Yesterday here on the blog, Mark wrote about a an infographic that told people the best times to post to different social networks. The makers of that infographic, SurePayroll, are not the first people to try to tell the world about these “best times to post.” Buffer, the app that helps people share articles spread out over time, has made posts about this before and we even put out a report a few years ago that contained information on when Twitter users are most active, which could give you a good idea of when to post.
Seeing things like this give people a good idea as to when the majority of Twitter users seem to be most active, which could be a good place to start testing if those times work for your brand. However, I’ve personally always been a proponent of really knowing your audience, which means finding out what times are best for THEM specifically and not just everyone.
An example I’ve used many times when speaking to people about this topic is brands that focus on a younger demographic. While many reports and infographics show that peak times to tweet are somewhere between 9am-3pm Monday through Thursday, that’s not great timing for brands to reach teenagers as they should be in school at that time and (hopefully) not checking Twitter.
So, after reading yesterday’s post, I decided to put my theory to the test and to show the world.
In both our MAP and Heartbeat software we have a great feature that we call “Best Time To Tweet.” This feature looks at all of the people following a brand (usually your brand) to see when these specific followers are most active on Twitter. We then lay out a graph for you showing these levels of activity and suggest that some of these most active times of your followers would likely be the best time for your brand to tweet.
I picked a couple of interesting brands to highlight as an example below and show that each brand will have a unique best time to tweet that they can only really know by understanding their audience. The graphs below show that followers of a Twitter account are more active when the squares on the grid are a darker shade of blue.
In the sense of fairness, I started by analyzing my own Twitter handle. I live in Toronto and do a lot of my tweeting with the world during business hours. So, it was no surprise that a lot of my followers are active during those times too. As you can see, most of my followers are very active between 9am-5pm(EST) on weekdays.
I then looked at our @Sysomos handle. While we have a lot of followers from around the world, it still seems that our followers are most active during business hours as well.
But what about consumer based brands? Their target audience and followers may not be people doing business during business hours.
I started by taking a look at @CocaCola, a brand known around the world. Coke has no specific demographic as they want to reach anyone interested in a refreshing beverage from around the world. When I analyzed their Twitter followers, it appeared that they were most active in the afternoons, which is probably a good time for people to take a break and grab a Coke. So for @CocaCola, it might be best to tweet at people looking for that break.
To test my theory about kids being in school during what others say are the peak times to tweet, I looked at the @DisneyChannel, a channel with children’s programming all day in the US. As it turns out, their followers are being most active on Twitter between 1pm-10pm(EST). That shows that their fans start to become active on Twitter when school is ending, so for them to tweet in the morning may not make sense, but hitting up that after school crowd would.
I then started to experiment a little bit more with this.
The next brand I decided to look at was the @WWE, who has a very active Twitter account all day every day. When I analyzed their followers it turned out that they are most active on Monday nights between 8pm-10pm. That also just happens to be the time that RAW, their flagship TV show airs. So, for the WWE, it pays for them to be the most active while people are watching and tweeting along with RAW.
Next, I looked at @TacoBell, the Mexican fast food chain. Now, Taco Bell is known to have a stereotype of having a special affinity from a late night crowd of teenagers and college students. However, it may not actually be such a sterotype. When I analyzed their account to see when their followers are most active, it turned out they were tweeting the most between 8pm-midnight almost all week long. So, rather than shrugging off that stereotype, it may actually be better for them to embrace it and to tweet when their followers really are most active.
Some friends of mine on Twitter suggested that @EAT24 is a great brand to follow on Twitter. I had never heard of them (because they are US based and not in Canada where I can use them yet), but they’re an app that makes ordering pick-up or delivery food easy for people across the US. As it turns out, being an app for food they want to be available when people are hungry. When I looked at their followers, they were most active from about 11am-1am(EST), all times when people are hungry and thinking about ordering food. Interestingly, Friday afternoons are when their followers are most active, which also just happens to be when people are thinking about ordering food for Friday night after a long week when they don’t want to cook.
Lastly, I decided to get a little worldly. I looked at the account for @Westpac, a bank in Australia. Australia is currently 14 hours ahead of my Eastern Standard Timezone. So, when I analyzed their followers to see when they’re most active it wasn’t surprising to find that their best time to tweet was in the middle of my night.
Now, these are just a few brands on Twitter. Every brand will see that their fans or followers are active during different times of the day. Also, different social networks see activity at different times of the day. For some of these networks where you may not be able to see follower analytics as easy, testing may be the best way to find out when your best time to post to them would be.
So, we want to know, how do you know when the best time to post to a social network is for your fan base? Let us know how you determine it in the comments.