What Happened When I Stopped Posting on Social Media for a Week
I post on a near daily basis on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. What I noticed (and what has happened before) is that my existing posting strategy was no longer as effective as in the past:
The recent Facebook algorithm changes made it obvious that having a consistent presence in the newsfeed didn’t matter if those posts weren’t performing well
The recent crackdown from Twitter regarding duplicate posting/spam made me rethink my evergreen posting strategy
The emphasis by both Facebook and Instagram on Stories made me wonder if regular feed posting was even worth it anymore
The best practices recently released by Pinterest meant I needed to take a second look at my pinning strategy
On top of all of that, I’ll be rolling out a new service in the coming months, so I figured that this would be the perfect time to step back and see where I need to change things up. Oh, and I’m also always looking for things that I can cut out of my business activities.
So step 1 was to stop posting and just engage to see how that affected the performance of my accounts.
A few caveats:
I had 2 Facebook livestreams that were already scheduled before I decided to make that week my ‘no post’ week so those went ahead as planned
I also had a new blog post to promote on Thursday, so those posts went out as usual
I admin a Facebook Group, and continued to post daily there for the benefit of the members
There really is no difference between Pinterest posting & engaging since it’s all pins anyway
So other than the exceptions above, all of my social media activity for an entire week was pure engagement: comments, shares, replies, retweets, likes, etc.
I’m going to break down 2 aspects of this experiment: a) the analytics, and; b) my experience.
How the Numbers Broke Down
No change in page likes or unlikes: I was hoping to have increased the likes by engaging as my page, but as I describe below, I wasn’t able to engage as much as I wanted
By the end of the week (Saturday), my page reach was almost at zero
Engagement was down 50% on the 2 posts that did go out during the week
No change in profile activity (i.e. profile visits, website clicks)
Overall reach dropped by 20% - I did post a handful of stories promoting by new blog post which probably kept this from dropping more
Tweet impressions almost doubled (195% increase)
Average engagement rate only increased by a miniscule 0.4%
In terms of my “content promoting post” performance compared to pure engagement posts, it came in solidly in the middle, and not at the bottom like I suspected
Clicks, daily visitors, and pin impressions doubled
Average people saving increased by 200%
Daily viewers increased by 25%
Personal profiles don’t have much in the way of analytics, but here are the meager highlights:
Profile views increased a small amount - 5%
Connection requests decreased by about 50%
What It Was Like Only Engaging
I had a different experience on each platform, so I’ll break those down individually, but overall I’d say that I probably spent more time on social media than usual. Whenever I had a bit of a break I’d hop online to engage and wasn’t super good about keeping track of my time. Normally I’d sit down once a week for an hour and schedule upcoming posts, then hop online for 10-15 minutes each day to respond to comments, replies, or messages.
Unfortunately for me, my business page experienced a glitch and was moved (by Facebook) into the Business Manager. The problem? You can’t access your pages feed on mobile when your page is in the Business Manager. My ‘no post’ week coincided with a lot of travelling, so I was mainly engaging from my phone. This meant that I wasn’t able to engage as much as I wanted to (long story short I couldn’t remove my page from the Business Manager because it would mess up my Instagram analytics...which I needed for this very experiment…).
As always, it was fine engaging (as my business page) with other B2B businesses, but whenever I wanted to engage with B2C or retail businesses I switched back to my personal profile because that would just be awkward :)
I need to stay more on top of adding pages to my pages feed - for the first couple of days it was just posts from the same 5 pages until I started adding in more favourites.
I’d been having trouble getting in to Stories, so I made a point of watching at least some every time I logged in. Lo and behold, I like Stories better than the newsfeed! They really seem more fun and authentic, and I absorbed a lot more information from a series of stories than I would have from having to read a caption (and that’s saying something, because I am a text-based learner!).
I learned so much about the Stories features from watching what other people are doing, I can’t wait to try them all out!
Like with Twitter, mute & unfollow became my besties. I had a thought that I should create a separate personal account to keep my business and personal interests separate, but in addition to the extra work, I feel like it might confuse people.
Before I started this experiment, I was actually planning on quitting Twitter. Declining performance was part of it. Being bored with my evergreen strategy and Twitter’s emphasis on spam was another part of it. The last part was the seemingly unavoidable negativity (I know this can be found on every social media network but I just associate it with Twitter the most - I actually use a hashtag blocker when I’m on desktop, but like I said before, I was primarily engaging from mobile so…).
I’m not quitting Twitter - it’s still the best/easiest place to have a conversation with someone - I just need to come up with a new strategy.
Mute & Unfollow are my new best friends. Previously I’d used lists so I could decide what people I wanted to see at any given time, but a) lists are hard to keep up, and; b) people are unpredictable and post the oddest shit at any given moment.
I really hate that ‘likes’ appear in the newsfeed - why even have them if they function just like retweets?
Since Pinterest removed ‘likes’ there are only 2 actions you can take: saving (aka repinning) something, or commenting. Even though I usually pin a mix of my own content and others’ content, this week I did 99% others’ content. I was excited about commenting, which is something that doesn’t happen very much on Pinterest, and guess what? The comments don’t seem to work - as soon as I hit enter my comment would disappear. So much for that.
I’ll continue to follow Pinterest best practices (when I was pinning other people’s stuff as my first 5 pins of the day I was way more picky than usual, because if they were going to get more exposure I wanted to make sure they were quality pins!).
To be honest I generally don’t scroll very far down in my LinkedIn newsfeed, so my engagement there has typically been luck of the draw - if your post just happens to be at the top of the feed and it just happens to be relevant to me I’ll engage. LinkedIn is actually one of my best networks in terms of ROI: I post here almost daily but engage very little while continuing to grow my network.
I was following a bunch of topics that were no longer relevant, so like with Twitter I took the opportunity to prune my newsfeed.
I did notice that the number of connection requests I got decreased, and the ones I got seemed to be mostly irrelevant to my current business - I’m not sure if this was just a coincidence, or if I was showing up differently in search results because of my reduced posting.
How This Will Affect My Social Media Strategy
Post Less, Engage More
This is particularly true for Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
On Facebook the results are less certain, but it does seem clear that 1-2 posts per week is not enough, but I don’t have to put so much pressure on myself to post 1-2 times per day :)
LinkedIn seems to be the exception - in order to stay top of mind and be seen as an expert, it looks like I have to keep up my own posts and engagement is the cherry on top.
Different Networks Have Different Purposes
Remember when I said that I was thinking about quitting Twitter? I was frustrated by the poor performance of my tweets, but I’d forgotten the ultimate advantage of Twitter over other networks: the ability to have conversations with just about anyone about almost any topic. So instead of using it to broadcast I’m going to try to use it more for connecting and networking.
More Stories, Less Posts
My own research with my audience tells me that Stories for Facebook have not yet really caught on, but Stories for Instagram are getting more popular everyday. I’m picturing a 95% story strategy with my Instagram profile & grid functioning more like a website or landing page.