When is the Best Time to Post on Twitter, Digg or Email?

Timing is everything. A couple of years ago, in my post How to Almost Always Increase Your Digg Readership, I posited that the best time to submit a story on Digg was between 10am-2pm Pacific Standard Time (PST) based on the assumption that Digg traffic increases in line with blog post submission statistics.

Malcom Coles did much more research than I did to find a statistically relevant timestamp on which to benchmark (and optimize) your tweet distribution.

“…The best time to tweet if you want people to notice is … 4.01pm, according to my survey of nearly 120 Twitter users…” continue reading

four oclock

For email, the old (and consistent for some years) benchmark for the best day to send email was somewhere between Tuesday and Thursday; but recent studies suggest there are even better days to send email.

The danger in getting too caught up in these “best time” benchmarks though is that it is easy to get distracted from the variety of other important factors that will cause your email, tweet or digg submission gain visibility and traction.

Here are other, perhaps more important factors to consider when sending an email or posting a tweet or Digg submission:

  1. Frequency — Sending one email or one tweet or one submission to Digg at an optimum time might cause a spike in traffic or even some conversions if the communication offers some sort of immediate value. But long term success in email marketing or social media communication requires a consistent frequency of communication. It’s all about being part of the larger conversation that is occurring across all of these platforms at all time — not just during rush hour. Your strategy should consider the frequency of communication across all channels. That frequency should be enough so that you are noticed as a valuable and reliable contributor to the conversation. Consistent frequency will result in brand recognition over time. If your frequency is too high, however, you may very well fatigue even the most ardent follower. If it’s too low, they may forget about you over time.
  2. Content — Content is king, hallelujah! The Subject line of your email, the headline of your Digg submission and the first 50 of your 140 words that you tweet need to pique the interest of the people who read it. There is so much information in front of us that we are instinctively fickle when it comes to what we consume. We simply can’t consume it all, so we scan for keywords and relevancy. Our initial attention to content lasts for only milliseconds. So your key point — your headline — your post glance must capture the attention of potential readers quickly. In this sense, what you send is more important than when you send it.
  3. Personality — On the X-Factor, they call it the x factor. The same is true for online communication. In the same way that there is an overall style of the performer that makes her stand out, there is something about the style of your social media and email presentation that causes some tweets to get more attention. It’s not just about the words you use, but the timing, tone and general feel for how you present your information. It’s interesting how two people can present the same content, but one will appear to be self-serving (visit my blog and learn more about me) and the other will appear sincere and helpful (check out this cool/relevant/interesting information I want to share.)

So, yes — timing is important. Sometimes, the right post at the wrong time will fail to meet expectations. Alternatively, the wrong post at the right time can exceed expectations. The luck or good fortune of being in the right place at the right time has propelled many careers.

But for a long term strategy that you can rely on over time, ensure that you include all of the other factors of effective email and social media communication into the mix.

…and good luck!

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