9 August 2016

Timing Your Posts: Essential Tips On Timing to Ensure Your Posts Go Viral on Social Media


Welcome to internet income course lesson twenty-four, aimed at simplifying the difficulties of starting and running a profitable online business by breaking down important principles in simple English. Course author, George Little, continues to reveal tips, real-world advice, and in-depth, step-by-step instructions on setting up your Internet-based business. Read the previous lesson 23 here.

In this lesson, we will discuss the best times to make your social media posts.

Right Place at the Right Time

The best time to post on social media depends upon many factors. The optimal time to post is affected by the type of business you are promoting. It depends upon the specific social media site on which you are posting. It depends upon the goal of your campaign (ex: are you trying to promote brand awareness or increase sales, are you seeking clicks or shares, etc.). When you post should also take into account your target audience (when and how they interact), the geographical area you are targeting, and the style of your post (ex: is it a serious or humorous post). To get the best results, you should take all of these factors into account.

There are many statistics that average all of these factors and provide general rules regarding the best times to post. Although we will start our discussion with these general factors, we will do so with caution. Recall the old saying about averages. If you stood with one foot in a pot of boiling water and the other foot in a block of ice, the law of averages suggests you would be comfortable. We will discuss the general principles based on averages as a starting point to understand how timing matters. Do not just use these general principles without examining the specifics of your particular situation, however.

Best Times in General

General principles:
  • The best times to post on Facebook are 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays; 3:00-4:00 p.m. on Wednesdays; and 1:00-4:00 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays.
  • The best times to post on Twitter are 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. on weekdays and 5:00-6:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.
  • The best times to post on Linkedin are 7:30-8:00 a.m., Noon, and 5:00-6:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and also 10:00-11:00 a.m. on Tuesdays.
  • The best times to post on Pinterest are the evening hours of every day, plus 5:00 p.m. on Fridays and all day Saturdays.
  • The best times to post on Instagram are anytime Monday through Thursday, except between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m.
  • The best time to post on Google+ is 9:00 a.m. weekdays, with Wednesday being the best day to post. The second best time is during the lunch hour on weekdays.

Why Different Times for Different Sites

As we have observed in prior lessons, Twitter is more fast-paced than Facebook. People approach Twitter for different reasons than Facebook and use it at different times and for different purposes. As a result, a Tweet has a half-life of only 24 minutes--four times shorter than a Facebook post.

Adapt these general rules to your Target Market

We have mentioned several times already in this course that it is extremely important to identify your target market. You want to know where your target market is located and when they are most likely to use social media. For example, if you are promoting a product or service that is of particular interest to health care workers, you need to take into account that many hospital staff, EMT's, etc. work night shifts. People who work night shifts have upside down schedules compared to most people who work day shifts. They will be active on social media at different times than most people. The same is true with police, correctional officers, fire-fighters and other occupations. If you are promoting a product or service of particular interest to insomniacs, even though insomniacs may work during the day, they may be most active on social media in the late night and early morning hours, when other working people are asleep.

Location, Location, Location

Another important timing factor is location. If you live in Chicago, but have many people from the Netherlands in your target market, you must keep in mind that it is seven hours later in Amsterdam than it is in Chicago. If it's 3:00 in the afternoon in Chicago on a Thursday, it will be 10:00 p.m. at night Thursday in Amsterdam. If it's 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon in Chicago, it is 5:00 a.m. Friday morning in Tokyo, Japan, and 6:00 a.m. Friday morning in Brisbane, Australia. It will be 10:00 a.m. Thursday morning in Hawaii. Thus, if you are in Hawaii and many of your target market is located in Australia, you would need to post almost a day ahead of when you want your post seen. On the other hand, almost 80% of the U.S. population are in the Eastern and Central time zones, which are only an hour apart.

Why Timing Matters

Let's take a moment to examine why timing matters. Social media sites use algorithms to determine who sees your posts and when. Different sites have different rules. The Facebook algorithm is called "FaceRank". The algorithm makes its decisions based on the activity that occurred with your previous posts and the activity that results from this post. As a general rule, if most of your posts get a lot of reaction, all of your posts are shown to more people and shown longer than the posts of someone who rarely gets any reaction. The reaction of the people who first see your post also affects how many people see it and how long it is shown. If there is a flurry of activity, with a significant percentage of first viewers liking, sharing, or commenting on your post, within the first few minutes after posting, then more people will see the post for a longer period of time. If very few or none of the initial viewers react, your post will soon be retired (that is, it will stop showing up in your followers' newsfeeds). Because those initial reactions matter, your post will be more successful if posted at a time when many people are interacting on Facebook, rather than at times when few are even there to see it.

People approach other social media sites differently as well. Instagram, for instance, is a site used mostly at night. Pinterest is a site used mostly on Saturdays. Twitter is usually checked in the morning.

Other General Factors

There are other factors with general effect that should be considered as well. Holidays will affect the amount of social media use. Widespread airline delays will leave many people in airports with little to do but go to social media on their hand-held devices. Widespread storms may slow down or disable internet services in affected areas, knocking people off social media. Major television events (big sports games, academy awards, and the like) create a mixed reaction. While attention is drawn primarily to other media, many still like to actively post and interact about these events on social media while they are experiencing them on other media. Such events will definitely, though, affect how people are interacting on social media, even if it doesn't reduce the quantity of reaction. Posts that are unrelated to the major event will likely be ignored during these times.

When a major news story breaks, it will increase social media activity on sites like Twitter - where people go to keep up with the news. If a story breaks at a time that would not ordinarily be peak time, it may cause a peak in usage for the life cycle of that story. Be aware when posting during that time that most are on social media to find out about the particular news story. You should have your post relate to that story and be informative in order to be engaging and worthwhile to viewers during that time.

Know the Factors that Affect You

We often mention the importance of identifying and understanding your target market. Knowing your target market and knowing when and how they use social media is crucial to affective timing of your posts, just as it is crucial to many other subjects we have and will consider. Knowing your own product and service is also crucial. Ask yourself: 1) Given the nature of my product or service, when will the need for that product or service be most strongly felt? And 2) When are people more likely to act on that need? Break down your target market into different groups and ask these question about each group separately. The general guidelines we have discussed are helpful, but they are not the final answer for your particular needs. The optimal times for you to post should be determined based on your own analysis of your product or service and of your target market and that analysis should be based on logical application of data you have accumulated by carefully tracking your previous results.

Social Media Management Services

If your needs for time become complicated due to your target audience being spread across many time zones or having different schedules, you may want to enlist posting services to automatically make each post at the optimal time. One of the best known of these services is Hootsuite, but there are many others to choose from as well. Be prepared to pay if you plan to use one of these services on a large scale. There are also Wordpress plugins that you can install on your blog and have posting of your entries automatically timed for you. Incidentally, there are also plugins for some of the social media sites that will send all of your posts to other social media sites as well. There are even services that will determine the best times to post for you rather than you entering your own schedule. There are many options available if you need help with the timing of your posts, so that you don't have to stay online all the time to make sure things get timely posted.

The best time to post on social media depends on many factors. It depends on your type of business, the type of post, the goal of your campaign, the social media site, and your target market. The geographical location of your target market is important to time conversions, if necessary, to adapt to different time zones. Different sites are used by different people and for different reasons. Understanding the character of each site tells us that different posting times are optimal for different sites. The best times to post for each different site have been determined for us by many different sources. However, we should not rely on these generally determined times if they conflict with our specific information.

Timing is important because a post only last a short period of time. We need to make our posts during the times where the most interaction is possible.

Most importantly, we should track our own results and use observation and logic to learn how our target market uses social media and when. We should time our posts to best optimize interaction with our target market.

We will continue our discussion of the factors involved for successful social media posts in our next lesson. Read the next lesson here: Finding Your Brand.

By George Little, Panhandle On-Line, Inc. For more information on the Internet Income Course and other works and courses by George Little, see http://www.profitpropulsion.com

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