We can’t help remembering the situation before COVID-19 hit the headlines. After forwarding the data dealing with the most effective times to post on social media Communication, remotely working is commenced. Organizations and individuals alike quickly changed their approach. They wished to help alleviate the virus. Suddenly, daily work practices changed with more and more shopping online. Now it became the turn of social media to bask in the limelight.
Amidst sweeping changes, we surveyed over 20,000 clients to check the altered user of social media resources! You should be using the data to rethink approaches in the light of audience preferences across a few months. What happened that altered life forever is the global pandemic called COVID-19!
How did communication get across during the corona nightmare?
Ample Sprout resources inform social media administrators and teams to respond to the pandemic and post updates.
Referring to the earlier analysis of ideal times to post in social media during the present year, consider Sprout’s Optimal Send Times. The collection of data regarding the best times is similar at an individual level too. Avoid guessing regarding posting content and the ideal times with a free 30-day trial of Sprout Social. Read further to be informed of how COVID-19 has altered social media Communication interactions:
- Updates to Facebook times to post
- Updates to Instagram times to post
- Updates to Twitter times to post
- Updates to LinkedIn times to post
- Changes in social media message volume
How COVID-19 brought changes to the best social media posting times
We compiled the data that constitutes the annual review of the best posting times. Look at the most recent data that covers the middle of April 2020. By considering the larger picture, it is obvious that the best times to post have indeed changed. It is in response to more work and life activities going online. The network-wise analysis will make it quite clear. By citing some network cases, the best times have changed a lot within a few weeks, compared to the changes across 2019 and early 2020.
Disclaimer: A variety of industries, locations and plan types constitute the users of the Sprout Social data collection. Central Time Zone (CST) enabled all the time frames. By the number of engagements is meant the brand’s total engagements in a particular channel within that hourly time frame.
Updated Facebook best posting times
Earlier trends indicated that Wednesday showed heightened activity on Facebook. Further, on Wednesday, the period between 11 A.M., and 1–2 P.M. attracted the maximum engagement. The new emerging trends show that every weekday experienced hectic activity throughout the day. Present-day data indicate that 10–11 A.M. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday are the best times to post on Facebook. Compared to other times during the day, each day shows heightened activity at 11 A.M.
Much less intense activity is witnessed on weekdays after 5 P.M. and during weekends. The rational reason is that remote workers face several home and family pressures during that time after work. After the traditional working hours end, family interests demand attention.
Updated Instagram best posting times
The Instagram changes appear similar to Facebook with longer stretches of activity. The most preferred times these days during the very busy week for Instagram posts is 11 A.M. on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Additionally, 2 P.M. on Tuesday is also equally favoured.
What was the situation earlier? The top engagement times used to be 11 A.M. on Wednesday and 10 A.M.–1 A.M. on Friday.
Further changes are discerned now on Instagram in comparison to the past year. The regular activity took place previously in the early mornings and late evenings. The working hours of the day show regular activity now with a powerful slackening witnessed after 6 P.M. In fact; weekends have become busy times on Instagram now. Even on Sunday, when minimum posting activity was seen previously, 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. shows increased regular activity.
When are the best times to post on Twitter?
When it comes to Twitter, activity times before and after COVID-19 show a certain regularity, the probable reason is that the primary utility of the social media platform is a rapid glance at the emerging news. Information concerning the public related to lockdowns and quarantines according to the area was displayed.
When are the best times to post on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn shows basically similar activity timings before and after COVID-19. That makes a lot of sense since the social media platform is connected to professionals. Some shifts in time are witnessed like Twitter. Earlier, busy times were Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesday: 8–10 A.M. Thursday: 9 A.M. as well as 1–2 P.M. Friday: 9 A.M.
The new best times for LinkedIn have shifted to Wednesday 3 P.M., Thursday 9–10 A.M. and Friday 11–12 A.M.
However, starting and ending regular weekday timings are later in LinkedIn now than previously. Engagements commence at 8 A.M. instead of the 7 A.M. before and end at 4 P.M. rather than the 3 P.M. earlier. Causes? Probably, remote work patterns have altered, including reduced internet browsing during and after travel times.
How social media messaging volumes changed
By living through a new reality now amidst the pandemic, a researched attempt was made to find changes. Comparing metrics related to message dimensions would reveal the extent of change if any. The first quarter of 2020 is contrasted with the April 2020 first fortnight in terms of messages sent and received. By reviewing such dimensions across networks and industries, the audience attention was deciphered.
Changes in brand behaviour
In terms of averages applied to networks and industries, numerically speaking, the posts each day remained similar across Q1 and April 2020. Numbers of posts decreased only by about 0.2 posts each day.
Concerning a few industries, the sent message numbers increased during this period. Increases were seen in healthcare, media and amusement industries. The reasons are easy to understand. Everybody wanted to be informed of the latest news about the pandemic. In the days of social distancing, seeking inspiration and entertainment became the most common pursuits.
Conversely, certain industries like travel and sports witnessed immensely reduced numbers of posts. These industries had witnessed the suspension of regular routines because of the pandemic, leading to huge losses. Sending messages is also decreased in education, retail and consumer goods sectors, though not by very much.
Studying the outgoing message numbers according to networks, they marginally reduced across industries, considering averages:
- In Facebook, sent messages reduced by 1.8 posts each day.
- In Instagram, sent messages decreased by 1.9 posts a day.
- For Twitter, the outgoing messages declined by 2.3 posts every day.
Brands have to adjust their content strategies according to the changes. Consistently re-evaluating policies and programs enables them to serve social media communities well. Across March and April 2020, members showed differences in their approaches and dealings with social media.
Member interaction with social media brands amidst COVID-19?
Similar to the study of the best times for social media Communication interactions, we found changes in the ways members interacted with the brands in April 2020, compared to Q1 2020. The changes were rather extensive.
Incoming engagements witnessed a rapid increase on an average of 44 each day, and that phenomenon applies to every network. By considering the number of posts, the growth numbered 7.3 engagements per post per day.
Regarding tendencies, many examples matched the process indicated regarding posting volumes related to industries. Along with consumer goods, healthcare, media and entertainment witnessed massive increases in engagements each day. No doubt, these sectors occupied the thoughts of many as lifestyles changed dramatically and quickly. When you consider declining industries like sports and retail selling, legal and non-profit industries, it was the result of changed conditions. As the numbers and volumes of posts declined, so did engagements.
Engagements may be increasing, but incoming messages to brands reduced significantly. On average, spread over every network, the decrease amounted to 19 messages each day. While comparing the first fortnight of April 2020 with Q1 2020, not a single industry showed an increase in incoming messages. Retail, sports and non-profits experienced a significant decline.
Studied network-wise, Facebook and Twitter show such a trend:
- Facebook comments reduced by 5.6 each day.
- Facebook PMs dwindled by 2.1 every day.
- Twitter @ messages declined by 16 each day.
- Twitter retweets diminished by 20.8 every day.
By comparing the decline further between industries, Twitter interactions show a drop in every industry. Facebook shows the decline in every sector except healthcare, media and entertainment. In Facebook PMs, the media and entertainment industry witnessed an increase in messages.
Regarding the only case of increased incoming messages, Instagram showed an average increase of 6.4 comments per day. Considering the Instagram volume of comments, consumer goods and media along with entertainment and software, witnessed significant improvements, much higher than the average.
The cited information indicates how much social media interactions change according to altered daily life activities. Within the space of a few weeks under the impact of COVID-19, changes of devices and school and work impacted the social media Communication interaction patterns significantly. Restricted activities of study and work had their dramatic effects on the networks.
What happens next?
Concerning the complex COVID-19 global drama, it seems entirely justified to say that the next weeks and months will witness further changes in audience interaction with social media Communication. Research over a few months indicates that brands need to prepare to face additional new challenges. Brands have to continually remain on their toes and find new strategies according to the need of the hour. Brands need to review past practices and develop a list of new priorities to face the remainder of 2020.
By researching networks and industries, our findings serve as valuable guidelines along which to proceed. Don’t neglect the data concerning the brand and scout for the best opportunities to succeed. The impact of the pandemic has differed across industries, according to the conditions and the work being affected. Brands of whatever dimensions they may be must think of state-level responses as the weeks’ progress amidst changing conditions. When it comes to user interactions, feelings and behaviour, social media Communication companies need to remain regularly updated. Social data would provide all the ideas and understanding.
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