Timing Your Social Media Updates

Is there an optimum time to post your updates on social networks? Does timing have an impact on the reach of your message?

Bitly, the URL shortener, conducted an analysis of its click-tracking data to shed some light on this question. The optimal time on Facebook was from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., with the peak time being Wednesdays at 3 p.m. Twitter updates garnered the most attention from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Bitly argues that posting during these times can help you reach the most number of people.

The companys research also looked at blogging site, Tumblr. The best time of the week for this platform is Friday after 4 p.m., which is not an optimal time for either Facebook or Twitter.

The data underscores the differences in culture and behavior patterns of the three networks. But it also raises another point, not covered in the companys blog post or any of the many others that commented on it: the differences in behavior among users themselves.

As with all marketing activities, its important to consider your target audiences before setting your strategy for posting. Young people use social media differently than professionals, and so their level of activity on a particular social network might vary significantly.

A case in point: Tavi Gevinson, the young blogger behind Style Rookie, launched an online magazine for teens called Rookie. Because this magazine is targeted at middle and high school girls, it is only updated three times during each weekday: once right after school, once at dinnertime, and once around the last Facebook check of the day. Why? Tavi knows her audience and their online behavior, so she knows when shes likely to reach the largest audience.

While generalized data from Bitly is useful, dont forget that your audience may have somewhat different usage patterns. For example, the best time to reach students on Facebook may be around the end of the school day, but you might have greater success reaching small businesses with tweets sent early in the morning.

To determine the best times, you can check your website or social media usage data, or conduct a survey of your audience. What you will learn will help you manage your social media updates more effectively.

About Tiffany McClary

Tiffany McClary is the Director of Communications, Marketing & Outreach for the New Jersey State Library. She coordinates marketing and public relations initiatives in order to enhance the reputation of the State Library, and promote the value of NJ libraries and the services and programs that they provide to residents.