Social media has reached that interesting stage in maturity when it has become a household word. Just about everyone you know is on Facebook, business folks tend to "live" on LinkedIn, and Twitter is one of the best ways to discover news and emerging trends.

That also tends to create some pollution. Everyone is spilling their oxygen into the air. The only way to spread the word about your marketing prowess, convince people that a new product is worth their money, or offer up some fresh ideas is to post often, post consistently, and post quality content. Yet, from what I've seen since social media became "a thing" right around 2008 is that you can't really do all three. You can certainly try, but those three pillars (frequency, consistency, and quality) play off of each other and can be mutually exclusive.

Let me give you an example. Let's say you've written a book and you want people to know about it. For starters, one or two posts won't work. Too many people will miss what you have to say. You might establish early on that you have to post frequently as a way to hopefully catch someone on a good day. Yet, having a big surge and posting a ton over a few days requires time and energy; you can't really keep up that pace. So, in many ways, you have to decide between frequency and consistency. Unfortunately, that's when you have to deal with the quality problem.

Let's say you want to be consistent and post quality content. OK, you just ruled out frequency. It's very hard to post quality content both consistently and frequently. However, if you decide to sacrifice quality, you can maintain some level of consistency and frequency to your posts. From what I've seen, it's nearly impossible to choose all three. Unfortunately, when you avoid making the decision to pick only two of those things, you waiver constantly between them and people get confused. You get a burst of posts over a few days, then falter. You create a few quality posts on LinkedIn, but you can't keep it up for long. It looks like a mess.

I believe the only way to do social media is to have a plan and stick to it over a long period of time. It doesn't matter if you only pick two approaches (frequency, consistency, or quality) but make sure you do pick two and then stick with that plan. What builds a following and creates momentum on social media is sticking with a plan no matter what happens over a period of time. You are at least consistent in your lack of consistency. You are at least posting frequently, even if it is in occasional surges. You at least have quality content, even if it's a rarity.

Back to my book example. Your plan might be to be consistent and post quality content. You decide it's OK to sacrifice frequency and miss a few people because, eventually, your followers will see that you have something worthwhile to say and they will find your content. Or, let's say you pick frequency and consistency but skip the quality content. That might serve your needs. Your goal might be to at least get your message out there with links, a few quips, and frequent jokes. Your goal in that scenario is to make sure there is always a firehose spraying.

The two options you choose should serve your needs. In my case, I tend to choose consistency and quality. I am OK with letting frequency slide. I just can't keep up otherwise. Yet, I always post at least three or four times per day, everyday, all week. I never stop (e.g., the definition of consistency). I could see choosing frequency for a while and sacrificing some quality. Or, I could see choosing to post much more often for a period of time but not as consistently. What I've seen is that it is impossible to do all three; they cancel each other out.

Now, which ones will you choose? If you need some advice, feel free to ping me. If you disagree with me, feel free to post in comments or on my Twitter feed.