Gini Dietrich

Social Media Campaigns Don’t Match When Consumers Are Online

By: Gini Dietrich | June 28, 2012 | 
84

Ever wonder how much content you should be producing? What about how many times you should be posting to the social networks?

I was just asked this question during a speaking engagement yesterday, “How many times should I be posting to Facebook every day?”

According to the Engagement and Interaction White Paper, where they analyzed the top 20,000 Facebook fan pages, the answer is: A minimum of four times each day.

And now there’s a new study out from YesMail, which looked at the social networks of 20 popular clothing retailers in order to discover how email boosts social engagement, what times of day and week are most effective, and how to standardize some of your engagement in order to succeed. 

It found a few interesting things:

  • Marketers are deploying their Facebook campaigns the wrong time of day. According to the study, the Facebook campaigns of the brands it studied reached the highest level of interaction between 10 p.m. and 12 a.m. ET, yet the timeslot was the least used by marketers. We attended a client’s Twitter chat a couple of months ago, which was from 9-11 p.m. ET and it was highly attended and very engaged. Why? Kids have gone to bed and parents get on their computers for one last push before calling it a night.
  • More than 84 percent of Twitter campaigns occurred within regular work hours of 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, even though 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. ET is the timeframe with the highest level of customer engagement. I find this in my own engagement. Most of our blog commenters are here between 6-10 a.m. ET, again at noon, and then they drop off significantly.
  • Marketers ignore more than half of the day when it comes to running YouTube campaigns.
  • Just three percent of emails were sent after 6 p.m. EST, which YesMail notes is a “fairly consistently used timeslot for social campaigns.”
  • The most interaction on YouTube occurs on Monday, but Mondays are right now the least used weekdays for campaign deployment.

Of course, this isn’t the end all, be all of studies. They only evaluated 20 brands during a three month process, but (based on our own experience), I have to agree with their findings. It’s why  I almost always publish blog posts by 7 a.m. ET (except today because I’m extraordinarily tired).

You can get a copy of the study here.

Do you find the same…or different?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

  • This totally meshes with what I see. My blog traffic is always highest in the morning – my posts go live between 6-7 a.m. That’s when I do all of my reading and commenting too. It makes sense to me.
     
    And, I’ve seen other studies about posting times on Facebook. That’s when I see most activity too – late at night. If I’m ever hopping on during the day for work, that’s when I see all of the marketing messages – not the posts from friends. It makes sense to me. Why are people missing this? There are plenty of tools that can help you schedule your stuff to hit at the times when people might actually be listening.

    •  @lauraclick I have nothing to base this on except opinion, but I think people are so desperate to have the elusive work/life balance, that they forget the web lives on all day and all night and, sometimes, work doesn’t end when you shut down your computer. Think about some of the major social media crises we’ve seen (Motrin Moms, anyone?). When do they happen? Not between 9 and 5.

      •  @ginidietrich @lauraclick Agreed. Just because we work 9 to 5 doesn’t mean our customers engage that way. I know a number of folks who only use social media on weekends (though that number is shrinking). Looking forward to reading this study.

        •  @KenMueller  @lauraclick I’m much more active on the social networks on the weekends. It’s also when I get caught up with Words with Friends (cough, beating Ken, cough).

        •  @ginidietrich  @lauraclick Well I can’t beat you if you never take your turn! (cough, bite me, cough)

        •  @KenMueller  @ginidietrich Ha! Now I must challenge you both! I often play on weekends…or it’s my guilty pleasure/break while I stand at my kitchen counter and scarf down lunch!

        •  @lauraclick  @ginidietrich bring it!

        •  @KenMueller  @lauraclick  @ginidietrich WWF? IN. 

  • A quick look at this and I would agree. I post my client facebook and twitter updates at 9 pm daily and find that this has the most response.  I did an informal poll of their customers, and they all said that time was when they checked their various sites.  Just like you said, dinner is done, kids are in bed, time to plan for the next day. I am also very tired today…my beagle Madison has been doing the Jack Bauer thing and prancing around at 5:45 every day…ugh.

    •  @RebeccaTodd What the heck? I wonder if it’s because the sun is coming up so much earlier? It’s the only thing I can point to.

      •  @ginidietrich Could be. I also find it is getting worse as she ages. The boy will sleep forever still but he’s young. Will ask my dog whisperer for tips!

        •  @RebeccaTodd Do…and let me know what you find out!

  • GrizzardComm

    YouTube Monday results are interesting. RT @ginidietrich Social Media Campaigns Don’t Match When Consumers Are Online http://t.co/y2NGvbOM

  • Super interesting!  Thanks for sharing that one Gini.  Never would have thought to post in the evening, but it makes a lot of sense!
     
    –Tony Gnau

    •  @T60Productions I test out different time periods and evening is always when we have most engagement. Always.

  • John_Trader1

    This might be an obvious point but it’s important to assess the habits of your own vertical and niche social community first before making a blanket adoption to the recommendations in this study. Since this was a study of clothing retailers, that might be a great benchmark for B2C but what about B2B? It might not be safe to assume that the same results would apply if your focus is B2B. I guess what I’m saying is take the study recommendations with a grain of salt and properly define the tastes of your community before rushing to adopt the recommendations.
     
    I know the focus of the study wasn’t on ROI but I would have liked to see how the clothing retailers were able to parlay these strategies into increases to their bottom lines. 

    •  @John_Trader1 Yes, I agree with you. But we do mostly B2B work and we’ve found the same. It’s not really about the work you do, but about when people are on the social networks. Most people are on first thing in the morning, at lunchtime, right before they go home, and then again after dinner. That’s not indicative of industry…it’s indicative of people.

      • John_Trader1

         @ginidietrich That’s comforting to know as I deal largely with B2B rather than B2C. I would add that this is probably true for businesses that deal with North American customers, but I have found different results across other continents and cultures so I would say its indicative of USA culture, but maybe not global culture. Even more important that you know your community and where they are.

        •  @John_Trader1 Now that I agree with…it’s definitely only US-based. After all, we don’t siesta in the middle of the day. 🙂

        • John_Trader1

           @ginidietrich There is a reason that other advanced cultures are so less stressed than us. Wine at lunch at siestas in afternoon in U.S. would be a good start, wouldn’t it?

        •  @John_Trader1 I think so!

  • dmbrown111

    Always a pleasure Sunshine ;0)
    @laurajdaley @ginidietrich

  • It varies for me. I see a burst of activity in the very early morning (3-4 AM PST) and then relatively steady throughout the day.
     
    But I also see a burst later in the evening that runs from about 8:30 -12 PST. If I picked it apart I bet that I would find a chunk of East Coasters who are night owls alongside my fellow West Coasters.
     
    And none of this takes into account the international readers who show up at all different hours.

    •  @TheJackB Where you see the bursts mirrors the study – 5-8 a.m. ET is 2-5 a.m. your time. Super early. 

      •  @ginidietrich I’d have to agree with @TheJackB (also on the west coast). I read something recently that suggested scheduling for ET readers. Is that something you agree with Gini? 

        •  @Sandi Amorim  @TheJackB Yeah…unfortunately I think the world revolves around the east coast. Do you have to vary your work hours to accomodate those on the east coast?

        •  @ginidietrich  Yes, my first client calls are now usually 6-7am to accomodate eastern and european time zones. Works because I tend to be an earlybird anyway! But flipside is I’m fried and can’t coach beyond early afternoon, so that’s when I do more writing and biz stuff! 

        •  @Sandi Amorim I always work that early, too, mostly because I’m a better writer before noon. But I envy that you can write after all your client calls. I’d be curled up in the fetal position, sucking my thumb.

        •  @ginidietrich Umm, yeah…that would account for some inconsistencies in my blog schedule 😉

        •  @Sandi Amorim Ha!

      •  @ginidietrich Yes, it is super early but I see continual activity that begins with the east coast people and covers the west coast too.
         
        I have also noticed that the open rate on my newsletter is better when I send it a bit later than first thing.
         
        I suspect that is because it doesn’t get lost in the “pile.”

  •  I guess what I’m saying is take the study recommendations with a grain of salt and properly define the tastes of your community before rushing to adopt the recommendations.

    •  @margaret14 Totally agree…that’s why I was pretty clear about how small the study is and how to use it in a combination with what your own experience shows.

  • I’ve been thinking on this timing issue as well and trying to publish my post at times right before I generally get high activity on my blog. I find that I see more visitors in the morning hours before work and then right at the noon hour. I suspect this may be working people who are surfing the web in their off hours.

    •  @richescorner That’s what I see too…and it tends to drop off pretty significantly after lunchtime.

  • The proper answer to the question suggested by this title is – wait for it – it depends!
     
    And it depends well beyond niche or vertical. It depends on YOUR business, your style, your network, your community. That’s why I despise all these studies that purport to have answers to this question.
     
    Businesses must TEST this stuff within their own systems. Test, test, test, Then you’ll KNOW what the best time and frequency of posting is FOR YOUR BUSINESS!

    •  @Sean McGinnis I don’t totally agree. I don’t think it has so much to do with your vertical or niche as much as it has to do with when people are using the social networks. We do a ton of B2B work and find our most engaged conversations (for clients) are after dinner (which mirrors this study). That’s not the niche or vertical…that’s people. 

      •  @ginidietrich Which is why I picked 9pm ET for #Speakchat

  • webby2001

    @seanmcginnis @ginidietrich Actually, that isn’t bad–it’s at least a focused category and audience, and not some kind of “universal law.”

  • ginidietrich

    @TorontoLouise Waving hi!

    • TorontoLouise

      @ginidietrich hi to you. Looking forward to seeing you in T.O soon

      • ginidietrich

        @TorontoLouise Just a few more weeks!

  • Wow, these numbers are pretty impressive. It’s easy to forget that even though we’re utilizing social networks for business, those social networks are…social! People are most likely to be on them before or after work (or maybe on lunch break), particularly if their company is strict about using social networks during business hours. I suppose there might be some fluctuation based on your specific audience (maybe your audience is kids, so you work around school hours, or workers who are on the night shift, etc., etc.), but in the end, humans are humans. We’ve been conditioned to the 9-5 day!

    •  @annedreshfield I only wish the 9-5 day still existed.

      •  @TheJackB  @annedreshfield Especially in the online world, the 9-5 does not exist. But, really, it’s fun to be on the social networks so it’s not considered work if your’e doing things on the weekends and at night.

        •  @ginidietrich I must disagree, at least a little, on this point. Study after study shows that Americans are working longer hours than ever, and that it’s affecting stress levels and illnesses. Yes, social media and marketing can be fun, but at what point do we need to start worrying about always being “on”? I don’t want to hold a webinar at 9pm, because that’s when I’m at home with my family. And it’s great if lots of people are commenting on my posts at 5:00am — but does that mean I have to be awake to respond? People are impatient on social media, and want a faster response. Does this mean I have to be awake at 5:00am to respond to comments, be available all day for my clients who work business hours, and then stay awake to do a webinar from 9:00-11:00pm?There can be difficulties/disadvantages to always being connected. Sometimes it feels less like being connected and more like *having to be connected all the time.*  

        •  @Amy Peveto I totally agree with that…completely. My only point is that we check our social networks at nights and on weekends, for our personal use. I know I’m more active on weekends than during the week. For this focus group of one, it’d be a really good time to get my attention because you’re not competing with my employees and clients.

  • chillygal

    @ginidietrich Nothing more frustrating in these times when you want a response & have to wait. Some cos have 24 hr response which is great!

    • ginidietrich

      @chillygal Even 24 hours can be a long time in today’s digital world

      • chillygal

        @ginidietrich That’s another life time. @AlaskaAir has 2 on FT Twitter & has GREAT customer response!

  • Gini, It makes sense so I’m going to give it a go and see what happens when I try different times.
    Thanks
    Richard

    •  @richardbosworth I”ll be curious to hear what you find!

  • KamaTimbrell

    I’m surprised that a “minimum of four times a day” was found to be optimal, if only because personally, if I’m seeing four posts from a brand I’ve liked on FB, I’m probably going to hide or unlike the brand. That’s just too much for me. And I didn’t think I was unusual in that regard.

    •  @KamaTimbrell But here’s the deal…unless you’re on Facebook all day long and are constantly looking at your stream, you wouldn’t see all of the updates. You’d likely only see one. 

      • KamaTimbrell

         @ginidietrich There’s one  company I liked, and I do see all their updates. Multiple updates, each day. Of the type that are “click like if put your pants on one leg at a time!” Same thing with another company that I keep an eye on for professional purposes. And that’s the only reason I haven’t hidden its posts.

        •  @KamaTimbrell LOL!! If you were a tree, what kind would you be?

        • KamaTimbrell

           @ginidietrich Hmmm…that requires knowing more than two species of trees (Maple & white birch). Whatever tree is occasionally crumudgeonly. 🙂

        •  @KamaTimbrell Um, Christmas trees! I would say white birch is occasionally curmudgeonly. And very pretty!

  • Projectevekim

    This is so interesting largely because it contradicts of some of the social media tools we’ve been using that offer advice about when to post updates/tweets/etc to reach the largest audience. But it does seem to make a lot of sense…at least in terms of the kids going to sleep thing. 

  • mangelet

    @Steveology @ginidietrich don’t think. Test.

  • friendsofsocial

    @dramaiya1 Thanks for sharing, Danielle! Catch you soon.

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