They say time waits for no man, well the same can be said for marketers. Whatever your gender, as a marketer (or PR professional), there are multiple facets to your role and you need to be able to juggle them all skilfully. However, it’s fair to say, one of the key things that we all struggle with in our busy lives is ‘time’ itself! Sometimes you can just feel it slipping through your fingers as you try to squeeze in all the vital tasks on your growing to-do list. This can often mean that finding time in your day to publish your latest social post can fall low down on your priority list. You may even end up manually posting content at any opportune moments throughout your day! Sound familiar? If you’re guilty of this, don’t worry, help is at hand.

Before I explain how you can overcome this issue, let me first explain the problem with this ad hoc approach. If you’ve been running a Facebook business page for a while, then you will no doubt have noticed that organic reach of your posts has been steadily declining. It’s tough times in the world of organic social content and the word on the street is that reach will continue to fall in the years ahead. So, unless you’ve got an ongoing budget to put behind your social posts, it’s vital that you optimise your organic content to the best of your ability.

There are many ways to optimise your social content. For example, you can test out the performance of different content types, the copy length, the tone of voice etc. However, for the purposes of this blog, we’re going to look at (you’ve guessed it) the timing of your posts. It shouldn’t be a publish and hope type affair, instead your publishing schedule should be based on cold hard data. If math isn’t your strong point there are some handy tools around to help you to establish and implement your new data-lead approach to social media publishing. My favourite of these tools is Buffer.

You can sign up for a Buffer account and link a limited number of social accounts to it, for free! This will enable you to schedule, publish and review analytics – all on one platform! What’s more, Buffer has a great little ‘optimal timing tool’ which helps you with that pesky problem that faces us all – finding the best to post!

Once you’re all set up with your social channels linked up to Buffer, simply head over to the ‘Schedule’ tab and ensure your time zone is selected. Select a social channel and the days that you would like content to be posted out on. Also select the number of times you would like content to be published on a daily basis. Then hit the ‘optimal timing’ link and Buffer very kindly provides you with a graph showing the best times to publish content on your particular channel! If you are happy to try out the suggested timings, then Buffer will amend your schedule accordingly, leaving you free to get on with your day. Nice huh!?

Here’s an example. The graph below indicates that the two optimal times for me to post to my Facebook page are 2.30 and 18:36.

graph 1

Graph sourced from Buffer

My Twitter optimal times tell a very different story to my Facebook times – as shown below.

graph 2Graph sourced from Buffer

It’s also possible to link up your Instagram, LinkedIn and Google Plus accounts and discover the best time to post to these channels too. And, incase you are wondering how all this works, here’s Buffer’s explanation: “When you optimize your schedule, we look at the past 5,000 interactions (e.g. likes, favorites, clicks, etc.) you’ve had on the profile you’re optimizing as well as similar profiles in the same timezone. We then plot these according to your timezone in a 24 hour period, to see when most interactions have happened.”

So, although this smart tool won’t bring back lost time, hopefully it will save you some of your work day in the weeks/months/years to come, not to mention help you to increase your engagement rates! Happy Buffering and as always we’d love to hear how you get on!