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Right on Time: When to Post Your Content on Facebook

Right on Time: When to Post Your Content on Facebook

time
Everyone wants to know when the best time is to post content for their business on Facebook. It seems that every other day another marketing writer publishes an article with the answer to this burning question. Unfortunately, they all come to different conclusions. Some claim the optimal time to post is from noon to 9 pm, Monday through Fridays; others say 10 am to 4 pm is best, but only from Tuesday through Friday. One even claimed he found the “sweet spot” at precisely 3 pm on Wednesday afternoon.

Really? I’ll have to remember not to take a nap at 3 pm on Wednesdays.

To be fair, all of these folks included the disclaimer that the recommended times were based upon their own research and analytics solely with regard to their own audience. And that’s the point. Every business is different, and prime posting times will depend upon many factors.

[Important note: I am only referring to “People Reached” in this article, without consideration of likes, comments, shares or content quality. Those factors would skew the numbers.]

Who are your customers?
Prime time on Facebook varies depending upon the target audience. Mothers of school age children are likely to be checking in between 8:30 and 10 am. Millennials, bless their young hearts, are awake and active on social media between 9 pm and midnight. Older business owners tend to visit Facebook early in the day before 9 am. I know this because I am an older business owner myself.

If you can identify your primary market’s lifestyle it should not be difficult to figure out when they have time for Facebook.

Where are your customers?
I have a small Facebook community with about 500 page likes focused on one of my hobbies. When I post at 8 am I am lucky to get 10 views, but after 9 pm I get 30 to 60 views on each new post almost immediately. Overnight the views really spike, which leads me to surmise that many in my audience live overseas.

If your audience is local the geographic answer is simple. But if your fans are spread all over the world the 3 pm timeframe at which you are posting from the East Coast is, as an example, noon to Californians. This may necessitate posting the same content more than once. However, you absolutely should “spin” (change the headline, first paragraph, order of paragraphs, etc.) the post so it doesn’t look as though you are spamming content.

What do your customers want and when do they want it?

Some people are planners; others act on the spur of the moment. If you are holding an in-store event then you need to take this into consideration. Post your first notice over a week in advance, and then make sure you post the day before. Two or three hours before the scheduled event put it on Facebook one more time, because there’s always a few people who haven’t yet decided what to do with their day.

I grew up in the restaurant business and one of the benefits of being a member of a “food family” is that people think you are an expert in everything food-related. Restaurants should capitalize on that perception and give their customers the benefit of their knowledge. Early in the day post something helpful on Facebook. This could be a recipe, a cooking technique, or even news from the food space that an average consumer needs. At 4 pm there should be a regular promotional post. Something like, “What’s For Dinner?” describing the special of the day, including a scrumptious photo. This could run every day or just selected days of the week. Do you recall those spur of the moment people I spoke of earlier? You might see them tonight at dinner! Remember, if you’re a restaurant the last thing you want to post is stock photos of food. Show us what you got!

The point is having a solid knowledge of your customer makes it much easier to determine optimum posting times for Facebook and your other social media accounts.

Back to the research. You can also research your own prime posting times for your market much the same way as the marketers I referenced above. Simply make a spreadsheet of every single post you made over one month and note the number of people reached. You will find that during certain times of day more of your audience is on Facebook, making it easier to schedule your most important communications.

Now, if you don’t have the time for this much less time to post on Facebook, you should give us a call. We are here to help!

You Cannot Automate Creativity.

You Cannot Automate Creativity.

robotpaintbrush

In recent years the big news – and most used word – in marketing has been “automation”. Some very clever folks have developed systems and software allowing companies to manage leads and make sales with just one click. This is awesome technology that certainly makes life easier for those who can afford it. However, if someone comes along and offers you the opportunity to totally automate your marketing, beware! There are some elements of your marketing and promotion that cannot be created with software alone.

Not yet, anyway.

Certainly we use software to create articles and blog posts, images, infographics and videos. These are very important and useful tools. But there needs to be a human with an idea behind every piece of content you use to promote your business. Further, Google judges your website based upon how much original and useful content is posted. Curating some content is fine, but the majority of your output should be created for your individual needs, not just to optimize your search engine rankings but also for branding purposes.

I understand that there are some incredibly talented folks out there who can produce voluminous quantities of creative output on demand without breaking a sweat, but frankly I have never met even one. Most of us don’t work that way. There are good days when the Muse enables us to crank out tons of terrific stuff, there are also days when we do just enough. Unfortunately, there are also some days when it just doesn’t happen.

So what’s a content creative to do? Here are some tips that have helped us and may help you as well.

Schedule With Deadlines
The first step in your social media strategy or campaign should always be an editorial calendar. This can be an actual day-by-day plan or a list of weekly or monthly goals. Divide your posts into the three main categories: promotion, information, engagement, and then decide what format you will use to deliver each one, i.e. video, text, infographic, etc. There is nothing wrong with using spur of the moment idea to post outside of your calendar or schedule, but with a concrete plan in place you will know the minimum amount of content you will need and be able to plan accordingly.

An Idea List
Sara and I were sharing our thoughts about new content with each other in an extremely inefficient way. I would write down my ideas on slips of paper wherever I might happen to be, which were promptly lost. And Sara would tell me her idea and not record it anywhere at all. The next day we would both be asking, “What was that great idea you had?”

The solution was to come up with a permanent location to store our ideas. You can use Google docs, that are accessible to everyone involved in this process, or a low-tech, but equally effective, solution is a notebook that is left in a specific location in which ideas are recorded.

Research
Whatever business you are engaged in keeping up with the latest news and trends is imperative. Whether your topic is marketing, podiatry, landscaping or special occasion dressing, presenting last year’s news or styles will not serve your audience. It will probably not result in anything sharable either. The simplest and easiest way to do research is to create Google alerts for your relevant keywords. This will not only provide you with ideas on a daily basis, but if something shows up that your audience needs to know you have content to curate.

Magazine and journal subscriptions are another way to keep up to date. Looking at your competition’s website and social media accounts can give you lots of insight as to what a similar target market responds to. This is also known as “spying”, but unlike in international relations, it’s a legitimate, legal and sometimes quite rewarding method of research.

Inspiration
There are many ways to combat writer’s block, designer’s doldrums, and other maladies that might render you “stuck” for creative ideas. Many people recommend long walks, others suggest taking a long shower. I garden, because it’s strenuous and allows me to clear my mind of the clutter.

The main point is that sometimes you need to walk away from your desk and do something entirely different to let your ideas roll around your brain to the point where they can be expressed in your chosen medium.

For Social Media Success, Look to the Stars.

For businesses social media success depends upon many factors, one of which is finding the appropriate voice and tone of postings. This may be one of the most difficult aspects to get right, especially if several different people are managing social accounts. A relatively easy and straightforward approach would be to choose a celebrity that accurately reflects your brand and your audience.

If your company had an unlimited marketing budget, which celebrity or celebrities would you choose to endorse your company or products? Whether you are new to social media or you were early adapters in identifying your Celebrity Social Spirit Animal (CSSA) this is a very useful tactic to reach a larger audience online. You can create a more successful brand without spending the big bucks. Here are the steps in identifying, emulating, and executing your new marketing strategy with your CSSA.

CSSA done right.

For the purpose of this column let’s examine the example of Jennifer Aniston for Aveeno. In this video,it is quite evident why Aveeno chose Aniston.

http://youtu.be/yVfxAXYAwmY

FRIENDS was a popular TV show when it aired and remains so now while in syndication. Part of its success was due to the likeability of Jennifer Aniston. Many women of a certain age related to her character, and even sported “the Rachel” hairdo during the late 90’s. Twenty years after FRIENDS first aired Aniston is still a celebrity that many women want to emulate.

Aveeno sells products ranging from everyday body creams to natural-looking cosmetics. Their name is itself is a nod to the scientific name for “oat”, and you can’t get much earthier than that. Who better than the pilates-loving, transcendental-meditating, holistic goddess Jennifer Aniston to be their brand ambassador? For Aveeno, it looks like they found the perfect fit.

Another example is the commercial that Kia Motors ran during the 2015 Superbowl featuring none other than James Bond himself, Pierce Brosnan.  In a clever switch, Brosnan was driving through snowy mountain roads to get to the girl instead of encountering evil agents and deadly obstacles.

Kia makes reliable vehicles that many associate with family cars, but they definitely wanted to punch up the element of cool around their brand. Pierce Brosnan’s appearance in this ad helped show that safe, family cars could be seen as sexy, while marketing their Sorento model, an affordable crossover, to an older demographic.

Some of the characteristics that could be used for a successful CSSA model would be that Brosnan is an icon of the baby boomer generation, active, travel-savvy and young at heart. These are the qualities that would both make him relatable to consumers and also entice others to feel closer to that lifestyle if they followed his lead.

David Beckham is primarily known for two things. To sports-minded people he’s known for being one of the best soccer players in recent history. For GenX or Early Millennials he is the husband of a Spice Girl. However you know him, Beckham has been working with H&M  for some time now. Most of the time he’s only wearing his skivvies, – or less. Still, he is the epitome of the cool, athletic risk-taker. His CSSA model could be described as appealing to men in their 20’s to mid 30’s, fashion forward, health conscious and unconventional.

It’s not about you. It’s about your audience.

When determining your CSSA, you need to be realistic and honest. To be sure, everyone would love for Beyonce to endorse their products or company. But would she actually be appropriate to create awareness for your brand and relate to your customers, or just provide a momentary flash in the pan? Another consideration is that Beyonce is so popular that she would represent a market a bit too broad to cater to, making it very difficult to find the right voice. In identifying the right celebrity or celebrities you need to deeply understand your target audience.

First identify the basic demographics of your average customer such as age, gender and income level. Then examine lifestyles and aspirations of your audience. Are they young parents, empty nesters or urban sophisticates? Do they crave adventure or comfort? Are they fashionistas, health-conscious, family oriented? What is your unique selling proposition (USP) that makes people become customers?

If you still lack ideas for a CSSA, research keywords, or hashtags, that you believe your customers will relate to. Words like yoga, comedy, spirituality, healthy living, elegance, fashion forward and gourmet can lead directly to the celebrity personality that embodies the appropriate image.

Put Your CSSA to Work for You.

You have your celebrity. Now it’s time to integrate him or her into your social media efforts. Always be consistent with your voice. Make sure your written posts reflect the characteristics of your CSSA, and curated content would be something that he or she would find interesting, too.

Even your visual marketing needs to reflect the personality of your celebrity. Make sure photos, videos and memes are consistent with the brand personality of your CSSA. If you use professional models in your marketing, it would be optimal if they actually looked like your celebrity, but they should at least embody the characteristics you chose the celebrity for in the first place.

Use your keywords and hastags to prospect for new customers. Having a CSSA makes it simple. On Facebook you can search for “People who like Jennifer Aniston” and have a great target market for your ads.

 

Who would you chose as your company’s Celebrity Social Spirit Animal, and why?