Whether in business or life, timing is everything. The same adage applies to social media marketing.
You know by using social media tools to promote your business you’re enhancing your overall marketing and engagement strategy. But how can you tell if you’re having an impact? Knowing when to publish your posts and determining the levels of engagement you’re achieving on different networks shouldn’t be based on a gut feeling.
But here’s the problem: there is no so-called best time to conduct your social media marketing campaigns. It comes down to a multitude of factors. The most important one being knowing who your audience is, and when that audience is most likely to be using one or more social networks.
Three Key Ingredients
Launching successful social media marketing and engagement campaigns requires three key ingredients: a forward-looking strategy, patience, and measurable results. Sound familiar?
When you opened your business, did you expect to break sales records in the first few months of operation? Of course, you didn’t. The same applies to social marketing. It takes time, creativity, data and flexibility to change your approach if needed.
Which Network at What Time?
Each social media network is unique. There are indeed similarities to be found between Facebook and Instagram, for example, but that does not imply you should use a “blanket broadcasting” strategy. Here are a few things to consider when charting a course for your social media editorial calendar:
- Do Your Homework. Understanding whom your existing and prospective customers or guests are is essential to know when you’re most likely to get their attention. If it’s consumers you target, think prime time TV. In other words, weekdays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. is the sweet spot. Saturdays are also worthwhile for consumer awareness campaigns. Are you keen to attract students and millennials? They are active a different intervals throughout the day and night (between and after classes). If your core audience is business decision-makers – professionals who book conference and hotel rooms – they’re more likely to be online looking for options on weekdays from midday to late afternoons. Remember: it’s not a one-size-fits-all proposition, so don’t assume you should only publish your posts across all platforms during those times.
- Get Creative. Social media is your business’s loudspeaker to the outside world. Most data suggests Facebook is still the number one social media network versus the other major channels with more than 4 billion active users who log in daily. But it’s also the go-to network for more than 90% of digital marketers. In other words, it’s a busy platform to try to woo eyeballs to your posts. Unless you’re prepared to invest a considerable budget on each platform you wish to use or hire a social influencer, that means you need to get creative with your posts. Produce thought-provoking, humorous, or inspiring content. Do use Facebook, but don’t discount the power of connection Instagram, Pintrest, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn can provide.
- Testing 1, 2, 3. One way to figure out when you’re hitting the mark on engagement with your posts is to try experimenting with your content by publishing it at different times. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to organic digital marketing, but taking the time to experiment and analyzing the results is vital. Since each network offers tracking analytics you can tap into to get the insights you need to varying degrees; it’s a simple way to get a view of what works where and when. Bear in mind, though; most people will log into a social network on a mobile device as much as they will on a laptop or desktop. Therefore, be sure your content plays well on a mobile device. Also, don’t forget about time zones. If you’re hoping to attract visitors from outside the Eastern Time zone, schedule your publishing efforts accordingly. The good news is most of Canada’s and the United States’ populations are in the Eastern Time zone.
- Location Matters. Each social platform will allow you to share or add your location with each post you make. Make sure you use this function. Since you’re in the hospitality business, you want more than likes, shares, and website views. You want people walking through your front door. Each time your audience views your posts, they’ll also see where your business is located. Make it easy for your customers to find you online and offline.