Twitter is one of the easiest social media platforms to use.
If you’ve never used Twitter, take five minutes to download the app and set-up an account.
In a few minutes you’ll be following accounts, liking and retweeting posts, posting your own content, gaining followers of your own, and diving deeper into the world of news, entertainment, opinions and more.
If you’re a seasoned Twitter user – posting news stories, engaging customers for a business, trolling political leaders – you’re well aware of the small number of features required for operating an account.
Even with this ease-of-use, people still ask some very important questions about how to use Twitter to reach the most fans, to gain new followers, and to get users to actually read and react to posts.
This was the case last week during our second social media essentials lunch session at YSU. Kati Hartwig, YSU’s coordinator of social media and digital marketing, led a 90-minute excursion through the basics of Twitter.
You’re probably asking yourself, “Wait, didn’t you say it only takes five minutes to figure it out?”
This is true, unless you want more from Twitter, to dive deeper into the abundant, sometimes “hidden” features offered for managing and analyzing tweets and other account activity.
This would also be true if it were not for the question that social media marketing gurus have grappled with since the platform’s birth (and with little consistency in the answer the give us):
“What’s the best time to post a tweet?”
During Hartwig’s talk, and during our side conversations, that question came up over and over again. Of course, it’s not the first time it’s been asked, and even with the simplistic nature of Twitter’s interface, it’s a question that still baffles most of us.
Google “best time to tweet” and you’ll find seemingly countless bloggers and experts who will tell you to tweet between 1 and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday to gain the most impressions.
From someone who has tested this time frame, I’m happy to report this is sound, albeit incomplete, advice.
Some additional factors to consider:
First, what’s the message, and what content are you using to convey that message (e.g., text, images, GIFs, videos)? Are you targeting a certain demographic? If so, remember that some groups are more apt to be on later at night than midday.
Second, the midday time frame is based on geographical location. But if your audience is in another part of the world, it might make more sense for you to adjust to their midday time frame.
Run a few tests of your own.
Post a series of tweets on different days and times, and check the analytics (click the three vertical lines, bottom right hand side of your tweets). Then you’ll know what times work best for you and your audience.
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is professor and chair of the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA. He researches and writes about communication and relationships, parenting and sports. He writes a weekly column for The Vindicator newspaper on social media and society.