Timing Your Tweets [and Other Updates]

When I attended Social Fresh in February, one statistic stood out to me — and frankly, I didn’t believe it.

The news feed is the #1 most visible real estate on Facebook. It is customized to each user based on their network and their patterns of activity, like which of their friends they interact with the most. The news feed shows the top posts from a user’s network, filtering out more than 99% of content. (source: HubSpot)

I’m no genius, but if 99% of content is filtered out, that means only 1% gets through at any given time.

So I decided to put it to the test using my personal Facebook profile:

54 people “liked” the post, which seems pretty high. But I have 749 Facebook friends, so only about 7% of people saw the post. Even if you factor in that some people who saw it did not click like, it’s clear that status updates often get lost.

Plus, the more friends you have, the more crowded your news feed gets.

Twitter’s not much different — because it’s designed around real time updates, the 140-character posts disappear within a matter of seconds.

Take a look at what the Pew Research Center found in December:

Nearly a quarter (24%) check Twitter several times a day, while 21% say they never “check for material posted by others.” Twenty percent consult Twitter less than every few weeks. (source: Huffington Post)

And from Sysomos, as reported by Read Write Web:

After analyzing over 1.2 billion tweets, the Sysomos team found that only 29% of tweets actually produce a reaction – that is, a reply or a retweet. According to Sysomos, just 6% of all tweets are retweeted and these retweets have a very short lifespan. Virtually all retweets happen within the first hour after the original tweet.

If you are looking to get retweeted and nobody picks your tweet up within the first hour, chances are that nobody ever will. Only 1.63% of all retweets happen in the second hour and a minuscule 0.94% in the third hour. The same is true for @replies, too; 97% of all replies happen within the first hour.

Taking all of that into consideration — what are the best times to post on Facebook and Twitter, and how often should you be posting?

As I often do, I turned to HubSpot, the absolute masters of social media marketing, for some help — and a recent webinar fascinated me and answered some of the questions (embedded below)

The Science of Timing

A few takeaways? Let’s compare the two platforms.

Twitter

  • Post late in the day
  • Post late in the week
  • When in doubt, Tweet

Facebook

  • Post early- to mid-morning
  • Post on weekends
  • When in doubt, don’t post

Another fun tool: http://tweetwhen.com/, which tells you when you are most retweetable — and since RTs virtually guarantee that an exponentially larger (and more varied) number of people will see your update, they really are golden.

I know that’s a lot to digest, so I’ll leave it at that for now.

I’m curious — how many hours a day do you spend on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter? Do you do it for work, or just for personal connections?

Comments

  1. 1

    says

    I spend about 30-45 minutes combined on the two of them..for personal BUT I want to make it part of my work! I just started to add a little more time as I am using it for volunteer work – promotion. Thanks for the tip on hubpages – i will put that on my weekend explore list.

  2. 2

    says

    I’m not a Facebooker. I have an account but sign in RARELY — like a few times per year. No joke! I love Twitter though. I use it to connect with people as well as to gain information for work and personal interests. I love it because it’s easy to scan quickly. It’s difficult to put a number of hours on it, but I check it frequently throughout the day…

  3. 3

    says

    I’m always on Facebook and/or Twitter. It used to be my job … I was in charge of our clients’ social media accounts at my old job. Now it’s mostly for personal enjoyment. I leave them up when I’m at work … Facebook mostly for entertainment, but Twitter helps keep me up-to-date on any breaking news, which is important for my job. I’m not always looking at them, but say if someone wants to message me, I see it immediately and can respond in a timely manner.

  4. 4

    says

    This is really interesting!! I don’t post on my FB page that often, because I’ve heard that posting too much can make people annoyed and they’ll unfollow you. I save it for the good stuff! I spend a LOT of time on Twitter daily, but I’m never focusing just on that. It’s usually just up in the background while I’m doing homework, while I’m in class, while I’m blogging, while I’m watching TV, etc.

  5. 5

    says

    I spend a couple hours on both facebook and twitter both for my personal accounts and my work accounts. I do find that I tweet way more during the workday (for personal) than I do at night. Not sure why. I think to alleviate boredom.

  6. 6

    says

    What a great resource!! I’m always curious about timing– it seems to change frequently a lot though. I used to get the most views from twitter at 8am, then recently it’s been later at night.
    The “blog for more comments on the weekend” surprises me!!

  7. 7

    says

    Very interesting. I personally use Facebook more than Twitter for my own business but I use Twitter for a mix of personal and business. Also use Twitter for clients. Both platforms are up on my dual monitor throughout the day so I don’t have specific times that I use them.

    The one thing I make sure to do is be present when on social media. I do not schedule messages to go out when I’m not there. It’s called SOCIAL for a reason LOL Anyway those are just my thoughts!

  8. 8

    says

    Great post! I personally periodically check facebook and go to the “recent posts” as well as the “Top News” – the tweets – I do periodically as well. I have found I have received more replies during mid-afternoon – I work at home so I may be an anomaly. I have been trying to figure out what is best since I started my blog and have found the evening gets the most hits on blogspt (I have it hooked up to twitter/networked blogs on fb)

  9. 9

    says

    I’m going to be honest and admit I saw that status and didn’t like it. Just like in all of my high school science classes, I’m a source of error.

  10. 13

    says

    This is really interesting! I would love to know when the best time to put up my blog posts is – and whether people read/don’t read weekend posts. In terms of twitter, I do it when I have time or when I want to communicate with people “now”, so I don’t think I’d ever be together enough to time my tweets. But definitely interesting information to know!

  11. 14

    says

    this is so interesting! i’m learning to love twitter more and more – i use that to interact with fellow bloggers. i don’t really use facebook to promote my blog or anything yet. i only use it to interact with personal friends and family!

    i check social media randomly throughout the day with more concentrated periods during the mornings (breakfast) and evenings.

  12. 17

    says

    I cut back a lot on Twitter and Facebook these past two weeks because it was a huge stressor for me in addition to my busy work week. I miss it but when I do get on I enjoy it more.

    I need to learn to pick times when I can enjoy conversation like lunch break or early evening instead of feeling rushed to sneak-a-tweet on a few minutes down time a work. I’ve been much more productive but I do miss the conversation and interaction.

  13. 18

    says

    WOW this was kind of nuts. I’ve been wondering about this too because sometimes if I post on Twitter or FB at a certain time it will get lots of hits and comments but if I post other times (like mid-day) no one sees it. This makes so much sense. I also realized that if I want to tweet about a new post, the morning is best and second best is after work in the early evening.

    This is great! Thanks!

  14. 19

    says

    I think that the timing guidelines are definitely helpful, but I think you have to take into account what feels right for you/your brand. Sure, I could tweet my posts multiple times to increase pageviews, but I know that would piss off my followers. For some people though, that works. I have found, though, that if I post something in the am or around noon, it seems to do best.

  15. 21

    says

    I don’t want to know how much time I spend on Twitter and FB! I probably spend about 1/2 hour in the morning and at least an hour at night, or longer if I’m doing #fitblog or #runchat. I have both on my iPhone, so I check in during the day while I’m waiting for a conference call or for my lunch to finish microwaving, or if I’m stuck in a boring meeting . . . . I pay more attention to Twitter because there is more to keep up with there. Maybe I need more FB friends or more active FB friends. ;-) I publish my blog posts whenever, but usually late evening or first thing in the morning. I will Tweet them 2-3 more times during the day, spread out by a few hours.

  16. 22

    says

    I keep a Facebook and a Twitter tab open on my computer in the evenings…sadly, I’m more connected than I should be. Katy, you always have interesting information that makes me keep questioning how I blog and look at social media (which is a good thing!).

  17. 24

    says

    I never knew that Facebook news feeds were controlled. I thought they were completely random since I see people on there I don’t even remember from college (my cue to defriend them haha). Thanks for the info, Katy! You’re always getting me thinking. I love that.

  18. 27

    says

    Interesting post! I go through phases of using both twitter and facebook a lot, but right now I’m just popping by each for a couple minutes a day. If anything I like twitter more since I can get actual information and find out about new blogs/websites. Facebook I uploaded my blog posts and talk with friends/family. I will say my facebook feed is annoyingly crammed with stuff so I know my blog posts aren’t getting read by most.

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