Social Media article – 2014

Posting on social media sites can be a very time consuming task so it is vital to make sure posts and comments have maximum impact and reach as wide an audience as possible. It can also be a distraction from the day job to compose and submit impactful posts, it is easy to resort to a scatter gun approach sending out tweets and status updates when a natural break occurs. It is important to plan and schedule your posting times, as a well written post that nobody reads or is buried below hundreds of more recent updates is worthless.

As part of our free website report offered which includes a social media activity section, during the last six months we have been analysing a wide range of social media posts and their impact based on a number of factors. Looking specifically at Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Pinterest which seem to be the most popular used business social media sites.

First looking at Twitter, this can be the easiest trap to fall into, we found many businesses posting tweets at the end of the day when they get a chance to clear their desk and inbox. Unfortunately these posts are rarely seen and just buried with the next peak reading time, first thing the next day, even if they are read there was little evidence of any meaningful action taken. From our research, early afternoon around 1-3pm seemed to be the best time to send tweets, with the most views  and real actions triggered such as sales, sign ups and re-tweets. Another good time is first thing around 9-10am as people spend time reviewing their feeds and inboxes before diving into their daily work schedule.

LinkedIn was somewhat surprisingly very different with the optimum times at either end of the average working day, 8-10am and 4-6pm. There is obviously less immediate interactivity with Linkedin and an update email going out to connections sometime later. We found the best opportunity for interaction was in forums and discussions, it provides the opportunity to get noticed and show your expertise answering a question or contributing to a debate.

Facebook is similar to Twitter although we found there is more longevity in Facebook updates and users are more likely to scroll down recent history so whilst there is slightly more impact, any updates submitted towards the end of the day or outside of business hours had a low impact. So again early to mid afternoon is the optimum time and this noticeably tails off as the average working day heads towards its conclusion. Engaging and succinct posts submitted in optimum times induced real immediate results, there are lots of ingredients to get good results but timing of posts is certainly a factor.

Whilst Pinterest is still emerging in the business world it’s value cannot be under-estimated, especially in creative industries, retail shops and the entertainment sector. Best time for interactivity was late evening from 7 through 11pm with noticeable spike in responses and content sharing.

On a general note whilst it is minimal there is a trend showing that social media impact is higher earlier in the week, this concurs with other forms of online marketing such as email campaigns and online advertisements, however is worth considering when planning the weeks activity. Timing is key, if you could imagine the cost of running a television advert in between Coronation Street or X Factor compared to early morning hour repeats, with social media there is a level platform on posting during peak interaction times so this should be taken full advantage of.

Whilst you can schedule posts and updates to be submitted automatically, we would advise doing this manually as it can be dangerous if content is no longer relevant or contradicts other messages that have subsequently been released. Set aside an hour at the start of the week to compose the rough content of all your posts and then schedule all your reminders for the optimum time each day. It is very difficult whilst under pressure of your day job to remember and suddenly be creative and recall what the mission theme was. It is all too easy to resort to a quick “what I had for lunch” comment, thinking it light hearted but in reality damaging brand confidence and future engagement levels.

We will be regularly adding ongoing research and findings on our website and we welcome any feedback and patterns you have noticed within your business or sector.

Our research was across a wide range of industries including small start-ups to FTSE 100 companies so obviously there will be variances, our advice is to analyze and record your activity and results, we found few companies did this, which was surprising. Any investment in time such as social media activity should be analyzed and the actual results compared, this doesn’t need to be done as a complex scientific algorithm, just basic comparison of posts against sales or engagement then refine, refine, refine. Poorly planned social media activity can do more harm than good and if there isn’t a constructive learning process a huge amount of unnecessary wastage occurs.