By zhiyuan on October 23, 2015
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If I walk to a bar on a Friday evening and find that it’s not open, then I’m probably not going to return. And if that bar is only open from Monday to Thursday during the late mornings and early afternoons – then it’s going to get very few customers.
This is especially true on social media.
One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is to assume that if you post something online, it will eventually be seen by your audience. It’s actually really tricky with social media because your post can get buried amidst newer posts throughout the day, which means that your target audience may never see your post.
And don’t think that it’s as simple as looking at your buyer persona and deciding that since your target audience consists mostly of younger adults that posting in the evening or at night is the best way to reach them.
First of all, there’s a chance that you have more than one buyer persona.
Secondly, each social media platform has different peak times and downtimes to take into consideration as well.
What does this mean?
Well it means that timing your posts is going to take a little bit of research and a little bit of effort in order to get right. But don’t worry, I’m going to help you out by breaking down the peak times and down times of the more popular social media channels.
Before I get into that, let’s go over some basic considerations you need to make for all of your social media posts:
I’ve already mention the buyer persona, but if you don’t have a buyer persona then you need to figure that out immediately. Knowing who your buyer persona will help you determine what social media channels your audience is using. Knowing which social platforms will be most effective for your brand is the very first step to actually reaching your audience.
For example, it doesn’t really matter when you’re posting on LinkedIn if your target audience consists of teenagers, the majority of which do not have LinkedIn accounts.
Additionally, you should keep the timezone in mind. If you are a local business that is trying to target a local audience, then this isn’t something you need to worry about too much.
However, if you are targeting a national audience, then the timezone you follow is important. General rule of thumb is to abide to the Eastern Timezone.
This is because 50 percent of the American population is located in the eastern timezone. Not to mention that the Eastern Timezone, combined with the Central Timezone – which is only an hour off – makes up 80 percent of the American timezone. So if you are targeting a national audience, don’t use the Pacific Timezone.
Facebook has the largest user base by far with more than a billion active users. Don’t be fooled that just because there’s a billion people using Facebook that you’re bound to reach an audience no matter when you post.
Facebook engagement is at its peak during the week from 1:00PM to 4:00PM, with 3:00PM on Wednesdays being the very peak. According to studies, posting content closer to 1:00PM will result in more clicks, while posting content closer to 4:00PM will get you more shares.
Avoid posting before 8:00AM or after 8:00PM on any day of the week. Weekends are usually a poor time to post content as well since you’ll get minimal engagement unless you post between the small time frame of 12:00PM to 1:00AM.
As you may have noticed, Facebook engagement tends to be centered around the typical work 9:00AM to 5:00PM work schedule. Engagement increases as the week goes on, and although Wednesdays have the highest engagement, Thursdays and Fridays aren’t far off, most likely because people are beginning to wind down and are ready for the work week to be over.
Afternoons are the best time of the day to post to Facebook since this is when many people are beginning to slow down at work and are checking Facebook in the hopes that a break will help give them extra motivation and energy for the rest of the work day.
The way that Twitter works makes it much easier for users to check in and briefly look over new content than it is to catch up on new content on other social platforms. This certainly affects the times at which Twitter’s 316 million active users engage with content.
The best days to tweet is from Monday to Thursday from 9:00AM to 3:00PM. During that period, posting between 1:00PM and 3:00PM will attract the most engagement.
Once 8:00PM rolls around, engagement is going to plummet. You should also avoid posting after 3:00PM on Fridays since Twitter users have pretty much checked out for the day by then.
Twitter users are similar to Facebook users in that their Twitter use seems to be scheduled around their work schedule. Many Twitter users will check Twitter during their work lunch breaks. Studies have also shown that many Twitter users will check Twitter during their commute, which is why you can still get high engagement around 9:00AM in the morning.
Google+ has become increasingly more popular, especially amongst marketers in large part due to features like Google Authorship, Google Circles, Google Collections and Google Hangouts. There are currently 300 million active Google+ users.
Users tend to go on Google+ more frequently in the mornings from 9:00AM to 10:00AM, with the absolute peak engagement time coming at 9:00AM on Wednesdays.
Avoid posting to Google+ in the mornings before 9:00AM and in the evenings, when usage time is way down. I would also recommend avoid scheduling your Google+ posts on the weekends.
From the peak hours you can probably guess that Google+ users are early birds. Guess what? The fastest demographic on Google+ is 45 to 54 year-olds, which may have something to do with it.
Out of all the social platforms out there, LinkedIn is the one that is most targeted towards professionals, which makes sense since it was created with the purpose of connecting employees and employers together.
There are currently around 380 million total users on LinkedIn. Around 38 percent of all American college graduates use LinkedIn, not too surprising considering the career oriented nature of the social channel.
LinkedIn users generally log on to the site more often on Tuesdays through Thursdays, with engagement peaking at noon and between 5:00PM and 6:00PM.
Engagement drops off drastically from 10:00PM to 6:00AM. You should also avoid posting on Fridays, when users are less motivated to use LinkedIn to find a new job or look for potential career advancement opportunities.
Considering how LinkedIn is tied into career and work culture, it should come as no surprise that its peak usage times are during lunch hours and right after work, while engagement rates plummet after the typical work day ends.
Pinterest is a visual-based social media platform that’s dominated by female users – of the 72.8 million Pinterest users, 71% are women. Other statistics worth noting include the fact that 75% of all Pinterest users access Pinterest on their mobile devices, while 93% of all Pinterest users have shopped online within the last half year.
The best time to post to Pinterest is on the weekends, although engagement is solid from 8:00PM to 11:00PM throughout the week.
The lowest amount of engagement on Pinterest comes during typical weekday work hours.
Users tend to engage with Pinterest when they are daydreaming and checking out recipes, home organization hacks and dream purchases – things that people try to avoid during work hours as this can lead to long distractions. This means that the scheduling your posts in the evenings or on weekends is your best bet.
Like Pinterest, Instagram is a visual-based social media platform. The social channel boasts 400 million monthly active users that spend an average of 21 minutes a day using the Instagram app. The user base tends to be younger than other social media platforms, with 55 percent of all users being between the ages of 18 and 29.
Instagram usage is fairly steady throughout the week, although Mondays and Wednesdays are particularly strong for engagement.
There tends to be a small dip in activity from 3:00PM to 4:00PM, so avoid these hours. Sundays are also weaker overall than the other days of the week.
One of the reasons why Instagram engagement is so steady is because it’s a platform meant for mobile-use and its young user base is much more active on mobile devices than older audiences tend to be.
Now that we’ve gone through all 6 social media platforms, what about Snapchat then? Since it’s so popular nowadays. Find out more on how you can market your business on Snapchat here.
When using social media, make sure that you create a buyer persona in order to determine who your audience is. This will make it easier to figure out what social media networks will be most effective for your brand.
Once you’ve done this, use this information in order to determine when the best times are to schedule your posts.
Updated: 19 August 2017
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