The emergence of social media in the last few years has transformed the way we live and work. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, LinkedIn and so on permeate our everyday lives and should be in every business’s marketing mix.
In fact, I’d go as far as to say that social media is no longer an option for any entrepreneur or small business.
If you aren’t using the major social networks I’ve mentioned and don’t know the best time to post on social media, the chances are that your customers are not finding you, not engaging with you and ultimately not buying from you.
Besides being free and fun to use, social media can be a powerful way for businesses to connect with large numbers of people. Conversation, engagement and dialogue are what make us human. But they also build trust and studies show that people buy from people (and businesses) they like and trust.
So communicating with your potential customers and converting these prospects or leads into customers for your product or service should be your number one priority.
Just think about it for a second.
How often do you meet someone at a business event and then check them out on Facebook or LinkedIn? How many brands or businesses on TV or radio advertise that they are on Twitter and invite you to follow them there?
With the surging popularity of smartphones and app technology, information about you and your business is available at the touch of a button.
It’s therefore critical that you not only choose the right social media networks for your business, but that you also post at the right time to get the “biggest bang for your buck” .
After all, you don’t want to be shouting into a void, hoping and praying that someone will hear you?
If you want to reach the greatest number of people and get the biggest return on investment for your social media marketing efforts, here are 3 things you need to consider;
#1 Know Your Audience
This process starts with knowing your target market, their habits and the times they are most likely to be online.
Office workers and professionals are unlikely to be online until after they have finished work.
But freelancers and entrepreneurs, especially home-based ones, may be using social media during the day since they can often dictate their hours of work.
Stay-at-home moms may dip in and out of social media throughout the day depending on their family commitments e.g. while the kids are at school and then later in the evening once they are in bed.
So, how much time is spent on social media and when your audience is likely to be online will vary and constantly change based on the specific people you are trying to reach.
#2 Social Networks Differ
The next step is to be aware that each social network is different, and that its audience may have different behaviors as well.
Facebook users tend to socialize more than those using Twitter, possibly because the 140-character limit of tweets restricts what you can say and how you say it.
Time spent on the different social networks varies greatly and can be an important indicator of how users engage with that social media site and how likely they are to stick around, interact and even buy.
In contrast to Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest is a visual social media network where sharing rather than commenting rules. And if you’re using LinkedIn, you should be aware that these users tend to be higher-income professionals more interested in networking and business topics rather than chit-chat.
#3 Track And Measure
Usage, demographics and peak times vary from network to network. It might be convenient for you to post out in the morning if you are located in the UK but if you are targeting people in the USA then no one will be up to hear what you have to say.
Don’t be afraid to test different times of the day. Is there a pattern emerging? You might be surprised.
Facebook Insights can also be a powerful source of information about the habits of your Facebook fans as can the recently launched Pinterest Analytics tool. But even analyzing your Pinterest activity feed and Twitter timeline can provide helpful insights.
This excellent infographic by Social Media Today take a deeper look at how each social network is being used, by whom and what the key social media trends to look out for are.
Success on social media comes from knowing who you are targeting, understanding the lifestyle, habits and behaviors of your audience and then making sure your message reaches them at the best time for them, not you.
What about you?
Which social networks have yielded the best response for you? Are you surprised by any of the the information or stats on this infographic? Please comment and share below.