You may remember author Steve Boseley from his recent guest post, Give Your Readership A Massive Boost With Instafreebie. He’s now back, with a great post on which time is the best to tweet.
How to find the best time to Tweet
Any Twitter users out there? Join me today, as I go about finding the best time to Tweet. This turned into a MUCH bigger post than I had first envisaged, so here’s how I’m going to manage this:
- Experimenting, and the tools and methods you can use
- Scheduling, and the tools you can use
- Results from some heavy-hitters
- More results, this time from my own research
- I will NOT be looking at how to send effective Tweets (that’s next time!)
So what is the best time to Tweet?
That question is not as straightforward as it seems. I’d love to be able to say to you ‘Tweet at 8.15 am for best results’, but it’s not that simple, I’m afraid. Depending on where you are in the world, there are different ‘best’ times. There are also best times to tweet for likes, best times for retweets, best times for clicks.
Just tell me the answer
I am not sure there is a definitive answer, as what works on one day may not work on another. My advice at this point would be to experiment. Don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you there.
Experimenting, Part 1: Tools
There is a surprisingly large number of analysis tools available on the internet. In keeping with my theme of FREE resources, here are three that you can use for free:
Followerwonk: its tag line is ‘Find, analyse and optimize.’ For any of you out there that dream about stats, graphs and charts, this is for you. Visit the site and sign up with Twitter for your free account. Click on ‘ANALYZE’, enter your username and select ‘ANALYZE THEIR FOLLOWERS’. Click ‘Do it’ and watch the results roll in.
One of the good things about this free service, is just a short scroll down the first page, you will see a chart showing the times that all your followers are active. Here’s my followers:
You can take a note of these times and plug them into your Tweet-scheduling tool of choice (more on that next), or you can open yourself a free Buffer (see below) account and get the best times auto-scheduled for you!
Tweriod: ‘Start Tweeting when others listen.’ Another FREE tool, Tweriod can analyse your Twitter account and your followers and provide you with the times when your followers are online, but it will also tell you when best to post for maximum exposure. More graphs:
The graph here is for my Twitter followers. You can clearly see the peak time to catch the maximum amount of my followers. Yours may be different. You can even drill down further to look by the hour, although I’m not sure why you’d need that level of detail.
Audisense: this is not a tool for everyone. The link I have given you will take you to the FREE signup, and if you can, you should. I say if you can, because the free account is only available to people with a Twitter Community of under 5000. That means the sum of all your followers plus all those you follow must be under 5000.
Experimenting, Part 2: Tweeting
Okay. So you’ve identified some times that you’d like to try. Now what?
Fire off some Tweets at the suggested times and see the results of your research! That presents you with two problems: Firstly, how do you see the results of your efforts?
On your Twitter page, click on your ‘profile and settings’ and there you will find ‘Analytics.’ You will see a breakdown of all your activity by month. At the bottom of each month, you will see ‘View all Tweet activity.’ That gives you this:
As you can see, there is an awful lot of information, but down the middle you will see a breakdown of all your Tweets, along with all audience engagement numbers. Click a Tweet to break it down further. There are enough stats here to keep everyone happy (but be aware of procrastination!).
The second problem is do you need to stay awake all night if want to post at midnight? No. That’s where scheduling comes in.
Scheduling your Tweets
Other than making your children get up at night to Tweet, your best option is to use one of the free scheduling tools available to you. There are several, but I will mention the two that I use:
Buffer – Easy to use, Buffer links up nicely with some of the above analysis tools. In Followerwonk, once the analysis has discovered the most productive times to be Tweeting, you can ask Buffer to create a custom Tweet schedule for you. You can tell it how many times you want to Tweet, and it will go off and do its thing, like so:
The free version will only allow ten Tweets to be scheduled at a time. Boo.
Hootsuite – Unlike free Buffer, free Hootsuite will allow you to schedule many Tweets, days, even weeks into the future. Track all your mentions, Retweets, and followers all in one place.
Similar to some of the analytics tools I mentioned at the beginning, Hootsuite has a nifty autoschedule function, which will analyse you account and followers and will suggest the optimum time for each post.
Results from Buffer and Hootsuite
My 2000 followers is a drop in the ocean compared to these heavy-hitters. Buffer, for example, analysed 4.8 million Tweets over 10k profiles. This is what they discovered:
- Early morning Tweets receive the most clicks
- Evenings and late nights receive the most Retweets and clicks
- The most popular time to Tweet and get engagement differs across timezones, so I would recommend doing your own research to find these times
General observations from their findings:
- 12pm to 1pm (local time) is the most popular time to Tweet
- 3am – 4am The fewest Tweets are sent
- 11am – 1pm The highest volume of Tweets
- 2am – 3am Earn the most clicks per Tweet
- 9am – 1pm Fewest clicks per Tweet
I think some of these numbers are counter-intuitive. Tweeting at the time when the fewest Tweets are sent improves your click-rate, perhaps because your Tweets have less competition for eyeballs. By far, most of my Tweets are made early morning, UK time, and as a result, I get most of my traffic coming from the West Coast of the US. Following this research I will be changing my Tweet-times to become a bit more Euro-friendly.
Optimising for highest engagement, the graph is very clear in its findings:
It is almost the reverse of the most popular time to Tweet, giving credence to the idea that more Tweets makes it harder to find your Tweet among the thousands of other.
Hootsuite offers similar results but also notes that the average half-life of a Tweet is 24 minutes (compared to 90 for Facebook). This stat shows how important it is to optimise the times you are Tweeting.
Their data suggests that the best time to Tweet is 3pm Monday to Friday. Hootsuite also argues that the best time for engagement (clicks, Retweets) is 12pm – 3pm, going against Buffer’s findings.
Hootsuite also suggest creating a different Twitter handle for each of your most important timezones, but I would suggest that unless Twitter is driving most of your traffic, that could be a bit excessive.
Similar to some of the analytics tools I mentioned at the beginning, Hootsuite has a nifty autoschedule function which will analyse your followers and create what it considers to be the optimum time for each Tweet.
Does my research agree with these results? Here’s what I found from my (albeit brief) research:
At first glance, the lines are not as easy to interpret. If I’d been able to use a million Tweets, they may have levelled out slightly. The chart above does, however, show the per click average for the different forms of engagement.
- For me, the early evening, 5-9pm was best for Retweets
- The most likes occurred early afternoon, 2pm, and late at night, 11pm
- The best time to Tweet for clicks is during the 4 – 9pm slot
Although some of these results fly in the face of what I’ve discussed earlier, they can somewhat be explained when you look at the average reach for each of my Tweets over the same time-period:
What should you take away from all this?
Although the data suggests trends in finding the best time to Tweet, the various times I have mentioned here should be the jumping off point for your own research; you should not expect to plug in the times I mentioned and see your engagement rate go through the roof. The suggested times are just that: suggested times. If my results have shown anything, it’s that you should test what works for you and your followers. So, follow these steps:
- Start with the autoschedule for Hootsuite, or use Followerwonk to suggest the best times to schedule your Buffer Tweets.
- Look at the results and
- Alter your strategy accordingly.
Don’t get me started on ‘how to write effective Tweets’. I’ll do that next. Right now, I need to have a lie down in a dark room.
Who Is Steve Boseley?
Steve lives in Nottingham, UK with his wife and two children. Most of his work falls in the ‘dark fiction’ category, which stems from being brought up on Stephen King novels and short stories, and a steady diet of The Twilight Zone / Tales from the Crypt. You will see some of that influence in his second book, A Sinister Six, a collection of darkly disturbing stories, where the ordinary and mundane become extraordinary and fantastic. A Sinister Six is available from Amazon for just 99c.
A very active sportsman, Steve went back to university to study Sport Science (anatomy and physiology) and expected to move into a career in sports. Instead, he worked with children and young people for several years, before being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of just 30. He now works for a local charity, supporting and empowering disabled people. Writing resurfaced following his diagnosis, offering endless imaginary worlds to escape in to.
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