When I studied Economics back in my BYU days, one of my favorite new words I learned was stochastic. The closest synonym to stochastic is random. Usually, the term is used to describe random variables in business or academia. I bring this up because it seems most social media sharing is stochastic. You share twice one week, ten times one day, then nothing for weeks or months. If social media is meant to play a significant part in your personal branding, stochasticity (or randomness) is your enemy. Consistently dripping out quality information over time (think of a leaky faucet) is your friend.
While working with thousands of busy lawyers, accountants, and recruiters on their social media usage, I’ve found that this randomness is the norm, unfortunately. 98% of professionals are simply too busy to post multiple times per week and 99.5% aren’t organized enough to schedule out posts for their entire week. I’m not talking about over-sharing either, I’m talking about sharing the ideal number of times each week on each individual social network. Following all of the latest research a well-organized weekly calendar of social media sharing would look a little bit like this:
Let me explain the above graphic. In the above calendar I am sharing daily to LinkedIn and Facebook at the ideal windows of time each day, and then multiple times each day on Twitter. Let me make an important point here: this is NOT oversharing. Research shows that this frequency of sharing falls far short of the point at which you will see diminishing returns for your sharing. Translation: people will keep clicking on your articles at a high rate of clicks per share at this frequency.
There’s one more hidden gem in the calendar that I need to explain because it seems counter-intuitive. When you share an article to Twitter, don’t just share once, share it thrice. You read that right. Research shows that when you share the same article to Twitter three times over three days, it gets almost three times the clicks. Keep in mind, Twitter is like a river constantly flowing by. If you share three times at different windows of time, you will maximize the reach of each article you share. If someone goes to your Twitter account, are they going to see the same articles repeated sometimes? Maybe, but even if they do, the research still shows you it is still worth it because you will get far more engagement from your network.
At this point, we’ve already lost most busy professionals reading this. They simply had too much to do and the thought of stopping their work at 25 scheduled intervals throughout the week to share an article, is somewhat daunting. Others who are more organized may stay up late Sunday night using a tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule the articles for the coming week. The rest will likely continue on their merry stochastic sharing ways. It’s difficult. We are all busy. I get it.
What if you could receive an email with the suggested articles to share for the week, with a “share all” button at the bottom that would magically build this ideal calendar for you? You click one button, the software service does the rest. Full disclosure, that’s exactly what the new PeakTime feature recently released by ClearView Social does. Marketing Directors send out emails to their professionals, the professionals hit one button, and their social media calendar is set for the week. Good-bye stochasticity, hello 10x visibility. Want to see PeakTime in action? Visit clearviewsocial.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a demo with me.
One more thought. Don’t leave your future success in the hands of stochasticity.
This last week in NYC I met with a frustrated Marketing Director who finally convinced their Managing Partner to share an article to LinkedIn as an update. You know, those articles that show up on LinkedIn’s Facebook-like newsfeed? (If we are going to give credit where credit is due, Facebook copied Twitter on the timeline idea, but that’s beside the point.) The Managing Partner shared the article, but nobody clicked on it. Zero clicks. Zero likes. Zero comments. Why didn’t it get any clicks? There are five reasons many articles don’t get any clicks.
- You shared an article that is of no interest to your network. You may be a very distinguished employment lawyer, but if your LinkedIn network is mostly old college and high school buddies, they might not be digging your latest article on the changes in state-specific employment law. It doesn’t mean the article isn’t any good, it just isn’t aligned with this particular network. LinkedIn is a crazy mix of everybody you’ve met professionally and personally in the last decade. This doesn’t mean you should create content that caters to your network, you need to own your area of expertise so keep writing about that, just don’t be surprised if there aren’t a lot of your LinkedIn connections that are interested in the content.
- Your LinkedIn network is too small. It’s not uncommon for me to meet lawyers who have been practicing for decades but only have 50-100 LinkedIn connections. I once worked with a partner at a big law firm who had 7 connections on LinkedIn and 220 connection requests waiting in her inbox. If you don’t have hundreds of LinkedIn connections, you aren’t likely to get many clicks. Most LinkedIn users only visit the site a few times a week for a couple of minutes. If you have 20 total connections, the likelihood of getting one of them to chance upon your article at the exact time they decide to visit LinkedIn is quite small. Remember the newsfeed concept. Articles are streaming by like a log on a river. They will only see your article if they happen to be visiting LinkedIn close to the time you shared an update. This brings us to our next point, timing.
- You are sharing at the wrong time of day. According to our research and the research of Hootsuite and Buffer, articles shared between 10:45am and 4:30pm get far fewer clicks per share. On average they get almost half the clicks than articles shared early in the morning or in the evening. This average is dragged down by the thousands of shares that get zero clicks. Share an article that isn’t very interesting at the wrong time of day, and that is a recipe for zero clicks. In case you are wondering, the four best windows of time to share on LinkedIn are 7:30am, between 9:45 and 10:30am, and then again at 5:30pm and after 7:30pm. Our software platform, ClearView Social, automatically schedules in those windows, but there are plenty of other tools like Hootsuite and Buffer that let you choose scheduled times as well.
- Your title is too long, too boring, or lacks a hook. We all hate those click-bait headlines, “This massive grizzly bear escaped right by a day care center, you won’t believe what happened next.” These headlines grab attention because they build intrigue. You don’t need sensational headlines to get clicks, you need headlines that specifically tell people what they will find when they click on the article. Keep it as brief as possible. Make things into a list if the article lends itself to lists. People click on lists in large part because they know exactly what to expect.
- LinkedIn is hiding your article in the “recent updates” section. Did you know that LinkedIn no longer shows all your updates each time you share? If you notice on the LinkedIn screenshot below the default on LinkedIn is Top Updates. What classifies updates as “Top Updates?” According to our research, articles that receive multiple likes or that are shared by individuals with a large number of connections will often make it into the Top Updates section. If your company or firm has multiple people sharing the same article, it is also more likely to be shown in Top Updates because multiple people are talking about it. This is one area where having a team approach to social media can really help increase the visibility of firm content. If you have a small network and content that isn’t very popular, this makes it even more likely your content will get little attention. I anticipate LinkedIn will continue to tinker with their newsfeed so that they eventually become more like Facebook’s newsfeed where you see content from people and in areas that are of particular interest to you.