When it comes to establishing a social media presence for your business, the whats and the wherefores are the first things to be considered, but something else to factor into your decision making, particularly when using Twitter, is when. After all, what is the point in producing engaging, relevant content if you are going to link to it at a time when nobody is likely to ever see it?
There are, on average, 1,650 tweets posted each day. So how does one go about making sure their tweets aren’t going to get swallowed up by the constant tide of celebrity gossip, breaking news and bots advertising free iPads? It’s all about the four Ts: time of day, time of week, time zone, and tools.
Time of day: Common sense should be telling you to avoid tweeting first thing in the morning or last thing at night. A good rule of thumb is to tweet consistently (but not too frequently) throughout the day. This gives you a decent chance of being seen by a large portion of your followers, without being dismissed as spam. If you wish to focus on a particular part of the day, late afternoon is generally better, as there is less traffic to compete with.
Time of week: It is unlikely that you will get your best response during the week, when everyone is at work. The best weekday to tweet is Friday, with more chance of success on Saturday and Sunday.
Time zone: No matter where you and your business are based, it is important to consider global time zones when tweeting. If, for example, you are based outside of the US and are appealing solely to a local audience, it might be worth timing your tweets around the busy Twitter traffic periods in the US. If you are based in the US, then the time zone to keep in mind is EST, as this is where 48% of US-based tweets come from, and nearly 80% of the US population lives in Central and Eastern time zones.
Tools: A wide range of tools exist to assist in optimising your tweets. WhenToTweet is a paid tool which analyses when the majority of your followers are online, while TweetWhen and Timely are both free tools which assess the best time to tweet based on your previous tweets – TweetWhen examines the last 1,000 while Timely focuses on the last 199.
Tweue and the more widely used Hootsuite are free tools which queue your tweets and posts them automatically at regular, even intervals. There are also a number of paid tools including LookAcross, 14Blocks and SocialFlow which can help you to identify the best time of day to tweet based on the locations and habits of your followers.
Timing is nothing, though, compared to the value and relevance of your tweets. Try to avoid repetition, especially when linking to your website or company blog – rather than tweeting the same thing throughout the day, compose a list of varied and interesting comments and links and stagger them via Hootsuite or Tweue for maximum impact.