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New Report Looks at Best Times to Post to Each Platform, Based on Insights from 20k Users

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Sprout Social has published its latest listing of the best times to post to each of the major social media platforms, which is based on the company’s 20,000+ customer base, who use the platform to schedule and post online.

By analyzing this data, Sprout has determined the best times to post based on when this content is seeing the highest engagement rates – which is slightly different to the information you’ll get from on-platform insights, as those reports are generally based on when users are active in-app.

That could make Sprout’s report a more accurate indicator of the best times to post for optimal engagement – but it is always worth noting with these ‘best times’ reports that the information being presented is generic, and based on a broad data set. The best times for you to post will be relative to your unique audience and their habits, but even so, data overviews like this can help to guide your posting strategy, and help you tap into your best posting cadence quicker to improve your results.

Here’s what Sprout found in analyzing the data from last year – and one other key proviso: all the times listed refer to Central Time Zone (CST).

These trends would likely hold in other regions as well, but it is worth clarifying this note ahead of time.

Facebook

Sprout Social best times to post to Facebook chart

As you can see in this chart, Sprout Social says that the best times to post to Facebook are on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, between 9am and 1pm. Monday between 9am and 12pm also looks pretty good, so there’s a range of good engagement times to experiment with.

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Sprout says that the weekends are the worst time to post – which makes some sense, in terms of users looking to spend their time doing other things. But then again, you would also expect that people would have more free time, and be more responsive on weekend days.

Not so, according to the data, which is largely in line with what Sprout also found in its report on the same last year.

I mean, that does also run counter to a report published by Blog2Social earlier this year, so you can take it or leave it – but again, this is based on engagement stats among Sprout’s 20k users. It could help provide some guidance for your approach.

Instagram

Sprout Social best times to post to Instagram chart

Sprout says that Tuesdays between 11 am and 2 pm, and Monday through Friday from 11 am to 12pm are the best times to post to IG.

Like Facebook, the engagement on weekends looks a lot worse – but it would be also interesting to note whether the data here is skewed by business users of Sprout Social who don’t post as much on weekends. If they’re not posting, they won’t be seeing engagement, and that could seemingly influence the results, which may make weekends look less engaging than they actually are.

Twitter

Sprout Social best times to post to Twitter chart

Sprout says that Wednesdays between 9 am and 3 pm are the best days to post your tweets, while Tuesday to Thursday between 9am and 11 am is also a high engagement time.

Twitter’s stream moves faster, so you’ll likely be posting multiple times a day, and it’d be interesting to match this data up to your own to see how that impacts your approach. If you see more engagement at specific periods, should you post more in those few hours, rather than spreading your tweets out over the course of the day?

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Really, Twitter strategy comes down to experimentation – but again, these notes may provide some insight.

And again, weekends look bad for posting on Twitter.

LinkedIn

Sprout Social best times to post to LinkedIn chart

Sprout says that Tuesday through to Thursday between 9am and 12pm are the best times to post to LinkedIn, while again, the weekends are no good.

Which is interesting, because LinkedIn itself recently reported that Monday is the best day of the week to send an InMail, which is not the same as general feed engagement, of course, but you would expect to see some crossover there.

Still, these are times that Sprout Social users are seeing engagement, which points to when people are likely more active, and ready to engage with social posts.

Again, this may be highly relevant, or it may be nothing, as it does come down to your individual brand audience, and their specific usage behaviors. But if you are looking to map out a more effective strategy, these notes could provide a good starting point to begin your experiments. You can then optimize your approach relative to your own data findings and insights.

Sprout Social’s full report also includes industry breakdowns and other trend notes which may help in your planning. You can read the full report here.

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Meta’s Developing and ‘Ethical Framework’ for the Use of Virtual Influencers

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Meta's Developing and 'Ethical Framework' for the Use of Virtual Influencers


With the rise of digital avatars, and indeed, fully digital characters that have evolved into genuine social media influencers in their own right, online platforms now have an obligation to establish clear markers as to what’s real and what’s not, and how such creations can be used in their apps.

The coming metaverse shift will further complicate this, with the rise of virtual depictions blurring the lines of what will be allowed, in terms of representation. But with many virtual influencers already operating, Meta is now working to establish ethical boundaries on their application.

As explained by Meta:

From synthesized versions of real people to wholly invented “virtual influencers” (VIs), synthetic media is a rising phenomenon. Meta platforms are home to more than 200 VIs, with 30 verified VI accounts hosted on Instagram. These VIs boast huge follower counts, collaborate with some of the world’s biggest brands, fundraise for organizations like the WHO, and champion social causes like Black Lives Matter.”

Some of the more well-known examples on this front are Shudu, who has more than 200k followers on Instagram, and Lil’ Miquela, who has an audience of over 3 million in the app.

At first glance, you wouldn’t necessarily realize that this is not an actual person, which makes such characters a great vehicle for brand and product promotions, as they can be utilized 24/7, and can be placed into any environment. But that also leads to concerns about body image perception, deepfakes, and other forms of misuse through false or unclear representation.

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Deepfakes, in particular, may be problematic, with Meta citing this campaign, with English football star David Beckham, as an example of how new technologies are evolving to expand the use of language, as one element, for varying purpose.

The well-known ‘DeepTomCruise’ account on TikTok is another example of just how far these technologies have come, and it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where they could be used to, say, show a politician saying or doing something that he or she actually didn’t, which could have significant real world impacts.

Which is why Meta is working with developers and experts to establish clearer boundaries on such use – because while there is potential for harm, there are also beneficial uses for such depictions.

Imagine personalized video messages that address individual followers by name. Or celebrity brand ambassadors appearing as salespeople at local car dealerships. A famous athlete would make a great tutor for a kid who loves sports but hates algebra.

Such use cases will increasingly become the norm as VR and AR technologies are developed, with these platforms placing digital characters front and center, and establishing new norms for digital connection.

It would be better to know what’s real and what’s not, and as such, Meta needs clear regulations to remove dishonest depictions, and enforce transparency over VI use.

But then again, much of what you see on Instagram these days is not real, with filters and editing tools altering people’s appearance well beyond what’s normal, or realistic. That can also have damaging consequences, and while Meta’s looking to implement rules on VI use, there’s arguably a case for similar transparency in editing tools applied to posted videos and images as well.

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That’s a more complex element, particularly as such tools also enable people to feel more comfortable in posting, which no doubt increases their in-app activity. Would Meta be willing to put more focus on this element if it could risk impacting user engagement? The data on the impact of Instagram on people’s mental health are pretty clear, with comparison being a key concern.

Should that also come under the same umbrella of increased digital transparency?

It’s seemingly not included in the initial framework as yet, but at some stage, this is another element that should be examined, especially given the harmful effects that social media usage can have on young women.

But however you look at it, this is no doubt a rising element of concern, and it’s important for Meta to build guardrails and rules around the use of virtual influencers in their apps.

You can read more about Meta’s approach to virtual influencers here.





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Meta Publishes New Guide to the Various Security and Control Options in its Apps

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Meta Publishes New Guide to the Various Security and Control Options in its Apps


Meta has published a new set of safety tips for journalists to help them protect themselves in the evolving online connection space, which, for the most part, also apply to all users more broadly, providing a comprehensive overview of the various tools and processes that it has in place to help people avoid unwanted attention online.

The 32-page guide is available in 21 different languages, and provides detailed overviews of Meta’s systems and profile options for protection and security, with specific sections covering Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

The guide begins with the basics, including password protections and enabling two-factor authentication.

It also outlines tips for Page managers in securing their business profiles, while there are also notes on what to do if you’ve been hacked, advice for protection on Messenger and guidance on bullying and harassment.

Meta security guide

For Instagram, there are also general security tips, along with notes on its comment moderation tools.

Meta security guide

While for WhatsApp, there are explainers on how to delete messages, how to remove messages from group chats, and details on platform-specific data options.

Meta security guide

There are also links to various additional resource guides and tools for more context, providing in-depth breakdowns of when and how to action the various options.

It’s a handy guide, and while there are some journalist-specific elements included, most of the tips do apply to any user, so it could well be a valuable resource for anyone looking to get a better handle on your various privacy tools and options.

Definitely worth knowing either way – you can download the full guide here.

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Twitter bans account linked to Iran leader over video threatening Trump

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Twitter bans account linked to Iran leader over video threatening Trump


Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets with relatives of slain commander Qasem Soleimani ahead of the second anniverary of his death in a US drone strike in Iraq – Copyright POOL/AFP/File Tom Brenner

Twitter said Saturday it had permanently suspended an account linked to Iran’s supreme leader that posted a video calling for revenge for a top general’s assassination against former US president Donald Trump.

“The account referenced has been permanently suspended for violating our ban evasion policy,” a Twitter spokesperson told AFP.

The account, @KhameneiSite, this week posted an animated video showing an unmanned aircraft targeting Trump, who ordered a drone strike in Baghdad two years ago that killed top Iranian commander General Qassem Soleimani.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s main accounts in various languages remain active. Last year, another similar account was suspended by Twitter over a post also appearing to reference revenge against Trump.

The recent video, titled “Revenge is Definite”, was also posted on Khamenei’s official website.

According to Twitter, the company’s top priority is keeping people safe and protecting the health of the conversation on the platform.

The social media giant says it has clear policies around abusive behavior and will take action when violations are identified.

As head of the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Soleimani was the architect of its strategy in the Middle East.

He and his Iraqi lieutenant were killed by a US drone strike outside Baghdad airport on January 3, 2020.

Khamenei has repeatedly promised to avenge his death.

On January 3, the second anniversary of the strike, the supreme leader and ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raisi once again threatened the US with revenge.

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Trump’s supporters regularly denounce the banning of the Republican billionaire from Twitter, underscoring that accounts of several leaders considered authoritarian by the United States are allowed to post on the platform.



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