Are you using social media to your full advantage? Are you using it at all?
If you’re a freelancer trying to build a brand for yourself, social media is crucial. And using social media wisely can give you just the right exposure you need to get your business growing.
Hannah is here today to share with us the latest research on how to schedule your posts on social media to maximize engagement. Because nobody like to feel like they’re shouting out into a void without any reply.
When You Post Matters As Much As What You Post
While we all know that quality is key when it comes to posting content for your audience online, when you post is hugely important too.
Many bloggers, writers and online entrepreneurs simply throw their content out online whenever they’ve finished a post, remembered that they should be posting on Facebook or because they just feel like it.
If leveraging social media to increase awareness of and engagement with your brand, product or service is your goal, then a slapdash approach to posting isn’t going to work.
With a few tweaks to your schedule (or simply by creating one!) and by integrating some clever apps into your workflow, you can make use of peak engagement times to maximize your reach on a variety of platforms.
Different Platforms Have Different ‘Hot’ Times
What works for one platform will very likely not work for others.
The purpose that draws a user to Pinterest at 10pm is different to what draws them to Facebook at 3pm or one of their favorite blogs at 9:30am.
It’s important to keep in mind the ideal times for different platforms when formulating your online posting strategy.
1. Blogging Is the Easy One…
While timing your blog posts well isn’t quite as critical as the timing of your social media posts (especially in the context of evergreen content), there are still times to publish and engage that will better serve consumer trends.
According to Kissmetrics, the ideal time to publish blog posts is between 9:30am and 11am on a Monday morning.”
Obviously, you’re likely blogging more than once a week, so this information is potentially better used to pick the best day of the week for your juiciest content.
(Side note: Gina shared how blogging consistently for one year helped her build an audience and grow her freelance business.)
For an added bonus, blogs that publish twice a daily experience more than double the number of unique visits and engagement.”
Pro tip: If you are hoping to really drive the comment engagement on your blog, then it may be worth allotting a little time out of your weekend to respond to your blog follower’s comments in real time.
2. Facebook Isn’t as Scary as You Think!
Facebook, with its ‘mysterious’ algorithms and feed quirks, can feel like a marketing Everest.
It is not quite as hard as it seems, though.
One thing to keep in mind is that 75 percent of your engagement on Facebook will happen within two hours of your posting.
Don’t freak out!
This might seem like a challenge, but this knowledge, combined with data and assessment of your audience’s behavior, can help you leverage this window and maximize engagement with your content.
The results of studies into social media timing do vary.
However, one thing is clear: Thursday and Friday between 1pm and 3pm seem to be the winners when it comes to engagement on the platform. Engagement rates on these days are 18 percent higher than the rest of the week, according to Forbes.
Another idea is to try and use the lack of ‘noise’ that exists at non-peak times to try and grab more of your audience’s attention. A study by Track Maven found that a strategy like this does have the potential to increase reach and engagement with your audience.
3. Pinning: All Day Every Day?
Pinterest has really changed the game when it comes to social media ‘rules.’
With its fast pace and the institution of their Smart Feed algorithm, it seems like it’s always a good time of day to post. It’s about volume and quality of content more than anything else.
That being said, engagement is highest at times where people aren’t at work. Evenings are always higher in repins. When it comes to weekends, Saturday afternoons and evenings are clear winners.
(Psst! If you’re still trying to figure out Pinterest, you can get some help from Kristin, the Pinterest pro who helped Gina take her audience from 21k to 181k (and growing!) in just four months.)
While this isn’t timing related as such, it’s worth noting that the absolute minimum number of pins you should be doing in a day is five. However, 20-30 pins is considered to be the industry ‘standard’ in terms of best practice.
That being said, as noted above Pinterest is really bending social media rules, with Buffer noting that if your pins are quality content, then there’s no limit to how much you should pin in a day.
4. Instagrammers Want to See You – but Does It Matter When You Post?
Similarly to Pinterest, other factors impact your Instagram engagement far more than timing, particularly when the non-chronological algorithm is expected to roll out in the coming months.
Quality images, a sharp hashtag strategy and genuine engagement with your target audience should concern you more than timing on this platform.
A 2013 TrackMaven report found that timing really didn’t make much difference when it comes Instagram.
These caveats aside, there are still times that are varying degrees of ‘better’ to post on Instagram depending on the kinds of content you are posting and who your target audience is.
In terms of days of the week, engagement is highest on Wednesdays and Sundays, no matter what time you post. For weekdays, early morning, midday and early evening are the ideal times to post if you want to engage immediately with your audience. Particularly if they are school-aged or would likely be 9-5 workers.
When it comes to video content on Instagram the data is far clearer – early evening is the best time to post.”
Given the fact that timing is of limited importance on Instagram in general (with an engagement rate of 4.9 percent at best and 4.4 percent at worst), testing your own audience patterns is more important.
Union Metrics has a great free tool where you can get a report of your account engagement results, allowing you to used the data adjust your posting schedule to make improvements.
Wondering What to Do Now?
Knowledge is power, but it can also be overwhelming.
If you’re new to social media, it might seem crazy to know that you need to be on all these platforms every week, sometimes even multiple times a day. Thankfully there are ways you can simplify and automate your content creation strategies.
1. First of all, get a content calendar.
Content calendars have been discussed on Fully Booked VA before and they really are essential to refining your approach to social media, so that you can take advantage of the ideal times to drive engagement. By knowing in advance what you will be posting and when, you are able to create content in advance.
2. This bring me to the next awesome simplifier – scheduling.
Scheduling tools for social media have exploded in the last few years. There are many options both free and paid that allow you to schedule your posts at data-supported ideal times.
This is helpful largely because it means you aren’t spending all your time on social media writing posts. But it also makes it exponentially easier for you to start tracking your results in order to work out the ideal posting times for your specific audience.
3. Testing is an essential part of a solid social media strategy.
It applies to every element of social media, and the timing of your posts is no exception. By playing around with timing a little, while still paying attention to best practices, you can maximize engagement by tailoring your posting schedule to your audience’s habits.
If your Facebooks posts aren’t getting traction at 1:30pm on a Friday, try 3:30pm and compare. Test, test, test to make sure as many people can see and engage with your content as possible.
You’ve Got the Information, Now Go and Use It!
I hope that this post has helped you get a clearer idea of when you need to post and why. Now all that you have to do is start posting, start paying attention to results, start testing and see your engagement get better than ever!
Do you consider timing when posting on social media? Sound off below and tell us whether you do and why.
Hannah Chester turned her love of social media and photography into a blog about social media and visual content strategy at www.brandographie.com. She also provides content creation and social media management services for bloggers and small businesses. When she’s not writing about social media strategy, creating content for bloggers or wrangling her toddler she can be found photographing families at www.hannahchester.com. You can connect with Hannah on Twitter.