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The Science Behind Scheduling Your Social Media Content

Don’t just wing it.

If you’re going to take the time to curate and create content to post on social media, make sure it gets the most mileage (aka eyeballs). Most advisors have a tool they can leverage to schedule social media content. But the truth is, most advisors post with little strategy in mind. In other words, they “wing it.” They make assumptions about audience usage and simply schedule out the month. 

But with today’s social media algorithms playing an essential role in your ability to get your content distributed, it’s important to get engagement within the first few hours of a post. Simply put, if you get engagement, the algorithms will distribute your post to more of your audience. And posting at the optimal times will help you accomplish this.

There’s more than one way to determine optimal posting times. Give the topic a Google search and you’ll find no shortage of opinions. The truth is, every advisor’s audience and content are slightly unique. Thus, it comes down to testing. That said, here are a few tips we use in our Social Media Automation program.

An HBR study found that people like to engage with different types of content at different times of the day.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review provides some great insight on the science behind successful social media posts. The article focuses on a study that examined 5,706 social media posts. While there were numerous findings, one of the most interesting revolved around click-through rates. They found that morning posts had significantly higher click-through rates than posts at other times of the day. They also found that content with a negative slant had even higher click-through rates.

The study justifies the findings by explaining the inner workings of the human-working memory. Because of human-working memory, consumers have a higher desire to engage with content in the morning. Basically, when we wake up, we feel the need to seek information. Thus, if your goal is to drive a portion of your audience to your website, this study would suggest that it’s ideal for you to post articles and videos hosted on your site in the morning. So, consider posting hosted articles in the morning and leave posts that don’t require as much action (such as images, quotes, etc.) for the afternoon or evening posts.

You can use Facebook Page Insights to identify precisely when your audience actually uses the network.

We consult advisors everyday about their Facebook business pages, and when we ask them how often they review the Insights section we typically get a “deer in the headlights” reaction. Facebook’s Insight tool is highly underutilized. This tool is helpful in understanding your page’s likes, engagement, top posts, reach and demographics. But one of our favorite features is “When Your Fans are Online.” Facebook can actually show you when your fans are active on the network. Here’s an example from a client:

Starting at 8 p.m., this client has a peak usage of 1,083. Thus, we could schedule posts during this time period to see if they have an impact. Overall, these stats are a great starting point for your content testing.

Sprout Social’s data science team analyzed ideal posting times for their platform and found that each social network varies greatly.

Sprout Social’s study on this topic is fascinating. Their data science team crunched the numbers based on their huge array of clients to determine how to “fish where the fish are biting.” They found that most social networks have a reported best time to post, and they vary greatly. Here are the most optimal times to post on each network. 

  • Facebook: Wednesday at noon and 2 p.m. and Thursday at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Instagram: Wednesday at 3 p.m., Thursday at 5 a.m., 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., and Friday at 5 a.m.
  • LinkedIn: Wednesday at 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Twitter: Friday at 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

So, what’s our conclusion? If you thought we were going to spell out the ideal times you should be posting, sorry to disappoint. Frankly, it’s not something someone can definitively tell you. Doing so would be doing you a disservice because it takes testing and knowing your audience! But now you can test intelligently and avoid the “spray and pray” method.   

If you want to start raising the bar, start testing your content. If you want to cross this task off your to-do list, outsource your social media to us. We’ll help you build a stellar presence, engage your audience and ultimately, drive new business.


@StephenBoswell is President of The Oechsli Institute and co-author of Best Practices of Elite Advisors@KevinANichols is the Chief Operating Officer for The Oechsli Institute and co-author of The Indispensable LinkedIn Sales Guide for Financial Advisors.

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