How Much Is Too Much?

Social media is important for businesses. It helps you stay connected with your current clients, customers, and patients, and it helps you reach new ones. But it’s not as easy as it sounds to manage a social media account for your business or organization. You might start out boldly, but often business accounts end up being neglected. When you come across one of these accounts, you can almost see the cobwebs and smell the dust that has settled over the page. It’s off-putting, and it makes your organization look like you’ve closed up shop.

Obviously, not keeping up with social media can have a negative impact on your business. Can getting too zealous be just as bad?

We often hear from clients who worry that too many tweets will turn off their followers, and that posting often at Facebook will clutter up their friends’ timelines and lead to hatred. And that is not impossible. But let’s look at some facts:

  • Your company Facebook post will reach only a fraction of your fans.
  • The average Facebook user has 200-300 friends, and perhaps 25% of them post regularly.
  • 72% of users visit at least once a day.

This means that when I go to Facebook, I can expect to see somewhere in the neighborhood of 71 posts, if I scroll down and look at all the new posts, which I promise you will not happen. Once I’ve Liked all the babies and puppies, I might actually notice half a dozen posts out of the 71 or so new things available to me.

Therefore, to fill up your fans’ Facebook timelines with so many posts that they will hate you would require a whole lot of posts.

You might be able to do it on Twitter. Sometimes I see a long string of identical tweets, and yeah, that’s irritating. Don’t do that. In fact, getting onto Twitter at coffee break time every day and retweeting 12 tweets is also irritating.

However, once again most people on Twitter follow enough people that your tweets will not fill up their feeds unless you go way overboard. The official limit on possible tweets per day, I’m told, is 1,000 tweets, and that would be going way overboard.

Here’s another important calculation. If your tweets are nearly all self-promotion and ads, people will unfollow you. If your Facebook posts are heavily promotional, people will unfriend you or unlike your page. This is a percentage thing. While different companies use different percentages, we find that the old 80/20 rule works very well.

So if you want to tweet three times this week about that upcoming sale, you’ll need 15 good, useful, entertaining posts that don’t sound like ads.

If you decide to post once a week, you can only post something promotional once a month or less. Although it will be a moot point because most of your followers will never see any of your tweets or posts, and many will unfollow you because they think you’re inactive.

Guy Kawasaki, whom I really admire, has done research showing that posting the same links back to your website multiple times results in far more clicks than just doing it once, and the number of unfollows is actually quite small.

But the question of whether you can post too much on social media is really about what you’re posting. Are you doing the equivalent of standing up in public and yelling, “Look at me! Look at me!” or are you sharing things that will delight or help people who see your post when they stop by at Twitter on their lunch break? That’s the most important question.

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