Everyone’s online browsing habits are different. Some people wake up and immediately check their feeds for the latest news from their friends and family before even grabbing their cup of coffee and officially starting their day. Some people barely check their newsfeeds at all, letting friend requests, tags, updates, and more go unnoticed for weeks or even months at a time.
With such a vast range of user behavior, how do you know when the optimal time to post on social media is? You want to ensure your business post gets as many impressions and interactions as possible, but how do you know where to start?
There’s a ton of resources available that give you a pretty good idea of some of the best-performing times on average – like this one, this one, and this one. But honestly, the best time for your company to post on social media depends 100 percent on the specific audience you’re targeting.
Face it: there’s no magical, universal time that’s guaranteed to drive tons of views to your content. However, there are specific times that have been shown to drive optimal results for companies on average. Let’s take a look at a couple of the most popular social channels and how you can start scheduling your posts for best performance.
You’re going to read this a lot in this post: there’s no specific time that works best for posting on Facebook.
Our friends at Buffer compiled just some of the research they were able to find after a pretty quick Google search:
Thursdays and Fridays from 1pm to 3pm are the best times to post on Facebook [Hubspot]
Thursday at 8pm [TrackMaven]
1–4pm late into the week and on weekends [CoSchedule]
Early afternoon during the week and Saturdays [Buffer]
Off-peak times are best [Buzzsumo]
Basically, just post early afternoon on weekdays and weekends, late into the afternoon on weekdays and weekends, and also when no one else is posting, which looks like early morning and late night early in the week, and also on weekdays and weekends. Piece of cake!
But seriously – it’s a lot. What all these studies tell us is, essentially, it all depends. There does seem to be a stronger trend toward posting content late in the afternoon and late in the week. Maybe that’s when most people are arriving home from work and unwinding on social media. Maybe these days trend stronger because fewer people work on Thursdays and Fridays than any other day and they browse online while they’re not working.
But what if you’re a B2B company selling HR software? Your audience is presumably HR professionals and you’d want to capture their attention while they’re at work, not while they’re off browsing for pleasure.
The big takeaway? Test it all! Think about your target audience and what their browsing habits are. Use some of the research about your industry and apply it to when you post. You can test posting between 1pm and 4pm on Thursdays and Fridays as a benchmark – maybe it will be best for your company, and maybe it won’t be. The most important thing is gathering data and then sticking to a consistent time regularly when you find out what works for you.
Instagram is owned by Facebook, but their audiences behave very differently. While Facebook tends to prioritize posts of family and friends, Instagram prioritizes more heavily based on engagement and relevancy. That means the time you post on Instagram actually matters less than who you target.
So if you’re looking for a basic time to start with, go to your audience data! For brands that target adventurous types and weekenders, your weekends could be packed with hearts and comments galore. For brands targeting foodies and restaurants, your peak posting time is probably during the week at lunchtime.
The overall Instagram average for highest post interaction rate?
According to a recent study by Hubspot, Mondays and Thursdays between 8 and 9am and around 5pm is your best bet – they suggest sticking to non-working hours when people feel more free to browse.
But again, it will all depend on who your audience is. Through Instagram doesn’t have very in-depth analytics overall, they do give you a good picture of when your followers are most active within Instagram Insights. Take a look at your users’ top locations, time zones, their age and gender, and when they’re typically most active. You’ll see a graph like this among a few others:
Whenever your audience is most active is likely the best time for you to post.
Once more, for the people in the back: there’s no specific time to post on Twitter that will work for every brand! The best thing to do is Tweet each day and experiment with different times to see when your followers will be most active and most responsive to your content.
Of course, the research is still out there. That same Hubspot study showed the best times for B2B posts on Twitter are Wednesdays between 12 and 6pm. For B2C, it’s better to stick to posting on weekends.
But Twitter is a unique channel. Because it’s a live feed app that updates constantly, you don’t want to stick to posting at any one single time in particular. More important than the time you post is how often you post. The higher the frequency with which you post, the more likely you are to get your content in front of the right people.
Do your own research and see when your audience is most active on Twitter. We’re big fans of Tweriod, a site that analyzes your Twitter account and shows you when your audience engages most with your posts. This, along with your website analytics and tracking should give you a clear picture of the optimal time to post.
LinkedIn is another unique social media platform, since its primary audience is working professionals. And, because it’s such a work-related platform, you can likely guess most post interaction happens during working hours.
But that still provides you with a huge window for posting and doesn’t necessarily mean you should neglect other non-work hours. When researching what works best for your company, test multiple organic posts each day at varying times. Once you start collecting enough information, you can get a better idea of the optimal time to post.
Sprout Social worked with their data science team to figure out when the best time to post on LinkedIn is and found that, generally, the highest engagement occurs on Wednesdays between 3 and 5pm, with weekends ranking low on all engagement metrics. While you’re likely better off posting during the week, you do want to test different times.
Pinterest is the weekend party board for everything from DIY tips and tricks and shopping hacks, to wardrobe and holiday décor. Since it’s primarily a consumer-driven platform focused more on personal hobbies than professional, you’re best bet is to post during non-work hours when users are more likely to be active.
Because of the wide range of people that use Pinterest, you definitely want to run some tests to see when exactly you should post. Hubspot’s study showed the optimal Pinterest posting time was Saturdays and Sundays between 8 and 11pm, but that’s not necessarily accurate for every industry. If your target audience is new parents, for instance, you might want to post first thing in the morning and not last thing at night.
Also remember what the Pinterest audience is like at large. Half of all pinners are international, and half of all new signups are men, so when you schedule, keep these details in mind.
Yes, it takes a bit of work figuring out when you should post for best performance, but the results are more than worth it. If you don’t have enough audience data to figure out when you should be posting, using a scheduling tool like the one offered by Coschedule, which gives you the option to schedule posts at the optimal time for each network. Hootsuite has a similar tool that optimizes your post scheduling based on any rules you set, times of optimal performance, and post history.
It’s up to you to craft your stellar online presence, but luckily there are plenty of tools and agencies that can help you do it right!
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