The best times to post on social media

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What are the best times to post on social media? Since Biteable is the perfect tool to make social media videos, we get asked this question a lot.

There is an abundance of information floating around about the best times to tweet or post on YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram and all the rest.

When it comes to social posting times, it seems like everyone has an opinion.

But in reality, there is no “one size fits all” solution to make your social media content succeed. Every business and every audience is different, and every social platform has a core user base that behaves in a unique way.

Combine this with ever-changing algorithms and even the most well-thought-out posting strategies and social media tools aren’t guaranteed to work. That said, having a clear understanding of social media best practices still gives you a massive leg up over the competition.

It all comes down to understanding the rules of the game — when to follow those rules and when to break them.

To help you understand the rules, we’ve gathered the latest and greatest data on posting times, plus a healthy dose of info about interpreting your social analytics. Master this, and you’ll be crushing it on social media in no time.

The best time to post on Instagram

The majority of Instagram users reach the app from their mobile devices. This means your audience is potentially on their phones at all hours of the day and night to check on the latest ‘gram action.

Depending on how you look at it, this can be a good or a bad thing.

In 2016, Instagram’s algorithm stepped away from a “recent posts” format and began prioritizing “content you care about”. That said, you shouldn’t completely throw caution to the wind and start posting all of your best Insta content at 2am. Timeliness isn’t the most important factor on IG, but it does still matter.

Sprout Social analyzed social media engagement data from 2020 and found the best time to post on Instagram is Monday through Friday at 11am — the perfect time for a mid-morning coffee break. Curiously, they also said Tuesday was the best day to post, between 11am and 2pm. Quick scroll before the mid-week slump, anyone?

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Instagram reels and stories

Stories have been around for a while now, and Reels are the newest kid on Instagram’s block. Stories allow you to create short, temporary videos to share with your audience. Reels allow you to record 15-30 second videos, set them to music, and share them to your Reels tab, Stories, and Explore feed.

The good news is that there isn’t a different method between posting times for your Stories and Reels versus the rest of your Instagram feed. All three are subject to the same mysterious algorithm working away beneath Instagram’s hood.

Content you frequently engage with, from accounts you regularly interact with, takes priority over pretty much everything else.

The takeaway — make engaging Instagram content that your audience will continue to interact with. Whether that’s scroll-stopping images and videos or an interesting poll on Stories, quality content is the best way to guarantee your posts get bumped to the top of the feed.

Digging into Instagram analytics

As we said earlier, knowing the best practices for social media posting times is important. But you also need to understand the habits of your particular audience. The answer to this lies in Instagram Analytics. Two broad metrics to keep an eye on are individual post metrics and account metrics.

Individual post metrics

Learning more about how your individual posts perform on Instagram helps you understand what type of content is popular with your audience. It also helps you figure out when your audience is most likely to engage with that content.

You can find this info by clicking on a post, then tapping ‘Insights’.

Individual post metrics on Instagram are measured by the following factors:

  • Impressions: The number of people who see your post
  • Reach percentage: Impressions divided by your number of followers
  • Engagements: How many times a post is liked, shared, or commented on

Again, the type of content is also important here. Do Stories get you more engagement? Does your audience care about Reels? Or do they prefer newsfeed posts over live posts? Do they respond best to static images, or when you make Instagram video posts?

Account metrics

Account metrics are the best way to see how your Instagram account is performing overall. To get there, tap on your account, followed by ‘Insights’. Account metrics help you with the following information:

  • Engagement rate: The percentage of followers who interact with your content
  • Follower growth: The amount of followers you’re gaining over time
  • Audience: Your total follower count, their demographics, and the times they’re most active on Instagram.

Using these insights, you can begin to plan your future Instagram posts around the engagement habits of your specific followers.

The best time to post on Facebook

Social media experts are far from united about the best times to post on Facebook.

Buffer study found that the peak time to post to Facebook is between 1pm-3pm during the week and again on Saturdays. Engagement rates were highest on Thursdays and Fridays.

Hubspot’s findings were less clear-cut.

They concluded that 9am on weekdays is a good time to post, when people are just arriving at work. Then again between 11am and 12pm, during lunch. The hour between 3pm and 4pm also showed promise. And the best days to post on Facebook, according to Hubspot, are between Thursday and Sunday.

The bottom line: it depends.

The sheer amount of content generated on Facebook on a daily basis makes it difficult for yours to stand out — no matter what time you post. If your goal is to grow your business through Facebook marketing, it might seem overwhelming. But remember, every other marketer is in the same boat.

And the best place to go for research is your own data.

Leveraging Facebook audience insights

Beating the Facebook algorithm is about so much more than finding the ideal time of day to post on the social site. The more insights you have into your social media audience, the better chance you can deliver them the right message at the right time.

To help you make educated choices on peak posting times, Facebook keeps a ton of detailed data specific to your pages and your audience. Find it all in Facebook’s handy Audience Insights tool. This tool lets you see when your fans are most engaged with your page.

To start, select the engagement times of everyone on the Facebook platform or just those connected to your page — depending on how broad or narrow your target audience needs to be.

You can then define your targeting based on demographics such as age, gender, household income, purchasing behaviors, and lifestyle. This gives you even further insight into the demographic that best suits your content. It also includes information about when that target audience is most active online.

By using a tool like the RebrandlyURL Shortener, you can easily track the most popular times and days during which your links receive clicks on social media platforms such as Facebook.

It’s also helpful to go back and look at your previous Facebook posts to see if you can pinpoint any trends around your peak engagement figures. Did your video have subtitles? A friendly face? A cute cat? Any commonalities will help you paint a bigger picture as to your best performing content.

The best time to post on Twitter

At first glance, Twitter gives the appearance of being a difficult platform on which to gain traction as a brand. With 360,000 tweets sent every minute and a limited character count to get your message across, it doesn’t seem like the best place to showcase your content.

Despite this, Twitter users are an incredibly motivated bunch who are quick to cause a storm and turn against brands that don’t deliver for them.

According to Sprout Social, there is a clear winner for global engagement around midday Tuesday through Friday.

Tweeting relevant content — any time of day

Just like Instagram and Facebook, the type of Twitter content you post is as important — if not more so — than the time of day you post.

If you’re unsure about the best type of content for your brand, Sprout Social has this handy ‘What to Tweet’ guide to help you make the most of their unique social landscape.

A few of their hot tips:

  • Keep your copy short and sweet
  • Be conversational and not overly corporate
  • Limit your hashtags to about one or two per tweet.

Most importantly, though, they recommend you test your content and utilize Twitter analytics to see what works with your audience.

The honchos at Twitter also point out that making videos for Twitter is a great way to engage your audience. You can only fit 280 characters into a Tweet, but you can fit a whole lot more into a video. Just saying.

You can also keep an eye on your analytics in the app.

Access your analytics by tapping your profile in-app, and selecting ‘Analytics’ from the menu. Here, you’ll see all of your tweets, along with their impressions, engagements, and engagement rate. Check out your vital metrics in terms of best posts and new followers as well.

The median Twitter engagement rate across all industries is 0.46% and should be used as your benchmark to gauge how well your tweets are landing in the Twittersphere.

To get a detailed breakdown of how each of your tweets is performing — including likes, retweets, profile clicks and more — you can click on the individual tweet. Digging into this info helps you learn what content works with your audience and what you should gear your Twitter account toward in the future.

The best time to post on Pinterest

More of a search engine than a true social platform, Pinterest promotes highly visual content that helps share ideas and build brand awareness. According to this article by Tinuiti, the Pinterest algorithm rewards four areas:

  • Domain quality: how Pinterest perceives the quality of your website
  • Pin quality: how many people interact with your pins
  • Pinner quality: your effectiveness as a content creator
  • Topic relevance: the keywords and hashtags on your pins

Women account for over 60% of Pinterest’s global audience, and Gen Z pinners are up 40% year-over-year. Paying close attention to content that appeals to these demographics is vital to your success on Pinterest.

Pinterest’s built-in analytics tool helps you understand the platform and get the most out of your pins. These metrics allow you to create pins and boards with the highest chance of engagement for your audience.

So how does time of day fit into all of this?

Matching your Pinterest content with your posting times

According to Blogspot, studies suggest the best times for posting on Pinterest are between 8pm to 11pm and 2pm to 4pm, which indicates interest in non-American time zones. Pinterest is a global platform after all, so content that translates well between different countries is a good idea.

Contrasting to the other platforms, commuting hours are the downtime of Pinterest engagement. This is mainly due to the fact that clicking on many pins takes you out of the app, so seamless browsing and scrolling isn’t as easy.

The frequency of posting is also a big factor on Pinterest, perhaps more so than time of day.

According to some Pinterest experts, it’s best to post 6-15 pins per day in order to boost your reach and engagement.

If you’re serious about building your brand on Pinterest, scheduling apps like Tailwind help you keep up with the constant pinning, repinning, and looping that you’ll need to do to remain visible on the platform.

Pinterest users don’t log in as frequently as other platforms, so make sure the intensive nature of the content that’s needed to succeed on the platform fits in with your overall business goals. If you aren’t able to pin like crazy on a daily basis, Pinterest might not be the best place to put your energy.

The best time to post on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a little different from the other social media platforms in that it has a very specific user base. This is not the place for posting photos of your romantic island holiday or pictures of colorful cupcakes — unless your company is all about cupcakes.

LinkedIn is all business, and your content should mean business too. That’s not to say you can’t have a bit of fun with your posts and articles along the way, but the core of your content needs to line up with the intentions of the platform.

You’ll be building relationships, bringing value to other business-minded folk, and looking for ways to network while at the same time promoting yourself and building your brand.

Like Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn’s default feed sorts content based on its relevance to you. This means you might not see every new post come across your newsfeed. You can manually change this setting by using the dropdown option in your feed and opting to show the most recent activity from your connections.

Maximizing your LinkedIn posts

Taking all of this into account, the best time to post on LinkedIn depends on your business. According to Hubspot’s research, the best times to post on LinkedIn are as follows:

  • B2C companies: between 11am-2pm. (This tracks with what we’ve seen on other social platforms)
  • B2B businesses: outside of the 9am-5pm work hours
  • Media companies: 8am-10am
  • Healthcare and higher ed companies: 11am-1pm

By taking advantage of times that workers might be commuting or having a lunch break, as well as avoiding the peak hourly posting times for other brands, Hubspot found they were able to stay ‘recent’ in the feed and get good user engagement.

As always, test the times that work for you and for the audience you’re trying to capture.

For example, founders and C-suite executives are notorious for working late into the night, so you may find the best engagement for your brand happens then. When everyone else stops posting, you’ll get ahead, making the most of organic reach during off-hours.

Making the leap to video posts on LinkedIn is also a good move in terms of maximizing your reach.

Video is on the rise, with 60% of businesses using video marketing as a tool. Videos on LinkedIn can run for up to 10 minutes, which gives you ample opportunity to create high-value content for your business-minded audience.

The best time to post on TikTok

Tick tock, tick tock. Is the time ticking for you to make your next big post on TikTok? And if so, what hour does the clock strike at? Let’s find out.

TikTok can be described in one word — fast. Videos are short and snappy. Trends rise and fall overnight. TikTok has over 1 billion active users worldwide, and that number’s growing every day. This means, like all other platforms, there really isn’t one answer to rule them all. That said, any direction is better than nothing.

The folks over at Influencer Marketing Hub, analyzed over 100,000 global TikTok posts to figure out the best times to post (in Eastern Standard Time).

The long and short: most days have fairly high engagement rates in the morning when people are watching on public transport and sipping their pre-lunch coffee. Only Thursday and Friday represent the 12pm-1pm lunchtime viewership. Things pick up again on Saturday in the early afternoon and evening, followed by Sunday morning and Sunday late afternoon.

All of this is to say that each day on TikTok is different, and by no means will high-engagement posting times be consistent. The best thing you can do is double down on your content and your audience — we’ll show you exactly how to do it.

Make TikToks your audience will love

First of all, you’ll need to get some posts out there to start determining analytics. Once you have a few weeks of content under your belt, you’ll want to access your TikTok analytics. Here’s how.

First of all you’ll need a Pro account. It’s free, and only takes you a few minutes to set up. Now you can access your analytics. Here you’ll see your number of followers, the gender split, and the top territories in which your content is being watched.

The territories matter the most here.

Figure out where your audience is watching from and post at times that are best for them. In other words, make sure they’re awake at the very least so your new content doesn’t get buried beneath a feed of other content creators.

As with other social platforms, the more TikTok videos you make, the better chance you have of figuring out the best times for your particular audience.

Also keep an eye out for videos that rake in the most likes and views. Gear your content toward this sort of content going forward.

The best time to post on YouTube

Last but not least is YouTube.

It’s the second-largest website in the world, only behind Google (its parent company). With 2.3 billion users worldwide and over 1 billion hours of video watched every day, it’s a slice of the social media pie you don’t want to miss.

When’s the best time to post, though? Let’s hit the play button and find out.

According to HowSociable, the best time to post is in the afternoon — 2pm to 4pm in the Central and Eastern time zones. That’s because these zones have the most internet users, so it’s worth considering if this is where you find the bulk of your central audience.

HowSociable also found that Thursday and Friday are the best days to post your content. The weekend’s right around the corner and users are starting to become more active online. That is to say, people are getting tired from the week and focus may be slipping. Capitalize on it with great content.

Getting the most out of your YouTube posts

If you’re just starting out on YouTube, the time you publish your videos won’t matter too much. At this point, your goal should be traffic.

If you have other social platforms, this means cross-posting to get video views from external sources. The time you publish may give you a slight boost, but the most important things to focus on are quality and consistency.

You’ll notice how a lot of popular YouTube channels advertise when they’ll be uploading new views — even something as vague as “New videos every Friday.” Consistency means a whole lot to YouTube audiences.

And how do you keep people coming back to your channel?

Good quality content, of course. Make YouTube videos that you’d want to watch if you were a viewer. Videos that are helpful, informative, or flat-out entertaining. Figure out the sorts of videos your audience responds well to, and make more of them.

Key takeaways for the best times to post on social media

If one thing’s crystal clear about the best times to post on social media, it’s that no one time, and no one type of post, is going to win your audience’s attention.

Platforms like Instagram have shifted to a quality-first approach in recent years, rewarding quality content that engages your audience, encourages them to share posts and start conversations, and encourages them to continue using the platform.

The reason there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer? Each business is different and every target audience is unique. User engagement depends on a variety of factors, like location, demographics, and occupation. And the best times to post on social media also vary depending on the type of content you post.

With all these factors at play in your pursuit of social domination, what will give you the best chance of success?

Analyze the data

The answer lies in your own data. Interpreting your social media analytics tells you a whole lot more about who your audience is and the type of content they engage with. And the more posts you have, the more data you get. The more data you get, the greater chance you have of posting content your audience enjoys.

Test, test, test

Test the waters by posting similar social media on different days of the week and at different times of day. Post that same content on other social platforms to see if you get better or different kinds of engagement there.

Test, test, and test again.

If a post doesn’t do as well as you expected, dive into the analytics to understand why. If a post performs way better than usual, try to figure out what happened.

Create quality content

Social media channels live and die by their users’ engagement, and that engagement comes from businesses like yours. If you post quality content, social channels get to keep users on their platform, and in turn you are connected with a global audience that can engage with your business.

Everyone benefits when you post quality, engaging, and shareable content.

All in all, the best times to post on social media are the times that work for your brand and your specific audience. As a starting point, take the data provided by the expert studies outlined above, and over time add your own analytics and research. The information you gather will help you pinpoint the best times to launch your content on any given social channel, boosting your engagement levels and propelling you towards social media superstardom.

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