*This is not another article giving you a copied and pasted data set and instructions on when you should post on your blog, send your newsletter, or tweet your tweet.*
Sure there are countless articles and infographics on the best times to post your blog, tweet, or send your newsletter in order to maximize your reach, but how can you know that these are the best for you specifically? There is no way to predict that these preset times will work for each individual. Everyone has different groups they appeal to.
Most of these data sets are meant to represent a wide range of people. Much like public school lunches work; you can’t appease every single person—so a bland default is served to cover most, if not all, bases.
So how can you figure out the best time for you—specifically—to post? Testing, obviously should be the first thing that comes to mind, but you need to first know what to test for as well as different variables that can have an effect results.
Know Your Demographic
You want to concentrate on getting the most out of what you’re posting or sending. One way to do this is to pay attention to your demographic, the people who you directly appeal to and are buying your product or reading your posts.
The main object you want to decipher is the time that your demographic is most active on the internet. Again, depending on your demographic, certain times of the day and week might be better to send out newsletters or post a blog post. For example, if you run a blog about “graveyard shift workers,” posting during early hours of the afternoon are unlikely to be your best option.
Is your demographic mainly young adults who are glued to their smart phones 24 hours a day? Are they adults who work full-time jobs during the week? Or do you appeal to an older group that checks their email like clockwork only once a day, or even once a week. If you’re entirely unsure of who you appeal to and where to start deciphering this information, you can utilize your brand’s following on your website and social media. Review comment sections of your blog, your followers’ biographies on social media platforms, or even get to personally know a few of your customers or readers.
Different Times and Days
There are dozens of factors involved with deciding the best times to post. Time and day of the week, or even month, is a massive factor to keep in mind. Different days can and will have very different results. If you’re trying to sell something or pitch a campaign for a coupon, it also wouldn’t be a bad idea to send out something like a newsletter about the sale or coupon towards the end of the week—specifically on payday.
One perfect example of how inconsistent factors like time are the very important to consider when posting is the popular website Reddit (warning to those who don’t know what Reddit is: click only if you have dozens of hours of free time). Reddit allows people to share text posts, pictures, videos, articles—essentially any form of media.
Thousands of posts are submitted each hour across thousands of subsections, or subreddits, and the most popular posts that are chosen by upvoting will make it to the top of the list. Something that has been discovered by members of the Reddit community is that the time something is posted is critical to whether or not that post will be popular enough to reach a top-post status. There are instances of people posting a picture or video that never get any traction, however, someone else will post the same picture or video at a different time and it will gain hundreds of upvotes within a small time frame.
Time zones are unfortunately an unchanging obstacle you will have to somehow work around. Peak “best times” to post, as stated by dozens of articles, vary throughout the day between the late morning, afternoon, and early evening. However since these aren’t static times around the world, you need to find an average or have a few posts throughout the day.
Different social media platforms or social outlets will each have vastly different analytics and results for best times to post. By having a basic knowledge of each of these platforms and outlets, you will be able to predict the best times to post on each.
Personally I’m more inclined to read twitter early in the morning since posts tend to be short and concise. If you are having a sale or sending out a blog post later in the day, it could be a great idea to send out a short, teaser post to bring early awareness to it.
How You Can Test
In order to find the best times to send out your posts, you need to test for at least a few weeks or until you get a solid set of results.
It’s also crucial to have a way to view analytics and measure these results. Tools, such as Google Analytics, or platforms with built in analytics, like Hubspot or Buffer, will allow you to see how many views or clicks a post gets. By doing this, you can easily compare times, and utilize the information to figure out the best day to post.
If you want to keep it simple, you can organize all of your data sets and posting information in a spreadsheet so that you can easily compare analytics.
While these are all important factors to consider when selecting a time to post, this doesn’t mean that pre-set “best times to post” won’t work at all, nor does it invalidate them. I would actually recommend using example best times to use as a “default” to start for your testing, especially if you have no other information to base your testing on. Unless you test times out for yourself, there is no way to tell if which truly work best for you.
Essentially, you need to master how to be omniscient, without being omniscient. It isn’t necessary to be online and posting during every single hour of the day. Once you have times lined up, you will be set to set up a schedule for your posts.
What interesting things have you found about social posting times?
Emma Zwirko is a social media manager at WP Engine. She hails from the East Coast of the US and enjoys video games, frozen pizza, and cat GIFs. You can follow Emma on Twitter @WPE_Emma.