A Scenic Tour of the Online World

When To Post to Facebook, Twitter, Your Blog and Everywhere Else

Friday, May 18th, 2012

As you’d imagine, there are better and worse times of day to post to the major social media services, as well as times that work for your blog and email newsletters. Here are some rules of thumb.

According to the folks at bit.ly, the link shortening service, tweeting in the afternoon toward the beginning of the week gives you the best chance of having your message register. Don’t bother posting after 8pm during the week or after 3pm on Friday. Apparently, Twitter works a 4½ day week …

Facebook has a similar profile: 1pm to 4pm is best, with Wednesday at 3pm being the peak. 8am to 8pm is the broader sweet spot and weekends are, surprisingly, dead, too. I guess we’d all rather waste our employers’ time on Facebook, rather than our own …

Blog and Email Marketing Schedule
If you’ve never run any tests, you can’t know when the best time to post on your blog or send your email newsletter.

You can start with some basic assumptions – B2B is probably better received during business hours, B2C after-hours or on weekends. But that may not be the case for all lists or all content. Which is where testing comes in.

The simplest tests to run are A/B tests, where you split your list in half randomly and change one variable. You can test time of day or day of the week. (You can also test different subject lines or different content entirely, but don’t change more than one variable at a time. You won’t get reliable data that way.)

This kind of testing will help you identify the times that offer a good fit between your audience and your content.

Message Lifespan
How long does a message last once it out in the wilds of the intertubes? Yes, technically, it’s out there forever (particularly if it’s embarrassing), but realistically a message’s impact decreases over time.

Bitly describes the “half-life” of a social media message as the period during which a post will receive half of all clicks it will get in its lifetime. The half-life depends on a lot of factors, including the size of the audience, the nature of the information, and so on, but overall, they’re pretty similar amongst all major social media outlets – Facebook, Twitter, Email – as long as other elements are held constant.

The only exception is YouTube, which has a half-life of about double the other social media sharing services. Something to consider when you’re trying to determine whether video is worth the additional effort and expense.

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