Getting your social media right depends on – among lots of other stuff – knowing your following. This shouldn’t be guesswork. People are individuals, and no two markets are exactly alike, so you can’t just assume that your following behaves the same way and likes the same things as a similar business’s followers.
So, how do you keep from stereotyping the same people you’re supposed to be serving? It was probably OBVIOUS in the title, but if not – test!!
Knowing Your Following
If you’ve been keeping up with the PO blog, you might have read my very embarrassing content marketing mistake you should avoid. I only discovered that because we were reassessing our blog presence, which involved tedious checking of the backlog and Google Analytics assessments.
That’s how it is with your social following. Media Bistro has a nice little graphic showing the statistical best times to post to different social media outlets, but even this is general. For instance, is most of your market the corporate type who only has time for SM at lunch or after 6 pm? Is it more of a startup entrepreneur crowd who works from home and has to be online all day? Is it young people who are online all hours of the night?
In social media, engagement is everything, and in engagement, timing is everything. If your Tweet is buried beneath 15 Vines, odds are it’ll never be seen, which could result from posting both too early and too late.
Testing for Specific Metrics
The only way to really, really know when to post is to test – but it’ll take some time. Schedule regular posts throughout the week at varying times: usually it’s best to try the hours just before 9, the hours around lunch, the hours around work getting out, and evening. Weekends can be very different, so expect a free-for-all, including later at night. And remember, not everyone in your following is in your time zone – a fact that starts to make things really complicated.
Try to keep your posts comparable at given times and vary post types for those times so you’re not pitting flashy video posts against boring site backlinks – you know, apples and oranges. Do this for a month or more, then review your data on Google Analytics and specific social site metrics (for help with automation and analysis, PuTTin’ OuT’s social media automation software will make things MUCH easier!!).
Now see how it looks. Is no one engaging with your posts at 9:30? Don’t post then. Do people read your blogs more in the evening? Are video posts more engaged at night than in the morning? You get the idea!
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