Social Media

Timing’s just as important as content

 
 
Twitter
Twitter
MCT File

Chicago Tribune

We talk often about what to share on social media. Having the right content is very important. It also has to be compelling, well written and shareable.

Also important is when to share it. We don’t talk about time nearly enough.

The what is easier than the when because no two people use social media alike. Online consumption and dissemination varies depending on factors ranging from work schedule to location to family responsibilities. But the best time to share ultimately will depend on when your audience is listening, and figuring that out is a key part of a successful social media strategy.

But even if you were to invent the perfect system for timing social media shares, success doesn’t exist without quality content. Focus on that first, and then focus on the delivery.

Start with Twitter. There are all kinds of automated tools available to help you, and they’re easy to find by searching “what time should I tweet?” Most of these algorithmic-based services take into account how well your past tweets performed and when your followers will be online. Imperfect, but useful.

I’m going to give you some tips for timing based on my past successes. And because I’m no good with cars, this social media tune-up is all about the music.

Time after (Central) time. Maybe Cyndi Lauper was foreshadowing Google Plus when she sang these lyrics in 1983: “Caught up in circles/confusion is nothing new.” To prevent confusion, start with these very general times as a baseline: People commute between 7 and 9 a.m., break for lunch between noon and 1:30 p.m., commute home between 5 and 6:30, tuck their kids into bed between 7:30 and 9 and get ready for bed at 10:30 or 11.

Workin’ 9 to 5. What a way to make a living. You might work bankers’ hours, but not everyone does. So don’t constrain your social media between when you check in and check out. Instead 

Rock around the clock. Five, six, seven o’clock, eight o’clock rocks. Try different times and see what the reaction is, but don’t limit yourself from the start.

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere. I tweet with people outside the United States, so always be aware of what time it is here and there. Waiting till the midnight hour might not be such a bad idea.

Does anybody really know what time it is? You don’t need a giant clock like Flavor Flav to be successful in social media, but you do need frequency and consistency. Use an app such as Buffer to take seven or eight really strong tweets and spread them out throughout the day, then sprinkle them with a little logic. Send your post about brunch on Saturday morning instead of Wednesday night. And share your story about prime time TV during prime time instead of Sunday afternoon.

The times, they are a changin’. What’s working? What’s not? Have your likes and shares crashed or gone through the roof? Create a regular schedule for a month, assess and then reassess.

And with that, it’s time for me to fly.

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