Optimizing Your Advocacy Action Alerts on Social Media

By Jill Nguyen and Ximena Hartsock

 Ever wonder why your great action alert got no attention on social media?

It’s all about timing.
Social media has become increasingly important for organizations to connect with their current and potential supporters and for companies to connect with clients and employees. An effective social media strategy can increase brand recognition, drive website traffic, and provide intelligence about your followers. Identifying the optimal time to post on social media is as important as creating great content.

So when is the best time to post?
The rule of thumb is that you should post when most of your audience is online. A new study conducted by Klout that analyzed 144 million posts and more than 1.1 billion reactions across Facebook and Twitter provides interesting insights:

“On Twitter, 25% of the reactions take place in the first 3 minutes, 50% within the first half hour, and 90% within the first 9 hours. Other networks exhibit slightly slower speeds compared to Twitter, with 50% of reactions on Facebook, Facebook Pages and Google+ taking place within the first 2 hours of posting. Interestingly, we see that the Facebook Pages network shows more similar reaction times to Google+ rather than Facebook, indicating that similar responses can be elicited from users belonging to completely disjoint user sets, if the underlying dynamics of interactions are similar.”

(Spasojevic et al, When to post on social networks, Lithium Technologies, Klout San Francisco, 2015)

Data from calls-to-action in the Phone2Action platform also suggest that most actions on Twitter take place immediately after Twitter social shares or action alerts have been posted.

Optimal Time
According to the Klout study, posting during “optimal time” would increase reactions by 17% on Facebook and 4% on Twitter. Optimal time, defined as the most active time in terms of reactions for both networks in the United States (generalized from studying patterns in New York and San Francisco) is at the beginning of the workday with a post-work peak at 7–8pm. Twitter is twice as active during the week than during the weekend, while Facebook is consistently used throughout 7 days of the week.

While every audience is a bit different, the ideal time across the US is weekdays between 9 and 10am.

“The notable difference is that Twitter reactions for US cities have more pronounced daily peaks, while for London, Paris and Tokyo the behavior seems more consistent throughout the day. All the curves show significant drops on weekends, and Saturday has noticeably lower activity than Sunday. We also observe that New York schedules lag slightly as compared to San Francisco, which may be explained due to lifestyle differences in the two cities. “

(Spasojevic et al, When to post on social networks, Lithium Technologies, Klout San Francisco, 2015)

What are the takeaway lessons for advocacy:

  1. Send action alerts any day of the week, including the weekend on Facebook.
  2. Post different variations of your action alert on Facebook to ensure visibility, but also, be patient, because the reaction to Facebook is slower than on Twitter. Facebook reaches 50% of reactions after 2 hours.
  3. Post your action alerts on Twitter during peak hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the beginning of the work-day (9 or 10am). On Twitter do not send action alerts for the first time on Fridays or weekends if that is going to be your only push. Wait until the beginning of the next week instead.
  4. If you are working on multi-state campaigns be aware of time zones so all of your alerts are sent at optimal times.
  5. Take advantage of the amplifying power of Twitter and write messages to which people would feel compelled to react.

Lastly, make your action alerts personal and focus on stories. Behind almost every Twitter handle and Facebook page there is a person, and that person has a story — make your stories resonate to them.

Spasojevic et al, When to post on social networks, Lithium Technologies, Klout San Francisco, 2015 — http://arxiv.org/pdf/1506.02089v1.pdf

Phone2Action Advocacy Tools: http://www.Phone2Action.com

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