Social media marketing has become overwhelming and confusing for many marketers. As social platforms like Facebook have changed their algorithms, many brands, companies and small businesses have struggled to adapt. It’s left them with one really big question: Is social media marketing still a good investment of time and money for your small business brand?
The short answer is “Yes, but…”
Yes, social media marketing still works. It’s one of the most efficient and authentic ways to find customers and engage them as fans.
But that doesn’t mean your strategy can stay the same. The same set of tactics that worked a few months ago might not work today. Social media marketing success in the Age of Algorithms requires a more adaptable approach – there is no single right way to do social anymore, and what works for other companies might not work for you. So much depends on your audience, your type of business, your industry, and your overall preferred styles of communication and engagement.
We at Sensai monitor what types of small business posts engage customers most effectively. The results surprised us. It turns out that the workday isn’t always the best time to post on your socials. Sometimes you should be scheduling them for the middle of the night!
Below are a few key strategies to help you re-evaluate the timing of your social media marketing efforts:
Timing is of the Essence
One of the most underappreciated aspects of today’s social media marketing landscape is the matter of timing. Social media platforms are more crowded with posts than ever before, and so the major platforms fight this overcrowding with algorithms. Just because you think your customers are consuming your content in the morning, it doesn’t mean you should post then. In fact, the best time to post to Instagram, on average, is 2am ET/11pm PT. Your best time will vary, but you should experiment with scheduling posts for different times of the day and night. You may be surprised what happens.
Engagement Drives Duration of Views
All the major social media platforms are increasingly driven by algorithms, and the algorithms reward the posts that are driving engagement. This means: getting your timing right – posting at the optimal times of day or days of the week – is even more important. Because if you can reach more of your audience right away and grab their attention when they’re most receptive to hearing from you, they will be most likely to engage with your post by liking, commenting, or sharing. Engagement creates momentum all its own – and the best way to drive engagement is to get your timing right in the first place.
Some Days Are Better Than Others
You might assume that you should be posting on social media every day, to have a consistent, reliable presence. This might not be the best strategy for your business. Depending on your audience, some days of the week are much better for driving engagement – more of your audience will see your posts if you post on a day when more of your audience is checking their social media feeds. For example, one of our customers, who’s a platinum-selling recording artist, was posting for years on Saturdays, assuming that his fans were most active on the weekends. But when we did an analysis of his social media performance, we found that music-related activity peaked on Tuesdays. This surprised him, until he remembered that Tuesdays are the traditional days that record labels ship new LPs to record stores. When this musician switched his promotion to Tuesdays, he saw his engagement increase dramatically.
Again, there is no single “magic day of the week” that works for everyone; it all depends on your industry and your audience. But it’s worth doing some experimentation to see if certain days of the week give you a bigger boost in engagement.
Also Read: Forget Mobile First, It’s Now Social First
Timing Can Confound Your Assumptions
Optimal time of day can be wildly counter-intuitive. Just because you think your audience is active at a certain time of day doesn’t mean they actually are! I had always assumed that I should post to Twitter on weekdays around lunchtime, but Sensai’s A.I. told me that I should post around midnight instead. I tested it, and it actually worked! More of my followers were active late at night than during the workday, and the Twitter algorithm served these posts to them when they woke up in the morning.
Getting your social media timing right is not the only factor in social media success, but it’s becoming more important than ever before – and the answers might not always be obvious. With careful analysis and testing, you can figure out which time frames are the best moments to post on social media in order to reach more people and engagement. Regardless of what you post, you can get better results if you get better at knowing when to post it.