What are the best days to send my email newsletter? How many times a week should I blog? How many Twitter updates are too many Twitter updates? Should I repost a status update? These are questions I hear all the time from clients. Until recently, I didn't have any documentation about what worked best, only anecdotal evidence from my own experience.
However, recently I attended a great webinar sponsored by HubSpot, in which their Social Media Scientist, Dan Zarrella, dispelled many of the myths and inconsistencies about these very questions and set the record straight based on his research.
Here's are the 10 best takeaways I discovered:
1. Don't be afraid to be the expert. In order to give others a reason to follow you, you need to call yourself an expert on all of your social networking profiles so that people know why they should follow you. Following a "father of 3, nature lover, amateur photographer" just doesn't give anyone anything to remember about you that is distinct.
2. Tweet more for more followers. That was one of the greatest surprises -- if you want to amass more followers quickly, Tweet more. The more you Tweet, like 20-25 times per day, the more people will follow you. I haven't hit that number of daily Tweets, but I have noticed a slew of new followers when I send out 5-10 Tweets per day. Many of these Tweets are just sharing articles and blog posts that I have read.
3. Later on Twitter is better. Twitter activity is the highest between 2-5 PM EST, and clickthrough rates for links posted on Twitter are the highest on Saturday and Sunday. So, if you are trying to drive traffic to your site rather than add followers, post later in the day and on weekends.
4. Less is more on Facebook. Pages that post every other day tend to have the most likes. In Facebook, unlike Twitter, it's easy to flood your friend's status streams. Facebook sharing spikes on the weekend, probably due to the fact that many employers block Facebook access at work. And, the best time to post on Facebook is at night or early morning hours (1-3 AM EST).
5. Email open rates and clickthrough rates are higher on the weekend. Because people don't have much time to really read emails during the week, they tend to do it on the weekend, especially between 5-7 AM EST. Of course, that results in a higher abuse reporting and spam reporting of emails, since recipients are paying more attention to emails then. So, don't be afraid to email on the weekend, particularly early in the morning hours.
6. Don't be afraid to send out multiple emails each week. Once you get to 4 emails per month, sending more emails doesn't result in a loss of clickthrough rate or a greater number of unsubscribes. If you're already emailing your list once a week and you send out valuable content when you email, you might as well send a couple of times per week. Greater unsubscribe rates makes business owners afraid to email more frequently, but the truth is that if the person is going to unsubscribe because he doesn't like what you're sending, he just wasn't interested in what you had to say anyway. The greatest amount of unsubscribes happen when you email your list only 1-2 times per month.
7. Your newest subscribers are your best subscribers. When someone first subscribes to your list is when they pay the most attention to your email, which also means that their unsubscribe rate is the highest in the first few days after subscribing. The newer the subscriber is to you list, the more they read your emails and click on your links. Therefore, it's best to hit new subscribers immediately with your special offers or trials.
8. It pays to know who is reading your blog. Forty percent of people read blogs at night, especially men. Women are more likely to read blogs early in the morning. Blog posts made between 10-11 AM EST get the most views, but comments tend to spike on Saturday and Sunday. So, blog on the weekend early in the morning if you're seeking comments.
9. More blogging is better. Blogs that publish more than once a day tend to have more views. Plus, by doing this, you'll be ahead of just about everyone in your industry. The more frequent your blog posts, the better your visibility. Again, the same rule holds true here and with everything else discussed -- your posts need to contain valuable content that is relevant to your audience.
10. Track, measure, and test. You're in business to make money and pay your bills, so it pays to know what activities are leading to the money. You need to measure where your money is coming from and what sources of traffic are buying from you.
Regardless of whether you market B2C (business to consumer) or B2B (Business to Business), there is little distinction in how consumers versus business owners respond -- both are faced with the same kinds of time crunch and tend to respond to social networking, blogging, and email marketing in very similar ways. Remember, you need to try out these strategies for yourself and determine if you have the same results in your own marketing, as your mileage may vary.