Posted March 27, 2013 4:27 pm by with 1 comment

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For the small business owner, social media is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it’s a relatively inexpensive form of online advertising but on the other hand it can take up a lot of time to deliver only minimal results.

When Constant Contact asked 1,000 small business owners which social media network was tops. . . well, I’ll bet you know which one they named most often.

Facebook. It was Facebook, of course but it makes me wonder if that’s really the truth or just a knee jerk response. The real news is the number two slot. Check out this graph:

constant contact SMB

At a glance, you can see the impact social media is having on small business. In just a few short months, the bars from one side to the other have more than quadrupled. Remember, the question wasn’t “which platforms are you using” but “which platforms are most effective.” So, true or not, marketers feel like they’re getting through.

What’s amazing is the growth in both LinkedIn and Twitter. LinkedIn goes from 10% to 29%; Twitter from 7% to 25%. That’s some boost in confidence. YouTube comes in third, but look at the gain in just eight months. 15% of small business owners are seeing results using video or video advertising. Google+ even rose a few notches but they should look away in shame at being beat out by Pinterest and Yelp.

Now, here’s why I say the results are about perception and not necessarily the truth:

constant contact frequency

This chart shows the number of businesses who regularly post to social media. The darker gold is daily posting, the lighter color is weekly.

Only 13% of SMB’s are posting daily Twitter Tweets. Under 10% are posting to LinkedIn on a regular basis. And yet, more than 25% of owners say these are effective strategies. How can that be? Can you really make a splash on Twitter by only Tweeting now and then?

In the social media world, messages fly off the front page at a furious rate. Posting only once a day will only get you seen by a tiny portion of your audience, so what happens when you only Tweet once a week?

Maybe slowing down is the new trend. I’ve seen several pro-bloggers talk about how it’s insane to put up a new blog post every day. That it makes more sense to write one good post a week (or a month) and spend the rest of the time driving more traffic to that piece. The quote was, “why write more when only 100 people saw what you wrote the first time.”

This is the complete opposite of what we’ve all been taught, but it does make sense.

What if we apply this logic to Facebook. When a brand posts to their Facebook Page, there’s only a small chance it’s going to be seen by his followers.

TechCrunch explains it in this post:

Facebook told me in February that the average Page reaches 16 percent of its fans with each post. That’s because some fans aren’t online when the post is published, a specific post hasn’t gotten much engagement from the people Facebook already showed it to, and because if you don’t interact with that Page when you do see its posts, Facebook will only show you them every once in awhile.

You don’t reach all your followers on Twitter with each tweet either. You could, except most people follow so many people that they only read parts of their stream.

That being true, does it matter if you post ten times a day or once a day? Do you have just as much chance of reaching the same number of people with one really good post as you do with ten not so interesting posts?

I have no idea. What do you think? Could slowing down on social media posting be the key to success or is social media marketing like throwing spaghetti at the wall – the more you throw, the better chance one piece will stick?