The best time to post to social media?

Wouldn’t it be great to know the best time of day to post to your twitter account, Facebook page or LinkedIn profile? How helpful would it be to know what time of day, day(s) of the week offer the most potential to engage your community?

Luckily, there’s lots of information, recommendations and tools out there that, when combined with your own experience and a little trial and error, can help you build, refine and manage a social media schedule to suit you, your business and your target audience.

Influencing factors

Optimum posting times are influenced by a variety of factors from type of business, the tool you are  using, time zones, audience demographics, all of which have an impact on engagement rates.

According to Forbes.com, the best time for B2C businesses to tweet is on weekends and Wednesdays; for B2B businesses,  it is Monday through Thursday; Linkedin  is purely  a workday sport centering on commuter times and lunch times Tuesday to Thursday; and, Pinterest is almost exclusively evenings until the wee small hours of the morning.

The good news is that there’s a myriad of useful data and advice available both within and outside of your business to point you in the right direction.

What do the experts say?

Lots of expert studies show positive trends in customer engagement and response depending on the time of communication. CoSchedule.com has usefully compiled information from a number of sources including QuickSproutThe Huffington Post, Buffer, TrackMaven, Fast Company, and KISSmetrics, to arrive  at the following recommendations for posting to the main social media platforms. See the info-graphic below. 

Optimum times of day to post to social media_web

Check your own data

However, this data is best treated as a general guideline only and used in combination with your own in-house data and day-to day observations to help arrive at the best posting times for your business. For example, a wealth of useful information is available behind the the ‘Insights’ tab on your Facebook business page. A brief  examination of a client’s page below shows that the number of fans online continually increases from 6:00 a.m. to nearly midnight.

Facebook Insights _shawconsulting.ie

In this case, it makes absolute sense to post in the evening long after the bricks and mortar business has ceased trading for the day.

Think first in terms of the specifics of your own business and community.  There are a number of free and not so free social media analysis tools available to track you social media activity including Simplymeasured, Quintly, Socialbakers and Hootsuite. All provide in-depth measurement and reporting across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and many more.

Trial and error helps too

If you are regularly posting to your company Facebook page, you will learn what time of day and what days of the week suit your audience best by the amount of ‘likes’ and comments generated. Trial different times of day, days of week and you will soon see a pattern develop.

So, what’s next?

Once you have determined the optimum posting times and frequency you can set up a social media calendar; a plan of what and when you post to each platform.  Again, there are tools available to make all this much easier such as Facebook’s own scheduling facility or tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer or Tweetdeck all of which allow you to schedule multiple posts ahead of time, particularly handy if your audience happens to be online at midnight!

Having a strong brand presence on social media has become essential to an organisation’s marketing efforts. However, with everything else going on in your working day it can be difficult to post content at the optimum time to gain maximum exposure. One way to shortcut the process is to plan and schedule your social media activity based on rule of thumb recommendations and your own insights and instincts. To make the job easier  again, investigate some of the smart tools available and track insights to show a corresponding increase in audience engagement. Happy posting!

About the author: Suzanne Shaw, MBA, is an independent marketing professional with 20 years’ experience in developing and implementing business development, marketing and communications strategies, working in a wide range of businesses from startups to SMEs to not-for-profits. Suzanne is first and foremost a practitioner and, having picked up useful bits of knowledge from mentors and colleagues along the way,  is happy to share her insights and expertise. 

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