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Open all hours: Why 5:2 Doesn’t work for retailers on Twitter

Feb 19, 2014 1:49:24 PM

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We’ve all been there. It’s 4pm on Friday, you’ve had a long week and you’re getting ready to clock-out mentally, that’s if you’re not already halfway out the door. But if you’re a social media manager for a consumer brand, this could be the most crucial time of your week.

We analysed the Twitter accounts of six top clothing retailers, including Top Shop and Urban Outfitters, to find out if the optimum time to tweet could be applied across brands. We were interested to discover that for all of the accounts, the time of day with the biggest number of followers online was between 4pm and 5pm on Fridays.

And although the hour of the week with the highest online exposure varied from retailer to retailer, it always fell outside the standard working day. Sorry, guys.

 

 

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These figures are important, particularly in light of figures from Rakuten showing that shopping habits are changing and tablet users are driving a rise in Sunday ecommerce sales. We’ve said it before but it’s worth saying again: you can’t apply a 5:2 philosophy to your Twitter strategy. Monday to Friday isn’t enough. Big name retailers need to have seven-day cover for their accounts to be able to interact with their customers in real time.

While 24/7 monitoring is likely to be an impossible challenge for small business owners, an achievable alternative is to use a tool like Audiense to research the times that the majority of your target audience is online and focus your efforts on these periods.

Sounds exhausting? Whatever your situation, there are some simple tricks behind making a Twitter profile run smoothly, such as planning content in advance, scheduling tweets and prioritising the users with whom to engage.  But if you have the resources, it helps to have a human being on hand to pick up messages and monitor activity – you don’t want to arrive at work on Monday to discover that a mini crisis has been bubbling all weekend.

Whatever you do, remember that customers don’t stick to office hours. So postpone that first G&T of the weekend and get talking to your Friday afternoon audience while they have time to listen.
 

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