I get asked this question a lot and I love answering it. I do because I love to see the look on people’s faces when they realise that the answer is actually quite simple and that the process through which they have to go through is quite enjoyable too.
Business owners thrive on communication. They know that there is absolutely no point in spending hours creating and posting content on the several social media platforms if no one is going to see it or take some sort of action such as sharing or commenting. For this reason, they ask me quite frequently what are the best times to post on social media, among other questions. This post is about my approach on finding out the best times to post on social media for your particular business.
Let’s get a very quick look at the general advice first.
You can do a simple Google search and you will find out all sorts of blog posts, infographics, reports, theories, etc that will tell you the results of their research on what the best times to post might be, this Hubspot post is a good example. They take data from each social network with all of their users and put them in graphics. I, personally, don’t use approaches like this one as I find them too generalised and a bit robotic, non personal kind of approach.
So, what is my approach?
First of all, I should tell you that if you are doing your social media right you are already one step ahead. Why? Because no matter what time your audience goes online, they will check you out. They enjoy your posts so much and get so much out of reading them, that even if they have been offline for days they will visit your space and look for your posts. They remember you and they follow your every online step. This will only happen when you have built a solid relationship with your audience which doesn’t happen overnight but nevertheless, the most important mission you will have to complete if you’re serious about taking and growing your business online.
Secondly, if you have a solidly built social media campaign that has clear goals and a clear view of your audience that you have been implementing for a while, your own stats are your best friend. They will tell you not only what the best times to post are but also what days and what types of posts get the most engagement. You don’t even need expensive apps or software. Facebook’s own Insights tool, for example is very good to show you exactly what you need to know. If you need more advanced tools you could try Sumall or Kissmetrics.
Thirdly, what do you do if you are just starting out and have no stats of your own? You could use data from blog posts such as the Hubspot one I mentioned above or you could do it from the heart like I recommend. What do I mean by that?
I mean that, if you are in business, you should have a very clear image of your ideal customer. Who do you serve? Why do you exist? Who do you help? You should know as much as you can about this person because that makes all the difference. For example, imagine you provide counselling services for school aged kids with learning difficulties. Your ideal customer might be a mum who is self-employed and works from home and has a school aged child with learning difficulties. In this case, you will have to put yourself in her shoes and think that she probably arrives home after the school run and sits down with a cup of coffee whilst checking her emails and social media accounts. She might login again after 8pm when the kids are in bed. If you want to target a mum that is employed in a 9-5 instead, you might want to think differently. Or let’s imagine it’s the dad you want to target and that he is employed in a 9-5 and has to commute. He might check his social media accounts on the way to work between 8-9am. He might do it again at lunch time and again after work, on the way home.
Do this for two weeks at a time and then change, experiment. Always look at your personal stats. Find out what posts get the most engagement and take notes of what time they were posted (pen and paper are fine!). Keep posting at those times and change the times of the ones that didn’t get as much engagement. You may find, for example that there’s no point posting during the day as only your evening posts get engagement, although this is not very likely but a good example, nevertheless.
I hope I helped you a bit by explaining my approach to choosing the best times to post on social media for maximum results. This is a very important step I take together with my clients on my social media campaign coaching sessions.
Please let me know below in the comments if there is anything you would like me to explain better or if you use and prefer other approaches. I always like to know what works for other people when doing their social media.