I recently disagreed with another social media coach. We both agreed that posting regularly was important, but not on when to post. So I took a second look at the issue. And it turns out, there is no one right answer.
Deciding when to post blogs or social media can be an arduous task of guessing and checking. Professionals recommend trying various times throughout the day and then tracking the response you receive on each post.
This is an enormous task. Even once you refine your posting times you can still miss the mark just by posting a half hour after most of your audience leaves for work. But as large as this task is, simply mapping when and how many responses you received on a post is not going to guarantee a viral post every time – or ever.
So is it even worth trying to figure out when, how often, and what to post? Of course it is. You want to make the best use of your marketing moments (and dollars), so unless your target market works 3rd shift, 3 a.m. is probably not the time to post your best work.
But you don’t need to be a statistician to get started. Instead think about your target audience’s day. When are they likely to sit down and browse Facebook or Twitter? If you are targeting young mothers, it might make sense to post during their children’s afternoon nap. But 4 p.m. is probably not going to catch a busy business person as well as 6 p.m. when they have gotten home from work and are ready to crash.
By thinking of your target audience as real people with predictable lives and habits you can cut out many of the shot-in-the-dark stages of optimizing your social media posts. Once you have come up with a few times that make sense for your audience, you can do a much more targeted survey of times to narrow down just when most of those babies really do take their naps.
Finally, remember that this data is not static. If you notice after a while that your reach is decreasing, try mixing up the times a little. It may be that your businesspeople are leaving earlier for work now that it is winter and the roads are bad. Remember to stay flexible and not to commit to posting at exactly the same time each day just out of habit.
Social media is about community and fluidity. By thinking of your audience as people and staying flexible to their changing life patterns, you can increase your visibility and improve your online reach.