Somewhat Simple: finding the best times to post
So you’re wondering about times to schedule or post all that awesome content you have created and don’t know where to start? Seems a lot of other people are also in the same boat. We often get asked ‘how do I know when the ‘best time to post’ is?’ and for that we have a somewhat simple answer. Yes, somewhat simple… let me explain…
There are a few things that should be thought about before diving in and having a go at scheduling content that encourages engagement and exposure. They are; social media apps (of course), scheduling apps, analytics, knowing your audience and common sense.
Which social media platform should I use?
Firstly let’s look at the social media platforms you could be using. Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, LinkedIIn and Twitter are all social media platforms and all serve a slightly different purpose. If you are looking for professional engagement and networking you would be more likely to post on linkedIn. For posting attractive visuals and sharing stories you would look at sharing on Instagram. Pretty simple right? Think about your audience and pick the social media platforms that your audience are spending the most time on. Then, start posting!
If only it were actually that simple, but as we know, nothing really is. Each platform will likely have different ‘best post times’. So, how do you find that out?
Dissecting the data
There are a few different ways you can find the ‘best post times’. Firstly you can read a lot of blogs, forums and information posted by other people who suggest the best times… according to their data based on their audience’s engagement on their post. This can be a helpful starting point if you are willing to do the work but who can be bothered with that? Another way to find ‘best post times’ is to use data collected by scheduling apps if you have been using them.
Apps and sites like Planoly, Later and Meet Edgar that are used to schedule posts all generally have analytics and insights. There you will find which posts gain the most traction, insights to your audience like genders, ages and… the times your audience are on and engaging with the social media platforms. Social media platforms also have their own insights and analytics and will give you very platform specific data to look at. Whether you use a scheduling app or site, or you use the social media platform itself, you will be able to get a good enough insight as to when your audience is online, engaged and even a glimpse into who they are.
Some of these statistics (like age and gender of your audience) should not be new to you assuming you know your audience. Now we start to move into the ‘somewhat simple’ realm. Yes it is simple to find all this data and information, however, to get the most out of it all you actually need to look at it and use it to inform your posting decisions. If you haven’t posted much yet this data will not show a whole lot of information. The more followers you have, the more engagement you receive, the more posts you make etc., the more accurate the data will be and therefore the easier it will get. Do you see where this is going? You have to start posting, to get information on your posted posts to make the most out of future posts. Use some common sense so you can get some traction and engagement to analyse.
Who are you reaching for?
Basically one of the easiest ways to start to find your ‘best post times’ is to post. Post on different days, different times and post different content. But first, make sure that you know your audience. The most important thing when posting to social media is to know your audience. After all that’s who you are posting for. If you want to engage a certain group of people you need to make sure that you are talking to that group of people.
This is where common sense comes in. If you were a skate wear business in Australia you wouldn’t be posting knitting supply content in French, it just wouldn’t make sense. Think about who you want to reach and what you want to say to them. Once you have done this, think about what their behaviour during the day might look like. Are they office workers who work nine to five, Monday to Friday? Ask yourself, ”if that were me, when would I be on your phone and looking at social media?” Probably lunchtimes and after work. Simple enough. What if you are trying to reach shift workers who get home at six in the morning? Posting during the day when they are sleeping probably wouldn’t be very beneficial. Later in the night when they are getting up and ready for their next shift however, might be. Once you understand your audience and think you have a good understanding of when they might be looking at their feeds, start posting during those times.
Post, analyse, refine and post again
You can use your analytics to cross check if you have enough data or just go with common sense and understanding your audience to begin with. It is even worth trying posts at different times. You might be happy with the engagement you get from one ‘post time’ but there might be a time that gets more engagement waiting to be discovered. Have a play with it, the more data you give analytics and insights the more information you will get back. Once you start to post more you will be able to see, in the data, what worked and what didn’t. Remember that if something didn’t work that it is still great information and not a failure. Instead use that knowledge to fine tune the content and times you post.
Finding the ‘best post times’ is somewhat simple. You can read all the posts, forums and information shared by others as you like but ultimately to create a wider engagement with your specific audience you need to know your audience, post, analyze, post more, analyze, post more…etc. While the steps are simple enough it is you that needs to research your social media analytics, whether on scheduling apps or on the platforms, and cross check it with what you know about your audience (are their behaviours likely to change or do you need to target a new audience?) to find the best times for you to post to your content. Basically use your common sense, look at the data, try new content and new post times and you will better understand when to post, what to post and whether the behaviours of your audience are changing. With that knowledge you will be able to adapt with the changes that are bound to happen in each social media platform.
So there it is, somewhat simple advice for finding the ‘best post times’. Good luck finding your best posting times and don’t forget you need to post content to find out what works and what doesn’t!