As an author (& business owner) and a regular user of social media, I can tell you that it’s a non-stop learning curve when attempting to determine ideal times to post content in hopes of it being read by the right people. You can post to your heart’s desire, but hitting the publish button at the wrong time of day can result in your hard work vaporizing before it ever hits your follower’s eyes. Over the years, I’ve discovered through personal experience just how effective posting during peak hours of the day can be, and how frustrating it is when your content lands on blind eyes.
- Facebook: As far as your personal profile is concerned, any effective time of the day is usually up for grabs, depending on what you’re posting and what the content is. For your professional page, however, there’s a bit of a caveat attached. With the algorithm structure changing on what seems to be a monthly basis, it’s tough to determine what works best. What I’ve found to work pretty well (according to Facebook’s organic reach indicator) is that between the hours of 11:00am-1pm on weekends and the hours of 1:00pm-4:00pm on Thursday and Friday are highly effective. After these peek times, it’s rather pointless to post anything on Facebook, as most people are starting the weekend plans and are paying very little attention to Facebook, except for when they log on to post pictures of their weekend festivities. As I mentioned before, your personal profile might reach people a little more effectively, however, you don’t want to annoy your personal friends with Amway pitches every hour.
- Twitter: I find that Twitter is the most effective social media tool in conveying my content to a broader audience. Twitter is primarily a networking site and you don’t need to be worried as much about overselling yourself or your content. Certainly, you don’t want to create a spamtastic persona on Twitter—you still need to self-govern your tweeting habits, but where Twitter is a continual scrolling feed, catering to our growing scrolling society, it’s not frowned upon to post the same piece of content a few times a day. After all, you want to reach the people who may have missed your tweet earlier in the day. That said, I find that posting in the neighborhood of 11:00am-3:00pm during the week is highly effective. People tend to check Twitter during lunch and coffee breaks. For people who are stay at home professionals, they too tend to spend more time on Twitter after their morning rituals are complete and before their evening routines are set to begin. On weekends, 9:00-11:00am is prime time to post, just before people head out for their weekend activities—especially during the summer months.
- Pinterest: For those of you who are unfamiliar with Pinterest, it’s a bit different from the platforms that you’re used to. It’s more about sharing than it is communicating. Simply as a viewer of Pinterest’s content, I can tell you that it’s an invaluable tool. Anything you’re looking for, from recipes to how-to-projects, from publishing advice to home decor ideas, you will find it on Pinterest. As a poster to Pinterest, the ideal time to reach viewers is a bit wonky. Females make up the majority of the sites demographic and peak viewer times are later in the day—most likely that their Pinterest time is THEIR time, after the stresses of their day are over. After 5:00pm on Friday is a good time to reach viewers, especially if you’re blogging about weekend activities or interesting new recipes. 8:00-11:00pm on Saturday night seems to attract high activity as well.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is primarily a work-hour social network site and it’s best to confine your posts to the daytime. Early morning and lunch-hour posting will be your most effective efforts. After 5:00pm, your posts will pretty much go unnoticed.
- Instagram: A photo sharing social networking site, Instagram can be a fun and effective way to reach a new audience if you have entertaining visuals to share. With various photo filters and a huge user base, there’s no end to how many people you can reach with a simple photo. Take some pictures of things related to you AND your brand. Filter it appropriately to give it a broader visual appeal and tack on some hashtags to attract your target audience. See the Instagram page for my company WATTSauce to get an idea of how photos can help establish and build a brand. Anytime during the week is a good time for Instagram. People usually check in for a few moments here and there throughout their day for some enjoyable distractions. Contain your posting to the earlier hours of the day if possible.
A couple of other factors to keep in mind? It’s best to gain an understanding of what your followers are expecting from you as far as the content you’re sharing. After all, they followed you with the expectation of seeing more posts like the ones that initially attracted them. Don’t disappoint them by continually posting offensive, off-brand or dare I say—boring material. Stay the course and keep your following happy—and growing. It’s also important to keep in mind that the majority of the United States population is in the eastern and central time zone. 50% of the U.S. population resides in the eastern time zone alone. If you live on the west coast, you might want to schedule posts to hit during peak eastern time zone hours. The same should be kept in mind for east coast posters. Don’t alienate your west coast audience by posting too early in the day. You’ll potentially miss out on reaching some influential west coast readers. Have at it!