We’ve all seen those articles about the best times to post on social media if you want to increase visits, shares or click-throughs. It’s enough to make your head spin, and often the research is contradictory.
For example, a few weeks ago, the folks on the Social Media Week blog gave their take on the best times to post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Here’s a quick summary:
Facebook – Thursdays and Fridays
Twitter – Monday through Thursday, 1-3 p.m.
LinkedIn – Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7-9 a.m.
Google+ – Wednesday, 9 a.m.
Other research by Dan Zarrella shows Saturday is the best day for sharing on Facebook and engaging on Twitter. And Buffer says retweets are best at 5 p.m., and click-throughs are better at noon or 6 p.m.
If you’re like me, you use social media to push out content from your blog. Once I’ve posted on The Wayward Journey, I also put links on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+. I usually do this within a few minutes of pressing the “publish” button. But wait, should I not post until 1 p.m. on Twitter? Or maybe 5 p.m.? Should I hold off until Friday for Facebook? Or wait till Saturday?
Rather than going nuts trying to determine the best time to post, I suggest to my clients (and remind myself) that it’s better to focus on the basics, especially when you first start blogging.
Here are a few best practices to consider (and that I admit I fall down on):
Post consistently. Pick a day and time to post that works for you (e.g., every Tuesday at 9 a.m.) and then stick to it. Readers reward bloggers who keep to a schedule. Followers especially appreciate receiving posts on time. (This is an area where I definitely need to improve. Lately, I’ve been trying to post on Wednesday mornings. Let’s see if that sticks.)
Define your brand and then deliver on its promise. If you start a blog for dog owners and then post articles on cats, you’ve just lost most of your readers. Choose a subject area to blog on and then stay on topic. That goes for all social media channels that you post on.
Use visual elements. Research shows that including photos, videos or infographics with your posts will boost shares. Visual elements also increase readability.
Inspire awe, laughter, amusement or joy. BuzzSumo analyzed the top 10,000 most shared articles and found that positive emotions are far more popular than negative ones. The least popular emotions were sadness and anger. While it may feel good to vent online, it’s not the best way to build readership.
Be aware of what people like. BuzzSumo also found that people love to share lists, how-to articles, and “what” and “why” posts. You may not always have this type of content to post, but it’s good to keep it in mind if you do.
Write clearly and in a lively style. To me, the best blogs are the ones that have a unique voice, a clear purpose and offer up well-written content. Put another way, respect your readers. Take the time to write a good blog post.
Share something about yourself. Blogging is a social media, so engage your readers. Welcome comments and feedback. Avoid using your blog to simply promote your company or repost marketing content. Put some life into it!
Ten is the optimum number for lists. BuzzSumo says 10 is the lucky number, so I’m leaving you with this 10-point summary of its research. Some of these may surprise you.
- Inspire awe, laughter or amusement.
- Appeal to people’s narcissistic side (think BuzzFeed quizzes).
- Long-form content has less competition and more shares on average.
- List posts and infographics are more likely to be shared.
- Make sure your article inspires trust. Have a byline and bio. Make sure you have a professional logo and design as well.
- Mix text with visually appealing elements.
- Implement social metadata such as the Facebook preview image.
- Reach out to influencers before you write your content.
- Promote your articles (after they’ve been published for a week).
- Tuesday is the best day to publish and promote content.