Social media is a powerful tool. When used properly, you can reach your target audience in a way unheard of only a few years ago. But just as important as the content of your posts, is your timing.
As I explained to Fairfax business reporter David Wilson in his recent article Social Media: Don’t Discount the Timing, these are my top tips on when to use social media to engage with people.
Integrate with the office
More people are in front of computers during office hours than any other time of the day. Therefore, this is the obvious time to post a social media update. Work-related social networking trumps all other opportunities.
Many offices block access to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. But people are innovative and usually manage to find a way around these restrictions, which may partly explain why mobile usage is surging.
The best slots in the average working day are when people arrive at work (8-9am), lunch time (12-2pm), and the period just before staff clock off (5-6pm).
The “Hidden Gem” of Sunday night
While the weekend as a whole fails to win the audience you can gain during the week, Sunday nights are the exception for posting. In particular, 7pm to 8pm is a “Hidden Gem” for social media.
That late Sunday slot can work as well as weekday hot spots, thanks to the “new age” of dual-screen viewers — people watching the television while browsing the mobile or tablet.
Be topical and track trends
Keep track of what’s trending. 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.
Use social media timing tools
There are a number of free online applications you can use to schedule and sync posts between Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and other social media sites. Tweetdeck and Tweriod are two examples. And Facebook recently introduced an in-built option to schedule statuses at 10 minute intervals. So you could write 10 status in one sitting and schedule them to “go live” at specific points throughout the day or night.
Crowdbooster is another valuable service we use to analyse data from social media accounts and determine the best times to post.
Timing tools are also useful for scheduling posts for audiences in specific geographical regions. If you want to reach someone in London, schedule a post to go up during that time zone’s lunch break.
With more and more people having less and less time, and more businesses turning to social media to engage with their market, well-timed posts will help make you stand out from your competitors. Take the time to get your timing right.