Post at the Perfect Time for Best Results

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How many expressions do we have in our culture that are related to time?

“When the time is right.” “All in good time.” “Ahead of one’s time.” “Having the time of your life.” “In the nick of time.”

Yes, we’re obsessed with timing, and nowhere is that more apparent than on the Internet, where everyone’s still trying to figure out the master clock. The big question is whether posting content at a certain time can result in bigger traffic.

The answer is yes, but that time depends on many variables, including where you’re posting, who you’re targeting and even what day it is. ‘So many studies’ have been done on this subject that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or confused.

But you don’t need to take a “time out” to process all the conflicting information. Here’s a primer on posting at the best time, whether you’re blogging, updating a social media account, or sending out a mass e-mail. Remember that you know your company best, and if you’ve noticed that something resonates with your own audience at a certain time, stick with it. These general guidelines are more to help you mold your personal strategy.

Facebook

Since Facebook is the biggest of the social networks, with nearly 1.2 billion users, it’s not surprising that there have been a lot of studies conducted on when the optimal time is to post. First, consider the audience that you’re trying to reach. If you’re targeting adults 18-44, an early-morning post might be best, as four-fifths of this audiences check in on their Smartphones first thing in the morning.

Other studies suggest that the best time to post on Facebook is 5 p.m., when people are commuting home from work and checking on their Facebook feeds. Yet another study proposes posting on Thursdays and Fridays, when Facebook engagement rises by 18 percent. It’s the end of the week, and workers are distracting themselves throughout the day to make it to quitting time.

As for when not to post, Facebook engagement seems to hit a lull on Saturdays, when people are out and about doing things instead of checking their social media feeds. Other studies suggest the worst time to share is during the workday or right after dinner, when people are distracted by work or television.

Twitter

People seem to flock to Twitter after their lunch breaks. One study showed that the best time to post (i.e. the time of day that got the most click-throughs on tweeted links) was 1 to 3 p.m. on weekdays. Twitter sees its biggest traffic from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, which you might think would mean it’s the best time to tweet … but that also means more competition for your post.

When not to post on Twitter? After 8 p.m., when people are concentrating more on watching television and tend to focus their tweets on entertainment and ignore everything else. Unless you’re DiGiorno making clever tweets about ‘The Sound of Music,’ save your tweets for daytime.

E-mail

E-mail marketing remains one of the most effective ways to reach a broad audience, and if you get in their inbox at the right time, you have a much greater chance of being read. There’s a general consensus that it’s best to send out e-mail blasts in the morning, between the time when people get to the office and go to lunch.

Especially if you’re a business-to-business firm, hitting workers right when they sit down at their desks and check their e-mail for the first time makes it much more likely that they’ll open your e-mail without getting distracted by other pressing tasks. However, if you’re a business-to-consumer company, you’re better off sending your promotions in the evening, when people are away from work and more likely to e-shop.

Blog Posts

Finding the optimal time to post a blog may be the most challenging order of all. There’s a wealth of data about blog readers’ habits, yet there’s little agreement on how to turn that into a timing recommendation. For example, some argue that you should post your blogs at a time when online traffic is at its peak, to get the largest possible pool of readers. But others argue that can backfire, because so many other bloggers have that same idea and you’ll be fighting to get noticed.

For blogs, it’s probably best to take an individual approach. Look at the demographics of your readers. Do you have a mostly male readership? Then it may be best to publish at night, when more men than women read blogs. Is your target demo stay-at-home moms? Publish during the day, when they don’t have their kids hanging all over them.

Finding Your Own Answers

Of course, all the research in the world can’t give you the insight into your own audience you have at your fingertips. Though the experts can advise you on the best times to publish, they can’t see your results. Even if every study said to post on Facebook on Wednesdays at 3 p.m., if you get more comments on Tuesday at 10 a.m., you should stick with Tuesdays.

Here are a few ways you can do your own testing to determine when the best time to post is:

  • Keep track of how many retweets, click-throughs, comments and likes that your Facebook and Twitter posts get. Post at the same time every day for a week. Then try different times of day. If you have a hunch that a certain time or day will be best, play out the hunch and see what happens.
  • Employ analytics to keep track of how your Twitter and Facebook experiments go. There are some excellent free tools that you can use, such as Twitonomy and Facebook’s Web Insights.
  • Closely track your blog traffic to see if certain times of day or days of the week produce more engagement, traffic or shares. There are some great analytics tools that can help you do this.
  • Track open rates for your mass e-mails using Google Analytics, which is especially useful if you’re already using them to track other aspects of your campaigns. Again, experiment with timing.

The key to finding the right timing for your posts is to balance research with personal experience. Once you’ve done the research, test your theories about when you should publish fresh content. In time, you’ll figure it out.

Adrienne Erin writes twice a week for SiteProNews about practical SEO advice and news that can help organizations like Athreon Transcription succeed in their marketing endeavors.

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Post at the Perfect Time for Best Results


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Adrienne Erin is a blogger and Internet marketer for what she thinks is one of the best SEO companies out there. When she’s not blogging about tech and social media, you might find her practicing her French, whipping up some recipes she found on Pinterest, or obsessing over vintage postcards and stamps.

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