When you’re spending a long time tweaking a tweet or designing a graphic, it’s easy to forget to ask yourself: when should I post this?
The timing of a post can have just as much – if not more – effect on engagement as the right words and the right visuals.
When it comes to timing, the first place to start is the data. When are your followers active?
The times your users are most active
Here’s a (real) example of an account’s tweet timings vs their follower activity. It’s pretty good – peaks around 11-12pm and 3-4pm match up with when followers are active.
But we can see that there’s an activity peak around 10pm when there are no tweets at all. This is a missed opportunity.
Getting data like this (we got ours from a free tool called Followerwonk) can provide immediately actionable insights. It's possible to get similar data for other platforms too, such as Facebook and websites through Google Analytics.
We’re going to start using this data to inform when we post different types of content.
The time-frame and the mind frame
The question then is, why are people online at 10pm? What kind of content are they after? Someone probably isn’t looking for the same kind of information or formats at 8am and 10pm.
It’s easy to neglect this, but it should factor into thinking about how different content formats appeal to us differently depending on the time of the day.
On-the-go, lean forward, and lean back
When we’re on our phones, we’re after different things at different times.
When we’re commuting or on-the-go, we want something quick. Here, short-form content works well, like a 20-30 second video. Facebook estimates we spend 70% of our time accessing content while on-the-go.
When we’re on a lunch break, we have a bit more time but are still mentally engaged. This is a good time for something interactive or ‘lean-forward’ content like a Facebook Live (which is why we time ours for then).
At 10pm, we’re in a different mindset. We’re in bed or on the sofa, and are more likely to engage with longer content, such as a short documentary or a long form article. This is known as ‘lean-back’ content.
What does this mean for you?
Sometimes you just need to get the content out.
But it can be a useful exercise to thinking about what your followers want in the morning when they’re commuting, and what they might want in the evening when they’re winding down.
It could also direct when you post shorter content (during commuting hours) and longer content (lunch breaks and late evening).
Have you found changing the timings of your posts has had an impact? Tell us about what you’ve learned in the comments. And if you want help getting data, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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