Any solid marketing strategy nowadays includes social media, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is adept at using these platforms. One of the more challenging parts of including social media in your marketing plan is knowing what times to post – the answer is certainly not whenever you want to or can.
Hubspot explained that ideal posting schedules depend on a few different factors, which include the platform, target audience, target region, the content of the post and its goals. While these specifications can influence your social media strategy, there is some data on when and how often you should post on certain sites. Fast Company went as far as saying there’s a certain science behind the right social media approach, and that following those parameters can almost certainly help you achieve your marketing goals.
“There’s a certain science behind the right social media approach.”
Based on data compiled by SurePayroll in a handy infographic, Facebook’s highest average click through occurs between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. The site’s peak is on Wednesdays at 3 p.m, which SurePayroll called the “afternoon slump” – a time when people take a break from work to check their phones.
Neil Patel, columnist and founder of Crazy Egg, a site that shows businesses where its audiences are clicking, also praised the afternoon as the best time to post. According to Patel, 1 p.m. posts get the most shares, while 3 p.m. posts get the most clicks.
SurePayroll’s data showed that the worst time for Facebook posts is on weekends, before 8 a.m. and after 8 p.m. – when users are presumably either asleep or out doing better things than browsing the web. However, Catriona Pollard, an author on PR and social media strategies, wrote for the Huffington Post that activity on the site increases just before the weekend, going up by 10 percent on Fridays.
For more insight to help you assess the best times to post, Facebook gathers the information for you based on your fan activity. In the posts section, you can regularly check up on the data in “When Your Fans Are Online.”
According to the SurePayroll infographic, the best times to post on Twitter are Monday through Thursday, between 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The site’s peak time is Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
It’s no coincidence that these times are close to lunchtime, when people are on a break checking their Twitter feeds. Commute times are also ideal for posting. Pollard pointed out that Twitter users are much more active on the site on their way to work, making posts at 12 p.m. or between 5 and 6 p.m. She also said that posts by business-to-business organizations should focus on Monday through Friday, while business-to-consumer organizations should target weekends and Wednesdays.
To boost your chances of engagement even further, tweets with images result in higher percentage of clicks, visits, retweets, favorites, conversion rates and leads. Pollard also explained that tweets have a much shorter shelf life than other social media posts, requiring a higher posting frequency – the publication recommends around four tweets a day to maintain exposure on a feed. As a time saver, try using a tool that can schedule your tweets. You can compose them in the morning and let them post on their own throughout the day.
Beyond the basics, know when your target audience is online and adjust your posting schedule accordingly.
LinkedIn is an extremely useful resource for B2B marketing. According to Patel’s infographic, 93 percent of B2B marketers rate LinkedIn as their top source of social media lead generation. Based on the site’s purpose and audience, it makes senses that LinkedIn’s peak times are during work hours on weekdays.
SurePayroll’s data showed that the best times to post on the site are Tuesday through Thursday at noon or between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Understandably, Fridays are a slow day for LinkedIn, when professionals are winding down from the week and straying away from work-related content.
SurePayoll also indicated that the number of mobile LinkedIn users are increasing – going from 38 percent in October 2013 to 41 percent in the 2014 survey. Unlike Twitter, Pollard said to avoid scheduling LinkedIn posts – it can give your audience the impression that you’re not really active on LinkedIn. Instead, make the effort to post once a day and ensure that the tone fits the site. Since your target reader will be looking for more professional content, it shouldn’t read as casually as a Facebook post or tweet.
Overall, the best rule of thumb to follow is to tailor your content and positing schedule to the platform you’re using. Each site serves a distinct purpose within the social media landscape, so believing that a post for one could be equally effective on another is a rookie mistake. Make sure you’re factoring in your audience, their goals and the times that they visit these websites with each post you make. It’s not an exact science, but treating your social media strategy like one can help.