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What’s the best hour to share on social media

At best a frustration, at worst a brand-killer – the issue of miss-timed social media posts is known to us all. Brand promotion in an online world will succeed or fail based in no small part on the chosen hour of posting. This is no simple science, not least because the solution for one may not be the solution for all. Nonetheless, here are a trio of universal tips on how to understand the market and determine the best time to post and share on social media, as well as two alternative approaches to social media marketing.

1) Know your audience.

If you are sharing posts about a product or event, you already have a target group in mind. Alternatively, if you are seeking to raise brand awareness, determine who in particular you are aiming your marketing towards. Consider the online habits of this target market. When will they be online? When will they likely be willing and able to spend 30 seconds/a minute/five minutes of their precious time investigating your brand? Will they enjoy regular content, or sporadic, unscheduled content? Difficult, but essential, questions like these may initially seem unanswerable, which leads to the second vital tip.

2) Use your analytics.

The questions of tip 1) do not need to ponder in the dark. Many social media platforms provide a means to see the demographics, location and, crucially, peak activity times of your viewership. Tedious as it may seem, being well acquainted with these statistics is a highly useful tool. Though not infallible, these analytical tools make both honing in on the true (as opposed to desired) target audience, and developing a posting/sharing schedule to suit them, much easier. If, for instance, the target market is Betfred-obsessed students, statistics will show that late-afternoon and evening posts are most well-received, whereas a 30-something working a 9-5 job might check social media once in the early morning and again on coming home. This is a painstaking process, firstly because it relates to people, who are (unfortunately) changeable, and secondly, because it requires a significant investment of time. As such, the third tip is a more general one.

3) Be patient and persevere.

Utterly indispensable to any social media marketing endeavour is a persevering nature, an ability to play the long game. Be patient in observing and tailoring to the target market. Especially for a start-up brand, simply plugging away is important; you may have to endure for a while before you find the correct posting/sharing formula for your desired audience. Use the tools at your disposal and carefully watch for trends; be prepared that this may take time.

Alongside this on-going commitment to understanding the market and cater to it, any brand must consider one of two options in their social media marketing strategy. Will the brand observe and adapt to the market? Or will it observe and boldly shape the demand of the market?

Using the three tips above, it might easily be assumed that the only solution to finding the perfect sharing hour is to adapt to the whims of the target audience. Indisputably, catering to the apparent target market is a legitimate tactic. By basing your sharing times on statistics, you follow a safer, and possibly more predictable, pattern. But it is also entirely possible, with much persistence and high saturation of posting/sharing, to follow another course: to shape the online habits of the target market.

Particularly suitable for event-based marketing, but possibly also advantageous for product releases, for instance, this second tactic is certainly more risky, but can be highly successful. The principle is to create a significant buzz around the event/product/post in question in advance of posting it, and also prominently publishing the intended post-/share-time. Generate excitement about the release and people will be compelled to align their online schedule with your own. Again, a thorough knowledge of the target market is required, as is a great deal of patience, so that you do not alter your posting/sharing hour to such an extent that the entire audience is lost. It would be useless, for instance, to persistently advertise a posting in the middle of the day when no one is able to view it! However, using knowledge of demographics to pick an appropriate time and then generating the necessary hype is a sure-fire way to reduce the frustration of miss-timing and improve brand reach.

Whichever tactic you opt for, the crucial underlying principle is: only by knowing the target market is it possible to find the perfect posting/sharing formula.

How to find love on social networks

Many, many couples have met each other, fallen in love and are happy-ever-after on various forms of social media. But is this always the case? Unfortunately not.

Social media is not a dating site; there are plenty of those around, with all the software available to match random people by ways of their interests and desires.

However, with so many lost and lonely individuals all over social media, pitfalls do occur, often to the detriment of the platform.

Problem number one is that not everyone tells the truth about their character, or posts their own photos. Most people do, but the unscrupulous are very active. We all have strange people trying to contact us on Skype, Facebook and by email. Scams are not a new thing.

Paradoxically, there are plenty of honest folk out there. If you are single and alone, meeting new friends is easy enough. Most of your current contacts inadvertently open up their own colleagues and acquaintances to you every day, simply by sharing posts. Finding a common thread in their comments can be a foundation to build a genuine friendship through. At a guess, it can be assumed that we’ve all done it.

Ask the right questions before you decide that this is the love of your life. Chat online via Skype or WhatsApp video, and you will soon find out if their photo matches their appearance, or whether conversation comes easily.

Physically meeting with them may be a problem. The world is but a village when it comes to social media, but it’s not that simple in real life. Your potential life partner may be the other side of the globe from you, so delve into his/her personality by asking pertinent questions about religion, culture and other essential qualities. Don’t be conned by an ax murderer or scammer. Be smart and keep digging until you decide it is time to meet this person. Does your new soul mate bring out your best qualities? Do you have interests in common? Are your politics diametrically opposite? The questions are endless, but wrong answers or lies could end up as an expensive way to end the friendship.

No-one chooses to fall in love, it just happens and it’s hard then to be objective. Look out for red danger flags from the beginning of the relationship.

If they are not prepared to chat via a video link, that’s a potential problem. A relationship cannot be conducted successfully by text messages, or Facebook Messenger.

If you are asked for money, then consider the relationship over. There is a very high risk that this is a scam.

Follow your instincts. It may be difficult to ask a friend for help, many people have serious doubts about online love affairs and would be more than happy to change your mind, so be as open-minded as possible, and don’t be taken advantage of.

Find out if you have any friends or acquaintances in common. Something must have led to you befriending this person on social media. If you smell a rat, then ask for honest appraisals of this person. Or just do it anyway, as a matter of course.

Social media seems to be an ideal way to meet and even fall in love over the Internet. Statistics say that over 120 000 marriages per year are through relationships started on these platforms. So it is definitely possible.

However, a proper dating site will ask you all the right questions before matching you with a seemingly similar partner. Social media doesn’t do this, so it’s all up to you. Become an online stalker and check out the background of this stranger. Take extra measures in order to safeguard yourself and your emotions, and use your common sense. If something smells fishy it usually is. And breakups can become nasty over the networks.

And you must be honest as well. Don’t lead anyone on if you are truly not interested. If it looks like someone would like to take the relationship further, don’t encourage them if you are going to hurt them. Remember, these are real people.

Facebook now has a feature called Graph Search can be used to find other single people, by searching within your parameters. For instance, it could be ‘single friends of my friends living in the same, or a different area’.

Tinder is another social site used mainly to meet people. It is simple inasmuch as you only have to swipe left or right to answer questions. They claim that swiping is both emotional and rational. But in all fairness, it’s generally about the appeal of the photos that are posted, and that is 100% emotion.

So yes, it is totally possible to fall in love over social media, if you are careful and are able to judge without being swept along with rampant emotions. And that’s the hard part.

Top social networks in 2016

Everyone is on Social Media, in some form or other, be it WhatsApp on the phone, or Facebook on computer. Depending on individual needs, whether it is to connect with family, find a life partner, keep up with the news, or advertise products or service – it would seem that everyone is at it.

Social media sites have proved a major resource for businesses to promote their brands online. With ease of use counting highly, paid options are available on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and the purely business site, LinkedIn, and all are very efficient for reaching new potential clients from all walks of life. However, it would be extremely time-consuming to advertise on every social site, so research would need to be done to single out the ones that will work best.

FACEBOOK

Since its inception in 2004, Facebook has accumulated more than 1.59 billion active users, and more than 1 million small to medium businesses advertise on Facebook monthly.

While free advertising would depend solely on sharing business information on your personal timeline, paid advertising takes your brand to the people that matter, according to the demographics that are set by you, and beyond the realms of your circle of Facebook Friends.

The first questions you would need to ask yourself would be what do your ideal clients have in common, what are their ages and in what areas do they reside? Is your business able to help them? Is it a niche business or maybe a custom made product that almost anyone would use?

Prep your friends and clients to ‘like’ your page so that they are informed immediately, and then ‘like’ your posts, ensuring that the message travels to their friends, and so on. ‘Like” your own page and be your business spokesperson.

Facebook dominates the social marketing advertising arena, and vote it as the most important online platform. Over 55% of business users choose Facebook, followed by Linked In at 18%.

TWITTER

Twitter is an extremely powerful way to advertise your business. Who knew that a mere 140 characters would result in 320 million users passing on their information in such a limited amount of characters?

As short as it is, many businesses interact with existing and prospective clients, send out press releases and have the option of using targeted ads to a specific audience.

It’s going to take some work. Firstly, ensure that your company identity is branded well. Then research the experts and influencers in your area, follow them and interact with them regularly. Again, get your colleagues and friends involved. Tweeting needs to be done on a regular basis, and daily works best. Track whenever your tweets are mentioned and tweet back if you think it’s appropriate. Don’t forget to retweet and ‘favourite’ tweets.

LINKEDIN

Hands-down the favourite and most popular site for professionals to network, LinkedIn has well over 400 million users.

It is available in 24 languages and is an ideal forum to connect with people in similar businesses to yours and to post information and stats in your field.

LinkedIn gives you great exposure to others looking for your services or products. Your connections can help you connect in more ways than you can imagine. Ask for recommendations, a great way to get testimonials and provide credibility for your company.

Being more aggressive on LinkedIn certainly helps. Post often, updating your connections on projects that you are working on, including updates of interest to your target clients. Join groups related to your field and participate in discussions to build credibility in your field. But be careful not to spam, you’ll do your business a disservice and could possibly be fired from the group.

For the results it gets, LinkedIn’s paid advertising is a bargain. Keep your eyes open for their special free month of paid advertising, and test out the benefits. The first two levels of membership are extremely reasonable, but the third is expensive.

GOOGLE+

With 418 million active users, this is the site to join in order to get a more improved SEO and search traffic volume to your business website. The network has had a major update recently to help you connect your business with existing and potential clients.

Managed by Google My Business, it makes it easier for clients to find you and make your business more visible when searching locally. Using Maps, Search and Google+, Google My Business puts the relevant Google+ listings at the top of the page, with all the required information. It’s not up there with Facebook and LinkedIn yet, but the benefits should help push it up the rankings.

Among the others, two sites have great appeal for displaying your products. Firstly Pinterest has been around since 2010, and has 100 million subscribers, and is ideal for promoting products with a visual appeal. If your target audience is mainly female, then this is the one for you.

Instagram, owned by Facebook, has more than 400 million users. Used mainly to post photos relating to fashion, art, food, travel and similar visual subjects, this site is growing by leaps and bounds, with 95% of the users also on Facebook.

These are the top social media sites, but there are countless others. Choose wisely.