It seems like every social media guru has a formula on when you should post to Facebook. Some swear by first thing in the morning, between 6:00 and 8:00 AM, three weekdays and Saturday; others sing the praises of the 3:00 PM post every day of the week. Some researchers get even more specific, offering exact minutes and dates for each post as “the best.” Which one are you supposed to believe?
Here’s the thing: every posting schedule based on careful research and observation is probably 100 percent right. The problem is that too many people are looking for a blanket solution to a question that is as individual as your relationship with your customers.
According to Jonathan Goodman, of Viralnomics fame, there are two key elements to finding the posting schedule that works best for you.
- Understand your audience’s habits. If you’re targeting teenagers aged 16 and above, you know that their mornings are busy, they spend most of the day at school and, depending on extracurricular activities and academic programs, don’t have a lot of downtime during daylight hours. For weekdays, you know that teenagers like to sneak onto social media before school, during lunch, on the way home from school and then late at night after homework and chores are done. Their weekends, however, are quite different, and they’re likely to be most active after 10:00 AM, when they’re actually awake. To properly formulate a scientific approach to Facebook scheduling, you need to establish this schedule for any demographics you may be targeting and find where they overlap the most.
- Know when your target audience is at their most alert. Carrying on the example of a teenaged audience, even if they’re likely to sneak online in the morning, they’re not going to be very awake. At lunch they’re likely to be thinking about schoolwork, friends and food more than anything you could post about. The two points when they’re likely to be most alert are right after school, before they get started on homework, and late at night once the homework is done. An alert audience, according to research, is 70 percent more likely to share a post than just “like” it or scroll on by.
Once you know the biggest overlap between your targets, you need to check out the general trends in social media to make sure you’re not committing a faux pas in how often you post and when. There are some peak times and smart practices that are generally accepted regardless of your audience, reported by Social Times.
In general, you should post twice a day; any time between 1:00 and 4:00 PM will keep you in the timeframe that shows the highest clickthrough rate, while the highest peak is Wednesdays around 3:00 PM. This is understandable as it’s the middle of the week, so not only do adults take a little more time to get through the mid-week blues but teenagers are less likely to have extracurricular activities to muddy up their social media schedule. If you want to post on the weekend, make sure it’s after 8:00 AM, but before 8:00 PM—outside this window offers literally the worst posting time overall.
As long as you understand your clientele and focus your efforts, there’s nothing to fear—science is on your side! With careful observation, you won’t need to experiment to get the conclusion you want.
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