As a digital marketer, at some point during your social media planning, you have most likely asked Google, ‘when is the best time to post on social media’ to find some studies so you know when is best to post for your brand. However, maybe it’s now time to reconsider these studies.
Whist the concept of ‘best time to post’ is still very relevant, some studies may give you a poor insight into the best time to post and therefore leads to bad decisions made in regards to your marketing strategy. Whilst the studies are well-intended there are a number of issues that can affect the data.
Your unique audience
Many of these studies suggest best times to post based on grouped data – it includes businesses and customers from varying locations and industries and is giving you an average of times. However your audience is unique to your business so the average time may not be relevant to you.
For example, if your brand wants to target new mums, it may make more sense to create engaging content at 2am when mums are awake and alone with their babies. Or for a brand targeting football fans, you may want to post a half-time or full-time.
Many studies were conducted when Twitter became mainsteam from 2013 onwards. A lot has changed in social media since then in regards to social media usage. And even recent studies use old data as their primary source. So remember to check the date of the published data before you use the recommendations of a study.
Look at the whys
Studies about timings shouldn’t be discarded altogether – they should be seen as a base to work from. Instead of just looking at the best times, try to understand why those could be great times to post such as because teenagers are on Instagram late at night or commuters are on Twitter before and after work.
What is more important is to gain a better understanding of your brand’s unique audience such as their social media usage patterns. To provide a personalised experience to your audience, you need to post according to their social media behaviour to engage with them. So how can to find your best time to post on social media?
Start with informed guesses
If your brand is new to social media, then think logically about when your audience may interact with social media such as commuting times and lunchtime if you are a B2B brand and weekends and evenings if you are targeting consumers as a B2C brand.
Test a posting schedule
To test your estimates try experimenting over a few weeks, posting at those particular times you have identified. A few weeks of posting should give you enough data to work with and find your best times. The easiest way to schedule posts is through software such as Hootsuite which manages your social media content in one place.
Use the analytics
Once you have a few weeks worth of data, you can start to analyse your results. Look at link clicks, impressions and conversions. Once you have your figures, look at your posting schedule, get rid of the poor ones, add a few more times and repeat. A good rule of thumb going forward is to use 80% times that are tested and 20% times that are experimental.
Remember that your best time to post could change as your following grows so try and relook at your timings and experiments every 3-4 months.
The key thing to bear in mind, throughout this ongoing trial and analysis, is that every brand has a unique audience and what works for other brands might not work for you.