pm Monday – Friday will get the most views. It’s thought that this could be due to the large number of users browsing through feeds during their lunch break. (Source: Hootsuite)
While there aren’t any hourly based recommendations, posting in the early morning before work when users are looking for their daily updates, and at midday when everyone is enjoying their lunch break are the two best time frames you can use to get your information seen. (Source: BizJournals.com)
Usually a little lower on the totem pole of importance during the workweek, it’s recommended that you focus your Pinterest posting efforts during the evening hours. Few people are paying attention to their feeds during working hours, and instead like to browse when their day is winding down.
Posting 2-5 times per day is a good baseline until you work out the perfect schedule, but using Facebook Insights is the single best way to get a better understanding of your target market and when your posts are getting the most engagement. (Source: Social Media Examiner)
Given Twitter’s fast-paced nature, it’s recommended that you post content multiple times to get the most exposure. Social Media Examiner says that adopting this practice can increase your traffic by as much as 3,150%. Focus on consistently posting 1-4 times per day. (Source: Social Media Examiner)
Thanks to the unique nature of Instagram, you can post a lot before you have to worry about overwhelming your audience and followers. To get the most impressions and clicks, it’s recommended that you post as much as 15 times per day. (Source: Social Media Examiner)
Content posted on LinkedIn is going to take a little more strategy in order to get a high number of views and shares. As such, your posting frequency is going to be much lower when compared to the other social media platforms. Data suggests that you should post on average about 20 times per month. (Source: Social Media Examiner)
With the prime time hours being limited to after work and the early evening, you have to cram in a few high-quality posts in order to make the biggest impact for your efforts. Social Media Examiner suggests that you should post up to 5 times per day during these hours. (Source: Social Media Examiner)
One study found that posts with 40 characters or less generate 86% more engagement than longer posts. That means rather than trying to tell an entire story in your limited post space, opt for shorter, to the point sentences that sum it up nicely. (Source: BizReport)
When users are scrolling through Twitter, they tend to prefer shorter tweets that allow them to quickly digest the information. Posts between 70 to 100 characters appear to get the most engagement and strike a nice middle ground between shorter and longer formats. (Source: BizReport)
There isn’t much data out there to suggest ideal post lengths for Instagram. Search Engine Watch compiled data on Instagram posts and found that, while this generally holds true, short and medium length posts tend to be best. (Source: Search Engine Watch)
On LinkedIn, you need to worry about both title length and content length. OkDork recommends that titles between 40 to 49 characters and content around 2,000 words long get the most consistent engagement. (Source: OkDork )
Pinterest is another one of those platforms where post length is a bit of a grey area. That being said, Social Media Examiner found that staying between 150 to 300 words has a slight edge over shorter and longer variations. (Source: Social Media Examiner)
Getting the perfect image size on Facebook is a bit of an art. As a good baseline, sticking with 1,200 pixels wide and 470 – 628 pixels high should cover most of your needs. It’s still recommended that you do a few rounds of testing to see what works best. (Source: Social Media Examiner)
Twitter makes it easy to get the perfect image size. Keeping your pictures between 1,024 pixels wide and 512 pixels high will ensure that they stay high-quality, or you can use their preformatted Twitter cards for quickly optimizing any images you upload. (Source: Social Media Examiner)
Of all the social media platforms, Instagram makes image integration and optimization the easiest. With a maximum size of 1,935 pixels wide by 1,935 pixels high, you can use almost any picture you want. The platform will automatically scale the image depending on the device it’s being viewed on. (Source: Social Media Examiner)
Sticking with 800 pixels wide by 400 pixels high is a safe middle ground that maintains image quality while having nice visibility. Feel free to play around with the dimensions and see what works best for you and your audience. (Source: Social Media Examiner)
Being that Pinterest revolves almost entirely around images, it’s important to make sure yours are optimized for your audience’s viewing pleasure. Using a width of 600 pixels and heights between 900 to 1,200 pixels should work quite well for most uses. (Source: Social Media Examiner)
Social media for small business (or any business) is a crucial part of the puzzle leading to success. With these tips, you have a solid outline to jumpstart your social media strategy and begin working on building up a following of potential customers.
It’s important to remember that most of these recommendations only serve as great starting points. Depending on your target market and the product or service you’re offering, the best results are still going to come from testing to find out what works and what doesn’t.