As I have written about in our social media series for nonprofit fundraising, social media has evolved into key communication and engagement channels that are integrated into all successful digital marketing plans. As end-of-year fundraising plans are underway, I have recently wrote about 5 Tips for Stronger 2013 End of Year Nonprofit Fundraising, Insights into End-of-Year Nonprofit Email Campaigns for Stronger Fundraising Results and in 2012 I also provided 5 Strategies for Stronger End-of-Year Nonprofit Fundraising Results. The social media landscape has become more crowded in general and in this last quarter of 2013, the competition is definitely stiff. Nonprofits are competing for supporters with other nonprofits while also competing with retailers who are promoting their goods and services over the holiday season within the same crowded space. In addition to posting “stand out from the crowd “ content that is engaging, it’s also important to post at the best times to optimize your reach and avoid being buried in newsfeeds to achieve the best possible results.
There is varying advice amongst many social media experts about the best and worst times to post content on each social media platform. As every organization is different, the following are some general strategies in determining the best times to post your content:
Data Analysis – Even if you have only recently established a presence on one or more social media networks, follower’s data has already been building in your community including how or when they react to your content. Analyzing this data will be beneficial to better understanding when they are active and engaged with your content and what type of content inspires that engagement. Keep in mind however that it’s critical to monitor and analyze your data regularly as patterns tend to change and evolve and your posting times must as well.
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Competitive Research – Researching competing organizations that are similar in scope, size, sector and have a successful presence on the same social media platforms can give you a competitive advantage. Depending on your organization’s circumstance and overall presence on the platform, the strategy could be either: a) posting content at the same times as your competitors provided your content stands out more; or b) posting at opposite times as them so you are not competing directly with them.
Trial & Error – Ultimately it’s all about experimenting and determining when your audience engages best. What may work for competing organizations may not necessarily work for your own community, so post regularly and at varying times of day and days of the week to get a complete picture and then schedule future content on times and days that worked best. Coupled with the previously mentioned data analysis you can easily tweak your initiatives to get the best results.
The following are some general time guidelines that you may want to factor into your posting plans that may generate stronger results:
Weekday Mornings – Generally between 8am and 9am, people are commuting to work or school and are checking in to their social media networks for updates.
Weekday Midday’s – Generally between 11:30am and 1pm, people are on lunch and often find themselves on their favorite platform engaging with and sharing content.
Weekday Afternoons – Generally between 5pm and 7pm, people are commuting from work and checking into social media for end of day and evening updates.
Weekday Nights – After 10pm, people are winding down for the day and engaging in social media after watching prime time programming and they are getting ready for bed.
Weekends – Weekends are almost always the best times for engagement as people have more disposable time to be on social media networks than they would be during the week.
Time Zones – It’s important to keep time zones in mind. Analyzing your data and determining where your community of supporter’s are from can help you decide when to post content during peak times within their specific time zone.