Last week I came across an article that detailed the results of a recent study conducted by social media “scientist” Dan Zarella, through which he analyzed millions of tweets, Facebook updates, and email newsletter blasts to determine if there are better times of the day or week to get the most out of your social media promotion.
You can read the full article about Zarella “Science of Timing” study here, but in the meantime here’s a breakdown of the key points that I think will be most relevant to your interests.
The big overall takeaway that you need to understand from the study is that timing does matter when it comes to using Twitter and Facebook. Depending on what you share and who your audience is, there will absolutely be better times of the day or week to get the most out of your updates and that’s something worth taking into account.
For example, if you’re on the West Coast and you’re planning to share a link to the new video you just posted on YouTube, it’s probably not the best idea to share that link at 10 pm because that’s 1 am on the East Coast and likely half of your potential audience is already asleep and will miss it.
Besides using common sense and thinking about when the most people are likely to see what you share, Zarella has created a cool little website called TweetWhen.com that allows you to enter your own Twitter account and see when your followers are most likely to retweet what you post. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tweet at any other time, but it’s a cool little stat to take into consideration.
Understand Your Audience
One of the things I’ve noticed has been very helpful for me is to understand your intended audience and think about their social media habits. For example, I know that my Connected Comedy readers are mainly comedians who are often out doing shows at night and who are likely sleeping late in the morning. As a result, I tend to post my most important social media updates in the afternoon hours, when the majority of my audience is awake and likely spending some time surfing around the web.
For yourself, you should consider who your audience is and when they’re likely to be the most tuned in to social media. For example, I spoke to one person who runs a blog that’s hugely popular among moms recently and he told me that his audience is much more active early in the morning – likely because later in the day they get busy having dinner with their family or taking care of their kids after school. Everybody’s audience is different, but the chances are your audience has a distinct time at which you can best reach them.
More Tweets = More Followers
This is one of the most interesting findings in the study in my opinion. Zarella found that Twitter accounts with the most followers tend to tweet an average of 22 times a day and that, in general, the more you tweet the more followers you get. This makes sense to me because the more you tweet, the more opportunity there is for people to respond to you or share what you said which in turn grows your following. However, I would caution you that you still shouldn’t just tweet for the sake of tweeting – you want to concentrate on providing value and interaction, whether you’re tweeting once a day or 30 times a day.
One other interesting finding related to this is that Zarella found that you should be careful when sharing links to content elsewhere on the web – if you share two or more links an hour, your clickthru rate drops dramatically compared to people who shared no more than one link an hour. But in an interesting twist, the study also found that you should…
Tweet Your Links More Than Once A Day
Since it’s so easy for people to miss your tweets, Zarella found that you’re actually helped by tweeting links to the same content multiple times a day (or week). Again, different people are online at different times, and the study found that you’ll receive almost the same amount of clickthrus on your link the second and third time you post it as you did the first. However, it’s recommended that you switch up the title or language of the link as opposed to literally reposting the exact same thing.
Also, Zarella points to an interesting experiment where a guy posted the exact same link every day for 9 days in a row and didn’t show any dropoff in clickthrus. You can read all about that here.
Your First Email Blast Is Your Most Important Email Blast
As part of this study, Zarella analyzed a whopping 9.5 billion email newsletter messages and found that the most important email you send to somebody that joins your mailing list is the first one that they get. He found that people are much more likely to click links in that first email than they are future emails, and that most people who are going to unsubscribe do so after receiving your first email if they don’t like it.
But the other thing Zarella points out about email newsletters which I think is worth noting is that “Unsubscribers are doing you a favor” because they don’t want to hear from you anyway. That’s actually a pretty smart way to look at it in my opinion.
YOUR TURN: Have you noticed any trends about the timing of your social media updates? Leave a comment and tell me what you’ve found have been the best (or worst) times for you to share stuff with your followers…