When should I tweet?

Posted on June 19, 2012

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I decided to try to get smart about the times of day I use social media for Collective Content.

That mainly meant starting with Twitter, which I use quite a lot, and a tool called Followerwonk.

What did I learn? What have I changed?

My main interest is when people who follow me are most active on Twitter. (Note, it turns out I saw very different numbers compared to ‘Most active hours for whom @XXX follows’.)

Of course I don’t use @XXX but have two accounts I wanted to compare.

I have @tphallett, aligned more to this blog and some, let’s say, tangential subjects (my love of London, tech and QPR among them).

And I have @ColContent, aligned to the Collective Content website and especially its blog which I post to two or three times each week.

Here is the pattern for my @tphallett account:

And here are the corresponding times for when my followers of @ColContent are active:

Activity to @tphallett is more evenly spread through the working day. Before 7:00AM it’s a bit of a washout and the hours or 5:00PM and 6:00PM are also weak. Given a predominantly UK audience I’d put that down to commute times and, er, sleep.

And here’s an important point. Those times are GMT – or what the tool calls UTC, for Universal Co-ordinated Time – so allowing for daylight saving times now everything is set back an hour. So the afternoon commute is more like 6-8:00PM. (Lucky souls you thought were leaving work at 5:00PM? They don’t really exist.)

For @ColContent, more of the audience is international, especially from the US. That means popular times are 9:00-10:00AM – UK audience getting to work, I can tell from referrer traffic at that time – then lunchtime, end of working day and even 9:00PM at night (adjusted). All those latter three correspond to important times in the US working day. (East coast arrives at work, West coast arrives at work, all coasts killing some time on Twitter towards the end of the working day.)

The upshot? If you work out when you audience is active – in the same way you do with newsletters or channels such as Facebook – you can alter when you post or, at the very least, promote.

This has helped improve my traffic from Twitter but everyone needs to find out the rhythm of their own audience. There are plenty of tools out there.

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Follow Tony on Twitter – @tphallett

Need to know about events? Buy Tony’s e-book, Everything In Moderation: How to chair, moderate and otherwise lead events, from Amazon.co.uk.

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Posted in: Social media