Do you pay attention to when your social followers are online and interacting? Here’s a free tip: you should be. Social media is a fast-moving form of communication and if you are hoping for marketing success, you’ll need to target your posts carefully to your audience, including the most effective times to post content on each different platform.
First things first, the answer you seek is not a generalised one. Finding the best time to post on social media will depend on your specific audience, their daily routines, their social habits, their preferences and so on. To get started, take a look at your social analytics. Facebook’s Insights will tell you exactly what kind of response your posts are getting, and even give you hints on when your followers are most likely to be online. Free tools like Tweriod analyse your Twitter feed and tell you when’s the best time to post to engage your Tweeps. Google Analytics can show you how well your social efforts are performing and which posts perform the most effectively. Make use of this data and create your own timeline guide for different types of content (text posts, images, videos, links etc) and different platforms (Guess what? Social users are active at different times on different social platforms!). Take the time to work out how to make your social media posts work most effectively – after all, there’s no point shouting into the dark if no one’s listening…
Next, think about your audience – their age, their marital status, their routines, their work schedules, their family life, their interests – all these elements will give you clues as to when they’re likely to be online. Would your audience be likely to check their profile via smartphone on their morning commute and sneak a peek in their lunch break, or will they be completely offline until the evening, at which point they’ll stay stuck to Twitter until they go to bed? If your audience is international, should you be targeting specific posts to UK time and others for the US? On a Friday night, will your audience be out on the town or at home with the kids? You need to know this information if you’re going to make the most of your social media campaign.
For a more general guide to the best times to post on your social accounts, these guidelines might help you get started:
7am-9am – Depending on your target audience, commuter times can be useful for uplifting posts and links to blogs or articles for reading material while your customers are travelling. Posts aren’t likely to result in sales at this time, however, as customers on the go may not have a secure connection or the time to go through a checkout process.
1pm-3pm – This is a good time to post on Facebook as it catches lunch-breaks and pre-school run audiences who may have a little downtime before the evening rush.
7pm-10pm – Wednesday evenings tend to be a busy time on Facebook in our experience – perhaps that mid-week need for a bit of a boost? Make the most of this period by giving followers something to smile about, or a tempting offer. Some users may also use social media to organise their nights out on a Friday or Saturday evening, so if your company is associated with nightlife then now’s the time to push a special deal or entry discount!
Weekends 10am-2pm – Once again, your timeframe will depend on your audience’s habits, but generally folks are up late on a weekend and potter around until lunch time. During this time they’re likely to check in with their mates on Facebook to see what they’re up to, or have a look online to do some shopping…
7am-9am – Many users log on to Twitter on their commute, or while they’re eating their cornflakes – it’s a quick and easy way to update on news and check in with friends before work/school begins. After 9am, however, things tend to go quiet.
1pm-3pm – Like Facebook, Twitter is great for downtimes, and there’s often a flurry of activity around early afternoon. Make the most of this time and get chatty – if you can engage followers in a conversation you’re half way to a conversion!
6pm-11pm – On the commute or sitting in front of the telly, evening Twitter users can be massively active. Many Tweeple browse Twitter while watching their favourite shows, commenting and reacting to the action, so if you can work out what kind of programmes your target audience might watch, get in there and join the conversation! Twitter is also a great way of communicating for friends meeting up and going out in the evenings.
9am-11am – More at the business end of the scale, G+ is great for getting early morning posts out to your circles and connections. Broadcast your latest deals, an interesting blog post, or a cool new product, and browse and follow other users to build your community.
7pm+ – Ever lost an entire evening to Pinterest or Tumblr? Yeah, us too. These social platforms are firmly the realm of the late browser, so take advantage of followers being online to post up your best images and links. Pinterest and Tumblr also have a strong US following, so if Americans make up part of your target audience you may want to target and schedule your posts to coincide with their time zone.
Hopefully you’re a bit more clued up about the most beneficial times to post on social networks, and if you ever need an extra hand in tailoring your social media strategy to be effective and cost-efficient, let us know – our social team will be glad to help!