There are a huge number of articles about when to publish social media content to maximize impressions and engagement.
As the volume of content being created and published continues to explode, finding every opportunity to place your content in front of as large a proportion of your audience as possible is of utmost importance to maximize results.
You shouldn’t simply follow best practices.
Taking a moment to conduct a Google search for phrases to do with optimal publication times reveals nothing short of a gaggle of opinions on the subject. However, few take into account considerations that managers of individual social media communities should weigh into their decision-making of when to publish their content.
Most ‘best practices’ pertaining to optimal publication times are derived from studies of huge volumes of published content, and what times of publication yield the highest number of impressions or interactions. What these studies do not do, is consider your target audience’s social media habits, the volume of content being published by others during key times, or other contextual relevance that may be important for your business’ content to yield optimal results.
What you should do in lieu of following best practices.
To determine when the best times are to publish content for your targeted audience, begin by making some hypotheses about when you think your audience will be on a given social media platform, and when they will be inclined to engage with that content. For instance, if you are targeting a professional audience, publishing content during regular business hours is probably ill advised as these people are probably preoccupied with their workday, and may be less inclined to spend time with your business’ content.
Test to determine what works best for your audience.
After you’ve made some hypotheses about when might be the best times to publish content, you’ll want to test those thoughts by publishing content during different times of day and tracking what yields the best results.
Commit yourself to testing different times of day, and different days of the week, and even times that contradict your initial hypotheses (these are just a starting point after all). In order to identify trends and determine the best times and days to publish, track impressions and interactions with your content noting when it was published. In order to make this even more effective, try comparing the publication of similar types of content at different times, and use trends observed for that content type as your gauge.
Create your own data set, and observe trends.
Over time, you will have created a nice little data set for yourself and will easily be able to plot days of week, times of day, interactions, and impressions to get to the bottom of when the optimal time is to publish content for your targeted audience.
If this practice yields inconclusive results, identify the low-performing times of day for content publication, eliminate them from further consideration, and focus future efforts on the higher-performing times of day. Then, continue testing using these times, plot results, and determine what the best-of-the-best times are.
And there you have it. By spending a bit of time to hypothesize, test and optimize, you’ll effectively be creating your own publication best practices for your business.
If you have any interest to read more about social media best practices, and more specifically why you should defy them, please check out my recent article Rethinking the Value of Social Media Best Practices.
How have you determined the best time of day for your business to publish content on social media?
What are some other ways that you maximize impressions and interactions on your content?
As always, it would be great to hear from you in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial