As we become more reliant on social media we are starting to see very clear trends emerging in terms of when and how people are using and interacting on them. Each social platform is beginning to show a clear identity through the usage and behaviors of the users active on them. Let’s take a look at some of the key trends that have been identified on some of the biggest social networks out there:
Overall, we’re seeing Facebook experience higher activity levels in the afternoons, presumably when concentration starts to wane. Twitter is definitely the most appropriate channel for busy professionals who don’t have a lot of time to write lengthy tweets during business hours. Tumblr and Pinterest are being used most often and frequently after hours and over weekends. LinkedIn stays true to its brand as a business networking tool, showing the highest level of activity in the mid week, between Tuesday and Thursday. We also see most activity on LinkedIn during lunch breaks and in the early evening just after work. Let’s have a look at when it’s a good idea, or a not so good idea to post on these channels, and just what you should be posting.
The Highest Click-Through Times
These statistics are provided based on how often links were clicked across the different social channels. Facebook shows the most activity between 13h00 and 16h00 daily, while Twitter has a clear preference for Monday through Thursday from 13h00 to 15h00. Users click most on LinkedIn on Tuesday and Thursdays.
True to its reputation as being immensely popular with women and particularly moms, the most active time for Pinterest is Saturday mornings. Google + users also favor the mornings, from 9am to 10am, while Tumblr has emerged as a clear night time network, with the most activity at 7pm at night.
Peak Usage Periods
These statistics were calculated based on when the most users peaked on the network. Wednesdays at 3pm seems to be when Facebook hits its peak, while Twitter shows more even usage Monday through Thursday, from 9 am to 15h00. On LinkedIn, we see flurries of activity at noon and between 17h00 and 18h00 in the evenings.
Pinterest heats up on Fridays at 3pm just before working women hit the fashion stores ahead of the weekend. On Tumblr we see usage peak network from Sundays to Tuesday, from 19h00 to 22h00. Google +’s peak period is Wednesdays at 9am.
If you want to know when not to post, Facebook is least active over the weekends before 8 am and after 20h00 at night. Twitter dies down every day after 20h00 and on Fridays after 15h00. LinkedIn is at its quietest Monday to Friday between 22h00 and 6am. Of course if your networks are international it’s not likely that your usage will follow the same cycles.
Pinterest falls a bit flat during work hours as people are sharing and interacting a lot less. Anything earlier than 16h00 is too early for Tumblr, while early morning and evenings do not seem to work for LinkedIn users.
What Kind Of Content Do Visitors Want To Engage With?
Images are the most provocative forms of content at the moment, offering the highest levels of engagement. Facebook posts accompanied by images get 53% more likes and 104% more comments than text based posts.
Also remember that these days comments and shares are more valuable than likes. Social Media Examiner provides this evidence:
According to the Social Intelligence Report Q1 2014 by Adobe Digital Index, Facebook comments are up 16% compared to the same time last year, and up 40% compared to the same time last quarter. The report also shows that likes have actually gone down from 82% (Q1, 2013) to 78% (Q1, 2014).
On Twitter, posters found clicks increased by 36% and posts were retweeted 31% more when they are accompanied by images. Companies that use images also get 41% more favorites, and 55% more leads. If you would like some insights into what Pinterest users are getting up to:
Pinterest states that humor is the fastest growing category on their social network, as more than 3 million humor Pins are saved each day. In just five months since Pinterest launched the GIFs category, more than 400,000 of them are pinned every day. Trends in the popular fitness category include CrossFit, Paleo challenges, and Tough Mudder Boot Camps.
A Tumblr user is likely to spend 14 minutes on the site, which is 1. 5 times longer than the average Facebook visit. Google +’s fastest growing demographic at the moment is the 45 to 54 year old age group.
Across all networks, resist any temptation to get too spammy. Hubspot recommends that you do not get too over excited and over communicate if you find contacts are using your keywords often.
Don’t send your content off to every single person every single time they tweet with a relevant keyword. Instead, try a lower touch form of communication first for some of those people. Try following them, or replying to them without a link. Sometimes interjecting your content into a relevant conversation works, and other times it backfires.
Keeping Up With Trends
Of course, trends are changing all the time and user behavior is influenced by a number of different lifestyle, technology and access factors. If you want to create a truly impactful social media campaign it is vital that you keep abreast of the latest developments and research.
It is also important to bear in mind that your brand may not hold up with trends or traditions. You may need to do some experimenting of your own to find the peak periods that your target audience is most active. It is also highly likely that you will have to test out different types of content to find that which your target audience is most responsive to. Not every account or page will work out statistically the same. Experiment with different approaches and find the most effective balance for your niche.