There are certain activities and crowds that we’re drawn to (Did someone say wine tasting?). Other social events are so draining that you don’t want to spend time finding a parking spot, let alone spending an entire evening making small talk while wishing you were at home watching movies. The same goes for social media. Every social channel is not created equal, especially when it comes to your audience. Some hold serious weight and influence, drawing certain crowds in, while others are simply ignored or even avoided because — let’s face it — the content just isn’t that interesting for some people.
Are you engaging the right social channels?
There is a science behind each of the social channels — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, blogs, and email. Timing, tone, content, and style are different for each channel, primarily because the user base demographics and purpose are different. The good news is social media platforms are doing a lot of your homework for you. They’re culling through the millions of tweets and posts and determining peak hours, user demographics, and so on. So if you want to choose the channels that will work hardest for you, your starting point is actually quite informed.
The Who’s Who of Social Media
- Facebook: Facebook, which is more popular with college-educated people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, is popular in the afternoon between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. as people are working their way through the after-lunch slump.
- Twitter: Tweets are best timed for lunchtime on Mondays through Thursdays. Twitter skews younger than Facebook with the largest group of users falling in the 18–29 age group. LinkedIn: LinkedIn, the over-30, high-earning urbanite network, is a good place to post mid-week at noon and 5 p.m.
- Pinterest: Women make up the largest group of users on Pinterest, where posts targeting fashion and retail hit their peak on Friday afternoons.
- Instagram and Snapchat: These are popular with the internet’s youngest users, with the vast majority falling into the under-25 category. Not surprisingly, these users are less educated and less affluent than other social channels. (Despite knowing everything, teens still have a way to go before world domination.) Though the jury’s still out on the best time to post on Snapchat, Instagram hits its highest points on Monday and Wednesday at 1 a.m., 5 p.m., and 10 p.m.
- Blog posts and email: These channels are most effective during the weekday — basically when everyone is on the lookout for good content online.
Your Target Audience
All of this information is great if you’re trying to shotgun blast your message, but the better bet is to determine where your particular target audience fits in. For example, if you’re a staffing agency hoping to target people looking for jobs, their LinkedIn usage (typically in the evenings and on weekends) will be different than those who are there to read content from their network during work hours to help them perform their current jobs more efficiently. Your campaign analytics, performance of test posts, and level of engagement will help you determine the best timing of updates. Keep in mind that even with all the planning for channel optimization, your audience might act completely different than its demographic peers. For example, for one of our clients, we discovered that users were engaging with social media in totally different ways than we anticipated. We had to rethink our strategy and dial up our execution where the audience was actually going to engage. After a couple months, we saw our impressions double! Measurement and optimization are critical to achieving this. So be prepared to break the rules and follow the migration patterns of your target audience.