Creating good content is only one part of your social media marketing strategy’s equation. What’ll really help to maximize its impact is to figure out when the best time to post is based on target audience demographics and their time zones. Finding peak times when you can be sure that your audience is tuning in will help make sure that your post is heard loud and clear.
We’re lucky in this technology-driven age; gone are the days of relying on traditional advertising mediums such as television and paying the high costs to appear during the most desired air time. We now have the luxury of putting out a post at the precise moment that it’s most optimal. Bonus? It’s free! You can even use scheduling platforms so that you don’t have to constantly be thinking about posting throughout your day. To have full control over posting times, you’ll need to consider the usage behaviour of your targeted audience. When will they be online and checking social media? To get a better idea, office workers will most likely tune in during their lunch break and possibly throughout commutes. Students, on the other hand, are more likely to check in during the evening. Also consider whether you’re catering to a national or global audience. If you’re tweeting locally during the afternoon/early evening and the majority of your followers live in Europe, they’re most likely receiving these posts in the very late evening, narrowing your audience. Despite all of this, optimal posting times can vary depending on the social media site. Here are a few noted periods on some of the more popular outlets:
Midday posts seem to be the most popular, with the optimal window being between 1:00 – 4:00 pm. Wednesdays at 3:00 pm seem to also get a lot of attention. Business savvy social media marketers should know that evening and early morning posts between 8:00 pm – 8:00 am don’t get a lot of attention, so avoid posting then. Posts aren’t very popular on the weekend for the most part, as everybody’s out enjoying their days off.
The same rules seem to apply to Twitter as well – afternoons to early evenings are best, with highest click rates occurring on days earlier in the week. Night time and early mornings are also not optimal. Take note to avoid Friday afternoons and weekends as well. It seems that as soon as workers and students check out of work or class, they check out of Twitter.
E-mail seems to be a different story – e-commerce stores have found that the hours after work get a lot of attention, usually between 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. People are more likely to respond to marketing campaigns or special offers when they are unwinding from work. Early mornings are also good, between 6:00 am -10:00 am, as people are checking their e-mails before and when they first get to work. Like with Facebook and Twitter, weekends should be avoided. An interesting thing to note is that during lunch hours (which run between 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm), people don’t wish to be disturbed over e-mail so they either won’t read your e-mail or worse; will delete it. However, news or magazine-style information may not get such a drastic response.
Weekends seem to take the kindest to e-mails, especially marketing ones. Are you an online store that wishes to promote a sale or new product? Send your e-mail out on Saturday morning and expect to have an increase of traffic, and hopefully sales.
Got a case of the Mondays? Blogs don’t! They get the most traffic on this day at 11:00 am. Blogs are usually read before or after work, so post either in the morning or late afternoon/early evening. Comments, interestingly enough, peak around 9:00 am on Saturdays.
Despite all of the observations that have just been mentioned, take them as a guideline and not a hard rule. If you have material that is geared towards university and college students but you never stay up past 1:00 am, don’t feel obligated to change your whole schedule around because you’re afraid that you won’t reach your audience at their peak reading hour. Find a time that works for you and that coincides with your target audience. In fact, sometimes posting during non-peak hours can work to your advantage as you’ll have less content to compete for viewers’ attention against. Experiment with both peak and off-peak posting times and see how it works for your brand. You might just make a whole new set of observations that could be shared with others down the road. After all, the times mentioned above were discovered merely through trial and error.