Social Media Timing

Because I mess around on these here interwebs, folks like to ask me what’s the best way to do, well, anything. How should we manage such-and-such, how often should we, should our postings do this-and-that, and on and on. The thing is, at least for us government folks, there is very little research out there for what works best. (And truthfully, as much research that exists, it’s assuredly in the rarified air of corporate PR, and not for us peons.) And even more depressingly (for my academic friends), what was de rigeur two years ago is outmoded, outdated (and yet still ahead of the curve for many government communicators) and useless.

So when I come across data, real data, it’s intensely interesting. Given that it’s from bit.ly, a service I often recommend and that deals with oodles of click-through and engagement stats, I think it’s probably pretty good. Mashable, using that data, recently posted on timing, that is go say: when is the best time to post, how often should you post, and being aware of over-posting.

Some selected quotes:

  • [Post] links to Twitter between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. ET (or 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. PT) [for] the highest click rank, especially on days earlier in the week.
  • [Facebook] links sent between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. get the most traction, with Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. being the best time to post on Facebook all week.
  • The half-life of a link posted to Twitter is about 2.8 hours, according to bit.ly.

Definitely check the whole piece out, but t’s important to note that these are the generalized stats, and may not be relevant to your publics. My Twitterfeed, for example, gets the highest levels of engagement and interaction at 1 o’clock in the afternoon, while one of my work accounts hits around 9 a.m., and again at 4. You can find your personalized “best times to post” using tools like Crowdbooster and SocialBro.

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2 thoughts on “Social Media Timing

  1. As you alluded to with your strikethrough, this is such a dynamic paradigm that I can’t help but wonder if the “best time” stats are marginalized by the attempt to follow the crowd. That is, if we all start posting between Xam and Ypm, then our streams all fill up with a deluge of content during that period, thus decreasing the potential impact and reach of any single post. I think your concluding paragraph is the key – identify what’s relevant to your audience and the purpose of the account.

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