Marketers are being encouraged to reach out to consumers on social media. The goal is to build relationships and increase sales. But some experts caution that there is a right and wrong way to go about this process.

Building a social media campaign means posting content that will attract interest and posting at the right time of day. Neil Draper, writing for Viral Blog recently shared some of his expertise with readers. Draper’s first point is that a Facebook post, in particular, is time-sensitive. With a life expectancy of about 3 hours, marketers will want these posts to be seen but also to serve the purpose of providing shareable information. So he cautions marketers to avoid posting during consumers’ busy times. The articles that are most frequently shared are those posted at 8:00 a.m. and around 6:00 p.m. This is when most consumers are in an environment when they have enough time to read a post, comment and pass it along. At other times, they may be driving the kids to daycare or heading into a meeting. Similarly, articles that are published on weekends have the highest share rate on sites like Facebook.

Marketers may also believe that frequently posting to their pages equates to a good relationship-building strategy with clients. Don’t go there, cautions Draper. Based on his experience as a community manager for several clients, he believes that 3 posts a day is the maximum. An even better number may be one post a day. Brand likeability is negatively affected when followers are bombarded with marketer messages. Sure, Facebook is a social network that is turning into an advertising platform, Draper says. But marketers might want to remember their social engagement and he recommends that you, “give something back to your fans and time your post wisely.”

[Source: Draper, Neil. When to Connect with Your Target. Viralbrlog.com. 26 Feb. 2012. 15 Mar. 2012]