Timing is everything: when to tweet

If I had a cat, maybe I'd get the cat to tweet for me late at night...

Part of good communication is knowing when to transmit your message.  That can vary, depending on your audience, and their needs and preferences.  Generally, you want to send your message when people are most likely to see it or hear it, right?

But all things being equal, are there any “good” times to post updates on Twitter?

HubSpot‘s Dan Zarella presented the findings of his fascinating analysis of the optimal times to post social media updates in yesterday’s webinar “The Science of Timing”  (click link for slides).

Here are some of his findings regarding Twitter.

Twitter: When and How Much

At one time, people (like me) cautioned against over-posting on Twitter.  And I still say you should watch it, depending on who you are or what you’re trying to accomplish for your brand.  But we can all tweet a bit more, as long as it’s useful, relevant, and timely content.  Dan Zarella saw a definite correlation between people who posted relatively high number of tweets and who had large numbers of followers, with people who tweeted 22 times a day or more enjoying the greatest following.

BUT never post the same tweet twice.  Reword it.  Mix it up. A tip from me: you can up the frequency of your tweets and maintain engagement by taking advantage of those @replies (start with @).  Those tweets will only be seen by people who follow both you and the person you’re mentioning.

However, if your goal is to get people to click through to a link — such as a link to a blog post or article — then space your tweets WITH LINKS about an hour apart from each other — at least.  This is what I do.  Doesn’t it drive you crazy when people post this rapid-fire barrage of links (that are — what’s worse — often auto-tweeted)?  Well, that’s just not social, is it?  So, don’t post too many links or retweets too close together.  Click through rates fall when you do.

And Saturday and Sundays are great times to obtain click throughs to links (Mondays and Thursdays, not so much).  That’s because there are fewer people on Twitter during those times, so your tweets tend to get more attention, and tweets that get more attention (if they’re good content) tend to be clicked through more.

Sometimes, you just want some info to go viral, i.e., get retweeted a lot.  In general, if you want your Twitter update to be retweeted, post it later in the day, say between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. EST.  Twitter updates posted later in the week also tend to be retweeted.

But this isn’t universal for everyone.  If you’d like to see when you are most likely to be retweeted, according to HubSpot, anyway, you can try plugging your name into the “TweetWhen.com” application and see what it comes up with.

It said I’m most likely to be retweeted at midnight on Friday.

You know, it’s true!  I was sick last week and I couldn’t sleep and darned if I didn’t get some retweets late at night.  But that’s not going to be a regular thing for me.

Sorry, I’m not staying up that late to tweet 🙂

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About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a public relations and marketing consultant, and owns Fletcher Prince (www.FletcherPrince.com). Follow Mary on Twitter @FletcherPrince.

Posted on March 30, 2011, in Fletcher Prince News and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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