Photo credit: Sean MacEntee
I had two people ask me this question in my last webinar, Top 10 Tips You Need to Know About Using Twitter for Business, and I hear it often so I thought I would address it. I will warn you, this is not an easy answer. If it was easy, it would be no fun.
Finding out what the best time of day is to tweet is going to take a little work on your part. There are probably many different ways but here are a few ways that work for me.
The goal here is to find out when the people you are trying to reach are participating on Twitter.
Finding out when people click on your content
- First, I would pick a campaign or type of tweet you are trying to get a good reading on. For example, is it a tweet sharing knowledge, customer service, or information about your company? For this example we will use a tweet that portrays you a thought leader in your industry. We can even use this blog; say I want to share it and see what time of day, people are clicking on it, reading it and sharing it.
- I would take this published blog link and shorten it with a URL shortener. I like bit.ly
- With Bit.ly you can keep track of how many people click on your link and when.
- Now you want to get that link out there at multiple times of the day. You can use a tool like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to schedule out a few tweets. What you should do is tweet out the same link but with different text.For example for this post I would start with “What is the Best Time of Day to Tweet? http://bit.ly/qHKcYD” but then follow with “Do you know the best time of day to tweet for your business? http://bit.ly/qHKcYD” and then maybe “Make sure the right people are reading your business’ tweets http://bit.ly/qHKcYD”.Schedule out those posts – I would recommend something like 7:30am, 9:15am, 12:15pm, 3:45pm, 5:45pm, 7:30pm and a late one like 10:30pm. You can schedule these over the course of a few days if you think that is too much in one day, it depends on how much you are tweeting now.
- After your posts run, check back and see what times of day got more clicks or activity. After you’ve narrowed it down to the afternoon and first thing in the morning, try another test with some tweets more tightly around those times.
After you narrow down the times that get the most activity, you may start to see some trends emerging. All we are trying to do is identify those trends and create a story around them.
For example, you might notice you send out tweets in the morning but they are retweeted later in the afternoon. You may notice that the bit.ly link you send out actually is getting less clicks than the overall count. That could be because someone else is sharing your content. You may identify regular sharers of your posts. These are all good things to make note of, to help you map out your story.
Getting the right people to click on your links
The internet is made for sharing ideas and knowledge. You may be getting all the clicks in the world but no one is buying your products and your phone is not ringing. Perhaps the best time of day to get clicks is different than they time of day to get website conversions!
- In the example of this blog post, let’s say I don’t care just about clicks but I want people to sign up for one of our upcoming webinars. I would set up a goal in Google Analytics for the path I want people to take.
- I could set up a Google Analytics goal to let me know when someone comes to the blog post, clicks on the Twitter webinar link and signs up for an upcoming webinar (the end would be a webinar-thanks web page).
- With that information I will be able to determine how many people came to the post and did the action I wanted them to. For you, it could be to purchase a product or use the Contact Us page on your website.
I suggest running some tests on when (and if) people are completing the goals, the times of day people are clicking on the links and the times of day people are sharing my content.
With Google Analytics, my specific Goals and Bit.ly information, I would make some assumptions and start to put together a little bit of a story on these users:
- I would be more interested in when people are sharing my content and try to put content out around those times.
- I would set up specific goals for the times of day people click on my links the most and see if they are turning into leads or subscribers or just tire kickers.
- I would take a look at my traffic coming specifically from Twitter and analyzing what they do on my site.
Some general thoughts on your timing of tweets
With some experience under my belt, I have a few general tips about timing out your tweets:
- If the above process is too overwhelming, than don’t do it. It is more important to get content out there instead of feeling paralyzed with too much information and not posting at all.
- Early morning tweets remind me of ‘old Twitter’. When I first joined Twitter it was very different than it is now. There were fewer people but more actual conversations. Early morning Tweeps remind me of old Twitter. They say ‘hello’ to eachother, the comment on more content and the interact with what you post. Afternoon Twitter can sometimes feel like a fire hose in the face. Maybe give early morning tweets a shot.
- You can share the same link, even if the text is different. Don’t feel like since you shared something that morning, that you can’t share it again in the evening. You are most likely reaching a different Twitter audience and your tweet from that morning is long gone in their timeline!
That should give you enough information to cause some damage. I will run a test with this post and update later with what I have found. With most social media questions like this one, there is an answer… it just may take a little work to get there.