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Is there a “best” time to Tweet? Post on Facebook? Publish a Blog? While some people think it doesn’t matter, others argue that timing is an art, and a science. Here are my two cents.

Okay, let me start off by stating that I am not a scientist. For that matter I am also not a Social Media rockstar,guru or ninja. The views expressed in this post are based on my research as well as my experience as a Blogger, Tweeter and Facebooker over the past 3 years.

So when is the optimal time to post? When will your content get the most exposure? As a Social Media Strategist, one of my goals is to share the most interesting, and relevant information with my audience. So by that logic, I want to share that information when my audience is present, engaged and responsive.

The Research

A recent study by Social Media Scientist Dan Zarella of HubSpot provided us with a slew of data about the “best” time and days to Tweet, Blog, Facebook, email, etc. Dan’s research took into account a variety of indicators of Social Media success including clicks, Retweets, shares, comments and Likes.  Here are some of the key takeaways of this study.

Zarella encourages people to Tweet frequently, but don’t smother. His research showed that Tweeting 1-4 times an hour will get you the best engagement with your audience – but make sure you don’t swamp them with dozens of Tweets an hour. Find your balance. Also, avoid Tweeting the exact same thing more than once. That is annoying. If you want to share your latest blog post more than once, feel free to do so. But don’t be lazy and Tweet the exact same thing. Change up the wording, the hashtags and order of your Tweets.

Zarella also explains that blog readership is highest in the morning, and declines slowly throughout the day and into the night. Blogs that are posted early in the morning tend to get more reads, comments and shared links. The more frequently you blog, the more traction you will get. At WebFuel, we blog at least once a week – we love to keep fresh content on our site – and this can positively affect your SEO rankings as well.

While Zarella’s research was very in depth, and provides some great insight, I believe that it is up to the individual to determine their own optimal timing strategy.

Timing is a Science, not exact Math.

Every audience is unique. It is impossible to say that everyone should blog, update and Tweet at exactly 11:34 AM on Tuesday and 3:06 PM on Fridays to get the most out of their audience. That is ridiculous. Perform your own research. Test out strategies. While a Pub and Grill might find that their audience is most engaged on a Friday night, the NFL’s audience is probably more engaged on a Sunday afternoon – just as I’ve found that WebFuel’s audience is mostly engaged on weekdays before noon.

When I worked for Bishop’s University I would rarely post on Facebook before noon. Why? Because my audience were University students. The only reason they would be up before noon is if they had (and went) to class. Therefore, most of them wouldn’t be able to check their News Feeds until afternoon.

Monitor your timing

Some people complain that they do not have the time to track this. Well, that is a lame excuse. But if you’re feeling lazy there are some great tools out there that help you understand when your most optimal time to Tweet is, such as Tweet When. This free tool analyzes your last 1000 Tweets to help you determine what time and day you have received the most Retweets. For example, I ran a Tweet When analysis on my Twitter @Jason_Faber. What did I learn? The majority of my Tweets get Retweeted at 9:00 AM, 6:30 PM and 9:00 PM on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Go ahead; test your Retweets on Tweet When.

So when it’s all said and done, yes timing does matter. But it is dependent on your content and your audience. Write your own hypothesis – and test it for a few weeks.  Examine your audience. Who are they? What time zone are they in? What kind of content do they like?  Develop your own customized Social Media timing, and put it to good use.