This week on #bufferchat, we went back to the basics and shared tips for building a social media presence from scratch! The community discussed how often to post on various platforms, what to avoid when starting out on social media, how much time to spend on social, and much more. In the 2nd chat time, we were joined by Sarah Wilkes of Traffic Jam Media as our guest!

Read on to discover all of the awesome insights that were shared during the chat!

Catch our weekly Twitter chat, #bufferchat, at TWO times every Wednesday for valuable industry insights and to meet hundreds of other smart marketers and social media enthusiasts. Same topic, same place, just at different times – feel free to join in to whichever chat time works best for you!

For our community in Asia and Australia (or anyone else!): 4 pm AEDT (Sydney time)

For our community in North/South America, Europe and Africa (or others!): 9 am PT (San Francisco time)

Bufferchat on March 22, 2017 (Topic = Building Your Social Media From Scratch)

This week’s stats:
1st Bufferchat: 46 participants; 379 tweets; reach of 1,024,120
2nd Bufferchat: 189 participants; 1,656 tweets; reach of 2,061,842

Q1: If you could only start off by investing in one social platform, how do you decide which one it should be?

From Sarah:

  • Think about your target audience! Are they visually driven? Do they want a customer support channel? What do they need!

From the community:

  • “Customer research- if your audience isn’t on that platform then you’re talking to an empty room.” @MissLaurenG
  • “I think more than knowing where you audience is…choose your platform based on HOW you want to engage/interact with them.” @MistahMarvel
  • “You need to understand the core value & community of each platform first.” @Ginaie
  • “First, what are your business’ goals; second, where is your audience to reach said goals?” @JMattMke
  • “What are you selling/promoting? Is it visual? IG. Is it more content heavy? FB and TW. Bit if everything? Look @ competition.” @thatJeffPerry

See all the great answers to question 1 here!

Q2: How much time should someone expect to spend on social media per week?

From Sarah:

  • It depends! Think CONTENT & CONTINUITY. You need to engage, offer & react… It will depend on the platform too.

From the community:

  • “For us, we have a team of 4 people. One does social full time, the others do it about 10-20 hours/week.” @lavidgeco
  • “You can be effective in a short period of time, but generally the more time you invest, the more you’ll get out of it.” @Lauchlin
  • “Enough time to actively engage with those who reach out to you.” @francinegregory
  • “If they sit down 1-2x per week to create/schedule content (1-2hours). Then another 2-3hrs to interact & be social :)” @ryan_bilello
  • “As much time as you can! A LOT. I encourage planning and scheduling so you can spend your time engaging when online!” @ATSocialTweets

See all the great answers to question 2 here!

Q3: How do you find great content to share on your social media profiles?

From Sarah:

  • If you can, write your own! Drive people to your website. Also choose your sources wisely – is it on brand for your biz?

From the community:

  • “For me it comes down to following great people. Same way I share good content, so do they.” @The_ChrisBryant
  • “Follow a variety of #influencers or groups to see what’s trending. I read and save on to keep organized.” @kaitlynuy_
  • “I absolutely love for organizing and keeping up to date with new and relevant content for various audiences!” @FelixSTL
  • “Ask your audience! Not only would this give them exactly what they want, but also improve engagement.” @c_faysmith
  • “You can find great content anywhere. The important thing is to READ IT THOROUGHLY and not just blindly share.” @waltervinci

See all the great answers to question 3 here!

Q4: What are good “rules of thumb” for how often to post on various social platforms?

From Sarah:

  • What do YOU as a user appreciate/ get frustrated by? Once a day on most is adequate apart from Twitter.

From the community:

  • “Know your audience, and be respectful of their personal social media capacity. People are hungry, but not always starving.” @bradleebartlett
  • “If your posts are relevant and packed with goodness you can’t post too often. Algorithms control visibility so experiment.” @jwilkers
  • “FB: 3 posts per day; TW: UNLIMITED; IG: 4 or 5 posts per day; LI: 1 post per day; Snapchat: 6 or 7 per day.” @ChrisThames29
  • “I recently heard the following: 1x/day on Facebook, 15x/day on Twitter, 1-2x/day on Instagram. Mix original with curated.” @editorjess
  • “Think less quantity, more quality. I’ve you’ve got great content, post it. If you’ve got meh content, reconsider.” @JuiceboxCA

See all the great answers to question 4 here!

Q5: What are some things to avoid when just starting out on social media?

From Sarah:

  • Don’t try to conquer all channels just because you feel you should be on them. Pick one or two and master them!

From the community:

  • “Don’t post exact same message to all platforms. Each message should be crafted for specific audience and platform posted to.” @fettuccine18
  • ! I will not follow you on another platform. I don’t know you. Let me get to know you before you ask me.” @southbaysome
  • “Don’t just talk. Listen and ask questions. You will be surprised how much people will want to share with you.” @mrkampmann
  • “PLEASE DON’T F4F! Don’t trade follows with subpar accounts. Also avoid straying from your branded persona.” @ForresterHinds
  • “Zealousness. Don’t follow everyone and every trend. It’s ok to go slow and diligently learn/observe.” @easttum

See all the great answers to question 5 here!

Q6: How can you start to measure the business value of your social media activity?

From Sarah:

  • Decide what you want from social. Engagement/ reach/likes? Drive site traffic? Push offers? Use .
  • Use tools to review and evaluate your results!

From the community:

  • “Use analytics to track your impressions, also check your website traffic & where it comes from.” @_PatriceSmith
  • “If your social pages bring a sense of community to your audience, that in itself creates SM value. Engagement is key.” @cindymedran0
  • “Decide what it is you want to track and measure. Compare it over time. Do likes, retweets, reactions, or shares = ??” @absolut_zer0
  • “If people are talking about you and the metrics show positive results, then it’s effective. If not, switch content.” @MrJamesMcManus
  • “It all depends on your pre-defined goals. The real power of #socialmedia is to create positive word of mouth marketing.” @DigitalVK

See all the great answers to question 6 here!

Q7: What’s your #1 piece of advice for brands just starting out on social media?

From Sarah:

  • Choose your channels, get your content sorted and get your times optimised. In other words, LISTEN TO YOUR AUDIENCE.

From the community:

  • “Data is there to let you know if what you are doing is right or not…don’t be afraid of it. Use it.” @SocialSMktg
  • “Have a social media strategy- can’t stress this enough! Always better to start off with a clear idea of what you want to do.” @sincerelyloewe
  • “Do NOT be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and experiment on social media. Find what works for you.” @Wilde_Agency
  • “Use the time when you have few followers to find your voice and get comfy. Don’t try to grow too big too fast.” @martinlieberman
  • “Listen more than you distribute. Join conversations. Provide value instead of just content. Be purposeful.” @KimYuhl

See all the great answers to question 7 here!


Thank you so much to Sarah and to everyone who participated and helped each other in this chat!

Do you have any comments or answers to these questions? Leave your thoughts in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

Image sources: UnSplash

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Written by Arielle Tannenbaum

Community Strategist at Buffer. In addition to her love of community building, Arielle also loves vegetables, cooking, practicing yoga, meditating, living mindfully, and exploring the connections between health and happiness!