Every Friday, we like to take some time to get you caught up on the week’s hottest marketing news in our weekly news roundup.
In the last few months, two stories: “When’s the Best Time to Post on Facebook and Twitter? And Other Hot Topics” and “The Best Time to Send Emails … And Other Hot Topics” have attracted some serious attention and have sparked quite a dialogue amongst readers.
In this week’s Ask an Expert, I’ll answer your questions about whether or not there really is a best time to post on Facebook and Twitter, or send an email to your subscribers—and how you can find out what it is.
Is there really a best time to post on social media or a best time to send an email?
I guess the short answer to that question is…no.
There’s no set time that every business can look to and say “I’m going to get more Likes” or “I’m going to get more shares” or “I’m going to get more opens.” It really depends on you as a business—what’s going to work best for you; what’s going to work best for your industry.
But there have been some studies that have caught some buzz—especially on our blog in the news roundup we do every Friday. One of the studies was about the best time to post on Facebook, which found that posting on Facebook between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. during the week is the best time to post or between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Twitter is the best time.
More recently, we’ve seen a study about email marketing that said if you post earlier in the morning you’re going to see higher opens or more click-throughs … and when I say early in the morning, it actually said between midnight and 3 a.m. will get the most open rates.
For some people, these are answers they can hold onto, right? It answers the question that they’ve been looking for because people are always looking to see “where can I post?” or “when can I post?” to get the best results. But really, when you look at these findings, they really don’t tell you as much as you think they do. Posting in the middle of the day on Facebook makes sense— that’s when most people are probably on, they’re going to be engaging, and they’re going to be seeing your content … same thing with Twitter.
With email, it may seem surprising that sending an email at midnight or three in the morning would boost your open rates, but I think we all can relate to the experience of waking up in the morning, logging on, and going through your inbox or getting to work, starting your day, and taking the time to have your morning coffee and go through your emails. You may just get more opens because people have more time in the morning. So what it really comes down to is figuring it out for yourself and figuring out what works best for your business.
How can businesses decide what time works best for them?
So it’s really about experimentation. There’s no set rule for what’s going to work or what’s not going to work. So you can’t be afraid to try something new or try something that you maybe haven’t tried before.
On Facebook, think about the type of content you share and when you share it. Say you share a lot of pictures or a lot of news articles—why not one week share a lot of those pictures in the morning and a those news articles in the afternoon? The next week—switch it and do the articles in the morning and the pictures in the afternoon. Then all you’ll need to do is look at your Facebook Insights, which will actually give you a graph of when posts are getting the most response and when they’re getting the most reach. You can also keep track of things like: shares, likes, and comments. Within a few weeks it should become clear to you what times people are engaging the most. Also, don’t be afraid to post on the weekends or outside of your normal 9-to-5 because people are still logging on at those times as well.
Twitter is pretty similar. You know that with Twitter, when you post something on there, that stream is going to keep going and going. So you have to get it on there when people are going to see it. So it’s about paying attention to when your customers are going to be on there.
With email, it’s a little different, but it’s also a lot of the same. You can try different times to send your email. If it’s a monthly email, one month try in the morning, in another month try in the afternoon. But it’s also different because you have the opportunity to segment your list. So say you have 1,000 people sign up for your newsletter. For one month you can split that list in half or in thirds and you can send morning and night, or morning, afternoon, and night—then look at your reporting and see what kind of opens and what kind of click-throughs you get.
Month after month you’ll start to get a sense for when you’re getting the most engagement and it will also give you a look at what people are opening and engaging from your list. In that respect, you want to look at opens and click-through rates and that should give you a pretty good indication of what time is working best for you.
What is your best advice for businesses trying to figure out the right timing for their social media or email marketing?
First off, just don’t be afraid to try something new. If a business sees that midnight is the best time to send an email, they might not be inclined to do it because it may seem strange to them. Or if they’ve been sending emails for years now and they’ve been sending them every month at noontime and that’s what’s worked … well that’s great, but if you start to look at those open rates and click through rates and start to see those numbers go down, then you should try something new. Don’t take these studies as something you should set your watch by, but why not try it? Why not send an email then? Why not post on Facebook at time you weren’t expecting?
But also, don’t be afraid to do things outside the numbers—the numbers are only going to bring you so far. Reporting is going to show you what people want but you have to remember that these are your customers; these are people that are actually opening these emails. Something that a customer actually brought up to me the other day was that they are a service business and they want people to call to sign up or make an appointment when they send their newsletter. So if they send it out at midnight and people call, then no one’s going to be there to respond so sending at midnight would be defeating the purpose. So go outside the numbers and I think you’re going to have some good results.
Does your business have a time that works best for their social media or email marketing? Tell us in the comments below.