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July 15th, 2011

Timing and Social Media.



By Brokaw Senior Brand Strategist, Kati Davis.

For years, which is a LONG time in marketing/media strategy, social media experts have been seeking to craft a formula that will lead to successful social media campaigns and the effective implementation of social, viral marketing strategies. One Google search (screw you, Bing) for “social marketing strategies” returns over 8 million hits.

Through all this “science,” though, I have to believe that this is all still very much a game of chance. One well-revered blogger sitting in her California kitchen can tweet about an issue she has with a mini-van ad campaign and the ripple effect can wreak PR havoc on said mini-van brand for weeks (which is a LONG time in marketing/media strategy) reaching a hundred thousand retweets. Or, conversely, a mini-van brand can spend $2M to create a viral video, send the link out via Twitter . . . and . . . crickets.

It’s chance. To a degree, anyway. And we’re not sure that any adequate formula can illustrate something different. Social media is the digital playground of humans, and humans are unpredictable. And contradictory. We drink Diet Coke with our burgers and fries. We have both Lady GaGa and Neil Young on our iPods. Especially unpredictable are the busy humans who are being pulled in a dozen directions at any given moment—those humans might click on a video link via Facebook or Twitter that piques their interest one day…and then not engage the next time they are offered such a treat. It’s purely circumstantial.

But we marketers are still working toward figuring all this social stuff out. All is not lost, and social media tactics shall not be abandoned. We would never suggest such a thing (well, maybe not NEVER, but not in the couple of years or so…which is a LONG time in . . . )

So, we can’t tell you with certainty if you will be the next YouTube sensation based on some formula. What we do know with certainty (thank you back-end analytics and demographic data!) is WHEN TO TRY.

We don’t mean to understate the important role social media plays, not only for our culture overall, but for us marketers, too. If it’s essential to ensure that your message is seen (and when wouldn’t it be? You put all this effort into crafting it), maybe take a cue from We Are Social and plan to send out any links to your digital coupon or microsite address (or video of a basset hound with a Rastafarian dreadlock hat on playing the djembe) under the following considerations:

  • 48% of the U.S. population is in the Eastern Time Zone
  • Best time to get yourself retweeted: 5 p.m. EST
  • You can achieve a higher Click Thru Rate (CTR) if you tweet a few times an hour (and on Wednesday!)
  • You are most likely to achieve click thru at 12 p.m. EST and again at 6 p.m. EST when CTRs spike
  • Most Facebook “shares” happen around noon or 7 p.m. EST on Saturday

With that being said, keep in mind some of us feel there is no such thing as a bad time to receive a text, tweet, email, or facebook update—according to this Retrevo Report. (Yep, even during, umm, that.)