The top two social networks for B2B marketers, LinkedIn and Twitter, are different in several important ways. And marketers generally use them differently.
LinkedIn is more formal, more professional, more selective, and more about thought leadership and insights. Twitter is less formal, more wide-open, more newsy, and generally noisier.
But what if they changed that pattern? What if B2B marketers treated LinkedIn a bit more like they do Twitter—much more frequent but somewhat less selective posting? What impacts would that have?
Social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk suggested that approach at one of his recent speaking gigs. So the practice was tested here over the past couple of weeks. What happened?
Prior to the test, posting frequency was high—typically 20 tweets per day—on Twitter, versus one or two updates per day on LinkedIn. Since 20 updates per day on LinkedIn would be obnoxious, frequency was equalized at 6-8 posts per day on each network.
Not surprisingly, decreasing tweet frequency led to a drop in both engagement on and website traffic from Twitter.
Meanwhile, dramatically increasing frequency of LinkedIn posting led to a noteworthy increase in engagement, and the engagement was productive (in terms of business leads generated and invitations to speak). However, the increased post had zero impact on website traffic from LinkedIn. Nada. The needle didn’t move.
The most valuable result of the experiment wasn’t the findings about engagement and traffic, but rather about how update scheduling has changed.
Conventional wisdom is that Tuesdays are the best days for social media posting (particularly on Twitter), followed by Wednesdays and Mondays, then trailing off toward the end of the week. This experiment revealed that pattern has shifted.
Overall, the best day to post on social networks is now Wednesday. Thursdays are second best and Tuesdays are third, though those two days are very close in terms of website traffic driven. Monday comes in fourth, and Fridays (no surprise) are still the least productive.
Graphically, it looks like the chart at right.
The web traffic pattern on Twitter is pretty much the same as for social media traffic in general: Wednesdays are best, followed in order by Thursday, then Tuesday, then Monday, with Friday in the rear.
On LinkedIn, however, Tuesdays are best, followed by Wednesday. After that, in order, Thursday then Monday then Friday.
Those are the general patterns, however. Results can vary randomly and considerably from week to week.
The graphic at right shows web traffic to Webbiquity from social media sites over a six week period (Thanksgiving week is skipped). Blue indicates the highest traffic, followed by green, then yellow and orange, with red being worst.
Fridays are sometimes best, but Mondays never are. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are rarely the worst. And Thursdays are the most variable.
Based on these results as well as interviews with other social media professionals, here’s some basic but solid guidance:
- The best advice regarding frequency is to post as often as you are able to add value. In other words, focus on quality over quantity—particularly on LinkedIn. The rules are a bit more loose on Twitter, and some repetition of tweets (as long as it’s not overdone) is acceptable.
- Mix up your formats. Video tends to work better on LinkedIn than Twitter, but don’t post only videos. Animated GIFs (again, if not overdone) are fine to use occasionally on Twitter, but best to avoid on LinkedIn. Shoutouts to members of your network, if relevant, work well on both platforms.
- With the decline in organic reach across social networks, don’t be afraid to up your frequency a bit if you’re only posting occasionally now. Just keep in mind the caveat above about post quality. Don’t have a new video or post to share? Keep in mind that asking insightful questions can also be a great way to engage your network and generate thoughtful responses.
- People are busy. When they take the time to respond to your latest tweet or LinkedIn update, don’t ignore them! Keeping the conversation going is not only good social media etiquette, but also extends the life of your posts. On that front, keep in mind that LinkedIn updates have a considerably longer “shelf life” than tweets—as long as a couple of days on LinkedIn, versus a few hours (at most) on Twitter.
- Use #hashtags! Do they help? Who knows? Maybe. Can’t hurt. You don’t need to use them with every post, and rarely need more than three. You can use a tool like Hashtagify to analyze the relative popularity of different, related hashtags.
- Finally, test different ideas frequently! Try experimenting with different content formats, topics, post frequency, and post timing. Things change (as noted above, Wednesdays are the new Tuesdays on social media).
Got something to add? Comments are always welcome.