Timing social media just right and some tools that can help

Social media is just like any other medium, timing updates to your channels is exactly like running a tv advert at a particular time. Getting your schedule sorted is one of the keys to success on social media. So how do you plan out your social schedule, how do you know what works, and what tools can you use to help you keep to schedule?

TV has prime time and you should think about social that way too.

On British television primetime is the most expensive time for advertising, this time falls between 5 and 8pm at night and adverts sometimes cost millions especially on the top 4 channels: BBC1, BBC2, ITV and Channel 4.

If you breakdown social media in the same way you get a couple of these prime time slots. The morning commute (7 – 9), lunch (11 – 1), the evening commute (5 -7), and the night owls (9 – 12). These times get much more engagement than any other and is usually when social media managers schedule posts.

Where you schedule your posts within these hours is up to you and entirely depends on your audience. This is where experimentation and analysis comes in.

Different times, different audiences, and adapting your content

One of the things to think about when growing your audience on social media is content experiments. The primetime slots on Twitter will be different to the other slots and the content that works on a Facebook slot might not work on LinkedIn. This is where content experiments come into play.

When starting out with content experiments across networks I use exactly the same copy and timing across everything. This gives me a good control group to analyse and change, from there it’s a case of understanding where the statuses didn’t work and how to change those so they work as well as they can.

An example of Hootsuite, social media scheduling app

From this control group I change timing, wording, and phrases to figure out which network responds better to which style of status. Most of the time I even try different statuses with different media types, asking questions like do gifs or videos work better and on which network?

Don’t be afraid to drop things that don’t work too – sometimes a status won’t be for every network. A good rule is if something isn’t working somewhere then drop it.

Scheduling tools to help you keep on top of everything

Keeping on top of this social media timing can be hard, when you run a small business the time can get away from you and social media is definitely not always the top of your to-do list. But there are plenty of tools to help you out so you don’t need to be glued to your computer all the time. Here are some of my favourites.

Hootsuite

I never really liked Hootsuite a but their recent improvements to their user interface has made this a lot better. They have an excellent free plan which is perfect for just starting out and the limit of posts means you don’t need to think too far ahead so you can still keep up with anything sudden. It has integrations with all major social media platforms and they’ve worked hard to keep up with updates from the networks.

Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck is owned by Twitter and is excellent at keeping on top of a Twitter account. Although it doesn’t do any other social network, it you’re looking at automating just Twitter then this is the tool for you. This is also excellent for keeping up with major hashtags that are relevant to you.

Buffer

This used to be my go to but over the years Buffer has become insecure and it lacks features of Hootsuite. It’s a shame because it’s a really good tool and they’ve got an excellent user interface. This is still up in my top picks though because it’s got an excellent free plan for small businesses so you can get used to automating.

Facebook

Another one like Tweetdeck. Facebook for business has built in scheduling tools that help manage pages to catch prime times. Although you can’t manage multiple networks, you can effectively manage Facebook for free.