Let’s say you’re a pizzeria using Facebook and Twitter as part of your social media strategy. What day and time do you think your posting about a buy-one-get-one free pizza deal would get the most orders: Monday morning, Wednesday afternoon or Thursday evening?
With football season now underway, my hope is that you guessed Thursday evening as the most likely time that your deal would get orders. Placing your ad at the other two times would probably result in far fewer sales.
The importance of being timely with social timing.
Companies, salespeople and affiliate marketers carefully consider when to publish social media posts for their fans and followers because they know that timing is critical. Post at the wrong time and you might hit the wrong audience- or no audience at all. Or you might get mostly comments instead of sales or views instead of comments. Or your initial elation over having lots of “views” might actually turn to disappointment as you discover that they’re mostly bounces.
So, with a plethora of social media outlets out there and at least 24 hours x 7 days to choose from, how do you time your social timing to perfection?
1. Analyze your audience.
Start your venture into “being on time” by gauging your audience. Who are your followers for the most part? What are their age ranges, occupations and geographic locales? Are they mostly female or male? Do they have children or are they single? What might be their annual income?
You can find out these data with several different approaches: You can have your current subscribers fill out a short demographic survey for some kind of incentive (like a free e-book), you can create and have new subscribers fill out a survey when they sign up for your email list, or you can use Alexa and other site reporting tools to report on your audience demographics. For example, here is a link to the Alexa report on I’ve Tried That.
Of course, you can also hire a social analytics company to study your website or blog and report back to you…for a few hundred or even thousand dollars. This option may be worthwhile if you have a big affiliate site or are short on time; however, there are many free ways to obtain this information, as noted above.
2. Study the published info.
Marketing and analytics firms publish a lot of free and useful information about social timing in convenient infographic form. One great example is the KISSmetrics three part series on social timing. By perusing this company’s data, you’ll find a ton of useful information on when is the best time to post on Twitter and Facebook and how often.
Bloggers will be interested to know that the best time to publish a post for traffic is Monday at around 11 am, but Saturday at 9 am works better for generating comments. For the most inbound links, however, 7 am postings on Mondays or Thursdays work best.
If you know the demographics of your audience, you can select the social media platform that is most favored by your audience. For example, going by the ArgyleSocial social timing infographic, business-to-business (B2B) clients are most likely to look at a tweet versus a Facebook post during a weekday, especially Monday or Tuesday. So, if you’re an affiliate marketer hoping to sell commercial-grade gelato machines to restaurants, you’d better be tweeting come Monday morning.
Audiences don’t always fall into convenient A/B boxes or you may find that your 10,000 Likes and/or re-tweets don’t generate diddly-squat in terms of sales. Thus, it doesn’t hurt to shake things up a little and try different posting schedules, social media platforms or approaches.
After every experiment, be sure to look at your results and analyze the data. Did your potential customers all languish on Twitter, where you only tweeted a cute cartoon with no sales landing page? Perhaps your error lay in posting a ton of B2C (business to consumer) content on Facebook at 8 am on a Wednesday, where your B2C customers wouldn’t be caught dead- at least not if they wish to remain employed. Also, since folks now access the Internet from mobile as well as desktop devices, you may want to analyze through which platform your message is being accessed.
All these pieces of data are invaluable because each website or blog has a unique audience.
4. Dive in.
Of course, the best part about having these data at your fingertips is that now you can craft your message much for effectively and expect certain results. For example, if you know that half your blog audience is composed of college-age students, you can offer dorm-style furniture or textbooks on your affiliate site and know that you’ll generate sales. If your audience is predominantly young families where one parent works at home, then posting in-depth reviews of cribs or strollers in the afternoon could work to your advantage.
Knowing your audience and its social media habits intimately also helps you save time and money on advertising platforms (e.g., Facebook ads) that don’t do much for your ROI (return on investment). As a result, you can reduce your advertising costs and still generate more cash from your operations.
As social media continues to expand, it’s no longer enough to simply be active on the popular platforms in hopes of scoring sales or traffic. Nowadays, it’s equally important to analyze the many parameters of social media involvement, including social timing. Doing so maximizes how much you can squeeze out of your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn efforts.