“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..”
Good ol’ Mr Dickens, he had it right all along. Little did he know that when it comes to social media (especially Facebook!) that this is more important than almost anything else you need to know.
Alas, the webisphere is awake 24/7, and we all need to sleep – so how do we keep on top of everything?
After a recent study by Viralnomics, it seems there is more to posting than we first thought.
#1 Who do you want to notice you?
Firstly, knowing when to post on Facebook is all about knowing your audience, knowing who it is you want to see you and engage with you. Think about their lifestyles, where they are, what they are doing at various times of the day. Are they at school? Do they work 9-5? How old are your target audience? By understanding your audience, and understanding how they use social media, is how you will know when to post to gain maximum exposure.
For example, if your target audience is an office worker, their day may look something like this:
- 6-8am – Breakfast while reading the newspaper, answering emails, or perusing Facebook.
- 8am-12pm – Travel and work.
- 12pm-1pm – Lunch.
- 1pm-5pm – Travel and work.
- 5pm – 12am – Home time.
Bearing in mind that some offices block Facebook (although depending on the office layout users can sometimes sneak a quick check or two on their smartphone) the best times for engaging with this audience is first thing in the morning, lunch times, and in the evenings.
#2 Consider their lifestyles.
A study conducted by Jonah Berger in 2011 had 40 students split into two groups. Group 1 was told to sit still for 60 seconds, whilst the other asked to jog on the spot for the same amount of time. Both groups were then asked (as a cover up for the real study) to rate the brightness of 5 images. Next, the groups were asked to participate in an “unrelated” study, reading an online article with the option to share it with others or not at all.
In the group of joggers, the percentage of people who emailed the study jumped from 33% to 75%, meaning a 50% increase in social transmission for no other reason than the reader was physiologically aroused from the jog.
In light of this study, the example below shows research conducted and compiled information to ensure that posting is always at optimum times. Whilst this approach may not be fully feasible for all industries and businesses, it is well worth keeping in mind the lifestyles of your intended audience, and their frame of mind at particular times of days and post activity (or lack thereof).
The key information here is that you shouldn’t be afraid to conduct your own research, and ask your users (albeit indirectly) when is best for them, and when they want to see your posts.
#3 Who can hear you?
Think of a crowded room, lots of busy people nattering away about themselves, their business, their brand, its busy and bustling. You address the room, and instantly your voice disappears into the mix and is lost all together. Facebook (and other networks) are like that busy room. There are busy times, there are quiet times. Most companies post a rigid 9-5, treating their social media like an additional on-the-clock virtual employee. If you approach social media like this, its likely you will fail – however other’s failures can be a definite advantage when it comes to your own posting. With everyone talking non-stop 9-5, the ‘room’ quietens down, there is less traffic. A nifty post on a Saturday morning or an early evening will be heard/seen by many more, as you are the only (or at least, one of the minority) competing for your fans attention.
#4 Who are your competition?
Understanding your competition is a key part to understanding your own business, especially when it comes to social media. As we highlighted in point 2, there is no point solely competing at ‘peak’ times, where your voice is easily lost in the crowd – a crowd of potential competition. For example, a football equipment store may only have their HQ open Monday to Friday, and post as such. However, most football games are on a weekend. If you are trying to outshine the competition, posting when they aren’t and understanding their mistakes they are making as well as understanding your audience is key to your social success.
When it comes to Facebook, always remember that as much as timing is important, so is the quality of your content. It is no good timing your posts perfectly to then post then post something unsharable. Remember all angles of your Facebook approach must be considered, with this will come real social success!