We are constantly on social media, tweeting, pinning, liking, +1-ing, recommending (click here to see how Canadians are communicating and interacting online). But as someone who’s also running a business you can’t be online all day. And even your social media managers can’t be around all the time. So, the question is how to know when your readers are online? When is the best time to reach them, given the specifics of your audience? Here’s how you can figure it out:
Learning by Doing
If you use link shorteners like goo.gl, bit.ly, or ow.ly in your tweets, posts, image and video updates, you can easily measure how many people have clicked on your shared links or where they are located. To determine the best times to post on social media (when your readers are most engaged) you’ll need to keep records of the times when you share your posts and the particular social networks, and then monitor activity. It is a simple and straight-forward method, but there are other easier ways too.
Using Social Media Monitoring Tools
You can track the periods when your posts have the most impact on your social channels by using different monitoring tools. SocialBro can help Twitter users to determine when most of their followers and community are online. Timing+ will analyze your historical data to calculate when your Google+ posts can reach and engage most of your readers. Hootsuite provides similar analytics for other social media, but you can also use it to schedule each of your updates to be posted at those specific best times and days. View our Guide to Hootsuite .
Leveraging Third-Party Research
Fortunately you are not the only one who wants to know when to post on social media and reach the most audience. There’s a lot of buzz around the topic among businesses and social media marketers resulting in tons of research. Bitly have shared some of their Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr statistics on their blog, and there are also great infographics done on the subject all across the web. Here’s the important data to remember:
Facebook –A story shared on Facebook has 3.1 hours to reach half of its total clicks (2.8 hours on Twitter, 7 hours on YouTube). This social site has its peak in the middle of the week, Monday through Thursday, and you’ll get the highest average click throughs if you share your posts from 1 pm to 4 pm. People start being active around 9 am, but still don’t post before 11 am. After 4 pm there’s very little activity on Facebook, with a small increase around 7 pm and 8 pm.
Twitter – You can make the highest click count if you tweet from 1 pm to 3 pm, Monday through Thursday. The traffic starts increasing after 9 am during workdays, and after Friday 3 pm the network is not very active, which remains through the weekends. For an optimal approach on Twitter you should weigh the number of followers that pay attention to your niche against the number of other tweets that target that same attention.
LinkedIn – LinkedIn is a professional social media with its own specifics. To better approach your audiences you need to understand them. The network recently introduced their new analytics support for Company Pages, and here you can read how you can use it to track the performance of your updates. Research shows the peak here is Tuesday through Thursday, around 7 am to 9 am and 5 pm to 6 pm, before and after people go to work. Worst time to post on LinkedIn is 10 pm to 6 am.
Google+ – On Google+ you should really know your following to be able to get greater exposure. What’s the time of the day when they have enough time to read your shared articles, what days are they active on the network? Your Google+ posts have the most potential if posted on workdays between 9 am and 11 am, and the worst from 6 pm to 8 am.
Pinterest – Pinterest is one network that significantly differs from the others by the posting-time criterion. The best time to pin pictures and videos is during weekdays around 2 pm and 4 pm, and later in the evenings between 8 pm and 1 am, so avoid posting from 5 pm to 7 pm. Weekends are also great for your reach, and the most active days on the network are Thursday and Saturday during morning hours. Try Pingraphy to schedule your pins.
All this data is very general, and you should consider your customers, products, and content specifics to determine the best time to post your social updates.
What has been your experience with the best time to post on social media? Share your thoughts in the comments.