Getting your social media right: Timing, content & good manners

2nd August 2017

Social media plays an influential role in the world of PR today. It’s not enough to just have a presence across the biggest platforms. You have to make sure you post the right content, on the right platform, at the right time of day.

Successful PR via social media relies heavily on find your sweet spot. You want your content to be seen by your target audience, so making sure you post when they’re around is key to maximising opportunities for engagement, driving traffic and gaining potential new followers.

In a nutshell, weekdays are key for B2B brands, and in the B2C world, weekends show an uplift in engagement. But interestingly, it also varies widely depending on the social media platform you’re using, too.

Let’s look at Twitter. Over 500 million Tweets are posted everyday, and the average life of a Tweet is just 24 minutes, so how do you make sure yours reach the audience you want them to? With a small window of opportunity, it’s important to time them right.

Tweets at weekends are more likely to have higher click-through rates, possibly because people have more time. Tweets over lunchtime and later in the day have similar results. But the best thing to do is to try it out for yourself. Experiment by Tweeting at a selection of set times through the day, and see what happens. Hootsuite is a great tool for setting up a schedule – and testing and measuring are the only way you’ll really know what works for you.

Getting the timing right on Facebook is less straightforward. Non-chronological news feeds complicate matters, but reports show that lunchtime is the most successful slot, across all days of the week. As with Twitter, trial and error is vital to ascertaining when your audience are there, and ready to engage.

As Instagram posts appear based on how interested the audience is likely to be in the content, it’s really important to get to the heart of who you want to be seen by. Does your customer check their Instagram as soon as they wake up? If so, where in the world are they – time zones come into play here. Lunchtime again features highly in engagement statistics – but here you’ll find your Instagram posts battling with a multitude of others.

It may sound obvious, but the working week is where LinkedIn posts excel. Especially first thing in the morning (think browsing over breakfast), lunchtime or the early evening commute home. And focus on Tuesday to Thursday – Mondays can be taken up with meetings to plan the week ahead, and people often finish early on a Friday. But these are all just guidelines. You might find 8pm on a Wednesday is when your audience is most responsive.

Don’t forget to trial different types of headlines, different styles of content, different images, video versus articles. While Mondays can be a good day for news stories, go for something more light hearted on a Friday. It’s intuitive, but needs careful planning.

And while we’re here, there are a few social media ‘dos and don'ts’ to consider:

  • Don’t automatically share content without vetting it first – by all means schedule your updates and posts, but check you’re happy with the content first.
  • Don’t get into arguments – this can be very damaging to your brand.
  • Don’t share personal views – keep political or religious opinions to yourself.
  • Do remember your manners – politeness goes a long way.
  • Engage with your audience – replying to comments and questions will help to build relationships - ignoring your customers won’t.
  • Read and respond to journalists’ Tweets before you ask them for something – you can read more about this in our blog post on forging positive media relations.
  • And finally, remember to check your spelling and grammar!

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