Social timing is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing. Now before you start thinking that social timing means knowing when it’s time to show off your fresh dance moves at a party.
While ads still make up a large portion of what is considered marketing, people are increasingly steering away from traditional advertisements and moving toward digital content. As marketers, it is important to understand this shift towards content and adapt to it.
When we speak about social timing, we’re not talking about the optimal time to bust a move, but rather, when the best time to post content to attract the most traffic. There’s a lot more that goes into it than just time of day though, so we’ve prepared this post as a guide to help you understand the importance of content-based marketing over standard ads and how to determine the right social timing to reach as many followers as possible.
The thing to understand for marketers and business people alike is that the market has shifted towards content and away from traditional advertising. Many people don’t want to watch ads, they employ ad blockers, the skip button, or just plain ignore them altogether.
We’re not saying that you should abandon ads, but your strategy needs to employ timely, engaging, and thoughtful content that attracts traffic and attention. More and more people are searching for something that gives them a reason to click without pushing a sale, forcing them to do something, or telling them what they want and need.
This is why content is so important. Ads have the stigma of being seen as pushy or salesy, so instead, producing blogs, social media posts, and emails that engage with users on a real level are becoming more prevalent. By using these content tools, you can accomplish the same goals of advertising while bringing your audience in instead of scaring them off.
When we talk about content, we’re talking specifically about things that add value to users’ engagement with your brand, service, or business. The purpose of content is to give users something meaningful to read or see that will spark interest. Yes, the intent is to sell them on your business, but the way in which it is done with content is different.
Think of it as the difference between trying to sell them something versus making them want to buy it themselves.
As we briefly mentioned above, there are three channels or avenues through which content is delivered. Depending on the avenue, the type, frequency, and style of content will change to match it. Knowing the three channels and the types of content to produce will give you a leg up when you’re trying to drive traffic. Trying to fit a blog into an Instagram post won’t have much success. By the same token, making a blog post that looks like a newsletter email likely won’t get many readers.
To help facilitate proper social timing and content distribution, we’ll break down the content channels and how the content and timing on them differs. The important thing to remember is that content is ALWAYS being created and distributed around the world all day every day. That doesn’t mean that all content is good content or that the timing of that content is always correct.
First, we’ll break down the channels themselves and how the content types differ before moving on timing and post frequency.
The big three at present for social media are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Each of these platforms allows for different types and lengths of content.
Facebook is arguably the largest and most complex platform out there. Knowing what to post and when can be overwhelming. The first tip we can give to catalog your posts into types so that you know who you’re trying to reach for what.
There’s no real character limit on a Facebook post, you can post videos, graphics, and other content so the key with Facebook is highly targeted content distributed regularly and at the right time.
The next biggest platform is Twitter. Tweets are all about poignant messaging on a frequent basis. With the strict character limit and constant flow of information, it’s important that tweets are on-brand, relevant, engaging.
Much like with Facebook, the lifetime of your posts is very short so you’ll have to manage them closely and be posting consistently. If you can find a way to make short engaging posts with high frequency, you can get much more traffic than with all the ads you run.
Lastly, we have Instagram. Instagram is still a growing platform and has some unique marketing opportunities with the ability to post pictures and videos. Though not a small platform by any means, since Instagram doesn’t have quite the post rollover of the other two, you can expect your posts to have a longer lifetime.
The trick with Instagram posts is to make them stand out. Since people are viewing pictures and videos, what you post needs to be relevant and eye-catching to the audience. Graphics with catchy slogans, explanatory videos, and other things that add brand content and value are your ideal types of posts.
That’s right, emails are still a valuable channel for shipping content to potential customers. Not only is email marketing effective, but it’s also actually still more effective than both the other channels put together.
The downside to emails is that they have a specific window of life. Once they’ve landed in an inbox, you have to hope they are opened and read before they either get buried under an avalanche of other emails or aren’t summarily deleted the minute they are received.
The content should also be clear and concise and say exactly what you are presenting to customers. Too often emails get deleted simply because they appear spammy, too much like a sales pitch, or just plain irrelevant.
This is where market research is key. Developing engaging emails that deliver something to customers that they’ll actually read is key to ever actually getting opened and not killed with the good ole delete button.
Newsletters are great for keeping current users up to date, sales offers are good for driving in potential business, and exclusive offers are great for driving in new traffic. The key is that you identify what you do, what you’re offering, and how it will benefit the user. This can be a difficult hat-trick to pull off, but if you do, emails have a higher conversion rate than the other channels so you can up your success with good email marketing.
Blogs tend to be their own unique animal when it comes to content marketing. Not only do they have the longest form of any other type of content, but they also have the longest lifespan of any of the other content types. An individual blog post can literally last for years.
Once blogs are posted, they can be backlinks to other content so long as they remain impactful and relevant. Skillful use of blogs can give you marketing content that is nearly ageless.
The trick with blogs is drawing people in to actually read them. While ads, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook posts can all be optimized, blog posts exist as separate entities that can include loads of keywords and rich content that can draw in traffic from all over the web if it ranks highly.
Blogs are also tied directly to your website and your brand respectively, so if someone is reading your blog, they have already been on your site, or are likely to visit if they traveled there through a curated link.
It’s important to remember though, that blogs are forever, so if you post a bad blog and people read it, that impression sticks. Blogs can be as long or as short as you like (well, ok, if it’s too short, you might as well tweet it but we digress) so filling them with content that is not only SEO optimized and on-brand, but that delivers valuable information to users will have them returning to your site and hopefully partaking of what you have to offer
Blogs offer the opportunity to establish your site as an authority on a particular subject. If you post timely blogs in your particular niche that are full of accurate information that is sourced well, you build user trust. By building user trust, you can position your business to be an authority in the field it is placed in. This reputation carries with it the potential for additional traffic. Blogs carry a lot of power in them and to paraphrase a famous quote, with great power, comes a great marketing opportunity.
We’ve talked a lot about what the various channels are and what the different types of content can do, but now we’ll talk about the timing of those posts. Every channel has a proper timing and frequency to it and even within the same channel, no two markets will have the same timing.
We can’t give you a minute-by-minute playbook for posting your content, but we’ll give you some tips and tools to use to maximize the effectiveness of your posts.
We’ll start with the big boy of the bunch, Facebook. Posting on Facebook requires some trial and error as well as understanding user engagement and metrics surrounding your Facebook page.
You can easily track where your followers are and when they log on using the Facebook page insights tool. This gives you valuable data about your potential customers and helps you to plan your posts.
That being said, there’s no clear-cut definition of when to post.
The general rule of thumb is to post most often when you know people are most active. Facebook is a 24/7 platform, but people are more likely to log on during the day and early evening. Sure, you may have some extremely early users, and night owls, but the bulk of your audience is likely to log on during the normal business hours, maybe not 9 to 5 so to speak, but more likely 7 to 9.
Post frequency is also an issue. This will take trial and error, but you should post frequently enough, and by that we mean a few times a day, that people will see your content throughout the day.
This doesn’t mean you need to churn out 100% fresh posts 5 times a day, but circulating a pool of posts that are targeted to your audience gives you maximum visibility and exposure.
Also, note that hours of use and traffic are different during the week and on the weekend. Put up a few posts on different days and check your traffic. Eventually, you should develop a rhythm where it becomes routine to make posts daily
Twitter is the heavily loaded one of the three. Rather than focusing on specific metrics and finding optimal windows, you should pretty much be posting regularly to engage people all the time.
Twitter is global and your user base is also global, but unlike Facebook, people are on and off Twitter so frequently that carefully calculated posts don’t have the same effect. This is partly due to the way tweets work and the amount of site traffic.
So you should be tweeting something every hour, or as often as you can to maximize engagement. Think of it like little blurbs and shout-outs about your brand to remind people about you as they are scrolling.
Frequently posting will guarantee as many people see what you’re up to as possible and will keep business rolling and traffic pouring in.
Instagram posts last a good deal longer than on the other two platforms. You can post something on Instagram and expect it to last about three days before the novelty and traffic potential wears off.
Posting a few times a week, or even once a day is a good idea to keep you fresh in people’s insta-feed.
Email has its own timing and niche of when to get customers interested in your products and your business. Like we’ve talked about, emails have a high conversion rate for new customers and potential leads.
However, there is a short window where sending out an email is more likely to get it read. If you think about it from a consumer’s perspective, when are you most likely to read your emails?
Well, this can vary by industry, but the average person checks their email in the morning and only returns to it to deliver responses during the day. You can shop around a bit and see what works, but the general sweet spot is around 8 to 10 AM so if you can catch people right when they first check their email, while sipping that first delicious cup of coffee, you’re more likely to grab their attention and less likely to be disintegrated into digital oblivion.
As far as frequency, we find that people don’t like spam, so sending out a weekly offer, or newsletter with updates on what’s going on is fine, sending three to five a day starts to feel like you’re being assaulted by sales pitches and will quickly get you ignored.
Experiment based on your own industry and market, but remember to keep your emails to the point and deliver relevant and impactful information that makes users want to click, don’t just force-feed the sale.
We talked about the longevity of blog posts and how people will read blogs that are years old if they are still useful and relevant, but that doesn’t mean you get to slack off with posting new content.
Your goal with blogs isn’t to worry about massive traffic numbers, but to generate consistently pertinent content for your brand. Peak posting times will be mid-morning and on the weekend during the daylight hours. Posting later in the day or at night will have diminished returns as people are more likely to read and engage while they are already active. Downtimes don’t generate as much traffic.
You want to post at least every couple of days so that content stays fresh and you can continue to rank. Not only that, once you start generating content that draws traffic, posting regularly will promote revisits and increased shares. Blog posts are less about sales and more about getting the word out about your business through frequent reading and sharing.
Well, there you have it, the three most effective marketing channels for content marketing, as well as the how, why, and when to post your content. Hopeful this post has given you the insight you need to focus on content marketing and how to drive the most business your way.
If managing all of this content proves to be a difficult task, don’t hesitate to partner with a content management service to help your brand take full advantage of the content market and stay on top of the posting schedule.
After all, if you have a full tool-kit available to you, why not use it?