Do you want to get more Twitter engagement?
If you’re a marketer, the answer is probably yes!
With 330 million monthly active users, Twitter is an amazing channel for marketers to use if they want to connect on a more intimate level with a wide audience.
But, Twitter is also a very fast paced social media platform that demands you to think about more than just what you’re posting.
Timing, in particular, is critical.
To get the most out of your Twitter social media strategy, you need to learn how to use timing to your advantage.
In this article, we’ll help you figure out the best times to tweet if you want to get maximum engagement and grow your brand.
- Know the core components of Twitter engagement.
- Identify the best time to tweet based on existing research.
- Learn how to run your own experiments to pinpoint the best time to tweet.
- Recognize other opportunities to drive Twitter engagement.
The Basics of Twitter Engagement
For a marketer, Twitter is all about engagement, impressions, and reach potential:
- Impressions: This is the number of times people saw your post.
- Engagements: This is a combination of all types of engagement (clicks, retweets, follows, replies, favorites).
- Engagement rate: This refers to engagement per impressions (engagement divided by impressions).
Of these, engagement is the most critical for marketing and also hardest to get.
In terms of understanding engagement, Twitter is a remarkably simply channel.
As a user, you engage with a tweet by:
- Replying to it
- Retweeting it.
- Favoriting it.
- Clicking on a link in the actual post.
- Sending a tweet as a direct message.
In terms of built-in functions, that’s…pretty much it.
This is also the beauty of Twitter.
As shown below, your homepage isn’t just made up of tweets from people you follow. It also shows the engagement activity of others, such posts that are favorited or retweeted by someone in your network.
So, if you favorite a post, chances are it’ll show on the feed of some of your followers.
Twitter is powerful for marketers because it rewards quality content with distribution.
If your tweet receives comments, favorites, or retweets, your post will appear on more feeds to be seen by more and more people.
If you have good content, this can exponentially increase your total engagement.
For example, imagine a scenario where you have 10,000 followers. If someone with 4,000 followers retweets something you post, your reach potential jumps from 10K to 14K. This creates a feedback loop whereby strategy content will continually widen its reach potential, get more engagement, and widen its reach potential yet again. The result? Way better engagement for you.
But, boosting engagement can be easier said than done.
You need to think about other factors, including when to tweet.
The Best Time to Tweet to Boost Your Twitter Engagement
You wrote a great tweet. It’s relevant, perhaps even witty or comical. But when will you post it?
When you post is perhaps as important as what you post.
To better understand engagement trends, we dug into findings from a study with 23,858 MarTech Tweets and another with almost 5-million tweets.
Here’s are the trends that surfaced:
- People seem to start and end their days on Twitter; most engagement happens in the mornings and evenings. One possible explanation is that Twitter is a way for people to pass the time on their commute to and from work.
- The type of engagement is not the same for morning and evening: The majority of clicks on in-post links (such as to your latest blog post) happen in the morning. In the evening, Twitter users are more likely to engage by liking or retweeting your post.
- In every time zone, most people tweet between 11am and 1pm.
In other words, you can strategically pursue higher engagement by coordinating your tweets with fluctuations trends throughout the day:
It’s important not to confuse the time when tweets get the most engagement with the most popular times to tweet.
In fact, these are inversely correlated in some cases according to Buffer’s research.
One explanation for the difference between most popular vs. most engagement might be simply due to the rise in competition during the most popular hours.
More people are posting on Twitter around noon, which means it’s harder to bring their attention to YOUR tweet.
How to Find the Best Time to Tweet for YOU
What we just explored in the last section is the general rule for timing your tweets, but it’s also useful to look closely at your own Twitter analytics to figure out optimal timing for your specific business.
Chances are that’ll be in the morning and evening hours, but why not put it to the test?
You can determine the best time to tweet by running some easy experiments analyzed through Twitter Analytics.
Twitter own analysis tool is an extremely useful and free tool available to every Twitter user. When you first visit your analytics page, you’ll get a high-level summary of how your posts have performed over the past month or so:
If you visit your tweet activity, you can see how your posts stack up according to the three main metrics that Twitter tracks (impressions, engagements, and engagement rate).
You can even use Twitter analytics to see how your posts stack up against each other:
To figure out the best time to tweet for engagement, run some experiments. These can be very simple. For example, you can partition tweets into three different time categories, such as:
- Morning: between 7am and 10am
- Afternoon: between 11am and 1pm
- Evening: between 5-8pm
Every day, post three tweets. One in the morning, one in the afternoon, one in the evening.
At the end of each week, tally up total engagement per tweet. Doing this week-by-week will make it easier later on.
Add these numbers to a bare-bones-simple spreadsheet that breaks down each of the 3 time categories and engagement numbers for each.
At the end of the 30-day period of your experiment, determine your average engagement per post. Why? Because this will give you a number to compare against.
Let’s say you’re averaging about 558 engagements per post. Not bad.
To compare how time affects engagement, you’ll next take the average of your three categories: morning, afternoon, evening. When you do that, you find out the following:
- Your tweets posted in the morning have an average engagement rate of 750.
- Your tweets posts in the afternoon have an average engagement rate of 300.
- Your tweets posted in the evening have an average engagement rate of 625
Looking at the graph above, the midday slump in engagement is pretty clear. You can comfortably identify the following:
- To increase engagement, the best time to post is in the morning.
- The second-best time to post is in the evening.
- It’s ok to post in the afternoon, but this not a strategic way to boost Twitter engagement.
That’s pretty compelling information from one very easy, month-long experiment! With that knowledge, you can tackle Twitter engagement more strategically and efficiently by focusing on your morning and evening posts.
The fun doesn’t have to stop there. With tools like Hootsuite, you can automatically analyze Twitter engagement to accurately pinpoint trends in engagement, followers, and traffic.
Other Ways to Boost Twitter Engagement in 2019
Timing is important for Twitter engagement, but there are certainly many other opportunities to drive your engagement rates.
To get more interaction on your posts, here are some other things you can do:
#1) Reciprocate engagement!
If someone engages with you, respond in kind! If they comment on your post, reply to them. Ideally, your response might even encourage them to reply to your post again.
You can also engage back with others by retweeting, commenting on their tweets, liking some of their posts, or even following their account.
#2) Keep your posts snappy.
On Twitter, shorter is better.
That said, don’t make it too short, such as by throwing a link in your post without any accompanying text. Some analyses show that link clicks on Twitter are on the decline, even when the number of total impressions is increasing.
As a rule of thumb, 80-110 characters is the sweet spot for how long your tweet should be.
If you want to share an idea that doesn’t fit into that limit, make a “tweet storm.”
You can do that by creating a new tweet and pressing the + sign before you publish your post. A field to add another post entry will pop up.
That’s a great way to tell a story while also keeping your tweets nice and short.
#3) Promote your best tweets!
If you really want to bring attention to a campaign, or if you have a great tweet that you would like to get in front of more people, create a Twitter ad.
By showing up on the feed of your non-followers, promoted tweets will widen the bounds of your reach potential to help you get significantly more engagement:
Take Control of Your Twitter Engagement in 2019
Knowing the best time to tweet is powerful knowledge.
It allows you to work smarter by focusing your efforts on a few quality posts strategically scattered throughout the day, rather than just going for sheer volume.
You can start 2019 strong with a well-informed Twitter engagement strategy that takes into account external AND internal findings.
While most research points to morning and evening as the optimal times to post on Twitter, why not confirm that for yourself by testing out different times to post?