Recently, a number of folks have made a big deal out of yet another “Best day to…” chart, this time about Facebook. As I’ve said in the past, there is no overall best day to do anything. It’s a fiction. There isn’t even a best day by industry – consider that Smallville Credit Union and Golden Slacks Giant Hedge Fund are both in the financial services industry. Can anyone reasonably argue that their social media metrics will look the same or similar enough to be meaningful?

So what should you do, if your CEO is demanding that you only post on Saturdays at 2 PM because that’s when X Magazine that he read on the plane said to? You need to get your game on and your data on yourself. Let’s look at how you’d do that.

First, you need your Facebook data. Get it from the Insights control panel:

(3) Christopher S. Penn

Next, fire up the spreadsheet software of your choice, open the file, and delete any column not labeled daily.

Third, add a column at the beginning called Day of Week. Look in your calendar, append the first two days, and drag down to populate the rest of the column:

Microsoft Excel

Now sort by the Day of Week column, then insert a new line (Oz du Soleil is laughing at me at this point for my lack of Excel skills) and subtotal each day of the week.

Microsoft Excel

Extract just the subtotal rows (I copied them and pasted them as values):

Microsoft Excel

Now make radar charts out of them using the built-in radar chart tool.

Microsoft Excel

Congratulations. Now you have a sexy radar map chart that you can insert into the slideshow of your choice, showing when the best days for YOUR company, YOUR page, YOUR Facebook efforts are for you to be doing things, based on what you’ve already done. This is automatically better than a generic “best day” chart or an industry-standard chart because it’s telling you how YOU are doing.

But here’s the catch. Here’s the giant lurking under the surface of this very pretty chart.

If you are bad at using social media, if you’re creating content that isn’t compelling, if you engage poorly or not at all, then none of this matters. This sort of analysis is valuable only after you’ve already got a content schedule rolling out with consistency and with serious effort and resources behind it.

I saw one chart recently talking about how thousands of top brands are using social media and their best days and times to post. The logical flaw is that top brands aren’t top brands only because of their use of social media. Forbes Magazine rated the top 100 brands in the world. The world’s #1 brand? Apple – a company that is notorious for simply not bothering with social media. If the world’s top brand isn’t good at social, then what makes you think any of the other top brands are doing a good job with social, or that social is contributing to their success?

Measure your own stuff. Implement best practices as a starting point and test, measure, then adjust. Once you’re seeing bottom-line results, only then should you make a pretty chart like the one above.

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