The question ‘when is the best time to tweet?’ will occur to anyone who is looking to engage an increasing numbers of followers. There are a number of apps that claim to tell you – but the truth is they only tell you part of the answer, often being when the majority of your followers, or your community, is online.
For a new account this probably is a good time to tweet, as it will help you to get in front of the most people with the least effort. In the long term, and for established accounts, we don’t think this represents a sound strategy.
Most of us are creatures of habit – we stop to rest at particular times of day, so consequently social media use increases when we down tools. It doesn’t take a genius to establish this is generally just prior to work, at coffee time, lunch-time, mid-afternoon and at the end of work. Then there’s the after-dinner, and the kids have gone to bed “me time”.
If you always tweet at the same peak times, you will tend to reach the same people. This will be great in terms of hitting some people a lot of times (high frequency) but it isn’t so good in terms of reaching new people (coverage).
Some of the ‘best time to tweet’ apps will take you further by segmenting your followers. Clearly, there will be different ‘best times’ for different elements of your community, so these segments are worthwhile checking out. But we still don’t think this is a long term strategy – why?
Many of the tweets that appear in these peak times have been scheduled, which means the chances of being able to speak to the twitterer there and then are slimmer than you may think. This is evidenced by the number of times you’ll get a reply a lot later on. You can still have the conversation, when you have time, but the moment may be lost. The upside is that your tweet will be seen by many people who are looking at their timeline but not joining in but this is still no justification to stick to tweeting in peak times long term.
Twitter has some great USP’s, not least of which is the ability to reach out to any account regardless of whether they or you are following each other, letting you build trust, a friendship, and in time maybe a business relationship. To reach new people, you need to tweet at a variety of different times.
Getting in front of the people you want to have a conversation with is a key part of what we do with the accounts we manage for our clients. Twitter has a couple of native tools which are useful for engaging with people who don’t tweet very often:
- The mobile Tweet Notifications: our illustration shows the very sociable @BKFrank_tweets
- The Tweet Alerts on our Tweetdeck illustration shows the hosts of #NorfolkHour, @icenimagazine
One of the best ways of getting to know other twitterers is to engage in conversations during popular #hours. Relevant ones for us in west Norfolk are the county-wide #Norfolkhour, #NorwichHour, the recently started #ElyHour, and of course our Tuesday night natter in Kings Lynn in #KLHour – do come and say hi! There are many specialist hours too, one of our favourites being #chickenhour which handily overlaps with #KLHour.
Seeking out relevant people to have meaningful conversations with takes time, but we think it is well worth it. If someone tells you when they think your ‘best time to tweet’ is, our advice is to treat this with caution. Building meaningful relationships on social media is done by listening, developing a dialogue, and engaging with people. If you don’t have the time to do this, talk to us, it’s what we do.
So our answer to ‘When is the best time to tweet?’ is when you have the time!