At some point, broad stroke techniques about getting new users to your Facebook page and engaging them while they’re there aren’t enough. You run into the 80/20 rule limit, where you’re putting more than your 20 percent of work into less than 80 percent of your results. The diminishing returns start to sting, and it’s time to look elsewhere. One place you can look is the timing of your posts; it’s not hard to change and it can be surprisingly beneficial, if you do it properly.
Best Times of Day
The first thing to ask is what time of day is the best to post. You have a few options here.
- Weekdays at 11:00 A.M. The morning, around 11, is the best time of day to post your content. This way it’s new in the morning for users checking in, and you have the rest of the day to accumulate social signals.
- Weekdays at 3:00 P.M. The afternoon, around 3, is the best time of day for your user interaction. It’s right after the lunch break, and right after school lets out, when most people are signing on to see what they missed all morning. Posting fresh content here can get it lost in the rush, but if it gains traction it can have high exposure.
- Weekdays at 8:00 P.M. This is the start of prime time and is a time when a lot of people are signing on to comment about their days. It’s right after dinner and right when a lot of television programs are starting, leaving time for commentary as well.
The worst times of day are fairly obvious. Avoid any time after 10:00 P.M. because you’re posting to an audience primarily going to bed for work the next morning. Also remember that you won’t get a lot of attention on a Friday evening, where sharing a business page’s content is a sign of no social life, making people hesitant to do so.
Tip: Beware of Time Zones
All of the times in this post are listed in Eastern. Adjust accordingly if you’re in a different time zone around the world. This is further complicated for business owners outside of the USA. You’ll need to pay attention to daylight savings time. Depending on the time of year, you’ll consider times as Eastern Standard Time or Eastern Daylight Time. These are GMT-5 and GMT-4 respectively.
Best Days of the Week
So now you know what time of day is best, but which day? Well, you can generally segregate the week into weekdays and weekends. On one hand, weekends may seem like a good time to post; it’s when everyone is off work. Contrary to that expectation, however, users spend weekends on activities away from their social profiles. You may attract a weekend crowd, for sure, but they may be a different group of people from your weekday users.
For weekdays, you have two options. Wednesday is the best time for most businesses to post. It’s in the middle of the week, when users are trapped at their desks and looking for some distraction to liven up their week. Social engagement, even if it’s not something they’d normally care about, can take place then.
The second option is Friday, when many people are – put frankly – slacking off. They’re checking social media when they shouldn’t be, one eye out for the boss and the other on the clock. Productivity is already down, and you can encourage it by putting up your posts on a Friday afternoon. This is especially powerful for weekend event or contest promotion. You can also gain cheap social signals by asking users what their weekend plans are.
Worst Days of the Week
Sunday is, by far, the worst day of the week to post new content. Your users are savoring the last bit of their weekend before going back to work on Monday, for one thing. For another, Sunday is a day of worship. A large segment of your audience is likely going to be in church or spending time with family.
Tip: Remember Holidays
All bets are off for the week surrounding any given holiday. It all depends on the holiday and your audience. Some may be more active during the time off. Others will be spending time away from the computer. You can post even when traffic may be low, if you have a holiday promotion.
Audience Trumps Outside Research
All of the above advice is accumulated from any number of studies that are related to audiences that are not yours. The people they tracked may not watch you, though some may. The posts they tracked were not yours. All of this is a reminder that your audience can, and very likely is, different.
Think about your audience. Monitor their active times. Think about their jobs and what they do all day. Think about the free time they have and what they use that free time to do. If they spend very little time on social media, you need to make sure to focus on value at every possible opportunity. Make it worth their time to click. Conversely, if they have plenty of time to browse during the week, you can take the time with more frivolous questions and engagement offers.
Train Your Users
You have one more option beyond timing your posts to show up when your users are the most active. That option is the concept of training your users to show up at a particular time. To do this, you need something you can do regularly and the value to back it up.
The idea is simple; create a weekly recurring event that is valuable or interesting. Something like a limited time giveaway, a limited quantity coupon, a Q&A session, live blogging or some other form of customer interaction. Schedule this event. Announce it and reiterate that it’s recurring and ongoing.
Your goal with this project is to provide something useful that will keep your users checking back. If you pick a reasonable time, users will be available to see what you have say. It still helps to do some analysis to find out when your users are most readily available, but you can shape your traffic with a little preparation.
This method involves some investment. You won’t be able to set up the event once and at irregular intervals. You also probably won’t be able to automate it, depending on what the content is you’re posting. Still, it can be a very viable long term investment.