Every Day Isn’t Like Sunday – Part 1.

It’s a bit of a cliché, I accept, but does anybody really like Sundays?

Is it the one day of the week where you can truly relax, or you just itching for it to be over so you can get back to the office on Monday to do what really matters? I ask this because a recent survey from American social media marketing company, Buddy Media, has come with some new research that might just change your mind.

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I know, like me, you probably wonder why so much research does come from that side of the pond: maybe they’ve got too much time on their hands, or maybe they just have more money to throw around. Who can really say? Whatever the answer might be, one thing’s for sure – they may have actually hit on something this time. If you post on Facebook and have been distinctly underwhelmed by the response you’ve received, it may well be that it’s not you’re message that’s to blame, but the time and day you share that message. Perhaps Mr Morrissey was wrong all along: every day isn’t like Sunday.

Buddy Media surveyed 200 of its clients Facebook brand pages over a 14 day period, and found that timing is crucial on the social media website: if you only post during office hours, then you could actually be wasting your time and effort. Facebook is a 24/7 medium, and isn’t constricted by the normal 9 to 5 rules that most of us live by. Any business wanting to maximise the impact and scope of any Facebook message has to target it directly at the users who are most receptive and at a time that suits.

As a general rule, the study found that Facebook has 3 main peaks during each working day: 7 am, 5pm and after 11pm, so if you post only during office hours you’re obviously going to miss the traffic.

Admittedly, not all brands have uniform engagement peaks, and it largely depends on what service or product you’re offering. Playboy, unsurprisingly had a peak engagement time during the early hours of the morning, but that’s another story. The rest, by and large, typically saw surges of traffic during these 3 slots.

It isn’t only timing that’s important: the day of the week also plays its part too. Thursday and Friday saw an 18% increase in traffic. That’s not really surprising given that most people’s thoughts start to focus on the weekend by this time. Unfortunately that shouldn’t be taken as a cue to start blitzing Facebook on these days, as not every market sector conforms to the same patterns.

In the entertainment industry the peak times for engagement are Friday, Saturday and Sunday, yet most of the entertainment brands geared their posting to weekdays which could prove to be costly. This pattern was also reflected in the media sector, where weekends saw a surge of engagement. Mondays aren’t good for media engagement, which I suppose you could blame on the weekend. Still the industry continued to try and engage during normal office hours. The peak time for business and finance interest was Wednesday and Thursday, yet the industry generally spread its marketing throughout the course of the week thereby missing the peak surge of interest.

If there’s a lesson to be gleaned from all this statistical information, it’s that Sundays aren’t as valued as they should be.

All Facebook’s engagement rockets on Sundays, yet only 5% of branding posts went out on these days. The majority of branding material was posted on Fridays, but that generally is when interest is at its lowest. Retail should target its shoppers on Sundays, Fashion needs to optimise engagement on Thursdays, Sports should concentrate marketing on the weekend and the Travel and Leisure industry should focus its message at the end of the working week when most people are starting to wind down, rather than the early days of the week.

Most of the information is self-evident really, but what is surprising is just how many businesses, who you’d think would know better, still haven’t realised that effective marketing is wholly dependent on reaching a target audience. If your business hasn’t considered this before, maybe now’s the time you should.

Part 2 of the article will cover more areas of the study and suggest further ways of improving business engagement with customers on social media sites.

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