Best Time to Post on Social Media

HootsuiteFacebook logo is an excellent service for any business wanting to manage all their social media activities in one place. They also offer a blog is full of useful information. Recently it looked into the best time to post on social media and came to these conclusions.

Facebook remains the most frequently viewed social media. Its move back to an emphasis on family and friends has left business pages high and dry with your posts likely to reach 5% or less of your followers (unless you pay). So timing is more important than ever to try to ensure that those who do receive your post actually look at it.

The best time to post on Facebook is in the lunch period between noon and 3pm every weekday except Tuesday and between noon and 1pm at the weekend.

Instagram, the new star in the social media firmament, follows in the footsteps of its owner Facebook by applying an algorithm to posts, so there’s a lot more to being seen than timing. Nevertheless the hour you post plays its part and between noon and 1pm (otherwise known as lunchtime) seems to be the best time to send out your message to the world.

Twitter takes a different approach. Unlike Facebook, their algorithm doesn’t bury its users’ hard work in a shallow grave. What it does do is give prominence to posts that are more popular or what it deems interesting (which seems to mean news stories in particular). Consequently, the avalanche of tweets continues to be impossible for most of us to do more than dip into and tweets from even a few hours earlier may never be seen unless Twitter chooses to bring them to your attention (‘In Case You Missed It’). Because generally Tweets are still listed in the order they were tweeted, timing remains important. Hootsuite’s research suggests the best time to reach people on Twitter is at 3pm on weekdays. However, since everybody is posting at that time, perhaps a little earlier or later might be a good idea.

Hootsuite logoFinally there’s LinkedIn, still working for the business community and observing office hours when it comes to posts, meaning the best times are just before work at 7.45, around coffee time at 10.45, at lunch 12.45 and at knocking off time- 5.45. Only Monday to Thursday though, not Friday otherwise known as Poets Day (Push off early, Tomorrow’s Saturday).

It’s important to emphasise that this is research by Hootsuite, derived from analysis of hundreds of thousands of posts made through its auspices. Your market may not fit their norm. So, it’s important for you to check for yourself which timings get the best response. Also, timing is only one factor- the content will have a huge effect on whether people re-post, re-tweet, comment or click on a link.

It’s worth looking at the basis for Hootsuite’s conclusions about timing as well as their advice on how to do your own research. Here’s the link to the blog post.

Ignore Tweets, Lose Customers

Ignore Twitter- Lose Customers

Businesses Must Read Tweets or Lose CustomersNever ignore a complaint, even on Twitter. I realise Twitter can be seen as a waste of time. If you have an account, you’ll know that you get loads of followers who simply want to sell you something. Your tweets get lost in the millions that are posted each day. Even if you’re not on Twitter, you know that lots of tweets are written in the heat of the moment, some of them ignorant and abusive.

But. It is a medium for communicating with your customers. If someone is unhappy with a company, they may express their annoyance on Twitter. As with all complaints, it’s an opportunity to understand your customer, give them a better service and avoid losing their business. Or not. This is a story of how two companies responded to my Tweets.

I had a problem with the new Argos website. I was finding it somewhat difficult to work out how to reserve an item for pickup at my Winchester store. Irritated I tweeted ‘Oh @Argos why did you have to change your website and make it so difficult to use?’ You’ll notice the ‘@Argos’ which makes sure it goes to their Twitter feed.

When my wife and I were in WestQuay on a Sunday, there was a live event and the music was shockingly loud, so loud we couldn’t hear ourselves talk over what should have been a relaxing coffee. So I tweeted ‘Awful deafening drumming at @WestQuay ruining shopping experience’.

Since both only had to check their Twitter accounts to see these Tweets, what’s interesting is how the companies responded. Argos replied within minutes to say they were sorry to hear that and could they help.

WestQuay… well they didn’t respond, not even the next day. Not ever. They could have explained that this a Chinese New Year celebration and was only going to last a few minutes. They could have expressed some sympathy. They could have simply said ‘Sorry’.

Does it matter? Yes and here’s why. I was feeling ill disposed to both these companies. Thanks to their speedy sympathetic response, I will continue to buy from Argos. Thanks to the total lack of customer service, I won’t be returning to WestQuay if I can avoid it.

This blog was written by Paul Lewis, owner of the Winchester based marketing consultancy Seven Experience. You can connect with him on Google+ and LinkedIn

A Lesson in Brand Marketing from James Blunt

James BluntLast week James Blunt gave me a lesson in brand marketing. I might not have realised just how good he is at marketing, if I hadn’t seen Alfie Boe a year ago to compare him with.

The story begins a couple of years ago. My wife and I have enjoyed James’ music for many years but we had never seen him live in concert so we decided that the next time he toured, we’d try and get tickets. I figured the best idea would be to join his email list in the hope of getting a heads up. This worked and in fact I was able to take advantage of fans’ priority booking to get some excellent seats.

Okay, it was a means to an end but following James meant I got an insight into his marketing strategy.  He doesn’t post regularly but he does let you know when he has a new video or other significant news and he does it in a very conversational way (or possibly some PR person does). The point is, he clearly has a rapport with his fans and does a lot to cultivate it.

Which brings me to his concert. First off, the support was recommended by a fan- James hadn’t seen them himself. Then James Blunt himself- not acting like a big star, more like an old friend.  Lots of singing along, even to songs on his brand new album. It was like a family get together. Many brands can only dream of this kind of connection.

He gave us the old favourites like You’re Beautiful and Goodbye My Lover. He joked about how miserable his songs are. He treated us to his new album Moon Landing which is his best yet, as sad (and occasionally happy) and melodic as the previous ones, only more mature. I doubt there is a better singer-songwriter among his generation. If you think you don’t like James Blunt, try Bonfire Heart, a perfect love song.

The marketing point is, he doesn’t try to be everything to everyone. He knows what he’s good at and ploughs that furrow brilliantly. He accepts that there are many people out there who hate him and his music. He laughs about it because he knows that enough people like him to keep him in the top ten and make him a multi millionaire.

Now I’m not saying this is a deliberate marketing tactic but it’s one that works. The best brands stick to what they’re good at and only change subtly, if at all. Think of BMW or Kelloggs.  Remember what happened to Coca Cola when they changed the formula? The outcry that followed saw them beat a hasty retreat.

On the other hand, an occasional new product or a little tweek can keep a brand fresh. Just as Marmite had a huge marketing success by exploiting the way people apparently love or hate it, so it is with James Blunt. Stuck with an image of being posh, wet and miserable, he nows exults in it by responding to abusive tweets with witty and often coarse rejoinders which are the talk of the Twittersphere. As a result, his following has soared to 800,000 (to add to his six million Facebook likes) and people who might hate his singing now think he’s a good bloke. Here’s a clean example. He retweets the insult ‘My dog could do better’ and adds the comment ‘Then your dog should try harder.’

And so to Alfie Boe. We went expecting the Alfie we know and love but instead of the outstanding operatic singer of Nessun Dorma and Les Miserables, we got an average country rock singer. I understand that he may feel caught in the operatic genre. We all feel trapped sometimes and want to try something different. But I paid to see the Alfie Boe I knew. So did most of the audience judging by the fact that when he returned briefly to his operatic singing and performed Bring Him Home, he got the biggest reaction of the evening.

The result is, I wouldn’t go see him again and I wouldn’t recommend him. Unless he follows the example of Coke and goes back to what made his name. Better still, he should have a word with James Blunt.

This blog was written by Paul Seven Lewis, owner of the marketing consultancy Seven Experience and former Head of Marketing and Operations at The Mayflower Theatre. You can connect with him on Google+ and LinkedIn. A version appeared on the Daily Echo website.

It’s All About You

You are important and you know it. But does the person trying to sell you something know it?

One of the basic lessons of marketing is ‘sell benefits not features’. In other words, tell the customer what’s in it for them. Yet how often do you receive an email, letter, tweet, flier or even a personal call that fails to tell you why you should buy? You can probably find any number of examples that don’t even use the word ‘you’.

Here’s an example from the world of theatre: ‘This show is unmissable.’ OK but why shouldn’t you miss it? What particular rvalue will be added to your memories were you to have this experience? What empty hole will there be in your life if you choose not to see the show?

Maybe it’s a moving play. So you’ll very likely be crying at the end. Better bring tissues.

Maybe it’s a funny play. So you’ll be laughing. Better bring an oxygen supply in case you can’t get your breath.

Maybe it’s a musical full of hits. So you’ll be tapping your feet, clapping along, dancing in the aisles, reliving your youth. Better bring a defibrillator.

The fact that it’s an award winning, long running, critically acclaimed work of genius is very reassuring but so are any number of shows you wouldn’t dream of seeing.

A survey found that the word most commonly used in tweets that were retweeted was ‘you’. Copy- even if it’s only 147 digits- should tell you a story in which you are the star. That story should describe vividly what will happen to you when you go to see that particular show. It should fire your imagination.

If at the end of the story, you say that’s not for me, at least you’ve made an informed decision. Think of all the potential customers like you who never even started on the journey because they were given a list of features and couldn’t be bothered trying to work out the answer to the most important marketing question: what’s in it for you?

This blog was written by Paul Seven Lewis, owner of the marketing consultancy The Lewis Experience and former Head of Marketing and Operations at The Mayflower Theatre. You can connect with him on Google+ and LinkedIn.

7 Ways To Get Retweeted

Being retweeted increases the exposure of your ideas or company to potential followers so it’s more than a boost to the ego. Before we get down to the nitty gritty, let’s be clear: the following tips will increase the chances of you getting retweeted, some quite significantly, but you still have to have something worth retweeting. So, content is still king. Leo Widrich at Bufferapp.com did an experiment and found that Tweets are more likely to be shared if they contain actionable tips, news, fresh research or are about your followers.

1. Be Funny. If retweets are gold, a Tweet that people find funny enough to share is the mother lode. I like the one written for the PG Tips account which parodies the popular Pussycat Dolls’ song: ‘Doncha you wish your boyfriend was hot like tea?’

2. It’s All About You. ‘You’ is the word that crops up most in retweets so use ‘you’ and ‘your’ if you want to increase the likelihood of being retweeted. The word that occurs least in retweets is ‘game’ followed by ‘going’, ‘haha’, ‘lol’ and ‘but’.

3. Get the Timing Right. Tweeting when the most people are reading might seem the most obvious factor. For business blogs, that’s between 12 and 4pm. For the rest it’s 5pm when we finish working. However people engage 19% more at the weekend according to research by Dan Zarrella.

4. Use an Image. According to Shopify’s research on viral Tweets, your tweet is nearly twice as likely to be retweeted if it contains an image, especially one using pic.twitter.com.

5. Add a Link. Almost 70% of retweets contain a link, says Shopify’s research. Put anogther way, a tweet with a link is 86% more likely to be retweeted. This may seem like bad news if the link is to someone else’s interesting website but it’s good news if it’s yours. When you use links, shorten them- by far the most popular shortener is bit.ly.

6. Use a #Hashtag. Using a recognisable hashtag leads to approximately twice the level of engagement.

7. Length is Important. 100-115 words is the optimum length for retweeting success. Short Tweets are the least successful.

Bonus Tip: Say Please. Asking for a retweet is very effective, especially if you say ‘please’. Dan Zarella found that 50 percent of tweets with the phrase ‘Please retweet’ were retweeted compared with the 10% figure for tweets that didn’t. Put another way, saying ‘please retweet’- and spelling out ‘retweet’- gives your tweet 23 times higher chance of being retweeted.

Sources: Dan Zarrella Shopify Bufferapp

This blog was written by Paul Seven Lewis, owner of the marketing consultancy The Lewis Experience based at Hampshire Workspace, and former Head of Marketing and Operations at The Mayflower Theatre. You can connect with him on Google+ and LinkedIn.