Feeding the Social Media Monster
- [Colby] "Feeding the Social Media Monster." This is something that I've been wanting to talk about for a little bit and it's something that comes back a little bit to the idea of consistency. The reality is that social media networks require content, of course, and your followers are starving for content, they want to engage. But there are so many platforms and there's only so much that you can do in a given day. And so, you need to figure out how much do you need to feed the monster. And as an interesting analogy and another excuse to bring up my wonderfully, adorably, son, Jack, is that social media, your social media portfolio, your social media platforms are like a five-year-old boy, all right? As they are growing, they need more food. As you grow your social media following, if you don't feed it, they'll begin to die. And that's the truth. The more you grow your following, the more that it's important to constantly feed it content. The larger you get, the more content they want.
You look at, again, people like Chris Burkard, millions of followers, active on a lot of social places, creates a ton of content. Why? Because his followers want it. He's created a supply and a demand chain. So when it comes to your social media platforms, as they grow, you need to make sure that you continue to feed it, continue to feed it content. And so, let's talk a little bit about what that's supposed to look in a lot of the different platforms. Facebook. So, Facebook, on average, statistically, it's saying that you want to post two times a day per account. Now, your timing may vary. For a lot of people, myself included, the best times to post are usually in the morning, before work, and at lunch, around noon when people break for lunch, and then later in the day just after work. Depending on your market demographic, and again, the time zone is a nice little fun variable to throw into the mix. So every once in a while, I'll be posting stuff at 7, 8 at night because I know that people in Australia are waking up. And so, if I'm posting and choosing to post content late at night, guess what sometimes I choose to post? Photos I've taken from Australia because I know that my followers in that region are now waking up. So depending on where your followers are at, you could change the times of day of what might be advantageous compared to where you're at right now in terms of where you live. Now, as we talked about before, Thursday and Friday generally get more engagement than you do in the beginning part of the week. I find Mondays to be the worst time to post. You will rarely see me post significant, important posts that have monetary aspects to them like where I'm trying to promote a workshop, or link back to my website, or something like that on Mondays. People seem to be much less interested. Maybe they're tired getting back to work. Obviously, people that are done with having fun on the weekend. Regardless of what it is, I find that earlier in the week is generally not so good. Midweek can be beneficial, has been for me. I find some good aspects, in my own experience, on the weekends. I've actually had pretty good engagement. But for the most part, the most engaged, end of the week, Thursday and Friday, work week. So, when it comes to posting multiple times a day, the more followers you have, the more ability you have to post more times. So, while I mentioned that two times a day is what I recommend for most accounts, there's a caveat to that, in a sense that if you have less than 10,000 followers, it's not recommended that you post any more than two times a day. As you get more followers, you have more ability because you have followers across different time zones, you want to reach more people, you're going to get more engagement. But if you don't have up to 10,000 people, you want to stick to around 1 or 2. And what you can do is actually mix things up and change things up like I do occasionally where I'll sit there and share a post, or maybe I'll share two images in a given day, and then in-between, I'm going to share a text post. That happens. We always talk about the idea that everything is visual, but there actually is some benefit to throwing in a wrench into your system every once in a while, testing the waters, especially if there's call to action. So when I do text posts, I'll sit there and say... Just after Christmas, I said, "Hey, what is the best non-photography present you guys got, or gift you guys got for the holidays?" Hundreds of people chimed in, engaging with them, talking about what they got. It was great. Those aren't nearly as engaging as most of my other posts, but they're, again, another point of connection. And it's something easy to do in-between other posts. So if you're first starting out, feel free to mix up things every once in a while and don't be afraid to post, occasionally, not too often, but occasionally, without an image, if you are trying to spur specific engagement. So, Instagram. Instagram, as we talked about, is a super-important network. It's a place that most predominant photographers are converting their importance or their significance of their own social media strategies back over to Instagram from Facebook, a lot of people are doing this. Essentially, the idea is that you want to post one to two times a day on Instagram. A lot of people just post one, but again, posting one to two can be beneficial. You can post more on Instagram, and you have more ability to post more on Instagram than most other networks. The issue is consistency. So if you post five times a day, post five times a day, all day, every day. If you change up that consistency, you'll be penalized in terms of how Facebook's algorithms. But in general, again, I don't like spamming my followers and I want people to take time to digest things. And as we talked about before, the idea if you post more than once and at too short a timespan, people that see that second post might see that second post instead of the first post. If that makes sense. It's going to sit almost on top of each other. So if you want something to have the longest legs, I recommend relatively staying within the shelf life of content which we talked about earlier. On Instagram, that's 24 to 48 hours. Know that you're going to get content, and the hotspot is that first four or five hours. So within first one to five hours, do not post twice. Give it a little bit of space if you're going to post more than once a day. Photographers or followers on Instagram, again, love the engagement, so that's why they're willing to work with more stuff. And as we talked about before, and as Ben recommended in his advice, the idea that Instagram Stories, the live stories that they have where you can do either live video or you can do stories that last for 24 hours, is currently being rewarded. So the more you do that, even if it's just a little bit here and there, you should see an uptick in the engagement that you're getting on your regular posts. So, again, you don't need to have some crazy, constantly visceral lifestyle to be interesting for 10 seconds a couple of times a day. Share a bit about who you are, offer tips of advice, share behind-the-scenes stuff about the work you're doing and what you're working on now, an image that you're processing, whatever. And a lot of photographers that use it is, it's like them driving in the mountains, they're doing this, or them going to pick up something, or looking at a new piece of gear, or whatever it is. It doesn't have to be something highly curated, professionally done, it's just something right now that's quite interesting and trending, so it's important to take a look at it. Jump into it a little bit and play around with those things because it can help you using the rest of the platform as you, typically, are doing, probably. Twitter. So, Twitter, again, we've talked about before, you can feed Twitter to your heart's content. It will never get a stomach ache. Twitter itself loves content, it loves tweets, and most people are tweeting many times a day. For most photographers, I generally recommend probably no more than five tweets a day, but you might get conversational. You might jump in, there may be a lot of it. It just depends on the following or the engagement of what you're trying to do to build your following. Are you following other photographers? Are you following other people? Are you engaging with trending topics, as I recommended, to build your following? In which case, that's going to generally spur a lot of engagement. You follow along, are you engaged with any of the current political people that are out there in the world? A lot of that stuff is very highly contentious, but there's a lot of engagement happening around it. Now, those might not necessarily be the followers that you want, but as a principal idea, to understand that engaging with really highly engaging content is, of course, going to spur more engagement, so you'd be able to engage with stuff. Now, for your photography work, obviously, political conversations are probably not something that you're interested in, but finding local stuff that's happening around you, that's what's really Twitter is being known for, so engaging around that. So, when it comes to days of the week or times when Twitter is most prevalent, statistically, it's been found that Wednesday, for whatever reason, Saturday and Sunday, the weekend, are the best time for tweets. It's the best time when you get a lot engagement, a lot of people are online, a lot of people are tweeting out themselves, a lot of news is breaking, maybe that's tied to things, I don't know. But essentially, midweek and then on the weekend. Snapchat. Now, Snapchat, again, is the idea that you're sending snaps or the snaps themselves only have a couple of seconds shelf life. But if you're doing Snapchat Stories, generally, you want to do one to five a day and you want them to be in succession and it would be nice if there were some tie-in between. If you're sitting there like, "This is my cat. This is my couch. This is my coffee." Maybe not so connected, but you can share a couple of different things. You can share thoughts, you can share a couple of images, again, of what you're working on. It's not necessarily different than Instagram Stories, but you have the ability to share multiple a day. I know some people that share 10, 15. Now, it gets really hard when you're actually looking through and following a story of 10 to 15, 10-second clips. Usually, it's more bite size if just a few, but it still can be helpful, can be fun, it's something to engage in. If Snapchat is part of your brand strategy, then make sure that you're doing it a couple times a day and you're, again, trying to connect things together with how you're using the Snapchat Stories. So know that these only last for 24 hours, and then you rinse and repeat. Next time you wake up, and again, it could be fun with consistency. I know some people that use Snapchat and Instagram Stories, every morning they wake up and it's like, "Tea with so and so." They'd sit down there, they're drinking tea and they're talking about their thoughts for the day and all this other stuff. There's consistency. People know to expect that, every single day this is going to happen. This has happened with YouTubers out there that do vlogs, right? Video logs, like video blog. The idea that every single day, they're going to put out this video piece. The same thing can happen with Snapchat or with Instagram Stories. You might have something interesting to say every day. Experiment with it, maybe you'll find some success. Maybe you'll find a niche, something that people are interested in. But if you can do that consistently, you might actually find a lot more success than most people that are just like every once in a while, they have a thought, and it's like, "Oh, I'm going to jump on Snapchat now," but there's no cohesiveness to it. - [Woman] What about posting on LinkedIn? - Posting on LinkedIn. That's a good question. Okay. So posting on LinkedIn, for me, mostly, I use LinkedIn in terms of market research with who I want to connect with. But in terms of posting to the network, generally because it promotes long-form content compared to other networks, almost the equivalent of a blog, but not really. So I would recommend a few times a week, maybe. Again, your audience is going to be as large, and generally, it's going to be other professionals working in the field, so any content you share to it should have some validity to whoever you've connected with on LinkedIn. A lot of photographers reach out to me, to connect with me on LinkedIn, I still don't necessarily know why, but they connect with me, a lot of photographers are the same. So you connect with other photographers. Now, that market demographic for most people in this industry isn't super-valuable to them. But say that you have reached out and connected, and you're a wedding photographer, you connect with third-party vendors. So post content that speaks to them specifically. A little bit more long-form, 500 to 1,000 words, something like that, it can contain images, you have more freedom to do stuff like that, but you don't have to worry about doing it every single day. Long-form content takes a while to digest. You want it to have a shelf life, generally, that stuff lasts a little bit longer on LinkedIn. So two or three times a week, and I think that's perfectly fine, and that's probably more than most people are doing anyway. And you don't want to have that...supplement what you would be doing for a blog itself, so don't think that you really have to do crazy, long-form stuff, it's just that you have the ability to elongate thoughts that you have a little bit more than you would somewhere else. Question. - [Man] When you're talking about posting regularly to both Instagram and Facebook, so you're doing two times a day, do you vary that over the weekend, or do you recommend posting differently over the weekend? Or does that hurt your consistency in the algorithm? - That's a good question. I think a lot of people are getting too wrapped up in necessarily the idea of uniform consistency. And what I mean by that is the idea that you have to do everything the same all the time. The idea of consistency is that you are consistent in, overall, of how you do things. So you could sit there and post twice a day to Facebook and then maybe you find that you're getting more interaction on the weekend. So maybe that's going to mean that you should post three times a day. I don't know. I haven't necessarily found too much of a correlation to sit there and change my posting style, but you might find something different. And it might be worth experimenting. Again, social media, all the successes that people, like myself and other individuals, have found have been based on the fact of experimentation. It's like, "Hey, we're doing this," and like, "Oh, wait. This is working. Oh, this makes sense. So let me see how I can replicate that. How can I make this better?" So constantly, we're doing these little science experiments. And if you do it creatively, and you do it strategically, it doesn't look like you're just doing the spaghetti test, we're not just trying everything. We're sitting there and saying, "Okay. This type of stuff is working, and this stuff isn't. Why isn't this stuff working? Okay. If we do X instead of Y, we can get to where I want to be." So when it comes to your direct question, I would definitely recommend experimenting with it, but probably start off doing the same and just judge it. And you, again, might find that Thursday, for you, is primetime. So maybe then, you want to not only post there two or three times a day. You want to change up your strategy so that the content that you're sharing on those days are more specifically pointed and valuable to you. And that's really important, again. A lot of people don't think about it, like, "I got to have something to post. I got to have something to post." They're not thinking about the intent. They're posting to post, they're not posting for a purpose.