Every business owner hopes to find that perfect time to post on social media that will get them seen by the most people. Reach (views) equals awareness which can equal profits, after all.
In the quest to find the best reach, business owners inevitably find seemingly helpful articles that promise the secrets of “the best times to post on Facebook”. Or Instagram. Or Pinterest.
And it’s all BS.
That’s not to say that the data is incorrect in those articles. By doing some research, you can indeed find when most people are using each platform concurrently. The problem is that your ideal audience isn’t the whole world.
Sure, you may think that everyone in the world could use your product or service, but the truth is that really only a small fraction will want and need it enough to purchase it. So the trick is to post when the most people who are likely to buy your specific thing are online. That small but important distinction can mean the difference between creating a buzz and hearing nothing but crickets.
Example 1 – The Toddler’s Mom
Say that you would like to have moms see your Facebook post about the new toddler product you’ve invented. Articles say that 3pm is the best time to post on Facebook, but any parent knows that 3pm is about when most little ones are waking up from their naps. It’s not time to check Facebook, it’s time to make sure your child isn’t coloring the bedrooms sheets with a sharpie. (Yes, that actually happened in our house.)
Instead, by posting after 8pm, when the 2-year-old is finally asleep and the mom finally has a minute of downtime, your business posts would see more reach and engagement.
Example 2 – The Teen Fashionista
What if you want to have your Instagram post of your newly designed iPhone case seen by teens interested in fashion? Articles say to post on Wednesdays at 11am.
Sounds good until you realize that most teens are in school at that time, their iPhone tucked away in their locker or bag. When they finally get out of school and check their Instagram feed, your post will be buried under dozens of others.
It would make more sense to post during that after-school time or after-dinner time, when teens are most actively on their social accounts. Then you can catch their eye with your stylin’ case.
Example 3 – The Job Seeker
LinkedIn is no exception to the rule. Many think that with LinkedIn being all business, everyone checks it during business hours. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily true.
Let’s say that you’re hoping that your LinkedIn post about your resume-optimizing services will be seen by those in entry-level corporate positions. While articles state that the best times to post on LinkedIn are either at 9am or 4pm, those who are quietly looking for new opportunities are not doing so from their office desk. They check their LinkedIn on the train into work and then again in the evening – when those “best timing” articles say is the absolute worst times to post. But, basing your post timing off of common wisdom will only leave your posts disappearing to LinkedIn purgatory.
How to post at the right time to post for your brand:
Although there is no one-size-fits-all perfect time for businesses to post, it doesn’t mean that you can’t find the right times to post for your brand. It starts with a little extra effort and ends with a lot of reward.
1. Know the audience you want to target. Who do you want to reach? If you can answer that specifically enough, you can determine when they are most likely to be on social media, when they are most likely to engage with your content, and when they are most likely to be offline completely.
2. It’s trial and error. Create a simple system that is guaranteed to show you the best times to post. Start by posting at several different times of the day over 2 weeks. The times should be your best guesses at when your audience will be online, not just random times. Track how much reach and engagement each post gets. Keep posting at the times when you get the most reach and engagement after those two weeks. Every month, look back over the data and tweak the times.
3. Aim for engagement. With the algorithms of Facebook, Twitter, and now Instagram, even if you post at an ideal time, you may see less reach. However, you can transcend the algorithms by creating quality posts that encourage engagement (likes, shares, retweets, comments). Quality will win every time, even more so than finding the “magical” time to post.
4. Think relationship over reach. Besides getting better engagement, focusing on a relationship with your following will get you far more ROI than reach alone ever will. Get to know your followers and learn what they would like to see from you. If you listen to them, they will listen to you.
5. Consider advertising. For a small amount of money, you can not only reach your current followers but also a larger audience of potential followers, leads, and clients. Just make sure that you are optimizing your ads to your goals and using only quality material in your ads.
While the myth of the “perfect time to post” will likely live on indefinitely, you can be smarter than the competition by brushing off the BS once and for all. Make the effort to find the perfect time to post for your brand and start seeing real success.