What if I told you that 77% of you will get 192% more traffic from your social media posting schedule when you follow the step-by-step, actionable advice from this post?
I bet you’d be amped. But wait—there’s more!
40% of you will get 268% more traffic. 37% of you will get a whopping 483% more traffic. Here’s proof of how this posting formula works:
And that example is the success you’ll get if you apply this social media posting schedule only to Twitter for one week. The truth is you can get more traffic from every social network with the process you’ll learn when you read this post.
You see, 77% of you share your content on social media only 1–3 times. Another 40% of you only share your content on social media just two or three times. And 37% of you share your content on social media just once after you publish it. Only once!
This is not rocket science. Rather, it’s a very simple formula you’ll apply to your existing social media posting schedule to share your blog posts in a matter of minutes. The process will help you grow your traffic, make the time you invest into writing blog posts totally worth it, and actually help you save time while getting organized.
Here it is:
Enticing social media messages + a game plan for promoting new posts + best daily social sharing frequency + sharing your best content again = A lot more traffic from social media!
The more compelling social messages you send for your content, the more traffic you’ll get. Yeah, it’s that simple.
Get Your Free Social Media Posting Schedule Kit!
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Watch, Read, And Learn How To Plan The Perfect Social Media Schedule
Sometimes it's easier to learn by watching rather than reading.
That's why we've recorded a live webinar on this very topic. Watch the full video below:
Ready to dig deeper? Keep reading. In this post, you'll learn the traffic-driving formula that'll work amazingly well every time you use it with your social templates in CoSchedule. Rest assured though, you can rock the information from this post however you schedule your social media—whether it's in CoSchedule or not.
Here we go.
Step 1: Write Compelling Social Media Messages That Get Clickthroughs
Your social media messages are invitations to attend the party happening on your blog. No one wants to hit up a lame party, just like no one wants to click through on an unappealing social message.
Think of each message as a call to action:
- Sell your followers on the value they'll get if they just click through to read your blog post.
- Or make them question a current belief with the promise of a better solution to a problem.
- Or make them feel like they're missing out on something amazing.
You'll learn how to write social messages that'll have the potential to draw 31.8% more clickthroughs than typical messages. That's just from the message itself!
Here's exactly how you're going to capture that traffic in your social media posting schedule:
Write 25–30 Headlines For Every Blog Post You Write, Then Use The Inspiration For Social Shares
This is a practice Upworthy is especially well-known for using with every blog post they publish. They've found the more headlines they write, the later ones get better and better than their first.
Where Upworthy stops at 25 headlines, there's a reason to write 30 blog titles as a content marketer: How to, question, and list posts tend to get the most social shares. And hey, more social shares means more clickthroughs when you optimize those headlines.
So write 10 headlines for each of the most-shared headline styles, then choose the top one from each category to use in A/B/C tests with your social messages.
Sound hard to get started? I wouldn't give you advice without helping you put it into practice.
Here are 10 templates of each headline type to get you started with your next blog post right now (just copy, paste, and tweak):
- How To Start _____ That Will Help You _____
- How To Improve _____ So You'll Feel Like A _____
- How To Grow _____ To Be A Successful _____
- How To Increase _____ When You _____
- How To Boost _____ With A _____
- How To _____ For The _____
- How To Make A _____ In A _____
- How To Create The Best _____ In The World
- How To Run A Successful _____ To _____
- How To Do Outstanding _____ On A ______
- When Is The Best Time To _____?
- How Do You _____ When You _____?
- Will _____ Help You _____?
- Why Is _____ Better Than _____?
- What Can _____ Teach You About _____?
- Where Is The Best _____ To _____?
- How Can You _____ To _____?
- How Will _____ Make Your _____ More Successful?
- Is _____? Insider Advice to _____
- What Really Is The Best _____?
- 43 _____ From _____ Of The Most Popular _____
- 20 Ways To Be _____ When You Don't Feel _____
- 25 _____ That Will Amplify Your _____
- The 6 Types Of _____ That Will Give You _____
- 11 _____ That Will Make You _____
- 23 Ways To Get Even More From _____ To _____
- 10 Rules For _____ Your ______ Will Love
- The Easy 5-Step Process To _____ In Just 30 Days
- The 10-Minute, 10-Step Solution For The Best _____
- 21+ Easy Ways To _____ That Will Skyrocket By _____ In 1 Year
From here, you can run your headlines through the headline analyzer to choose the best ones for your social media posting schedule.
Here's a social media hack you can use from this process to increase your clickthroughs:
- Share your best headline to your Twitter account right when your blog post publishes.
- Share the best runner-up headline to the same Twitter account an hour later.
- Look at your Twitter Analytics to see which message received more clickthroughs.
- Change the headline of the blog post to the one that gets more traffic, and use that winning headline more often in your subsequent social media posting schedule.
You'll learn how to schedule your A/B test here in a couple steps. For now, let's continue learning how to write compelling social messages that get clickthroughs.
Ask Questions That Arouse Curiosity
There's a lot of hoopla that asking open-ended questions helps continue a conversation. While that's definitely true, those questions actually hurt your clickthrough rate when you use them in your social media posting schedule.
Let me explain.
I analyzed a bunch of social messages that looked like this (open-ended questions):
Then I compared the amount of clickthroughs of those social messages to ones like this (close-ended questions):
The result? Close-ended questions get more clickthroughs than open-ended questions.
In fact, on average, close-ended questions get 255% more clickthroughs than open-ended questions. Craziness.
You may ask the open-ended question, "Why would close-ended questions get more clickthroughs?" (See what I did there?)
The answer involves a very simple psychological idea: People fear missing out on something.
Linda Sapadin, Ph.D takes to the World of Psychology blog to explain:
Missing out? But on what? On what other people are doing. They’re having exciting experiences that you’re not.
Close-ended questions suggest that if you say "Yes" or "No" in your head, improvement is just a click away to experience the better results others are already rocking.
Want to be a marketing pro? Heck yes, you do. So why not click through to find out how?
— CoSchedule (@CoSchedule) January 13, 2016
Give Advice That Kinda Takes People Off Guard
Imagine you're driving down the highway and you see a cow. There's nothing noteworthy about it, just black and white in a field.
Now, imagine you see a purple cow. That's pretty remarkable and could cause you to stop to take a look at this super interesting animal that stands out from the crowd.
You've probably heard that idea before from Seth Godin in a TED Talk like this:
The thing is, sharing remarkable social media messages in a sea of me-too shares will make your content stand out like a purple cow in a herd of black and white.
And, according to our research on social media posting schedules, it's the social messages that stand out—that are different than the rest—that get the most clickthroughs.
Here are a few different types of social messages you could write to take your audience off guard:
You Know Nothing, Jon Snow
It's tough to hear that something you thought you knew was wrong.
And, it turns out, turning the tables on something that is generally accepted as true can increase the amount of clickthroughs you receive from your social messages.
So what can you do to write messages that appeal to that feeling? It's called controversy, and you can write these types of social messages based on anecdotal information in your blog posts.
Well, that might sound kinda scary, but it's not. Let me explain:
1. Controversial content doesn't necessarily offend people. And in fact, if you want to get clickthroughs from your social messages, being offensive isn't what you're shooting for.
You're looking to connect to the three Bs, as Gregory Ciotti explains: Behavior, belonging, and beliefs.
So, if you create division within someone’s behavior, beliefs, or feeling of belonging, they will seek to either confirm your stance or disprove your stance, but either one is good for you because it creates buzz.
Confirming or disproving? That needs a click-through to learn more.
2. Anecdotal information is the stuff that's based a lot on personal experience that's not necessarily true. You can find anecdotal inspiration in your own blog posts to write better social messages:
- Did you find data that disproves a commonly accepted norm in your industry? Share the data in a social message to catch attention.
- Does your post cover an opinion that differs from lots of others in your niche? Share your thoughts in a social message.
For example, Sujan Deswal wrote a blog post that mentioned it's OK to build upon the great ideas others have already come up with. So he built upon Austin Kleon's idea that nothing is original, which definitely ties into beliefs that people would like to either confirm or disprove.
Sharing that anecdote in social messages influenced tons of social shares and click-throughs.
— CoSchedule (@CoSchedule) October 3, 2015
According to research from the New York Times' Customer Insight Group, 49% of people share content when it's entertaining. Indeed, our own tests have verified that humor increases social shares and click-throughs.
So, how can you include humor in your social messages? Julie has some advice:
- Write a series of three, then break the pattern. Ever since you've been little, you've been conditioned to like series of threes: Goldie Locks And The Three Bears; Three Blind Mice; Three Little Pigs And The Big Bad Wolf; Father, Son, And Holy Spirit—the list goes on and on. The thing is, you expect a series of three to logically connect a pattern; but when the pattern is disconnected, it's funny.
- Example: How to increase your traffic by 192% by writing better messages, sharing more frequently, and bribing your co-workers with free pizza.
- Use cacophony. Yes, that's a real word you're probably laughing at right now. Cacophony is the words that sound funny because of harsh sounds that letters like K, G, D, B, P, and T make. Think of words like cucumber, cupcake, car keys, hippopotamus and the like. When you combine cacophony with alliteration, you can wreak havoc on the funny bone, as Julie says. Whip out Evernote and create a word bank for the cacophonous words in your industry to use in your future social shares.
- Make your own comics. Julie suggests creating comics by drawing them yourself (if you're awesome enough to have at least some degree of drawing ability). You could also use ToonDoo, MakeBeliefsComix, or tools from this article by Mashable to make your own comics.
- Use GIFs. GIFs are funny. And, they definitely drive traffic as we found from a recent case study at CoSchedule. Social messages with GIFs get 22% more engagement than messages with images. And GIF messages get 167% more clickthroughs than messages with just images. Wowza.
For example, if I wanted to complement this post with a GIF in a social message, I would use a GIF website like Giphy or Popkey to find something silly that relates to the actual message I'd like to share.
Maybe like this:
And then I'd complement it with a social message like this:
You get the idea.
What's In It For Me?
Ah, the classic question your readers ask themselves to justify how worthy your content is of their time.
Show the benefits your social followers will experience if they simply click through to read your content. These are some of the oldie-but-goodie types of messages:
Chances are, you did a lot of research before you started writing your blog post that you're promoting with your social media posting schedule.
So pull a quote from an influencer you referenced, and use it as inspiration for a social media message.
Complement the quote with the reason why your followers should click through to read your content. I guess that's also known as a call to action.
— CoSchedule (@CoSchedule) November 5, 2015
It's easy: Copy the quote from your article and include who gave the quote (@ing them on the social networks works well for this). Then write something like, "Learn how to do it yourself now!" and link back to your blog post.
Think about the unique value proposition behind your post—the problem you're solving for your readers through the gift of your content.
Remember, your social media followers are selfish (not in a bad way). They just care about themselves a lot more than anyone else, and they click through to read content because of an emotional need to improve themselves.
That process will help you write social messages that will connect with your audience's emotional reasoning to click through to read your content.
If you look at that example, you gals and guys don't care as much about perfecting your social media posting schedule—you actually care about the outcome behind getting that process in order: More traffic, time savings, and getting organized would all make for perfect social messages that would complement this post.
This one's pretty simple: Grab a cool sentence from your post and share it as a social message.
— CoSchedule (@CoSchedule) January 12, 2016
If you use the Click To Tweet plugin, you're already used to looking for shareable soundbites from your blog posts to embed as visuals right inline in the context of your content:
Use those as inspiration for your own social media posting schedule, too.
Oh, and if you aren't using the Click To Tweet plugin, it's free. It helps you get more social shares for your hard work. And you should use it. Get it for your WordPress blog right now.
How To Write Better Messages With Social Templates In CoSchedule
This is probably one of the coolest social media features you've seen in a long time, so hear me out.
You just learned that these types of social messages get the most traffic back to your content:
- Write emotional headlines with one version for list, how-to, and question to share a few alternate versions and diversify your social media posting schedule.
- Ask close-ended questions that inspire curiosity.
- Write controversial messages that take a stance on behavior, beliefs, or feeling of belonging to make your followers feel they have to click to confirm or disprove their stance.
- Use humor with the series of three pattern and GIFs.
- Quote an influencer and lead your followers to a call to action to read your post.
- Appeal to the benefits or value proposition behind the click.
- Share a helpful, informational, or practical snippet from your post.
Let's say you want to share these seven types of messages in your social media posting schedule for every blog post you publish. Because, ya know, these are proven to drive traffic back to your blog.
You can now write your messages with social helpers in CoSchedule to easily reuse your messages multiple times:
Let me reiterate: Now you can write a batch of social messages once. Then you can reuse those messages multiple times throughout a social media posting schedule of days, weeks, or even months after publishing your blog posts.
And all of that without copying and pasting, without logging in and out of multiple networks, and without being available to schedule to your networks at all hours of the day.
Pretty cool, right?
So this is your next question: How should I add these super awesome messages into my posting schedule? Here ya go:
Step 2: Follow A Proven Social Media Posting Schedule Template For Every New Blog Post
A majority of you—67% to be exact—spend at least 2–4 hours writing a blog post. Then you spend 30 minutes crafting your social messages.
And after all that hard work, 77% of you only share your blog posts 1–3 times on social media.
What's going on there? Why all the effort and barely any promotion?
The good news is that by this point, you've written at least nine distinctively valuable social messages you can use to share your blog post more than one to three times without annoying your social media followers.
Here's how to add those messages into your posting schedule:
Know The Best Times To Share
It just makes sense to schedule your social messages at the times when you typically get the most traffic from social media.
So as you start developing your posting schedule template, use this Google Analytics custom report to find when your own audience is most active on your social networks.
When you first use the report, you'll see a landing page with a list of your networks. These are sorted according to your highest-trafficked social networks according to page views.
Click through to any of your social networks in that list to find the specific time when you get that traffic. This data shows in military time with 0 being midnight and 23 as 11 p.m.
You can use this information to plan a data-driven posting schedule using the template in this post:
- For each social network, use the Google Analytics custom report to find the best times when your own audience clicks through to read your content.
- Add the number of page views into your spreadsheet according to hour for each of your networks. An easy way to get the information out of Google Analytics is by using the Export functionality. After that, you can Sort your data by hour and copy and paste it into your social media posting schedule template spreadsheet available in the kit that complements this post.
- Analyze when you get the most traffic for each network to help you share content at the absolute best times to get more traffic.
Yep. There's an easy button.
Map Your Messages To The Social Media Posting Schedule Template
By this point, you know you'll write at least nine different types of social messages for every blog post you publish. And you know the best times to post those messages to get more traffic.
Now it's time to set up your posting schedule to promote your content for an entire month after it publishes. Use your own data to plan a posting schedule that looks something like this:
There are a couple things to keep in mind when you get started:
- You can see how when you use multiple messages, you're able to share the same piece of content more often. Use this mapping exercise to help you make sure every network gets lots of message variation.
- You can share to some networks more than others. This is partially due to the concept that you can share more often daily to certain social networks like Pinterest and Twitter as compared to Facebook and LinkedIn.
So now that you've set up a social media posting schedule for your brand new blog posts, it's time to explore peak social sharing frequency to help you add in more social messages for your older evergreen content.
This will help you share your content more often to get more traffic, but all within the generally acceptable standards for each network.
Step 3: Know How Often To Post On Social Media Every Day
This is actually one of the most popular CoSchedule user questions we hear: How often to post on social media per day for each social account?
As with a lot of topics surrounding your social media posting schedule, there is a bunch of data to sift through to truly find the perfect amount:
How Often To Post On Social Media According To Buffer
Buffer came up with a fantastic set of guidelines, based on research and collecting data from others, on how often to post to specific social accounts.
- Schedule 3 tweets a day: Using data provided by Social Bakers, Buffer suggests that your engagement will drop a bit after your third tweet. However, you can see there is some extreme leeway in those numbers, with other data suggesting you could post up to 30 times a day and still have a positive impact on engagement.
- Schedule 2 Facebook posts a day: After about two Facebook posts each day, your likes and comments start to drop off a bit. This rounds out your weekly tally to about 10 a week, which is a sweet spot. Remember that uniqueness matters; you can share the same piece of content, but consider the copy and imagery that goes with it. You don’t want to be sharing the same exact thing constantly, unless you’re doing so because you're focusing on hitting different time zones with your content. Hubspot’s recent research into Facebook echoes this idea that flooding Facebook with posts is less successful; you’re better off creating truly unique and amazing social posts than getting wrapped up in quantity. Good thing you just learned how to do that. ;)
- Schedule 1 LinkedIn post a day: Using LinkedIn’s own guide—which suggests sharing 20 times a month will reach 60% of your audience—Buffer broke it down into sharing a single post a day on the network. With such singular focus, make that post count. Spend some significant time on the copy and imagery since you'll have fewer posts on your total LinkedIn profile with this recipe.
- Schedule 3 Google+ posts: Averaging out two separate data sources, Buffer suggests posting no more than three times each day to the Google+ network. Of course, they also noted that regular Google+ users noticed significant traffic drops (50% or more) when posting dwindled, so look at the three-post suggestion as a guide for typical users. Heavier users of Google+ may want to consider a higher amount.
- Share 5 Pins a day: Buffer discovered that brands were finding some serious success with Pinterest with a fairly heavy amount of posting (between three to ten posts per day). Five posts a day is a lot, particularly if you don’t have a lot of content to work with just yet. But definitely no less than three posts a day if possible.
- Share 1.5 times to Instagram: How do you post half a post? It’s like reading demographics about 1.2 people—seems messy. Again, this is a composite amount Buffer has come up with based on available data. If you can make your posts unique, high quality, and valuable, you can get away with posting as much as you want without penalty. But you should at least post 1.5 (OK, two) times a day on Instagram.
How Often To Post On Social Media According To Constant Contact
Email newsletter provider Constant Contact also did some research and came up with their own recipe for daily social sharing. It’s not identical to Buffer’s approach, but you may spot some similarities. This recipe is calculated on a weekly basis instead of daily.
- Schedule 35 tweets a week: Constant Contact describes Twitter as a “high volume low-value network” meaning you can post a lot, and have to, because the firehose is always on. They suggest a minimum of five posts a day, which comes out to 35 posts a week (I counted weekends and used a seven-day week, since Twitter is active outside the work week, too). There is no maximum in this recipe.
- Schedule 3 Facebook posts a week: Constant Contact describes Facebook as a “low volume high-value network” meaning that posting too much is a bad idea. They suggest a minimum of three times a week, and a maximum of ten times a week. Quality social posts is the key here.
- Schedule 2 LinkedIn posts a week: Similar to the volume/value of Facebook, this recipe calls for a minimum of two posts a week, with a maximum of five times a week. Most LinkedIn users are professionals, so maximize the work week when you schedule.
- Schedule 3 Google+ posts a week: Similar to Facebook, in terms of how the network operates, Constant Contact recommends a similar approach. Post a minimum of three times a week, and no more than 10 a week.
- Share 35 Pins a week: Constant Contact calls Pinterest a “high volume high value” network. Post lots and get lots. They suggest a minimum of five times a day (35 times a week, including weekends) and a maximum of ten times a day (70 times a week).
These recipes may or may not be to your liking based on how well your followers engage with it combined with how well you can keep up these frequencies and still create great social posts. There is no gold standard.
To top it off, Hubspot did some interesting research looking at social posts based on industry, and found out that not every industry (i.e. type of audience) was looking for the same thing.
Some industries required fairly high posting frequencies (e.g. marketing) while others were less so (e.g. business and financial services).
So What Really Is The Best Number For How Often To Post To Social Media For Every Network?
We took a look at tons of different research from lots of different sources on how often to post on social media, and guess what? Their advice varied, and sometimes very significantly:
- Quick Sprout
- Mari Smith
- Michelle MacPhearson
- Constant Contact
But. We punched the numbers on all of their suggestions—minimum and maximum social media posting frequencies—to come up with solid numbers you can start with, then test your own results to adapt for your audience.
This formula is based purely on data from experts and may serve well as a starting point for building your audience on the specific networks:
Twitter: 15 tweets per day
Facebook: 1 post per day, 2 posts per day if your audience is more than 10,000 friends
LinkedIn: 4 posts a week, nearly 1 every weekday
Google+: 2 posts every weekday
Pinterest: 9 Pins every day
Now, you've learned a lot. The big takeaway is this: You can fill up your posting schedule—and share the optimal amount of messages every day—by sharing your older content.
Step 4: Set Up A New Social Media Posting Schedule For Your Most Successful Older Blog Posts
You can get more traffic from your posting schedule by sharing a few more messages every day.
Even though you've added lots of variety to the messages you write, it's also helpful to share a wide range of content that will make your networks' news feeds look diverse, too.
Plan To Share Your Best-Performing Recent Content
Social shares are like upvotes for your content—they help you understand which blog posts your audience finds so helpful, entertaining, or interesting that they want to share them with their own followers. You can use that information to help you decide which blog posts to continue sharing after your initial posting schedule for new content runs out of messages.
Here's a simple data-driven process to help you know which blog posts to share again:
Look at your last two month's worth of blog posts. Collect the shares information either from your CoSchedule social media editorial calendar or from the social shares plugin you likely already have installed on your blog.
From there, find the average shares a typical post gets by using this simple formula: sum of all blog post shares ÷ number of blog posts in your sample = average number of shares per blog post.
Now, when a blog post runs through its original social media posting schedule, simply look at the number of shares it received. If it got more than your average blog post, schedule more social shares for that blog post.
For example, if I used the formula and found that an average post gets 250 social shares, then I'd reshare content that got more than the average of 250 shares.
This is an example of a good posting schedule you could follow with your own older content:
This is the same process Devin, our social media marketer, uses at CoSchedule to strategically choose which content our audience (that would be you) likes the most so we continue to share only the best stuff that you find extremely valuable.
You can do it, too, and you'll see growth in followers and more traffic to your blog content.
Share Even Older Stuff That's Still Awesome
Still, you might have other evergreen blog posts that just keep bringing in the traffic when you share them. Share those again to fill up your daily maximum social sharing frequency.
Here's how to find the content your followers would love to see again:
Look at your most-shared blog posts using the top posts feature in CoSchedule. From there, you can easily see which content of yours is most popular and quickly schedule a new posting schedule for these blog posts.
You can also look at your Google Analytics to see which posts are getting the most page views and sessions. From there, you know which blog posts are naturally bringing in traffic back to your blog, so it just makes sense to share those posts again with a new posting schedule.
To make this process really efficient, block off time on your to-do list to find multiple old blog posts to schedule your shares at once.
That doesn't mean you'll share all of the messages right now or at the exact same time. Rather, it means that you'll dedicate time once to schedule several days worth of social shares so you can set it and forget it.
To do that, you might want a few posting schedules to help you share your older blog posts so the shares stagger well:
The good news is that you can set up as many social templates in CoSchedule as you need to follow all of this advice:
- One for brand new posts
- One for re-sharing your recently published posts
- As many as you'd like for sharing older blog posts
You can get started now with your 14-day free trial of CoSchedule to schedule better social messages than ever.
Keep Your Social Media Schedule Full With ReQueue
We've gone through a lot of information in this post so far. Congrats on making it this far.
As a reward for your perseverance, we're going to let you in on a feature in CoSchedule that can make scheduling social media posts a whole lot easier.
It's called ReQueue, and it makes it easy to automatically reshare evergreen content at the best times with just a few clicks.
This video explains how it works:
Now You Know How To Plan Your Social Media Posting Schedule To Grow Your Traffic
Let's review what you just learned to help you share to social media better than ever:
- Write unique social messages that stand out in busy news feeds. Test different headlines, ask questions, spark controversy, include humor, use a quote, appeal to the benefits, and share a snippet.
- Create a social template for every new blog post you publish. Use the Google Analytics custom report to find your best times, then map your social messages to a whole month of social shares.
- Know how often to post on social media to get the most traffic without turning off your followers. Schedule 15 tweets a day, one Facebook post a day (two if you have more than 10,000 friends), four LinkedIn posts per week, two Google+ posts every weekday, and nine Pins a day.
- Schedule messages for your older content with a few different social templates. Stagger the times and days to share helpful content consistently while avoiding bombarding any network with too many messages.
You've got this! When you're ready to push the easy button, try out the new social templates feature in CoSchedule to put all of your work to great use super easily.
The original version of this post was published on April 27, 2016. It was updated on Aug. 31, 2016 and March 27, 2017.