Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Best [And Worst] Times To Post On Social Media


It’s the conundrum of social media marketers everywhere: you’ve got great content to share on your social networks, but if no one sees it, does it do any good? And that’s why discovering the best (and worst) times to post on your social media sites is a critical part of your overall digital marketing success.

When it comes to discovering the optimal posting time on a social media platform, you generally have three options: trial and error, data analysis or implementing others’ research. Let’s dive in and take a quick look at each—then you can be the judge about what works best for you.

Trial And Error (and A/B Testing)

Experimentation and testing is not only fun, it’s imperative. And we’re believers in the adage that if you’re not measuring (and testing), well, you’re not marketing. We’re huge fans of A/B testing all kinds of content we produce for ourselves and for our clients. We test tweets, blog post headlines, email subject lines–you name it, we test it. We also test how content posted at one time of day performs against how the exact piece of content performs at a different time that same day, or on another day completely.

If you’re not yet testing how your content performs, start. Make sure you are tracking what’s working (and what’s not) so that you can use those findings to guide your strategy.

Data Analysis

Let your data be your road map. Social platforms and a wide variety of tools you could use provide lots of data you can tap into to judge the efficacy of your posts, their collective reach, how your audience responds to them and whether or not they are driving the desired action (and hopefully there is one). Look at your Google Analytics regularly, especially the social analytics component of GA. We wrote a comprehensive post on how awesome those are, back when Google launched Social Reports as an addition to Google Analytics and we use it all the time. I’ll link the post at the bottom of this page for you to reference if you’re not yet familiar with and using Social Reports.

Check your Facebook page insights regularly and do monthly reporting so you can have a look at month-over-month performance (which is sometimes annoyingly difficult to do on Facebook), look at your LinkedIn Company Page Insights and look at your link performance analytics for Twitter in a dashboard like Hootsuite. That way, you’ll use data that pertains to your specific audience, the preferences of which may sometimes differ from generalized research on tactics like the best and worst times to post. Past data reports, for example, indicate that Facebook posts are largely ineffective at night and on weekends. Yet your audience may prefer posts during that time, which is why it’s so important to gather and analyze your own data.

Third-Party Data

While we can’t over-emphasize the importance of collecting and analyzing and using your own data, it’s sometimes helpful to turn to third-party data as a starting point. Take, for example, an infographic from Social Caffeine that discusses the best and worst times to post to social networks. Here are a few of their findings:

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