I learned my marketing chops in radio. First as a commercial writer / producer and later as a sales rep, I created thousands of campaigns for clients ranging from single store mom and pop retailers to Fortune 100 marketers. Regardless of the message or creativity involved, there was one constant that made radio work in terms of delivering customers, and that was “frequency.”
Frequency is the number of times a radio commercial airs over a specific period of time. When I was a radio sales rep, I quickly learned that an advertiser had to run a certain number of commercials for each event in order to motivate the potential consumers in my audience to take an action. For example, if an auto dealer was promoting a weekend sales event, they might run 30 or 40 commercials in the days leading up to the event. It seemed as if every time that you turned on the station you heard the commercial. That was good, because “frequency” drove the message home and caused consumer action. We knew that the consumer had to be exposed to the message more than once before they “got it.”
Frequency also works on TV. Whether it’s Old Navy, Verizon or Apple, we’re inundated with their TV spots during marketing events.
But what about frequency for social media? Most of us, whether marketers or in our personal social networks, post one time to Facebook and Twitter and think that we’ve gotten the word out. Facebook and Twitter work just like radio and TV in that the audience is there for a specific period of time, and, unless our message is at the forefront on their wall or Twitter feed when they are, they are not going to see, or react to it.
We might check our Facebook page a couple of times a day. This is just like listening to the radio on the way to and from work.
If I want you to see my message, it needs to be on your wall or Twitter feed when you are looking at it. Not many people scroll back through all the posts since their last log on. So, to be effective, the message needs to be there when the consumer is.
There’s a lot of research that shows us Facebook and Twitter usage. One of the key periods for Facebook usage is late afternoon, just before people go home from work. They are killing time by logging on to their social networks (by mobile device if their company net has blocked them). To reach this audience, I might post at 3:30pm one day, 4pm the next day and 4:30pm on the third day. I’ve covered a 90 minute spectrum in this crucial time period. And, if some of my friends see the message more than once, that’s all the better!
The concept of frequency is what makes radio and TV effective, and it works the same for social media. There are several apps that allow you to pre-schedule posts and Tweets (we like Hootsuite) so that you can create frequency with your messaging. When you design a frequency element to your messaging, develop three or four versions of the message – after all, this is “social” media.
Once you apply “frequency” to your social media messaging, you’ll see a greater return in consumer engagement and action.