We want people to notice our tweets—to read and retweet them—whether they come from a personal Twitter account or that of a brand.
The subject and wording of a tweet is often (though not always) less important than its timing. Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for when to tweet, but there’s plenty of research and tools to help you make the most of the Twitter account you manage.
Time of day
According to data compiled by the marketing firm Lemon.ly, the most traffic on Twitter occurs from 9 to 11 a.m. ET and 1 to 3 p.m. ET. Research from HubSpot’s Dan Zarrella found that the best time to tweet is 5 p.m. ET.
The takeaway: Spread your tweets out throughout the day with an emphasis on late afternoon.
KISSMetrics pulled data compiled by Zarrella to show the breakdown of tweets in the United States:
• 48 percent of tweets are from the East Coast;
• 33 percent of tweets are from the Central time zone;
• 14 percent are from the West Coast.
• Nearly 80 percent of the U.S. population is located in the Central and Eastern Time zones.
The takeaway: Think East Coast time.
Day of the week
According to Zarrella’s report “How to Get More Clicks on Twitter,” your Twitter links will get the most attention from your followers toward the end of the week and on weekends.
The takeaway: Don’t forget Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Tailoring your tweeting schedule is essential to reaching the greatest number of followers. Here are 13 tools to help you. An asterisk next to the description indicates it’s not free.
1. WhenToTweet helps you determine when most of your followers are online.*
2. TweetWhen shows you the best times to tweet based on your last 1,000 tweets.
3. Tweriod looks at tweets that you and your followers have sent and provides times on when you should tweet.
4. TweetStats offers a detailed analysis of your best tweeting time.
5. Timely creates a schedule based on your last 199 tweets.
6. Tweue is basically a Twitter queue that will evenly space up to 10 tweets, from 15 minutes to eight hours apart.
7. TweetReports gathers the stats from your top 25 influential followers and analyzes the times when keywords are most discussed, and when you might want to participate in these conversations.
8. Lookacross identifies the best time to reach people.*
9. 14Blocks analyzes your followers’ activities to find out the best times to tweet each day.*
10. Socialflow publishes your content when it will resonate the most with your Twitter followers.*
11. Hootsuite is a Web-based social media dashboard in which you queue up and post updates in a timely fashion.
12. Buffer is an app that enables you to add articles, photos, and videos, and it automatically shares them throughout the day.
13. TweetDeck enables you to schedule tweets and can help you manage your social media platforms.
Frequency is a key part of timing
Timing based on tools and metrics goes just so far, of course. Clumping all your tweets in the 4–5 p.m. hour won’t do much good. To reach your wide array of followers, post at least five times a day, spaced throughout the day according to the analytics above, and your tweets will achieve their maximum impact.