Let’s just get this out of the way. In my opinion, the answer to this click-bait-ey headline is a resounding “yes.”
It definitely depends on the audience you’re targeting–and in some cases, the platform you’re using.
Let’s examine why.
For starters, we’re all getting a lot more stupid–at least when it comes to grammar. According to a recent survey from something called Tidio, 94% of US participants say they are attentive to grammar. Yay, grammar nerds!
However, when shown sentences that included seven common grammar mistakes, only 2.8% of those same people who said they were attentive spotted all the issues.
Holy crap. Apparently, they didn’t poll PR people!
So, we’re not that smart. That’s relevant point #1 in support of “grammar doesn’t matter.”
Point #2–if you’re targeting a younger audience, they may not care as much about grammar as an older set might. Think about how Gen Z has grown up with a phone in their hand. They’re not nearly as text-based as the generations before–they spend more time on YouTube and TikTok and use emojis and forms of broken English to communicate on Snapchat.
In fact, I’ve seen brands like Glossier post this kind of thing on the regular on TikTok.
Which brings me to point #3–writing in the voice and style of the platform. In many ways, platforms like Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram and even Twitter, in spots, favor brands who communicate with fans without abiding by common grammar rules.
Just look at what McDonalds does here.
No capitalization–multiple times! And, McD’s is using text short-hand for “your” and “you.” Can’t believe that’s in McDonald’s brand style guide to do that! But, here they are, doing just that. Because they’re writing in the style of the platform–and in the language of their customers (many people don’t cap on twitter and use text short-hand, as McDs did here).
Finally, point #4–the focus is much more on the visual anyway. Pick your social media platform–in almost every case (with maybe the exception of LinkedIn), the visual is going to be the thing that captures customers’ attention–not your copy. So, how grammatically correct does it really need to be? I’m not saying you need to go out of your way to make your posts grammatically INCORRECT. But, maybe you don’t have to invest as much time in the approval process making sure everything is 100% correct from a grammar perspective.
Again, I’M JUST PLAYING DEVIL’S ADVOCATE HERE.
My take: Grammar matters. 100%. But, I could see certain situations where, if you’re targeting a younger audience, maybe you do throw caution to the wind in an attempt to connect with them a bit more.
Not only is it possible–it’s happening on the internet every single day.
Grammar nerds: shudder in horror.
Earlier this year, a friend of mine was unceremoniously fired from her corporate job.
She had been a really good employee– a star performer as far as I could tell. But, corporate restructuring had other ideas. So, she was walked out the door.
I’ve seen this movie before. Many times. And, it always sucks. But, it also got me thinking: Why are we so loyal to these corporate employers that show the smallest amount of loyalty to us?
I’m not saying this in a judgmental way–more in a curious way.
Think about the natural job progression.
You get that new job after months of looking and searching. It feels great! And, you’re excited about the company and its vision and what it stands for. You’re all in! You’re drinking the Kool-Aid, as they say.
Then, after about a couple years, you start to get a little bored. You start sniffing around. At the same time, a new CMO is brought on board. Whispers of “restructuring” are swirling. You start to get a little nervous, but not really.
Then, your boss calls you into her office on an typical Wed. afternoon. With an HR rep. You know what’s coming.
They don’t even tell you why you’re being “let go.” Just some mentions of “restructuring” (that dirty word again). And, they walk you out the door.
Just like that, you’re out of a job.
That’s the job world we sign up for. I guess it’s the only one we have, but man, it really sucks sometimes.
So, back to the original question: Why are we so loyal to these companies who clearly are not loyal to us?
Because working for a big, well-known company is still pretty fun.
You have more resources (i.e., bigger budgets).
You get to work on interesting and fun campaigns.
You get to go to big professional development conferences.
When people ask “What do you do?”, you say I work for a large, internationally-known company!
There’s lots of reasons. And, apparently they’re worth the trade-off because we keep signing up for it.
It’s a tough spot. Because, on one hand, you want to be excited for that new job. You want to be “all in” and work for a company where you feel like you’re making a difference. Where you’re spending 8-12 hours of each day. That has to be fun and rewarding–otherwise, why are you doing it?
On the other hand, in the back of your mind, you know if push comes to shove, you’re probably out of the door. No one is immune. Corporate life is all about the bottom line and if you’re standing in the way of the company making a little more money, you’re out on your butt.
So again, I’m not here to judge today. I’m just frustrated with the situation. We pour our heart and souls into these companies and we’re rewarded with the little to no loyalty.
That’s the reality we live in. I guess we just have to suck it up and deal with it.
Earlier this year, my son was talking about how much he wanted a membership at the Edina Life Time. Keep in mind, he’s 16 years old and the Edina Life Time is a Diamond Club, so it’s the most expensive of all the Life Time clubs. Needless to say, we didn’t rush out and buy him a membership. Instead, we encouraged him to get a job there.
Since I knew that might be a tall order, I called a friend of mine who works at Life Time. I asked her if there was anything she could do to put in a good word for my son. She did. And, not surprisingly, a few days later, my son had an interview.
It was the power of the personal referral–and we’ve all probably seen it play out many times in our careers.
If the person giving the referral–in this case, a senior-level corporate Life Time employee with a 8+ year track record of success–is highly regarded, it usually works pretty darn well.
However, the referral game isn’t as easy–or risk-free–as it might seem.
There are many pitfalls to this process–both for the person giving the referral and the person receiving it.
Let’s start with the person giving the referral. By way of my job (independent social media consultant), I get asked to provide referrals a lot. And, I’ve learned a lot over the last 12+ years of doing this. Here’s what I’ve observed:
1 – Don’t give referrals to people you haven’t worked with directly before.
Should go without saying, but I’ve done this before and it’s come back to bite me. Without direct work experience, you have no idea what kind of performer you’re referring. Save those referrals for people you’ve absolutely loved working with in the past.
2 – Make sure you’re as honest as you can be with the person you’re referring
Sometimes people will ask for referrals to employers in town who don’t have the best reputations. I’ve tried to be as open and honest as I can be with people whom I’ve referred about such places, because I don’t want to refer someone to an employer, only to have them hate their job six months later. Give your referees all the information up front–let them make their own decision.
3 – Don’t over-promise
Friends or colleagues may ask you for referrals from time to time (more often lately considering the tight job market!). And, because you’re a nice person, you probably say, “Sure, I know a few people! I’ll send you some names.” But, in reality, you don’t have any names. Resist the urge to be nice–and instead, be honest. It’s OK to say you don’t know anyone looking at this time–again, especially right now with the labor market being as tight as it’s ever been.
Now, let’s talk about the person receiving the referral. I don’t have much experience in this area–at least not in the last 12 years. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions! Here are my thoughts if you’re the job seeker:
1 – Don’t ask for referrals from people you haven’t worked with in the past.
If you go around asking for referrals from people you haven’t worked with in the past, it puts those people in a very awkward and uncomfortable position. Don’t be that person. Preferably, you want to ask two groups of people for referrals: Previous managers and former colleagues. Those people know your history and performance best–let them vouch for you.
2 – Don’t overuse your “asks”
Be judicious about who you ask for a referral. Again, I go back to those two groups: Former managers and former colleagues. Don’t just ask anyone–focus on the people who know your work experience best.
3 – Be overly gracious with anyone who has referred you (regardless if you get the job)
Whether you get the job or not is inconsequential to the referral game. No matter what happens, I’d suggest going above and beyond to thank that person for the referral. That could mean a hand-written note. It could mean a small gift. Whatever the case, it’s more than just a text or email. Make your thank you and gratitude count so it stands out. Because, chances are you may ask that same person for another referral down the road and you want to make sure they feel good about that first experience doing it.
It’s become one of the most prevalent questions in the social media industry. And, to me, also one of the most frustrating. Mostly because of article’s like Hootsuite’s recent post “How Often to Post to Social Media in 2021”.
You see, most of these “how often to post” articles always wind up with the same conclusion: you need to post A LOT. In this most recent case, here are Hootsuite’s recommendations:
- On Instagram, post between 3-7 times per week.
- On Facebook, post between 1 and 2 times a day.
- On Twitter, post between 1 and 5 Tweets a day.
- On LinkedIn, post between 1 and 5 times a day.
OK, let’s do some additional math. By my count, this would mean, Hootsuite is recommending you post to your Insta page 12-28 times per month; to your Facebook page 30-60 times per month; to Twitter 30-150 times per month; and to LinkedIn a whopping 30-150 times per month.
Grand total: That’s 388 posts per month (on the high end)!
I’ve been doing social media audits for midsized and large companies for years. And one of the key outcomes of those audits is almost always the same: you’re posting way too much. Apparently, most companies are taking advice from Hootsuite! But, dialing back the posting frequency can be MUCH more effective–and can help save your team’s sanity. For two big reasons.
First, very few marketing or comms teams have the capacity (or endurance) to post 300+ times per month across these four channels. Recent reports I’ve seen, put most social media teams in the 1-3 person range. There’s just no way those teams could post this often. Not even close.
Second, I’m a big believer in the quality over quantity mantra when it comes to social content marketing. After all, how are you going to come up with 300 different killer social media posts in one month? And then do it month after month after month? That’s just not sustainable–and it’s not smart. Instead, as a very general rule, I usually recommend posting a handful of times a week to a channel like LinkedIn. This is more than enough for most brands. And, if your posts get decent engagement (which they should if you’re taking more time), they tend to live in the feed a little longer.
Finally, keep in mind who’s releasing most of these “how often to post” reports and surveys: The social media management tools. They want brands to post more–it makes their tools more attractive. So, inherently, there’s a conflict right away. So, I suggest taking their advice with a grain of salt (or, feel free to ignore it altogether–unless you want to try to come up with 388 posts every month!)
So, what’s the real answer to the question “how often should we post?” The answer, as it is so often in social media marketing: It depends on a number of factors. Notably:
Do you have the staff time or budget to produce 388 posts per month? Most don’t. So, figure out the cadence that does work within your existing resources.
Are you measuring the effectiveness of your existing content? What does engagement look like when you post a lot? Does it differ when you post just a handful of times per month? Do some experimenting, check the results and plan from there.
Do you know what your audience really wants or needs from you, as a brand? Do they want to see content from you 3-4 times per day? Have you asked them? Have you surveyed them on this question?
Reluctance or desire to get involved in conversations
If you’re posting say, 30-40 times a month on Facebook, do you have the staff power to moderate all the comments on those posts? And does your brand have the ability and desire to get involved with tougher conversations? If the answer is no to these two questions, you probably want to ratchet down frequency a bit.
In the end, the “how often to post” conversation is a nuanced one that’s different for almost every company. And it shouldn’t be based on “survey data” from large platforms who benefit when you use their product more–it should be based on your own data, observations and resources. Plain and simple.
A recent report from Typeset relayed a concerning stat: 38% of writers said “knowing what our audiences want to read” was either difficult of very difficult.
Put differently, 4 in 10 communicators have no idea what content their audiences want to read.
It makes sense if you think about it. Consider the current situation for today’s social media specialist or manager who’s in charge of developing content for a company’s channels.
They’re typically fairly to very overworked–too many responsibilities to focus all that much on the writing/creation process.
They’re typically asked to do a variety of tasks–from community management to reporting to yes, writing.
And, when it actually does come to content, they’re typically asked to churn out a crap-load of content each week, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for much else.
You can see the problem here.
Many companies spit out content that based on their needs and wants–selling more products/services.
But, do most companies know what their customers want when it comes to social content? Apparently, not so much.
What can we do about this? I have a few relatively simple ideas to help bring the focus back to your customer when developing social media content.
1 – Develop a customer focus group
Could you create a small focus group made up of 8-10 customers that would meet quarterly or bi-annually? You’d ask for half hour to an hour of their time. You’d quiz them on needs, wants and desires. Basically, you’re trying to get inside their head. To thank them for their time, you could provide a gift card or product. This would be a relatively easy and fantastic way to get direct access to your customers.
2 – Survey your customers twice a year
Again, might seem like a lot of work for a team that doesn’t have any extra time. But, putting together a simple, 10-question survey could glean a lot of insight that can drive content for months to come. I mean, how hard would it actually be to put together a quick survey via a tool like SurveyMonkey? Wouldn’t it be worth the few hours it would take to create, set up and share?
3 – Get 5-10 minutes on the sales teams’ monthly meeting
If #1 seems too daunting, why not attempt to get just 5-10 minutes on your sales teams’ monthly call? If you can’t get direct access to the customer, why not go to the people know conceivably know them best? On these calls you could merely quiz sales people on the topics and issues that are bubbling up with customers. What’s top-of-mind? What do they keep bringing up? What’s keeping them up at night? These are the topics you want to build content around.