If you stopped publishing your social content, would anybody notice?

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By Brooke Ballard, {grow} Contributing Columnist

If you’re like me you don’t ever feel comfortable with your social media content publishing schedule. In fact, I have a secret that’s been gnawing at me late at night when I should be sleeping. More on that later …

And I think this topic is ripe for conversation. Debate even.

With theories like Content Shock nipping at our heels, and IBM saying the “internet of things” leading to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours, I think I can speak on the behalf of many other content marketers when I say: I’m freaking out!

What does this mean for the “little guy” and our social content? Do we post more? Less? The same? Do we curate content or only share our own, original pieces?

I’m genuinely very curious to hear what you {grow} readers have to say.

Here are some of my thoughts and research; fodder for the conversation, if you will.

Social Content Homeostasis

On average, my small company shares around 110 posts per week. And that’s just considering the “biggies” — Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

We post weekly to other sites like Pinterest and Google Plus … and then of course there’s my personal profile, which is active on each of those sites as well.

According to a study by Locowise, which examined more than 600 pages on Facebook with a total of more than 250 million likes, here’s where the majority of brands fall with publishing frequency:

  • 31 percent of pages studied posted two to four times per week
  • 25 percent posted once per day
  • 18 percent posted once per week
  • 4 percent posted more than 10 times daily
  • 3 percent posted five to nine times per day

So at least for Facebook, we’d fall in the top 56%, posting anywhere from once per day to two to four times per week.

Several advice sites encourage users to post more to Facebook to combat certain algorithm changes.

I am usually an outlier in that I say — post less. And in accordance, the study from Locowise concluded that posting less to Facebook was better for brands relying on organic reach.

Mega sites Buffer and SumAll seem to be more in alignment with less is more as well:

social content

If I were just going off of the above stats, we are:

  • Under pinning on Pinterest
  • Over tweeting on Twitter
  • Under posting on G+
  • Good with Facebook
  • Under posting on Instagram
  • Good with LinkedIn
  • Behind on blogging

Which leads me to my next question: Does my small business really need to be everywhere? Or should we concentrate on the places we can do it right?

The Great Content Curation Debate 

I realize the term “right” is relative. What works for you may not work for the next guy, and so on.

But as young marketers, and new marketers, and even in-the-know marketers seek to combat the shrill hum of more and more content, how do we use social content to combat it?

Or, more importantly, is social content adding to the noise?

If you were to look at social sharing, for instance, the stats show that most people retweet articles that they haven’t even read!

We’ve found effectively no correlation between social shares and people actually reading (our posts).

A shocking statement by Chartbeat, a real-time traffic analytics company.

Both Chartbeat and Hootsuite found that some readers read every word, many only skim, and even more than that will share without one glance.

Savvy readers understand that sharing and content curation are two different things, as curation is taking sharing to another level.

But what is content curation achieving? Are you building authority? A community? Are you engaging with thought leaders and networking?

Some pundits will tell you that “real brands don’t curate” and by sharing others’ smart content you are merely promoting them and not making yourself look any smarter.

Either way I suppose there is an argument that sharing others’ content is just adding to the piles of unread and uncared about noise.

Where Do You Stand?

Time and resources are finite. As businesses, we need to look at where our time goes and evaluate the measure of how well that time is spent.

Is it worth our time to push 110 posts out to social channels every week? Is that a shotgun approach when we need sharks with laserbeams on their frick’n heads (an Austin Powers reference)?

Would it mean certain death (to a brand) if those posts dropped drastically or disappeared altogether?

Does anyone really care?

Because — I’ll be super honest here — even though our company does a stellar job with organic reach, if we stopped posting on social media tomorrow I’m not sure it would devastate us. I’m not even sure anyone but our advocates would notice. Hopefully I’m wrong, but there it is. That’s the big hairy secret that’s keeping me from catching Zs at night.

I’m asking you to weigh in here, too. Help me understand how the changing social landscape and things like content shock can coincide and live together in peace and harmony.

Please and thank you. :-)

See you in the social sphere!

Brooke Ballard for {grow}Brooke Ballard is an in-the-trenches digital marketer & owner at B Squared Media, blossoming blogger, and co-host of @ReadySetPodcast. Her mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout on Twitter.

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