A year ago RentSauce published an article called Timing Is Everything. This article identifies times of day that are correlated with higher and lower engagement rates on various social media platforms. While the information in that article is all still accurate, you may be wondering how well it really applies to your social media sites. If this is the case, here are some tools that will be useful to you.
Managing a Facebook page gives you access to insights about your engagement levels such as likes, reach and page visits. You can find the information about when your fans are online by clicking the Posts tab under the Insights tab. “Fans” is Facebook’s word for people who have liked a page. The following screenshot comes from a page I manage that has 38 fans (or 38 Page Likes).
As you can see, Facebook’s Insights show me how many of my fans logged into Facebook on each day of the week and the average times that those fans were on Facebook during each of those days. Turns out that there is never a day on which all of my fans log onto Facebook. I can also see that on Tuesday and Saturday 8 of my fans didn’t log onto Facebook at all.
By hovering over the times on the graph, I can see that 1pm and 9pm on average during the week tend to be when more of my fans are online.
By hovering over a particular day of the week I can see how many of my fans were online during which hours on each day. For example, hovering over Monday, I can see that more than 20 of my fans were online during the 2pm hour. As you can see, the average time chart still shows in the background of this graph as well.
Facebook updates these statistics weekly, but I would suggest reviewing them at least once a month, especially as your number of fans increases. In this case, the information in the article is just fine to govern my Facebook posting schedule.
Followerwonk by Moz
Moz built a sweet tool to that allows you to analyze any twitter account and compare multiple accounts to each other called followerwonk. Completing an analysis with the tool allows you to see a mapped location of your twitter followers, a word cloud of their bios, and usage of their accounts. Followerwonk uses this usage information to assign a score to each twitter user called Social Authority. Here are the stats they show me from one of my accounts.
Not only do they give you a score, but they show the scores of your followers so that you can get a sense of how influential they are on twitter.
I can also see when my followers are online on average during the day.
As it turns out, from my 10,000 twitter followers, almost 400 of them are available at any hour during the day. This means that no matter when I post between 8am and 10pm, my reach is about the same.
By hovering over the highest bar on the graph, I can see that my largest potential reach is during the 9pm hour. This contradicts the advice of the article which says that the worst time to post to twitter is “every day after 8 pm.” As it turns out between 8-11pm, I have higher engagement rates than other times.
Know Your Audience
When it comes down to it, each social audience is different. The principle is the same though, post whenever the majority of your fans or followers are online. There are other factors that play into whether or not your post will actually be seen by them, but following this principle gives each post its best chance. If you prefer to update your networks at the same time, consider finding a time that works well across all your networks.
If you’re using Google+ and Pinterest as well, my opinion is that any time is a prime time for these networks. If you have active Google+ followers, it doesn’t matter when you post, they will see it. And while Google+ is the whipping boy of social media, YES there are active Google+ users. In fact, most of my blog traffic is driven from Google+. Pinterest is a similar case; if a Pinterest user is following you, your pin will show up on their feed, along with the other thousands of pins that come from the other accounts they follow. I’ve found that engagement on Pinterest is more about quality and consistency than about timing. I guess I believe that’s true of all social networking.
Get to know your audience, and you’ll be fine on any and all of your social networks. If you have other questions about social media best practices, ask in the comments!