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How to Know When to Post on Social Media

By Rease Kirchner (@IndecisiveRease)

Content marketing may begin with great content, but even the best content won’t get any traction if it isn’t promoted properly. Let’s say you write an incredible article, then you take the time to craft your words for a clever Facebook post, and also design the perfect image. You hit the post button, full of confidence, ready for the likes and comments to roll in, and get nothing but crickets. Chances are, you’re talking to an empty room, or, in Social Media terms, posting when your audience isn’t around to see it. So how can you figure out when to post on social media?

Social Media Marketing is different for every business

If there were set times that worked for everyone, Social Media platforms would explode with activity for only a few hours of every day. We all know that social media is active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – so the key is to figure out when your audience is active. It may take some time and effort to hunt down the data you need, but knowing when to post can really make your engagement numbers soar. Let’s take a look at the data that different social media platforms collect for you, and then explore some external tools that can help you dig even deeper into your audience’s habits.

Facebook Insights

Facebook has a built in analytics tool that has some pretty valuable information. To access Insights, go to your Facebook page and click the “Insights” tab in the top menu, then click on “Posts” on the left sidebar.

The Posts section will show you when you audience is active on Facebook, both by days of the week and by hours throughout the day. In the following example, the audience remains pretty active every day of the week, but users don’t start logging on until around 10am, with the most popular times being around noon and 5pm. Posting at those times would likely increase engagement and reach on posts.

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This report from a different business page shows a very different trend. This page’s audience starts getting active around noon, but the most popular time is actually 9pm. The audience still remains fairly consistent in activity throughout the week, but you can see that Mondays and Saturdays are the most active days, so the best times to post on this page would most likely be Mondays or Saturdays at 9pm. Of course, it’s clear that the audience is active any time between 12pm and 9pm, so it would be best to play around with different schedules within that time frame.

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Twitter Analytics

To access Twitter Analytics, go to your Twitter Page, click on your Avatar, and select “Analytics” from the drop down menu.

Twitter Analytics is not as robust as Facebook Insights, so you won’t be able to gather too many details about your audience, but it does offer a little information. When it comes to choosing when to post on social media, you want to know about your reach, so when looking at Twitter Analytics, you’ll want to check your “Tweet Highlights” and look for which tweets got the most impressions. Your top tweets will show how many impressions they received, which gives you a rough estimate of your reach at the time of the tweet.  Keep in mind that impressions can be gained through retweets and also through specific searches, such as searches for a hashtag included in the tweet, so those numbers are not directly linked to the time you posted.  It’s not an exact science, but if you notice a trend of higher impressions when you tweet at a certain time, that’s a good indicator that your audience is scrolling through their Twitter feed around that time.

Pinterest Analytics

Pinterest Analytics is only available for Business Accounts, so make sure you set up your account as a Business and not Personal. To access Pinterest Analytics, go to your profile page, click the gear icon, and choose “Analytics” from the dropdown menu. From there, click on “Your Audience”

Pinterest data falls somewhere in between Facebook and Twitter for usefulness; it doesn’t offer as many details as Facebook, but it does give you more than Twitter has to offer. The “Your Audience” page will give you a look at what days your account got the most impressions, which can help you decide what days are best to add new pins. This page also gives you a breakdown on where you audience lives, which is helpful for when you are thinking about posting times. For example, if most of your audience is on the East Coast of the United States, you’d want to keep that time zone in mind when choosing your posting times.

External Tools

If you really want detailed data, you’re going to have to incorporate a few external tools.

Hootsuite

If you’re on a tight budget and feeling lazy but still want to post on social media at optimal times, Hootsuite’s integrated scheduler is pretty useful, and it’s free for up to 3 social media accounts. This platform allows you to add Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, WordPress, and Instagram. If your accounts are established enough for Hootsuite to pull activity data, you can simply type up a post, hit the handy “Autoschedule” button, and let Hootsuite choose the optimal time for you. It should be noted that this does not yet work for Instagram, due to Instagram’s security parameters. It does, however, work quite well for other platforms. The catch? It only works the day of, meaning you can only get the optimal time for the next 12 hours or so, not for the whole week. If you want to schedule out for more than a day, you’ll have to choose the time yourself.

Buffer

Buffer, like Hootsuite, is a great free tool that analyzes data for you, and chooses the best times to post based off that data. This tool also has a free version, with the capabilities getting more robust if you shell out the cash to “Upgrade to Awesome” as Buffer puts it.

Buffer integrates with Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Google+ on the free version, and throws Pinterest into the mix in the paid version. Buffer lets you choose how many times you want to post throughout the day and then picks several optimal times for those posts to go out for each different platform. Once it has those times, you can set it up to always post at those times whenever you schedule something within the platform. This is a step up from Hootsuite, because it lets you schedule out posts for a much longer period of time, all with the optimal posting time set in place.

Iconosquare

Instagram is beloved by users, but it can be really difficult when it comes to scheduling ahead of time and getting analytics. Iconosqaure is one of the best tools for getting data, but the free version is fairly limited. If you work the paid version into your budget, you will be rewarded with data on your most popular posts, followers, and a chart comparing your current posting habits to a schedule that shows when your posts are most likely to get interactions from your audience. You can request an updated version of this at any time, so it allows you to keep a pulse on new followers and also see if your current posting habits are properly lining up with your users’ most active times.

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This data is great, but unless you want to be a slave to your phone, you’ll have to figure out a way to schedule Instagram posts, which involves another tool.

Schedugram

You’ll have to pay for a subscription to this tool, but it does allow you to manage several accounts at once, and schedule Instagram posts ahead of time. Schedugram allows you to upload a photo, do some light editing, and include both a description and first comment with your photo, which is helpful for anyone who likes to use that first comment to load up on hashtags without crowding your description. This tool does not have any autoschedule or optimal time suggestions though, so you’ll have to figure out your posting strategy using data gathered elsewhere.

Monitor the data and watch your results

Content marketing is complicated and Social Media marketing involves keeping a close eye on the data. Make sure you review your data at least once a month, if not more often, to ensure that your audience’s habits have not significantly changed and to ensure that the times you are posting give your content the best chance of getting seen.  Social media is an invaluable tool for promoting your content, so make sure you are showing off your content to a “full room,” and not tossing away quality content by sharing it when no one is around to see it.

twitter-for-business-simplified-social-media-strategy

Twitter for Business, Simplified

By Danni Eickenhorst, President & Marketing Consultant

Several times a month, I run into business owners who have heard that Twitter is a powerful tool for them to harness, but who have chosen not to try it out for a variety of reasons. The most common? They’re intimidated. It’s confusing.

While I remember feeling that way the first time I tried to use Twitter, it truly couldn’t be farther from the truth – if you look at it just a little bit differently.

Below, we’ve provided some hints and steps that you can take to begin to find a comfort level with this powerful platform. This is a very cursory level introduction, and at the end, we provide our Easy Twitter Start Checklist. For more detailed, higher-level strategy, schedule a one-on-one consultation with our team, follow this blog or attend an upcoming social school class.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is simplicity. It is a continuous conversation in a global room full of people in short bursts. Done correctly, it may be the most powerful tool in your arsenal.

It is a social network where people share “microblogs” or status updates of 140 characters or less. People who follow you or who search for a particular keyword you may have tweeted about, will see your status updates. Anyone who views your profile may see your status updates. Twitter differs from Facebook both in the length of your updates and in that the community available to you through Twitter is very motivated, outspoken and powerful. They are willing to share value when it’s provided, so consider that as you begin crafting your updates. This group is more likely to show up, share, advocate, purchase and engage with your brand than most others, and therefore, provides a unique opportunity for many businesses and individuals.

At first glance, it may seem that Twitter is moving at a breakneck pace, full of spam and self-promotion. All of these are accurate assessments, but while content seems to have a 2 second shelf-life, and it seems that with the large amounts of content coming at you, this platform may need to be continuously monitored, there are some things you can do to make Twitter more manageable:

Keep Twitter in Perspective

Twitter is simply a community. Just like any community, there are ups and downs, and just like every community out there, you will find lurkers, haters and supporters, all there for one reason or another. Just as you work to build community in your neighborhood or place of worship, you cannot get to know your community if you’re isolated and uninvolved. Twitter will only help you find success if you are social, and choose to engage.

Use & Search Hashtags

What is a Hashtag?Just as the graphic at right says, hashtags are merely a form of organization for the content that you share. They allow others who may not be familiar with you or your brand to search for content on a topic and to become connected with what you’re sharing. A few tips for using hashtags:

  1. Don’t overuse hashtags. Try to limit your tweets to 1-3 hashtagged words or phrases.
  2. Don’t string too many words together with a single hashtag, if you want it searchable. Many folks do this for comic effect, which of course, is fine – but, they don’t expect much return in search if they do. The best hashtags are short, to the point and reflect the way others typically search for something.
  3. DO use hashtags for events. A simple hashtag that is shared with event attendees may expand the reach of your local event to a global audience. A few years back, we added the hashtag #TweetTheMostGood to a Salvation Army event, and while there were only 150 attendees at the party we held (max capacity), more than 230,000 people were exposed to the brand and the conversation that night by asking attendees to use the hashtag on all of their tweets, check-ins and photos.

Make Twitter work with your schedule.

Social media can be extremely time-consuming – research, conversations, crafting content. For that reasons, we recommend setting aside time each day to update your channels, and to create a blend of updates that are both live AND prescheduled. One tool we absolutely love is Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a free tool that allows you to monitor the vast amount of information coming through Twitter, and to preschedule content so your account never goes “quiet.” It allows you to monitor any mentions of you or your brand, to search for sentiments or new business and, perhaps most importantly, it allows you to schedule content to post while you’re busy doing other things. Check it out at Hootsuite.com.

Find your tribe + Engage.

TWITTER 101As you’re first building your audience on Twitter, it helps to consider what you wish to achieve or what your brand (personal or professional) is looking to connect with. Find others in your space who are utilizing Twitter, and are doing is well and take note of:

  • LISTS: Visit their profile and look at their lists. (Next to Followers, Following, you should see “Lists.” Click on this.) These are curated lists of other people you should probably also be connected. Follow those folks and engage with their content. Reply to their tweets, retweet their best stuff and become a part of their community.
  • CONTENT STYLING: If you’ve found someone worth watching as a mentor in your industry or interest area, watch what works best with their content – from style and language to best time of day, and begin by applying some of their styling to your own content.

What do I tweet?

“No one cares what I had for breakfast,” is the #1 complaint I hear from folks looking to harness Twitter for the first time. I tell them to “fake it until you make it.” Think out loud. Share until it becomes more natural.

Here are some possible ways for your to engage on Twitter:

  • Live Updates: Attending a conference or knee-deep into a new project? Share that. Many events have hashtags that you can watch, use and share with.
  • Questions: My tribe of followers on Twitter have incredible amounts of experience and collective knowledge in areas that I will never have. I frequently throw out questions to take their temperature on issues, or when I’m stumped and need help. You’ll find that folks on Twitter are quick to help, and motivated to connect and make things happen.
  • @Replies & Retweets: The best way to connect with people is to take that first step. Reply to an interesting tweet, or better yet – make a friend & retweet their content.
  • Blog Posts & Articles: Whether you’re sourcing them from your site or someone else’s (known as “Content Curation”), one way to provide quick updates while showcasing that you’re engaged in an industry or interest is to share an interesting, up-to-date blog post or article on the subject.

and finally…. if you’re looking to use Twitter to bolster your business, then share what you do. Twitter should never be used for OVER-promotion, but if you shoot for 80% non-promotional, 20% promotional to start, you aren’t likely to alienate your hard-won audience.

More Resources to Continue your Twitter Mastery

  • Twitter Growth Domination 2.0: Kim Garst, one of our favorite Twitter marketers, has launched an online course that boils down Twitter to its simplest parts. She has developed an online learning course, which is available online for a short period of time, but which is definitely worth your time. In her mini-course ($9), she shares a smart growth plan that helps you to target your audience on Twitter, and to engage them in just 15 minutes a day.
  • Easy Twitter Start Checklist: We developed a super-simple checklist to assist small businesses in getting comfortable with Twitter. Enter your information below and we’ll email it to you in just a few minutes. Try it out for two weeks and let us know what you think!

Request our Easy Twitter Start Checklist

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