Have you ever asked yourself, “Does the time I post on social media really matter?”
The simple answer – yes. Although, you may be itching to bring your content live, the time of day that you post can have a significant waiting on your engagement, traffic and chance of gaining new followers. While countless studies have been conducted to find a universal “prime time,” it’s more important to understand your own audience and how to effectively and actively engage.
1. Know Your Unique Audience
There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to scheduling posts. You need to consider your audience and the different cities, time zones and lifestyles they lead. For example, if you are targeting young professionals, a great time could be the morning or evening commute at approximately 7am or 5pm. If you want to engage with stay at home Mum’s or university students during the day could be best.
2. Check Your Insights
You can rest assured that Facebook and Instagram have all the data you need to determine a bang on posting time. If you’re on Facebook, simply open your Facebook Page and click “Insights.” On the left you will find different sections of your page insights and graphs and charts will be visible on the right.
One of the most helpful things to look at is “Your 5 Most Recent Posts” section and see what times your followers are online. It’s important to note that while they may be online, they may not be engaging. Go to “Posts” from Page Insights and scroll down to “All Posts Published.” Here you will find when your followers are most likely to react, comment and share content – bingo.
Instagram operates in a very similar format. Click the hamburger button in the top right corner, click “Insights” and then head to “Followers” to access the location, age, gender and most active times of your audience. If you’re wanting to just check out the posts specifically, just click ‘Content You Shared’ and you can easily check out posts from the designated time frame and metric.
3. Unlock Your Potential
Did you know that you can also access insights from your potential Facebook audience?
Facebook Audience Insights was designed to help plan and optimise your campaigns and track interactions with your potential audiences age, gender and location. Just click “See All Insights” and scroll down to find where your audience is live. This is particularly helpful if you’re marketing a product or service to particular countries or regions.
4. Trial and Error
Who doesn’t love a good spreadsheet?
We recommend picking five times to post through the week and recording the results manually in a spreadsheet. Note the day, time, comments and likes for the first week. Then slightly adjust them for week 2 and 3 to see if there has been a difference. I.e. If you post Monday at 5pm first round, try 6pm next round. It may take a few weeks but it will provide a lot of clarity. It is important to note that other factors may come into play when recording insights; type of content your posting, major events, Facebook and Instagram updates etc.
Another experiment to conduct is off-peak posting because remember, you’re competing with a ridiculous amount of content.
“On average, there are 1500 stories that could appear in a person’s New Feed each time they log on…for people with a lot of friends and Page likes, as many as 15000 potential stories could appear any time.”Facebook’s VP of Advertising Technology Brian Boland
5. Things To Consider
Is it a long weekend? Is it school holidays? There are many factors to take into consideration when scheduling a post and whether your followers will be active and engaged. If there is a notable event on, a great way to capture the attention of your audience and potential audience is to engage with the topic.
Whether it’s politics, sporting events, a trending meme, popular song, you have a higher chance of being noticed if you add to the dialogue. A great example is the campaign by Nike during the George Floyd upheaval in 2020. They flipped their famous motto around to say “For Once, Just Don’t Do It.”
It was a simple black social tile with quotations that went viral and while it may seem like a ‘risky’ move to weigh in on the Black Lives Movement, the campaign had a 98% positive response rate. It even led to the domino effect of other brands following suit including a repost by Adidas. Just because there are global issues outside of your brand, doesn’t mean you don’t have the opportunity to engage with them.
6. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule
No one wants to be setting reminders to post content. Let an app handle it for you. Some of our favourites include Creator Studio (within Facebook and Instagram business), Planoly, Later and Buffer. Ultimately it’s important to see what works for you.
- There’s no universal prime time, find out what works for you
- Get to know your audience by understanding your social insights
- Start experimenting with spreadsheets and “off-peak” posting
- Schedule your posts using applications so that you can free up your time
- Don’t be afraid to engage in big issues or relevant discussions
Is it all too much?
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