By: Renee Cooper, Social Media Manager

A question that’s often asked is “how often should I post on my social media accounts?” The long and short of it is “consistently.” Whether that means you schedule the same dates and times each week to publish new content, or you set a quota for at least twice a week, the important part is not to lapse too long without showing you’re active.

The answer seems easy, so why is that so difficult for brands to do? There are multiple reasons why brands struggle with managing social media on their own, and it’s not always because they don’t have enough time. I’ll highlight ways that a social media manager thinks and acts when it comes to staying consistent on social channels.

Use a scheduling platform

This may seem like the most obvious…because it is! What isn’t as obvious is how these platforms work for and a little bit against you. Facebook currently allows Pages to use Publishing Tool to schedule posts in advance and has been rolling out the option for Instagram for select users (very slowly)!

In the meantime, there are third-party scheduling applications like HeyOrca, AgoraPulse, and Later that allow users to plan multimedia posts across the top social media platforms. These tools not only make planning multiple pieces of content possible; they have convenient calendar views that help you better manage the cadence of your posts. They also have the ability to schedule Instagram content that’s either pushed to your phone to review or can be scheduled automatically.

As I mentioned, there may be a slight downfall to using third-party scheduling tools. It’s highly speculated that Facebook and Instagram will throttle the organic reach of posts published by outside apps, likely to keep the process (and spending) within the native platform. Since the fight for genuine organic reach is tough, this may seem like a major turn-off to using scheduling tools. However, posting regularly gives positive points toward organic reach, and these apps save much more time than a post-by-post strategy, so you will wind up ahead after all!

Make a seamless connection between your phone and desktop

Another secret to sourcing great content for consistent publishing is making sure you have a seamless connection between your devices. Even if you are using a scheduling platform, most of them still require you to post Instagram content manually from a phone. The benefit of those platforms is that they still alert you to create the post and pull all creative and copy for a quick upload to Instagram.

It’s also important to make sure content you capture from your phone can be efficiently moved back to your desktop when working with either scheduling tools or native platforms. Smartphones are becoming the new DSLR and video cameras, especially because they’re always on us and quick to use, so there’s no doubt you probably have tons of authentic and relatable content for your brand in your phone gallery. Make time at the end of an event or impromptu photoshoot to transfer your batch of images and videos from your phone to either a cloud-based storage or computer hard drive. Since video files are much larger than images, you’ll want to utilize apps like AirDrop (Apple), Google Photos, Google Drive, or even Stack. Remember to organize and name your folders according to where and when they were taken so that you can pull content from these locations quickly.

Balance evergreen and timely content

When you’re scheduling content weeks in advance, you can focus on posts that match events, holidays, or any promotions your business may be running during that time. During less promotional seasons, you can recycle evergreen or previous high-performing content to fill in spaces while more is being created. Since social media moves so fast, a new crop of followers may find a throwback image or article exciting, even if it was shared months before.

By having items scheduled, you can also focus on creating higher-level production content or new pop-up trends without falling behind on your regular calendar quota. Try cutting up longer-form content like videos, podcasts, or blogs into shorter teaser pieces that can be scheduled out over social platforms. You can also follow trending hashtags, both general and industry-specific, to get inspired for content with a quick-turnaround.

If creative unique content requires a little more bandwidth than you have currently, set a schedule to reshare interesting content from other pages or stories. These can reposted as you see them, or saved natively within each app to re-share on a certain day.

So how often should I post?

Facebook recommends brands post anywhere from 2 to 4 times a day to optimize the organic algorithm and make sure your content reaches as many followers as possible on Facebook and Instagram. Twitter mentions posting up to 5 times a day to keep up with their users’ fast-paced conversations. Product brands with user-generated content may have a higher frequency than tech-focused companies who mix technical articles with employee spotlights

YouTubers and podcasters see success by making sure they have a new video weekly, and supplement their other social accounts with behind the scenes or event content within the week.  WOW!

A more realistic recommendation is to set your own weekly schedule and stick to that. Your first priority should be showing your audiences that you are active where they are, then creating a frequent experience to encourage engagement from your fans by staying top of mind (and occasionally top of feed).