Timing is everything.
Well, maybe not everything. If you have perfect timing but a boring post, you won’t get very far. But even if you have a piece of earth-shaking, groundbreaking information and you phrase it well, if you post it when no one is looking, it will vanish into the bits and bytes of history.
A lot has been written about the best time to post to get your posts to be seen and spread. For data-backed, well-presented general information on timing, I recommend watching Dan Zarrella’s webinar The Science of Timing. (As a general rule I recommend Dan Zarrella’s webinars on whatever topic he’s talked about.)
But Dan’s information, researched as it might be, is very general. True as it might be that if you look at millions of tweets, the best time to send a tweet might come out to be 3PM – but that’s not always true of your audience.
How do you figure out the best time to post on LinkedIn groups, send tweets or email Yahoogroups – the specific ones that you belong to?
The Principle: Basically, you’d like your post to be among the first things that people see whenever they sign in to the network.
Let’s take it one by one:
When people join Linkedin groups, they get updates one of three possible ways:
1) They get emails every time someone posts or comments
2) They get a daily (or weekly) digest of all the new posts and comments
3) They go to the group when they have time and read whatever they want
If it’s 1) or 3), you’re going to have a hard time figuring out when all those group members go online and check their email or their LinkedIn account and that particular group.
BUT – if they get the daily digest, you CAN figure out how to be among the first entries they’ll see.
Here’s a typical daily digest and its structure:
Now take a look up at the top of that email for the time this email was sent. Gmail makes this easy, but I’m sure other providers also list it pretty clearly. Even if the email was sent a few days ago, and Gmail just lists the date (Oct 26), if you mouse over that date, it will show you the time it was sent.
This is the key.
Daily digest emails for any particular group are sent out at the same general time each day, whether that time is 9AM or 5PM. Posts are listed in order of most recent posting before the sending of the digest.
So before posting anything, check out what time the daily email has been sent for the past few days. (*Do note that this time can change over time, so if you haven’t checked in a while, check again.)
If the email goes out at around 11AM, as does the one above, the best time to post to your LinkedIn group is around 10:30AM. The more active the group, the closer to the time you’ll need to shoot (without going over – a la The Price is Right).
If you time it right, you should be the top discussion that people will see.
Notice, though, that comments to existing discussions come before new discussions. If you want your comment to be seen, the above is also the tactic to use. If you want to make sure your new post isn’t overshadowed by comments, that’s a little trickier. Depending on how active your group is, you can take a look before you post and get an idea of how many people have left recent comments – if it’s a particularly active day, you might want to wait until the next day to post.
Depending on what industry you’re in, Yahoogroups might be one of the valuable ways you communicate with your audience.
If it is, know that Yahoogroups basically work like LinkedIn Groups above – but in reverse. LinkedIn Groups daily digest emails put the most recent post first. Yahoogroups put the most recent post last. So if you want to get to the top of the daily digest email, the best time to post is as soon as possible after the previous daily digest email comes out.
Competition for this one was pretty stiff – my post went out right away, and yet I came in as the number 4 listing, because 1, 2 and 3 had gotten in about a minute or two before I did.
This post has gotten a lot longer than I expected, so we’re going to save Twitter for next time, especially since it involves some skills like making lists in Twitter and displaying them as a stream in a Twitter client. Even if that sounds complicated, don’t worry – we’ll do it step by step, with plenty of pictures.
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