“When should I post to my social media platform?” Anyone managing a social media account has likely pondered this question in an attempt to create a larger audience for their content. Visibility is, after all, paramount to existence in the digital age. At Manning, we have our own methods of optimizing send-out times for emails on a client-by-client basis, but little formal research has been done on the quandary of when-to-post on social media—until now.

A recent paper published by Lithium Technologies and Klout tackled the time issue by studying half a million Facebook and Twitter users and over 144 million posts. By examining post-to-reaction times and comparing behavior for users in different cities, the researchers identified the best time of day and day of the week to post content by geographic location.

The results were partially as one might expect—people do not read their social media feeds as frequently during the weekends. Activity plummets during the weekends, especially on Twitter. Instead, the days of the week with highest engagement were found to be Tuesdays and Wednesdays. However, the drop-off in activity on Facebook during the weekend was not as severe; interestingly, Saturday actually had the most consistent activity throughout the day. Regardless, the study’s takeaway is that posting in the middle of the workweek is your best bet for optimizing viewership.

What about how the time of day affects your post’s visibility? Again, when not to post is fairly self-evident—post reaction is at its lowest in the middle of the night when most people are sleeping. Visibility instead peaks during working hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and has a secondary peak between 7-8 p.m. As was with day-to-day reactions, Twitter post reactions were found to be much more sensitive to the time-of-day than Facebook. These findings were near universal for the cities observed—San Francisco, New York City, London, Paris, and Tokyo—with one small caveat; San Francisco users tended to interact with posts made earlier in the day whereas New York users responded more to posts made in the afternoon.

This report gives you a good idea of when to push new content out to your Facebook and Twitter platforms, but what about figuring out how to fine-tune your emails? We understand that every company’s audience segment is different and requires specific optimization in order to maximize readership. At Manning, our approach is to use this study as a guide to set up our own controlled testing that gauges response to your organization’s content.

In particular, we often implement A/B Split Campaigns in order to determine the best delivery time, subject line, and from name. This testing involves sending out a small sample of emails to be sent with two different variables—for example, sending out half of the campaign’s emails at 9 a.m. and the other half emails that at 3 p.m. We can track which set of emails has the highest number of clicks in order to determine what variables work best for your company. As there may be variations in response based on the type of content that you’re pushing—such as discount coupons versus posts about new services or products—we make sure to test across all of these potential variables. If you’re ready to include email and social optimization in your digital strategy, get in touch.

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