The best time of day to tweet & how often to post to Twitter

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twitter birds speech bubbles The best time of day to tweet & how often to post to TwitterAfter finding out the ideal number of tweets per day is a lot higher than I would have guessed (more about that in a moment), I was curious to find out the ideal times to tweet.

That’s what led me to discover the 2 ‘sweet spots’ for Twitter – the best time of day and the ideal number of tweets per day.

I admit that I jumped on board the Twitter train a little early. Having been a Facebook fan for a long time I just didn’t ‘get’ Twitter at first, so I took the ‘wait and see’ approach instead (which I still highly recommend by the way).

In no time I became a Twitter addict. Every client I’ve introduced to Twitter has too. Even my Mother, someone who finds even simple technology overwhelming by default (sorry Mum, hope you don’t mind me sharing that, I’ll bring the Gingernut biscuits next time we catch up for a cuppa) has caught the Twitter bug (or should that be Twitter worm?).

(PS: Kiwis eat more Ginger Nuts than any other biscuit says Griffins)

I find it’s best if you have a Twitter buddy to explain the ins and outs the first time (it only takes 15 minutes). Sure, there are a LOT of ‘how to’ articles out there about Twitter, but there’s nothing like someone right there answering your questions and pointing out the little tricks and tips that make Twitter such a powerful tool for something so incredibly simple.

I know you’re excitedly awaiting the best times to tweet and the ideal number of tweets, but stick with me here so I can get this free offer bit out of the way:

If you’re new to Twitter, call me and I’ll talk you through your set-up and how to use Twitter. No obligation. Just give me a call (+64 9 950 3824) or skype me (OrchidWebDesign) and we’ll do it together in no time.

Okay, let’s get into the juicy data:

The best time of day to Tweet

After I got over how impressive it was in the first place that Gary McCaffrey was attracting thousands of visitors to his site per hour using Twitter, I delved into his handy chart about the best times of day to Tweet (the time is set to Pacific Time by the way). You can view the original chart by clicking Gary’s name above.

Check out these figures and you’ll see a healthy jump in consistent referrals from Twitter between 1pm and 2pm: the 1st Twitter sweet spot.

best time to tweet graph The best time of day to tweet & how often to post to Twitter

What if you want to tweet more than once a day?

Posting anytime from 9am through to 3pm still increases the chances of attracting some nice traffic spikes to your site or blog.

From another point of view, tweeting that perfectly worded tweet linking to your latest fascinating blog article at the wrong time, could cut your chances in half of generating traffic.

So how often should you tweet?

Another eye-opening analysis, this time from the inbound marketing gurus at HubSpot, gave me a valuable wake up call about the frequency of my own tweets (answer: not enough).

Obviously not everyone on Twitter is utilising it as a business tool, however when the data comes from over 1.6 million Twitter users, I sat up and listened.

The average tweets per day (that’s TPD for those who love turning everything into acronyms like I do) is 4.422 and the average number of followers was 103.39 (please follow me on Twitter so I can become average).

The 2nd Twitter sweet spot

HubSpot’s research discovered that users who tweet between 10 and 50 times per day (50?!) have more followers on average than users that tweet more or less frequently. Personally I’d be un-following someone if they tweeted more than 50 times a day!

So what’s the sweet spot? According to this data: 22 tweets per day.

Now if we combine 22 tweets a day with the first sweet spot of between 9am and 3pm, you’d be tweeting 3.6 tweets per hour over that time period – and that would get not only time consuming but also risks being pretty annoying and losing you followers – so use some common sense here and find a happy medium that suits your message and your resources.

What’s best for you?

The moral of these 2 sweet spots is that it could be very worthwhile for you to experiment with increasing your number of tweets per day and playing with different timing of your tweets. But remember to measure your results!

Free tools to track your Twitter success

I’d highly recommend using a simple, free tool like Bit.ly which not only shortens the URL you’re linking to in your tweet, but also tracks how many clicks you achieved (you need to log in to track the clicks generated just by you, it’s free). This is handy whether you link your tweets to your site or someone else’s.

If you have Google Analytics on your site (which we can install for free or you can do it yourself, it’s quick and easy), you can also track the visits to your site from Twitter.

Of course you can also keep a record of new followers that join after each tweet. What you measure simply depends on what your goals are for using Twitter.

By the way, there’s no need to stop what you’re doing every couple of hours for every tweet. Use a free tool like Tweet-u-later to enter your entire day’s tweets in advance and have them roll out at the exact times and dates you specifiy later on (you can even enter tweets years in advance!).

I’d be keen to hear what success you’ve found so far with gaining followers and increasing traffic to your site – what are your Twitter sweet spots?

On the topic of tools – Bit.ly and Tweet-u-later are just 2 of the MANY handy, free ways to make more out of Twitter – which Twitter tools do you use?

PS – See that green tweet button up there top right? If you found this article helpful, please feel free to tweet it. Thank you in advance :)

copyright Anna Gervai and Orchid Web Design, March 2010

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Comments

  1. Verragio says:

    This was a very useful post, thanks. But the interactions should also depend on the gender, location and age groups. It would be interesting to see more of a detailed report.

  2. Andrea says:

    Lots of Great Info Thanks!

    I am working on improving my social media “strategy”. I just started using Hootesuite. I am not sure yet if it tracks the analytics like the Bit.ly you recommended.

    What do you recommend when you have a network from various time-zones? Set up in advance corresponding time conversions of their local “sweet spots” times?

    Mahalo,

    Andrea

  3. Anna says:

    Hi Andrea and Verragio,

    The good news is that Twitter is apparently launching an analytics program ( http://mashable.com/2010/11/17/twitter-analytics/ ) so we should start getting some better data / reports out soon.

    As for time zones Andrea, some suggest posting the same tweet more than once to target different time zones sweet spots (this is assuming you run 1 account for all time zones).

    And yes, I believe Hootsuite does track clicks on links like bit.ly however only if they are ow.ly links of course ( http://kikolani.com/hootsuite-blogging-twitter-management-guide-bloggers.html )

    Thank you for your comments.

    Anna Gervai – Marketing Gum & Orchid Web Design :)

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  8. Great advise, but what timezones do these apply? That information could vary tremendously in terms of the global audience.

  9. Anna Gervai says:

    Hi Jeffrey, Here’s the original research to check re time zones http://www.garymccaffrey.com/blog/2009/03/19/when-is-the-best-time-to-tweet-for-maximum-twitter-traffic-and-exposure/ however I’d strongly recommend if your Twitter followers are across different time zones that you post the more important tweets more than once to target different regions.

    Most research agrees that week days and business hours are the peak times with Thursdays and Fridays attracting the most activity on Twitter however what really matters here is testing what works for your followers. You may also find the updated Twitter stats for 2011 give you some good clues http://www.marketinggum.com/twitter-statistics-2011-updated-stats/. Anna :)

  10. John Russo says:

    hello Anna,
    I often wondered if anyone who was on twitter actually read other peoples tweets. They seem to be in their world, trying desperately to sell everyone else on their products and services. The number of followers one has will also be a factor and the target audience. Still there may be some hope to get a few stragglers to read a post, especially if you broadcast it 22 times a day. The free tools you mentioned will be a blessing for that job. My biggest problem is getting traffic to the site.
    like your blog. I’ll back to read some of your information.

  11. Anna Gervai says:

    Hi John, they most certainly do read the tweets if you have the right followers and tweet content relevant to them. We get a lot of traffic from Twitter to our blog when we share our articles in our tweets and that’s with a relatively small following of just over 1,000 people which we’ve built up slowly and organically. They have chosen to follow us due to the content we share, no competitions or dodgy behaviour used to get numbers up. I’d rather have fewer followers who are interested and engaged in what we share than lots of followers who never read or click on a tweet. Social media shouldn’t be a popularity contest and can be effective even with a small following. Having a blog and linking to it and other content in your tweets (ie: not just having conversations or just tweeting without links) definitely does increase your Twitter followers and traffic (lots of research by everyone from HubSpot to Dan Zarella agrees). Thanks for your feedback :)

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