Social Media: Be Consistent and Inconsistent

Unlike the Ten Commandments, social media postings should not be carved in stone. Speaking of tablets, (the stone ones, not the "electronic babysitter" ones that retail for $399) we social media marketers need to think of ourselves as bricklayers when posting on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like using randomness as our guide. You see, good bricklayers naturally "mix it up" to avoid unwanted patterns.  And they best work when we do it in house.

Case in point. I never eat the same breakfast two days in a row, or take the same route to work, have regular scheduled meetings, or exercise times at the gym on the same day at the same time. Whatever the opposite of a creature of habit is, is who I am. Granted, this "charming" trait has driven any and all the highly-structured, organized women in my personal life out the door faster than common sense and logic runs from Florida politics. Yet, being consistently inconsistent serves me well in the social media field.

Adhering to a routine is crucial in other business functions. Take sales for instance. Good salespeople follow a schedule, a pattern, often a script, and similar follow up will usually produce results. Marketing people however is very different. We're creative (read: sneaky). We need to catch people by surprise, shock you perhaps, but at the very least catch your eye. Yes, we adhere to advertising schedules, but know it's the ad you didn't expect to see that produces the most leads.

Breaking routine is more crucial in social media than any other communication methods. I know one of the first rules so-called social media experts including Yours Truly like to drill into your head is the importance of staying on a strict schedule.  Though this rule is valid, it's designed for the lazy and uninitiated. It's more Pavlovian than anything else.  In actuality, I never Tweet, or post at the same time. Sometimes I'll write the content myself, while other times it's a retweet. Two stories today, maybe three tomorrow with a photo.You never know what I'll throw your way, which is exactly the point.

So I can't urge you any stronger than to vary your topics, your times, and your social networks in addition to your vanilla content. You want to consistently post news about you, your company, or your group. But you also want to throw in curve balls — not cannon balls mind you that can explode bad publicity in face — but changes of pace. Maybe something personal, a funny video or comic, an offbeat but applicable news story perhaps this one for instance (<--shameless plug.)

And always vary your timing. A 3:00 am Tweet won't do many much good, but how about a Sunday morning one? There has been so much written on social posting optimal times. But if your audience knows when you post, they also know when to avoid it and may miss out on a special they truly care about. So in addition to your regular schedule, be it Facebook, Pinterest, or LinkedIn, experiment with timing and content.


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