While sitting with a client last week, I was asked what the best time would be to post on social media. My client said that she tried to do some research and that just when she found an article with an answer, she found another article to contradict that one.
The answer I gave my client was to think about the actions of her customers. Most people check their phones as soon as they wake up. In fact, in 2012, Ragan reported that 90% of people 18-30 checked their phone, including email and social media, first thing in the morning. People also have free time on their lunch breaks, while stuck in traffic, and in the evening.
But what if your brand caters to people 50+, who might not be awake at the same time as a younger crowd? What if you cater to teens, who don’t have their phone during the day but who get out of school around 3 p.m.?
Be the Expert on Your Brand
One size does not fit all when it comes to posting for social media, blogging, or sending emails. Sure, there are best practices. According to MailChimp, people open emails most in the middle of the week, and that the time most people open them are 4 p.m.
But what if your clients are primarily restaurant owners who are open for dinner. Are they opening emails or prepping for their busy time at that moment?
A few days after my client meeting, I stumbled upon an article on LinkedIn that struck a chord. “What time of day should I post?” by Mat Morrison, Social Media Strategy Director at Starcom MediaVest Group. Morrison was commenting on an infographic which has been popping up around the internet that suggests a time to post for specific social media sites.
He said that his company had tracked several accounts and tried to find a pattern, but, “Whenever we thought we’d picked up a pattern we discovered (much to our disappointment) that we hadn’t. We tried to adjust for confounding factors, but the reality was that almost everything other than time of day appeared to have more impact on reach, engagement and clicks.”
So, his advice on getting the right information for optimal posting days/times?
“Watch your own data. Don’t plan your posting strategy off a vendor’s PR release that’s 2 years old. Don’t use infographics to plan anything.”
How to Track Your Data
The good news is that technology makes it pretty easy to track your own data. Most social networks have analytics built right in, so that you can see which of your posts have been the most successful.
Facebook tells you when your fans are online within its insights. You can even see what KIND of post you should be sharing, as Facebook tells you which post type gets the most engagement.
Google Plus also shows you which day of the week and time you got the most interaction (they call them “actions”) so that you can easily see when the people in your circles are chatty.
Twitter is a little bit more difficult to track, so I use a third-party website called SocialBro to track my best time to tweet. They also have a Chrome extension! You can use SocialBro to generate a “best time to Tweet” report that is extremely helpful and detailed if you’re really interested in looking deeply at the best time to send Tweets.
You can keep track of your findings over several weeks using a Google spreadsheet, then look back at the end of the month to see the trends. But keep in mind that this won’t be the last time you’ll have to collect this kind of data if you want it to remain accurate. Social media changes every day, and each change will effect how, where, and when users are connecting with your business.
Do you keep track of when your social media accounts get the most engagement in order to post at the optimal time?