You must have heard this one before: "If a tree falls in a forest, and there's nobody there to hear it, does it make a sound?"
It's a question that has occupied philosophers for centuries and to which, all scientists agree, is no. Given, that is, with the inexplicable absence of all sentient hearing animals, bugs and birds, that all sound is a mechanical wave - an oscillation of pressure transmitted through a - in this case - a gas composed of frequencies within the range of hearing, and of a level sufficiently strong to be heard, or the sensation stimulated in organs of hearing by such vibrations. Look it up.
Or, for the less scientifically minded, it isn't sound until it hits our lugholes.
Interesting postulation but what, you must be thinking, has this got to do with Twitter? Well consider this: "if a tweet falls at a time when there's nobody there to read it, does it make an impact?".
The answer to that one is also a resounding NO. The lifespan of a tweet is approximately an hour according to data gathered by sysomos. 92% of retweets and almost 97% of replies happen in the first hour. Around 1% of engagement happens in the second hour. After that your tweet is dead.
So when is the best time to tweet?
URL shortener Bitly has done some research on click-through ratios and has uncovered that tweets posted between 1pm - 3pm Monday to Thursday) have a higher chance of achieving a high click count. Posting after 8pm has limited effect in driving traffic to your website, and you can effectively forget tweeting after 3pm on a Friday as Twitter seemingly doesn't work on weekends as a traffic driver. This is based on Eastern Standard Time (EST) of course, as Bitly are a US based establishment, but it seems obvious that the same relative habits would apply in the what if most of your followers a US based? Or Australian, or Asian? What then? When is the best time for you to tweet
Just as in this article's opening hypothesis, if there's nobody there to read your tweet then it will go unheard. So the answer must be when there's somebody there to read it. That's where tools like Tweriod can make a big difference to your customer engagement. Tweriod takes into account a great number of different parameters, and calculates a very accurate result. It looks at your tweets in conjunction with those of your followers to generate an emailed report on the best times for you personally to tweet. The app cleverly excludes automated scheduling tools such as Buffer or Twitterfeed when determining if your followers are online or not - a big plus.
TweetWhen is a free application from Hubspot that analyses your last 1000 tweets and shows you what days and times you get the most retweets and tweets. Of course, because TweetWhen only looks at your past tweets, its algorithm may miss some important parameters. Interestingly our own stats tell us that the best time is 1pm on a Sunday, which goes against what I've just told you about Twitter and the weekend. This doesn't take into account that we generally don't Tweet business based stuff on the weekend, sticking mainly to lighter articles and funny images. (Well, you've got to have a day off haven't you.)
Of course, success doesn't solely depend on timing your tweets. There are other factors to take into consideration when striving for higher engagement and CTR (click through rates).
I hope you found this post helpful. I've mentioned just two of the free tools that help to optimise your daily tweeting habits. There are many more out there. Let me know about your favourite Twitter management tools by commenting below.
*Actually it's not obvious - the Scots prefer weather that is too cold to weather that is too hot. Who knew?