Ever noticed how some of your Twitter messages generate lots of interest while others almost vanish into the ether with little apparent impact or response?

Well, according to URL redirection and social bookmarking service bitly, the timing of your Tweets may be a far more significant factor than you think.

The company, which provides the default link shortening service on Twitter, recently published statistics that show how often people click on links posted within Tweets at different times of the day throughout the week.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, its metrics revealed that the best time to post an update was during working hours from Monday to Friday.

But more specifically, early afternoon is the optimal time to Tweet, as the period between 1pm and 3pm each day enjoys the highest volume of click-through traffic.

Bitly also found that Friday was the least successful weekday for click counts, with traffic tailing off significantly after 3pm as the weekend approached.

It also analysed click-through statistics on rival social network Facebook and discovered a very similar pattern of link-sharing activity.

When it comes to traditional public relations, timing is everything. And so it seems that much the same applies to the new social media additions to the PR toolkit.

From our own experience of managing social media activity, we’d say that timing your Tweets is more a case of common sense than organising a comms plan around a set of web statistics.

Nevertheless, bitly’s metrics serve as a helpful guide and very much confirm our common-sense viewpoint of when to Tweet in the first place.