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The Best Times to Post, Part II: Knowing Which Content to Post at Different Times

They say timing is everything. In social media, quality of content is almost everything. The rest of it does come down to timing.

****This is Part II of the series on timing. Please read Part I first.****

There are two primary components to timing that should be considered when planning out what content to post. You must remember the type of content to post at the different times as well as the goals of the content itself. To do this, you have to keep a strong MAP (marketing action plan) in place to guide you in order to have the right posts going out at the right times.

Type of Content

The personality, fan base, and availability to monitor the social channels all make a huge difference in the specifics surrounding your posting, but here are some general rules to keep in mind:

  • Inspire in the morning. If your personality type is the kind that has you posting motivational quotes, positive affirmations, or even Bible verses, this should be the first thing that comes out of your social media mouth in the mornig. If you're not quite so "deep" in your business social media personality, starting off with something fun and entertaining works just fine.

  • Business in the middle. If you're posting 3 or more updates a day, the middle of the day is when these come to play. That doesn't mean lunch time - as stated in Part I, your best times for business posts actually avoid lunch. Post prior to 11am or after 3pm for your best results.

  • Be thankful in the evening. This is when you should be posting about others. It could be a charity you support, a customer testimonial, or even something from outside of your business such as industry news. If you have nothing like that top post in a day, resort back to entertaining or inspiring text or image posts. Remember the mentality of your fans at different points in the day. In the evening, they are hopefully home from work and enjoying their evening casually scanning their social media. They don't want business-oriented posts popping up at them.


There are always exceptions and these suggestions are more of a guide to get your thinking in the right place rather than hard rules. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Remember to take into account their mentality and likely location when seeing your updates. At night, for example, there's a decent chance that social media is happening as a second-screen experience. In other words, they may be watching television and surfing social during commercials. It's not a great time for hard-hitting business offers or long videos. Short videos, on the other hand, such as 30-second customer testimonials, can perform better in the evening than they do during the day.

Keeping Goals in Mind

As a proper MAP will dictate, you should be thinking ahead and planting seeds at the appropriate moments. For example, if you know you have a big sale coming up in a couple of weeks, you may want to post teasers about it every other day for a week, then every day leading up to it. This isn't the time to get boring; make them fun and increasingly informative whenever possible.

One of your goals may be to prompt your happy customers to write reviews on the various sites out there. This is hard to accomplish with social media, but there's a silver lining that has become more important lately. With Google, Yelp, and other review sites pulling down reviews left and right, it should be noted that the people who are able to be influenced to write reviews when prompted by social media channels are the highest quality. That's not to say that they'll write good reviews. It means that the personality type associated with these people is such that they are probably already active on the review sites and have a much better chance of having their reviews stick.

If, like many businesses, your goals with social media are strictly surrounding branding and name recognition, you have the luxury of posting at an extremely regular level. You could even schedule the majority of your posts well ahead of time. You also have the luxury of being able to post more often than businesses with goals that surround driving traffic to their website or landing pages.

This might sound odd, but if you are doing this strictly for the branding, you'll want to schedule your posts at the exact same time every day. Facebook batches images that are posted within 24 hours of the last one within an album. Unfortunately, they create albums for you based upon the source of the post. This includes scheduling with the native scheduling tool itself. So, if you are wanting to schedule 3 images a day, you'll get maximum exposure by scheduling them with three separate tools, including the native tool.

Posts that go up to Facebook.com itself manually are not constrained to these parameters. Unfortunately, everything else currently is, including mobile uploads, Instagram, and Pinterest (though Pinterest allows 2 posts in 24 hours before batching them).

As with the types of posts, this set of tips on goals is a miniscule idea-sparking teaser rather than a comprehensive guide. Because the goals of different businesses can be as diverse as the businesses themselves, it's important to put your own goals together (or contact us for some advice) based upon your specific business needs.

 

Days of the Week

If you want to get a leg up on your competitors, this is the easiest way to do it. Understanding when and how people are engaging with businesses on different days of the week yields some facts that surprise many (myself included).

The weekends are the untapped goldmine of social media for business. Fewer people check their social feeds on the weekends, but those who do check are much more active than they are during the week. Likes go up by a lot. People are more thoughtful on the weekends as well, meaning that they will watch longer videos, read longer posts, and check out entire albums rather than scanning through individual pictures as they do during the week.

Wednesdays weren't that bad just six months ago. Now, they're dropped below Thursday and Friday as the least engaging day of the week on social media. Don't even think about asking why - I have no idea. All I have is the data.

* * *

Remember, you're a business. You're not welcome on social media as much as individuals, but that doesn't mean you can't accomplish your goals. You just have to do it right. Think of it like television advertising. We all believe we don't like commercials. That's a common stance. However, there are certain commercials that pop up that are entertaining or informative enough that we'll actually talk about them with friends. We may even look them up on YouTube to see them again. I'll leave you with one such commercial that I still watch every year or so since first seeing it during a Superbowl.

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Tags: Content Marketing, Facebook, Social Marketing, marketing, posts, social media, times, timing

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Comment by Alexander Lau on November 29, 2012 at 6:58am

I use a Social CRM which aggregates all of our content, based upon a number of different guidelines. It depends on the social network. There are a bunch of different theories, as one would suspect.

http://mashable.com/2012/05/09/best-time-to-post-on-facebook/ and http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/best-and-worst-times-to-post_...

Also, our Social CRM makes 'actionable recommendations' per specific social platform (as they all vary) and pulls in analytics via social platform API.

 

Comment by Brent Albrecht on November 29, 2012 at 5:15am

JD, these are some interesting guidelines.  The one factor though I thought was missing was reminding dealers to look at the actual data on their posts to guide them in both when to post and what types of post to make.  We see that different dealers in different markets have sometimes different results in terms of what type of content appeals to their fanbase, and what time of day people are most active.  Fortunately, Facebook and Twitter provide lots of data on how many Likes, Clicks, Comments, Retweets, etc you get on every post, so I would strongly encourage dealers to use all this free data available so they can see exactly what is working and not working on their pages, as opposed to guessing or following a generic schedule that might not be as applicable to their market.  It is easy to create a custom strategy for an individual dealership by accessing all the data social media makes available.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on November 28, 2012 at 11:23pm

Check out the first TV commercial in this compilation, the one about "I'm her Daddy..." with the cops pulling up behind his car.  Like these spots say, don't make the mistake of judging and coming to conclusions too quickly:

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