The answer to this critical marketing question is not whenever you have the time. The timing of posts, tweets and status updates is often ignored by many small business owners and it shouldn’t be. It is understandable that many are just pleased they had the time to squeeze in a blog or a tweet. But by ignoring when the best viewership will occur means some of these efforts go unnoticed and are wasted.
The good news is there is a way to optimize the viewing of your social media efforts. First you need a timing strategy and then you need to use the tools available to implement that timing strategy so your marketing can deliver.
Social Media Timing Strategy
One way to determine the best time to blog or tweet is to think of it as you would if you were buying a television spot. For instance, television advertising around the Super Bowl has been sold out for months and at a record breaking $3.5 million per 30 second commercial. The reason Super Bowl ads command millions is because it is guaranteed there will be gazillions of eyeballs glued to the TV during the game.
Here is where a timing strategy comes in. There are three social media timing strategies to consider.
- Peak Times – This is when most people are actively engaged online and with social media. There is a lot of noise, but there is also a lot of opportunity to grab eyeballs.
- Fringe Times- These are the time slots leading up to or just after peak engagement. These time slots represent a big audience, just not as big as Peak.
- Off-Peak Times – Think of the off-peak audience as late night TV viewers. There aren’t a lot of them, but they are or could be engaged.
One person who has compiled various research to determine the peak times of Twitter, Facebook and blogging is Dan Zarrella. Dan also discusses a Contra-competitive timing, which is another way of referring to off-peak times. I haven’t come across anyone who discusses Fringe Times. One still has an audience, but the noise level hasn’t reached a high pitch. An hour or two hours on the front and on backside of Peak Times could be an ideal window.
You also need to consider the demographics of your audience. Each audience segment will interact online when it is convenient for them to do so and with a varying level of frequency. Is your audience business people in corporate environments, sales people or road warriors, are they under or over 35 years of age, male, female? Knowing your audience is critical to all marketing, including social media marketing.
Initially, track viewership back to your site. This will be most helpful approach in pinpointing when viewership of your audience is at its peak and when they are most likely to engage with you and your company. Once you know the peak, you can start experimenting with time frames when you capture the most viewers and the most comments.
Social Media Marketing Tools
Clicky Stats - To track hourly viewership for one’s blog/site, I would recommend Clicky Stats. It provides hour by hour tracking of viewers to a site as well as a daily total. Track the results daily for a couple of weeks so you’ll have some reliable data and know than viewership patterns may change over time. This tool will also help you determine which social media tool is generating the traffic. Unfortunately, these social media data are not reported hourly. But you can experiment with your links and see which tools are delivering.
WordPress.org post scheduler – Some of you may not realize this, but if your blog is in WordPress, you can schedule your blog post to appear whenever you want. Just go under Publish and click the “edit” under “Publish Immediately” and you can specify the time and the hour the post appears. If you have your blog hooked up to auto post to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, then you can track which is delivering results back to your blog through Clicky. If not, Bufferapp and Twimbow.com allow one to schedule one’s tweets by the hour and there’s always Hootsuite for Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin posts.
Remember, your marketing goal should be to engage your audiences through social media. To do that well, one has to know the best time to reach them. Otherwise, you’re sending your marketing messages into the wind.
Let me know in the comments section if you are aware of other tracking techniques or tools that may help to identify the ideal time for social media engagement.