Timing is Everything

Are there one or two perfect times to post on your social media channels? A sweet spot, where most of your followers will see your post and deliver a cascade of "likes" and clicks? 

It's a question as old as time (or, you know, as old as 2004, when Facebook first started). This week, we'll show you how to figure out when your fans and followers are online, and how to find out what you should post and when. 

First, learn when your audience is online.

Your analytics dashboards are a good place to start.

  • Facebook: When you’re on your business page, see the Insights tab at the top? Click on that and then click on Posts. Here, your audience is broken down into days and time they’re online. While there may be some obvious intel (yeah, posting at 4 AM is usually not the best call for a professional East Coast audience), you can also see some peaks, denoting hours when your fans are more likely to be scrolling through their feeds.
  • Instagram: Open your app and click the bar chart at the top, and when you scroll down you'll find Followers, with another handy hourly breakdown.
  • Twitter: This information isn't included on your regular Twitter analytics dashboard, but fear not. You can use Tweriod, a free tool, to get this info. Click here, connect your Twitter account, and you'll get a DM when their analysis is ready.

Think about a typical day of your target audience. If they’re 9-to-5ers, they probably open their social media apps right after that alarm goes off, while they're trapped in their morning commute (unless they're driving, in which case we hope that phone is tucked away), over their sad desk lunch, during that afternoon energy slump, and right before bed. And on weekends, it might be Sunday night, when they’re procrastinating even thinking about the workweek. Whether you're a food delivery company targeting late night snackers, or a boutique targeting those weekend shoppers, consider your audience and what they're up to at key hours of the day.

Next, orient yourself to scheduling tools.

  • On Facebook, you can schedule posts as you draft them, by hitting the down arrow next to Publish and selecting schedule for your desired time. 
  • Instagram is, unfortunately, still putting the "Insta" in Instagram. You can't schedule posts yet, but you can plan ahead.
  • On Twitter, we suggest using a tool like Tweetdeck to schedule posts.

Many scheduling tools conform to the time zone you’re in, which might not necessarily be the time zone your audience is in, so adjust accordingly.

Use those scheduling skills!

Check out this infographic on some of the best and worst times to post. Think of this data as a general guideline, but it can help get you started if you don’t quite have a good sense of your audience yet. You can use their suggested times to start posting, and keep an eye on the data to modify based on your audience’s engagement. Everyone is unique!

Finally, here are some last-minute timing tips.

  • You know what makes scheduling out and planning the timing of your posts a lot easier? An editorial calendar! Learn more about them and snag our sweet template here
  • Avoid posting at the same times and days every single week. You’d be surprised to learn how often companies just post at 9 a.m., 12:30 p.m. 3 p.m and 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and call it a day. Switch up your timing to reach different segments of your audience.
  • Don’t be afraid of weekend posts. Some companies have higher engagement on the weekends because that’s when their audience is free and more engaged on social. You can always schedule these weekend posts in advance so you can still unplug.
  • Think about timezones. Is your audience all on the East Coast, or are they in Europe? Plan your posts to span 24 hours instead of the 12 hours you might be awake. With the right posting schedule, soon your company might be taking over the world! (Or, at least, their Newsfeeds!)