The Web moves fast, so you want to tweet and Facebook post that great content or announcement in quick succession the second it comes to you, right?
Not so fast.
It turns out that there are ideal times to tweet and post—and they are not the same, suggests analysis from Bit.ly. The URL shortening service has been studying how content goes viral through social networks.
Recently the company analyzed retweets and clickthroughs that tweets get when they’re posted at certain times of the week and times of day. (Trivia alert: It discovered that the half-life of a link on Twitter is 2.8 hours.) Bit.ly also analyzed Facebook links.
Time to Tweet
For Twitter, your best chance at getting the most clickthroughs is 1 to 3 p.m. EST Monday through Thursday. Posting after 8 p.m. should be avoided. Added Bit.ly in a blog post: "Specifically, don’t bother posting after 3 p.m. on a Friday, since as far as being a gateway to drive traffic to your content, it appears that Twitter doesn’t work on weekends."
Peak traffic time for Twitter in general is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST Monday through Thursday. One point Bit.ly says to consider, however, is that, "Posting on Twitter when there are many people clicking does help raise the average number of clicks, but it in no way guarantees an optimal amount of attention, since there is more competition for any individual’s attention. An optimal strategy must weigh the number of people paying attention against the number of other posts vying for that attention."
Landing More Likes
For Facebook, the absolute highest number of clickthroughs comes at 3 p.m. EST on Wednesday, with links posted from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. picking up the highest average clickthroughs. Links posted after 8 p.m. and before 8 a.m. may struggle for attention. As with Twitter, weekends are not ideal. (For tips on writing the perfect Facebook post, click here.)
Facebook traffic starts to pick up about 9 a.m., but Bit.ly suggests waiting to post until 11 a.m. Facebook traffic begins to fade after 4 p.m. And despite similar traffic at 7 and 8 p.m., Bit.ly's analysis shows that a link posted at 7 will pick up a lot more clicks than will something posted at 8.
Bit.ly adds that it is important to keep in mind that these times are meant only as a guide, and may not apply to breaking news. In addition, the ideal post times may vary by your particular business, customer or type of content.
A study that showed differing data was performed last month by Buddy Media, showing that Thursday and Friday were better for engagement on Facebook. One possible reason for the difference: Buddy analyzed 200 clients' Facebook posts over a two-week period, in addition to the comments and Likes spurred by those posts, whereas Bit.ly focused just on the sharing of links.
When do you most often post to Twitter and Facebook?