If you’re like most social marketers, you spend a lot of time and energy planning your social media posts. This means you want to make sure they get the proper amount of “air time,” and hopefully end up sticking like glue. In order to achieve your goals, though, it’s imperative that you schedule all your social postings at prime times.
The problem, of course, is there is no specific “best time” to schedule posts for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. There may be timeframes, however, that are best for your particular audience. Below are some steps to take to give each social media message you send the strongest possible chance of reaching your prime viewers.
1. Know Your Audience and Direct All Your Content Toward Those Readers
Let’s think of things from a practical perspective. If your target audience is composed of business persons who are interested in very specific engineering topics and products, such as air dryer technologies and carbon dioxide absorbers, you want to make sure you’re writing your social postings for their eyes. On the other hand, if you are trying to sell to a wider population, you may want to come up with a range of themes and topic areas that will engage them. As you create your content, ask yourself whether you would be interested enough to take action — by retweeting or sharing the information — if you were a reader.
2. Check to See What Your Top Competitors Are Doing on Social Media
If you’re languishing in Facebook land with 60 fans while your top competitors seem to get more engaged – and that’s a key component – fans by the week, see when that company tends to post. For example, you may discover the ABC Company always seems to promote blogs on Thursday afternoons, tweet during the daytime on Fridays, and deliver long-form content on LinkedIn anytime during the workday on Tuesdays. Knowing this is working for someone else may give you a bit of crucial data on which you can build your own social media posting calendar.
3. Do Some Research and See What the Numbers Say
Plenty of web analysts have already done some work for you and are ready to declare the absolutely best times to post your social media announcements. Unfortunately, some of the research conflicts with other research. Still, some facts seem to be pretty common among all the analyses:
- Most people do more social networking from Wednesday through Friday, presumably as they start to wind down the traditional workweek and think about recreational activities.
- The best time to tweet seems to be between noon and 6 p.m. Many individuals use their lunch breaks and commuting time as opportunities to check their mobile devices, and that’s where Twitter shines.
- No matter what time you decide to add a post to Facebook, you’re likely to get a better response rate by asking a question. Make it relevant to both your needs and your readers’ needs; the more fun, the better.
- Not surprisingly, social postings with photos – and we mean engaging photos, not boring ones – drive higher traffic. Humans are visual creatures, and we like to be able to relate instantly; one strong way to do that is through images.
- People appear to be looking at Google+ postings a little earlier during their workdays, perhaps when they are first coming into the office and just getting settled into their rhythms. Though many time management gurus say you shouldn’t get into social media when you first arrive at your desk, it would seem a lot of people cannot resist the temptation.
4. Keep Track of When You Post and What Occurs as a Result
No matter what social media sites you decide to use as a vehicle for communication, make certain you’re tracking your responses. You’ll probably want to make a fairly detailed spreadsheet so you can begin to plot a picture of when the perfect time for you to hit the “publish” button will be. Obviously, you can do some A/B testing; just make sure you give specific time slots a chance to work. You need enough information to make an educated evaluation.
As social media continues to grow and morph, we expect to see alterations in when individuals are checking their statuses and newsfeeds. Never stop evolving your strategies as you discover – and perhaps even create – new marketing methods. Additionally, make social posting easier on yourself by using an automatic posting service so you don’t have to do the postings by hand.