From tweeting out a link to your latest blog post to posting a photo of your employees hard at work on Instagram, social media makes it easier than ever before for businesses to connect with customers. While social media campaigns are a great outlet for fun and creative ideas, it can be a bit of a letdown if we don’t see the engagement or conversions rates we’d like.

Often, the issue isn’t the content of the campaign, but rather the time the content is posted. Perhaps your core audience checks their Twitter during lunch when you assumed it would be in the evening. The question then becomes: how to do you understand when to post? Fortunately, there are several tools available to shed light on the performance of your posts. Keep on reading to learn how you can use analytics to determine the best times to post to your social media channels.

Site-Specific Analytic Tools

Social media sites have their own analytic tools to help businesses understand the fruits of their social media labor. These tools are free and great for beginners who don’t want to expand to a third-party resource just yet.

Facebook Insights

The latest Facebook Insights is a tool you can access right on your business page to view the performance of your posts in a variety of ways. Within the Posts tab is a section titled When Your Fans Are Online, which is further divided into three sections. The Days section shows the number of fans who are on Facebook each day of the week. When you hover over a particular day, the Times section shows, by the hour, when those fans are online. It’s quite possible that the times your fans are online vary day by day, and you can, therefore, tailor your posting schedule to meet these needs.

Twitter Analytics

Twitter Analytics is accessible from the drop-down menu that appears when you click on your profile picture. While the tool provides a lot of insight into the overall engagement of your tweets, figuring out the best times to tweet aren’t so obvious. The Audience tab breaks down your followers into various segments, including Country and Region. What can you gain from this? You might notice, for example, that a significant percentage of your followers are based in Europe. If you’ve been tweeting in the evenings or mornings of Eastern Standard Time you might be missing followers who are already asleep!

Third-Party Tools

Google Analytics

Google Analytics can generate different reports related to how your social media accounts drive traffic to your website. The network referrals report, for example, shows which social media accounts drive the most traffic. The plugins report shows data on which articles are being shared via social share buttons. If you’ve setup your Google Analytics Goals (such as downloads, page views, or time spent on a landing page), the conversions report shows which social media accounts have been contributing the most toward your goals.

It’s important to remember that data available through these social media reports doesn’t directly show the best times to post to your social media accounts. Rather, you can take these reports and cross-reference with your social media history to determine the best times to post. For example, if you see the network referrals report showing most traffic is coming from Twitter, check your tweet history to see when you’ve been posting (Twitter analytics also show link clicks by the tweet).

Third-Party Studies

Let’s say you’re just starting to build your social media presence and don’t have any data to help determine the best times you should post. Don’t fret! Companies such as CoSchedule and HubSpot regularly publish studies and aggregate posts that provide general information on the best time to post (for example, CoSchedule’s post explains the best time to post on Facebook is in the afternoon, 1-4 PM, Friday through Sunday). These resources give you a great starting point without guessing blindly about when to best post to your social media accounts.

Experiment and Adjust

Remember that finding perfect time to post to Facebook and Twitter will vary from business to business. If you still find your strategy lacking in the conversions you’re hoping for, don’t panic! Social media accounts with inconsistent or little history won’t likely show the best times for you to post, but every account begins with one post. The more you post, the more reliable your data becomes. Combining content that resonates with users along with a relevant posting schedule will put you on the right track toward driving the traffic and conversions you expect for your business.

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