Social media: don't discount the timing
Time your social media posts to take advantage of peak times.
You know the feeling: a would-be viral social media post you wrote flops, utterly failing to kick up the buzz you foresaw. The reason for the wash-out might not be that your post sucked, it could simply be bad timing.
No matter how smart the post you type for Twitter or Facebook seems, if you send it when your would-be mass audience has checked out, your update may vanish without a trace. For your post to hit its mark, you must time it right.
True, variables abound. Timing posts may be more art than science, but here are some guidelines on finessing your efforts as Facebook's influence continues to spread. According to an October 26 NBC report, Facebook now has 126 million users on mobile alone.
Queen Elizabeth - a royal post on Facebook.
1. Integrate with the office
The obvious time to post a social media update, says digital agency owner Michael Simonetti, is when most people are around computers: during office hours.
Work-related social networking trumps all other opportunities, he adds. Despite the blocks many companies impose on social networks, people find a way, which may partly explain why mobile usage is surging.
The best slots in the average working day, Simonetti adds, are arrival time (8-9am), lunch time (12-2pm), and the period just before staff clock off (5-6pm).
2. Don't overlook Sundays
Sunday night is a “hidden gem” for viral posting, Simonetti says.
While the weekend as a whole fails to win the audience you can gain during the week, Sunday nights are the exception for posting he says. In particular, he recommends the stretch between 7pm and 8pm.
That late Sunday slot can work as well as weekday hot spots, thanks, he reckons, to the “new age” of dual-screen viewers — people watching the television while browsing the mobile or tablet.
3. Track trends
Match topical events and trends, Simonetti says. The engagement of a trend — be it the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, the US presidential race or Gangnam Style Korean dancing — dramatically boosts your social media post's viral potential.
“On-topic and on-brand posts during or soon after these events are always a winner,” Simonetti says.
4. Segment your market
Think hard about the market you are trying to reach, says marketer Fran Iseli-Hall. If your target market is young mums, early mornings are best. If you want to target business owners, aim at early evening — from about 5.30pm to 7.30pm, Iseli-Hall says.
For fashion and events-related posts, weekends work well “because people are looking for stuff to do”, she says.
5. Mistrust Mondays
Mondays are a dubious time to share because they do not work well in any market, Iseli-Hall says.
On Mondays, people are usually busy getting stuff done and preparing for the week, dogged by a full email inbox to go through. However she warns against ruling the day out entirely from your viral campaign.
6. Use social media timing tools
Other experts advise that you test your viral timing tactics by drawing on the web's wealth of measuring tools.
Note that the business-slanted part of Facebook, Facebook Pages, boasts an inbuilt timer that lets you send messages automatically as you sleep.
To access the timer, activate your Facebook Pages sharing tool marked “Share something on your Page”. Click the clock scheduling icon and you are away. The function is especially useful for synchronising with an overseas city — be it London or Lima.
7. Curb your enthusiasm
You should limit your posts to one or two per day, according to a recent influential report called Strategies for Effective Wall Posts: A Timeline Analysis, produced by the marketing cloud firm Buddy Media.
Brands that post just once or twice a day generate a 19 per cent higher interaction than those that post three or more times per day, according to Buddy Media.
It recommends against more than seven posts per week and says a good general time frame is between 8pm and 7am – during those off-hours potential customers have spare time during which to make buying decisions.