By Caitlin Brennan

March 15th, 2017

What’s the best time to post on social media in 2017? It’s a question so commonly asked that any article about it should have that question right up top for SEO purposes. Now that’s taken care of, let’s get down to business, shall we?

It’s great to have know when channels are potentially most active, but a one-size-fits-all approach only goes so far. An effective posting schedule is based on your social goals and how to best reach your fans.

Forget time slots, personalize for your audience:
There is no one time fits all solution. Customer segments, external events, multiple use-cases and even time zones mean that you need to know more than one magic hour.

That said, if you spend the time to create great content, it’s beneficial to know when you might encounter the most eyeballs immediately. Falcon.io recently introduced a feature in our Publish module that indicates the average number of fans online for the channels selected on a post. Quantity of viewers may not mean quality, but it is one crucial data point among many to use setting up your social content calendar.

A view from Falcon’s Publish module showing when our social fans are online – behavioral data that challenges many common recommendations about optimal posting times.

If you haven’t determined your own best times to post, looking to popular posting times is a good place to start. Experts try to assign ideal times for posting, but it’s an imprecise science. For example, this chart from Social Marketing Writing advises best posting times for the major networks. Their research suggests the optimal time for a Facebook post is between 1-4PM, for Twitter, 1-3PM and for LinkedIn, 5-6PM. 

How do you define a successful post?
To start, organizations need personalized marketing KPIs for campaigns. The right people need to see the right message at the right time in their consumer cycle.

While it’s nice to have acquaintances like the video of your dog playing in the snow, getting relevant likes is less about flattery and more about your bottom line. Those views need to turn into clicks that need to turn into conversions for your post to be considered a success. Look at how your channels perform and set realistic benchmarks that will contribute to your overall company goals.

As far as timing is concerned, that means you need to follow those peak-hour views through to your website. Use analytics to see if they perform as well as a post geared to the smaller subset of people on at an off-hour. This is a great opportunity for A/B testing. Be sure to tag campaigns thoroughly.

Once you’ve found a good time range, you may want to experiment with time zones. In Facebook Ads you can create ads targeted only to the states in each time zone to further narrow down your own peak time. If there is a strong time effect, you may even consider writing multiple identical posts, each targeted to a different time zone, arriving at exactly the right moment. This level of detail is not necessary for many brands, but it is an example of what you can do to optimize your ideal posting time.

The perfect time is in real-time:
Customers do not work on your schedule – you work on theirs. According to The Social Habit and Jay Baer, 32% of users who have ever interacted with a brand on social expect a reply in 30 minutes or less, 42% expect a response within 60 minutes. Broken coffeemakers get complaints around 7 a.m., whereas home furnaces may not break until the wee hours of the morning. An Eastern Standard Time 9-5 may not be the most efficient hours for your social customer service.

B2B solicitations aren’t urgent in the middle of the night. Few people are hankering for a cocktail first thing in the morning. The more you learn about your product and how people use it, the better your timing will be.

If there really was one “best time to post,” it wouldn’t be that way for long as feeds would get deluged with marketing content. The value of each post would decline. With knowledge about your product and your users and a few of the right tools, you can find the best posting time for you.

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