When Timing is Everything
You know your customers. You know your business. But do you know how to most effectively reach them? As a social media marketing firm that deals with business entities of all sizes throughout the nation, one thing has become clear…timing is everything. Get the inside scoop on the latest research into the science of social media timing and how it can minimize cost and maximize impact simply by tweaking the time.
Ask a Simple Question…Get a Complicated Answer
“What is the best time to post on Facebook?”. Nearly every social media marketing firm across the nation would agree…this is (by far) the single most common question asked by business owners. And it’s a good question because timing does matter. In fact, timing matters a lot. However, it’s also a slightly naive question because the answer isn’t quite as simple as it may initially seem. When it comes to social media timing, it’s not always possible to pick a single straight-forward response. Issues such as time zones quickly become apparent both globally as well as domestically. Even assuming the company has only a single local presence, other factors such as day of the week may confound the situation. Adding even more complexity, certain types of business or industry have their very own unique patterns; for example, financial markets and Day Traders tend to follow much different patterns than big box retails store promotions. In short, there isn’t a simple answer even though the question doesn’t seem that complicated.
Fascinating Facts About Social Timing
There is good news; not all social timing statistics are equally overwhelming. No, there are some stats and facts which are as fascinating as they are informative. For example…
Retail brands that posted outside of normal business hours experienced 20 percent higher engagement rates with the highest response levels associated with Sunday and the lowest associated with Friday. In fact, Friday is generally viewed as a lackluster social media marketing day by many retail establishments in direct contradiction of traditional marketing which made use of time-off and paydays to do the crux of their weekly promotions.
Unlike retail brands, newsworthy stories do best during normal business hours; more specifically, from roughly 11 AM to 4 PM. Once again, this pattern seems to fly in the face of conventional wisdom where early morning and late afternoon or evening dominate the news. It’s no wonder the major media news outlets are increasingly having to play catch-up to the Internet! A word of warning, just because newsworthy items tend to do best in mid-day, don’t automatically dismiss alternative time slots. MAJOR breaking news or information may warrant immediate posting at any time of the day or night while the majority of business related PR will do just fine during typical operating hours.
Highest & Lowest Engagement Slots
Is there a dead zone? In literal terms…no. The Internet is 24/7 and chances are that someone, somewhere will see something if it’s posted. But taking a more figurative approach, roughly around 3 AM is about as dead a time as any online. Things start moving just before 7 AM and continue to escalate until roughly noon. Afternoons to about 11 PM remain fairly consistent in terms of impressions with a similar – albeit more subtle – pattern emerging in engagement rates. in absolute terms, Noon is the most active time to share on Facebook with Saturday being the best day of the week.
Understanding Time Zones
We mentioned the importance of time zones earlier but it’s of such tremendous impact that it is worthy of a bit more explanation. All discussion surrounding the best timing of social media messages must be considered in the local time zone for maximum impact. But what happens if you have a major message or offer to be sent out to multiple time-zones all at once? That is exactly the situation many business owners encounter and the reason it is so important to understand population percentages based upon time-zones! In a nutshell,
- .01 percent of the population is in the Alaska/Hawaii time zone.
- .14 percent of the population is in the Pacific time zone. Contrary to popular opinion, this is NOT the most heavily concentrated and actually ranks 3rd.
- .04 percent of the US population is in the Mountain time zone.
- .33 percent in the Central time zone.
- .48 percent in the Eastern time zone.
With just under 1 out of every 2 persons in the Eastern time zone, it becomes immediately clear why major media networks and other breaking news cater to the ET. If you can only select a single time zone, make it the Eastern time zone. However, by timing it just right it may be possible to reach a full 80% of the population by including the Eastern and Central time zones together.
Last Word – Automation
We would be remiss not to mention one final thought in relation to social media timing…automation. While it is true that timing is everything, don’t make the mistake of foregoing great response rates out of the fear of having to micro-manage every message. As a social media management firm, there is a time and place for everything…including the use of automation. It’s a wonderful resource when properly utilized. To learn more about the wonder of automation and timing, speak with your social media manager about all your options.