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This is Part II of the series on timing. Please read Part I first.
There are two primary components to timing that should be considered when planning out what content to post. You must remember the type of content to post at the different times as well as the goals of the content itself. To do this, you have to keep a strong MAP (marketing action plan) in place to guide you in order to have the right posts going out at the right times.
The personality, fan base, and availability to monitor the social channels all make a huge difference in the specifics surrounding your posting, but here are some general rules to keep in mind:
There are always exceptions and these suggestions are more of a guide to get your thinking in the right place rather than hard rules. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Remember to take into account their mentality and likely location when seeing your updates. At night, for example, there's a decent chance that social media is happening as a second-screen experience. In other words, they may be watching television and surfing social during commercials. It's not a great time for hard-hitting business offers or long videos. Short videos, on the other hand, such as 30-second customer testimonials, can perform better in the evening than they do during the day.
As a proper MAP will dictate, you should be thinking ahead and planting seeds at the appropriate moments. For example, if you know you have a big sale coming up in a couple of weeks, you may want to post teasers about it every other day for a week, then every day leading up to it. This isn't the time to get boring; make them fun and increasingly informative whenever possible.
One of your goals may be to prompt your happy customers to write reviews on the various sites out there. This is hard to accomplish with social media, but there's a silver lining that has become more important lately. With Google, Yelp, and other review sites pulling down reviews left and right, it should be noted that the people who are able to be influenced to write reviews when prompted by social media channels are the highest quality. That's not to say that they'll write good reviews. It means that the personality type associated with these people is such that they are probably already active on the review sites and have a much better chance of having their reviews stick.
If, like many businesses, your goals with social media are strictly surrounding branding and name recognition, you have the luxury of posting at an extremely regular level. You could even schedule the majority of your posts well ahead of time. You also have the luxury of being able to post more often than businesses with goals that surround driving traffic to their website or landing pages.
This might sound odd, but if you are doing this strictly for the branding, you'll want to schedule your posts at the exact same time every day. Facebook batches images that are posted within 24 hours of the last one within an album. Unfortunately, they create albums for you based upon the source of the post. This includes scheduling with the native scheduling tool itself. So, if you are wanting to schedule 3 images a day, you'll get maximum exposure by scheduling them with three separate tools, including the native tool.
Posts that go up to Facebook.com itself manually are not constrained to these parameters. Unfortunately, everything else currently is, including mobile uploads, Instagram, and Pinterest (though Pinterest allows 2 posts in 24 hours before batching them).
As with the types of posts, this set of tips on goals is a miniscule idea-sparking teaser rather than a comprehensive guide. Because the goals of different businesses can be as diverse as the businesses themselves, it's important to put your own goals together (or contact us for some advice) based upon your specific business needs.
If you want to get a leg up on your competitors, this is the easiest way to do it. Understanding when and how people are engaging with businesses on different days of the week yields some facts that surprise many (myself included).
The weekends are the untapped goldmine of social media for business. Fewer people check their social feeds on the weekends, but those who do check are much more active than they are during the week. Likes go up by a lot. People are more thoughtful on the weekends as well, meaning that they will watch longer videos, read longer posts, and check out entire albums rather than scanning through individual pictures as they do during the week.
Wednesdays weren't that bad just six months ago. Now, they're dropped below Thursday and Friday as the least engaging day of the week on social media. Don't even think about asking why - I have no idea. All I have is the data.
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Remember, you're a business. You're not welcome on social media as much as individuals, but that doesn't mean you can't accomplish your goals. You just have to do it right. Think of it like television advertising. We all believe we don't like commercials. That's a common stance. However, there are certain commercials that pop up that are entertaining or informative enough that we'll actually talk about them with friends. We may even look them up on YouTube to see them again. I'll leave you with one such commercial that I still watch every year or so since first seeing it during a Superbowl.