A recent report on Marketing Profs provided interesting statistics to see how businesses stacked up against one another on this topic. A key finding by research  firm TrackMaven in the report, was the overall decline in consumer engagement. That wasn’t particularly surprising. But what got my attention was the sheer volume (or lack thereof) of work involved. And I’ve been pondering the results ever since to see how it compares with my own clients’ results. I’ll skip over all the nitty-gritty about first determining your specific goals so you have something to measure against (which you should, of course, be doing)!

How do you know what it takes to be successful on Facebook?

All businesses are different. Therefore, what makes for “success” is completely different for each one. So how do you compare them? In this report, the researchers analyzed a year’s worth of posts and blogs on five major channels. As they stated of the scope, “The sample included 75.7 billion interactions across 50 million pieces of brand-generated content.” So they drilled down on a LOT of data. What (and how many) were the tasks page owners or managers did on Facebook (or other social channels)?

Here are some of the results that got my attention:

Facebook and blogging statistics

Average interactions

What are “interactions”? By the report’s definition, it meant a Like, Comment, Share or any combination of those in Facebook. So reporting indicated 3-3.5 “interactions” per 1,000 followers was the average post volume. So if you have 5,000 followers, a single post may receive upwards of only 16 Likes, Comments or Shares in total. My heavens, that’s a tiny fraction! (Remember, Facebook reports that organic reach of any given post from a business page is between 3% and 6%. That would only be approximately 225 people in the prior example. And I often see reach as low as 1%. So you’re counting on engagement with a small fraction of viewers.)

The short version of “interaction success” for many page owners looks like this: Of your 1000 page followers, only 10 people may see it, and it’s quite possible none will interact. But if 3-4 of them do Like or Comment on the post, this meets the average rate by their analysis. Oy!

How many times do you have to post?

This was a more straightforward statistic: 50-62 posts per month on average. That’s somewhere around 1.8 posts per day. Bear in mind, there are a number of ways to achieve this volume. Not all content must be completely originally. Shared content counts as part of those 50-62 posts. Personally, I would recommend that shared content be no more than 50% of your total posts, but recommendations can vary. Some folks may recommend a much lower percentage of shared content. But from my point of view if nearly all your content is original, sans sharing, it appears as if you are ignoring the community and not supporting others. Additionally, your original content in too high volume can appear as “push” marketing instead of simply original information.

My suggestion allows you to post your own blogs, photos, videos, testimonials, quotes and so on, providing substantial original content. Now you’re down to 22-27 original posts, a manageable number. If you still find this overwhelming and intimidating, remember to make a series of photo quote posts using excerpts from your own blog posts.

Do I really have to blog?

I get this question a lot. No, certainly I don’t go around twisting clients’ arms into blogging. It’s work! I know. (I have to set aside chunks of time each month just to put out a few blog posts myself.) The 58 posts per month reported in the survey were quite mind-blowing to me. My first thought after the initial shock was, “Who has time to read all those posts?!?!” Do you really want to write so many posts if they go unread?

I can only hope that this average number of blogging posts reported was primarily at companies of fair size, i.e. more than 50 or 100 employees, with multiple staff members dedicated to social media tasks. My second thought is, “It’s the quality of blog posts that count—not the quantity!”

If you’re still wondering why blogging is necessary, or how it benefits your business, let me provide a few answers. Blogging about your business:

  1. Demonstrates your expertise and credibility, which draws in prospects.
  2. Helps improves your search engine optimization (SEO) to rank your website higher in search results on Google.
  3. Provides original content for newsletters and all your other social channels, furthering your reach to your target audience.

Marketing any business continues to become a more and more competitive activity to do well. To get an edge over the competition it’s absolutely necessary to stay on top of the tools and techniques to reach your audience.

I don’t expect any of my clients to be putting out 50 or more blog posts per month. Many of them are solopreneurs with little time to devote to blogging.

How much blogging is realistic for you to accommodate in your busy schedule? Can you write one a week? One a month? Many marketers would shudder at the idea of blogging once-a-week or less. But my standpoint is that if you can get it done once every-other-week or once-a-month, that’s more than you were doing before! So start with the baby steps forward.

Future trends in social marketing

The report’s results showed a clear downward trend in engagement numbers. Thus, depending upon how you look at it, it may get easier for you: fewer posts to make; fewer blogs to write. I think we can all agree that we’ve little chance of blogging upwards of twice a day per month. (I know it’ll never happen for me!)

What does the downward trend have to say about successfully marketing your business? To me, it means that more and more people have less and less time to spend on social channels or reading blogs. It means they will be far more selective in Liking pages on Facebook, following Twitter accounts and other forms of interaction online. The social marketsphere is settling into its groove. It is becoming just another communications channel to use with our customers along with our phones and email.

I don’t expect any of the major players (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.) to go away. We’ll all need to maintain a presence on these channels to communicate with prospects and customers. But I bet we’ll be spending less and less time on each one.

Like any good marketing platform, we need to continue testing various content and delivery timing to find out what our target audience prefers to see from us and when. So keep posting and blogging! …But choose your content wisely.