It's a great question - how frequently and at what time(s) should I tweet? - and while I've been active enough on the social media scene for some time now, I admit that I am no Rhodes scholar when it comes to knowing the answer. That, however, I blame on my own impatience; I often just want to get the post out there and move on to my next deliverable. However, if I am honest with myself, that's not really optimizing my social media efforts, or my marketing ROI, or my lead generation efforts, which means I'm ultimately wasting my time by not being strategic on my tweeting initiatives.
Can you relate?
So I did a little research online. I used this little tool called Google. I researched some tweets and posts from various Trust Agents (accolades to Chris Brogan for this term). I read a bit of online journalism. What I learned is that I should have trusted my gut (as opposed to my historical behaviours). Because this is a blog, and I am often more verbose then I should be, I'll cut to the chase for you.
- You want to post for maximum exposure. Twitter is analogous to the CNN news ticker. People tune in, read the news, then tune out. If they happen to stay long enough to see the news ticker repeat itself, they're not actually offended. They accept and expect it to happen. Said another way - you need to tweet your tweets more than once.
- Some suggest the best time to tweet would probably be 9:00am PST (this assumes a North American audience primarily) because:
- The west coast has arrived at the office
- The east coast is catching up on Tweets over lunch
- It's the end of the day in the United Kingdom
- Malcolm Coles has an amazing, albeit somewhat subjective, study where he reviews Twitter "margin" - the difference between tweets read and tweets sent. Accordingly, he claims the best time to tweet is at 4:01pm. Now he's based out of the UK, but he does somewhat address this in his study. I love his concept of "margin".
- Guy Kawasaki has been famously quoted that he retweets nearly every post 4 times (of course, this would be spread out over the course of a day or more).
- General consensus on the frequency is a little more divided although most successful Twitterers agree that the number is at least three times for each post.
- There is differing opinions around the text of the tweet, if you tweet something more than once. Some people feel they should change the text (while using the same link) so that it appears different while others find this approach deceiving. These advocates would rather keep the text the same so that people who click through on your tweets don't click through more than once to the same article, thus resulting in a perceived 'bait and switch' and thereby negatively affecting your credibility.
- A great suggestion for how long to wait between tweets, or perhaps better said "when to post your tweets", was posited by Anil Batra. The proposed schedule is:
- initial post at 9:00am PST
- post the same tweet again at 1:00pm PST (4:00pm EST)
- and finally post again at 4:00pm PST.
- of course, this all assumes most of your followers are west coast. If you're outside of North America, you would change this for your own time zone.
- Personally, since I'm an EST person, I like the idea of posting at 9am EST, again at 12pm EST, again at 4pm EST and again at 7pm EST. (notice I had 4 posts, and not 3 posts!)
So, for the next little while, I'll be experimenting with my frequency and timing. I'll let you know how it goes. And maybe, when I do follow up with my results, we can start the conversation about when to retweet. That's a whole other blog post.
In the interim, there is a cool tool called Tweek O'Clock that can tell you the best time to tweet a specific individual if you're trying to get face time with them. Check it out.
And if you're wondering how to manage the scheduling of these tweets, rather than doing it manually, I think you'll find tools like Hootsuite, and others, do a wonderful job. Just like I began this article, I suggest you use that Google tool to find the Twitter client for you!
Oh! One more thing. Check out this awesome article by Fast Company. It really gets into the math behind tweeting.