What are the best times to post on social media?

Overview

What are the best times to post on social media? Because Biteable is a great tool to produce content for social media channels (check us out here), we hear this question a lot.

While there’s an abundance of information on the internet about the best times to tweet or post on social, there’s no “one size fits all” solution that will mean success for your content. Every business and every audience is different, and every social media platform has a core user base that behaves in a unique way. That’s a lot of variables to deal with.

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Combine this with ever-changing algorithms and declining organic reach, and even the most well-thought-out posting strategies and growth hacks won’t guarantee you’ll crush it on social.

Smart marketers know how important it is to directly reach their unique audience. They know that user engagement depends on a variety of factors (e.g. location, demographic, and occupation), and they know that the best times to post on social media also vary depending on the type of content they’re posting.

A technical how-to might be best posted while your audience is at the office, looking for solutions (or distractions from work), whereas an entertaining meme is likely to find better engagement when they’re in downtime or leisure mode. It also depends what your goals are with the content you post. Whether you’re aiming for sales, clicks, comments, or shares should all be taken into account when planning your strategy.

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

A great place to start is by looking at your own data. If you have Google Analytics set up on your site, you’ll be able to pinpoint when your referral traffic is spiking from each of the platforms you use.

You can also check out leading market research resources such as Smart Insights and We Are Social for the most up-to-date trends in the social media landscape.

What’s most important is that you test, test, and test again. Post the same content several times to test engagement for different days and times. Post it on other platforms to see if you get better or different kinds of engagement there. Just keep in mind that your LinkedIn followers might not be so interested in the colorful content you’re pinning to Pinterest or snapping for Instagram!

The best time to post on Facebook

The more insights you have into your audience, the better chance you have to deliver them the right message at the right time. Facebook has come up with a solution for this with their handy Audience Insights tool. This lets you see when your fans are most engaged with your page.

To start, you can select the engagement times of everyone on the Facebook platform, or just those connected to your page – depending how broad or narrow your target audience needs to be. You can then define your targeting based on demographics such as gender, household income, purchasing behaviors, and lifestyle.

As Facebook is such a giant in the world of social media, there is probably no absolute best time to post content here – and even the experts can’t seem to agree on the most effective times.

A Buffer study found that the peak times to post to Facebook were between 1pm-3pm during the week, and also on Saturdays. Engagement rates were highest on Thursdays and Fridays.

These findings were somewhat echoed by Hubspot, who concluded the best times to post were between 1-4pm, most specifically on Wednesdays at 3pm. In addition, 12-1pm was the best time to post on weekends.

CoSchedule found there were differences between B2B and B2C best times, with B2C audiences engaging on and off all day, and B2B audiences tending to be most active between 3-4pm on weekdays when there is a natural afternoon slump time in the office.

Even though Facebook has made a huge effort to put more quality content in our news feeds, the amount of content generated on a daily basis makes it difficult for yours to stand out – no matter what time you’re posting it.

Facebook’s VP of advertising, Brian Boland, states that:

For people with lots of friends and page likes, as many as 15,000 potential stories could appear any time they log on.”

While it seems overwhelming and even pointless trying to get your content to stand out as a shining beacon among the other thousands of posts – just remember, everyone else is having the same problem.

The best place to go for research is your own data. Facebook keeps a ton of detailed data that’s specific to your pages and your audience to help you make educated choices on peak posting times.

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. Remember you need to factor in the type of content when you’re drawing conclusions about this.

The best time to post on Instagram

The majority of Instagram users reach the app from their mobile devices. This means that your audience is potentially on their phone 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.

A study by Later analyzed 12 million posts on Instagram and concluded the best time to post was between 9-11am.

Hubspot suggests that 2-3pm on weekdays is a better time, with fluctuations based on the days of the week and the industry you’re targeting.

Instagram’s algorithm favours ‘recent’ posts. This means that if you’re posting off-peak, there’s a chance your content might never be seen in the feed. But fear not! The algorithm is also good at serving up juicy ‘recent’ content that your viewers are most likely to engage with.

The key to Instagram engagement is making sure your posts are launched at a time when your audience is most likely to be online in order for Instagram to flag them as “recent” posts to serve up to your fans.

Confused yet? The best way to identify your brand’s own specific best time to post is by getting familiar with your Instagram Analytics. Two broad metrics you can look at here are individual post metrics and account metrics.

Individual post metrics take into account

Impressions: The number of people who saw your post

Reach percentage: Impressions divided by your number of followers

Engagements: How many times a post is liked, shared, or commented on

Account metrics will help you find your

Engagement rate: The percent of followers who interact with your content

Follower growth: The amount of followers you’re gaining

Audience: This can reveal 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 content posts around the engagement habits of your specific followers. Again, the type of content is important here. Do Stories get you more engagement? Or does your audience prefer Newsfeed posts, or Live posts? Or maybe even video posts to help expand your brand?

The best time to post on Twitter

Twitter gives the appearance of being difficult to gain any traction on as a brand. With 350,000 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.

35% of followers will boycott a brand if their question on a company’s tweet goes unanswered. So in terms of best times to post, you should factor in the times where you can provide prompt replies to any questions or comments on your fresh content.

As this diagram from a Sprout Social study shows, there is a clear winner for global engagement on Fridays between 9-11am. Around that, there are numerous ‘safe zone’ times you can post in where users will be actively engaging with the platform.

If you’re unsure of what type of content your brand can post that’s both valuable and fits into 280 characters, Twitter has its own handy ‘What to Tweet’ guide to help you make the most of their unique social landscape.

You can also keep an eye on your analytics in the app to check on your vital metrics in terms of best posts, new followers, and tweet impressions.

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. The Smart Feed algorithm rewards certain types of content, giving pins with good keywording, hashtags, and calls to action the benefit of higher organic reach.

Pinterest helps you understand their platform and get the most out of your pins with their built-in analytics tool. These metrics will allow you to create pins and boards with the highest chance of engagement for your audience. As there are twice as many female users here (45% as opposed to the 17% of male users), paying attention to content that appeals to these demographics is important.

Once you’ve got a good picture of your audience, studies suggest that the best times for posting on Pinterest are Saturdays, particularly in the evenings between 8-11pm.

Buffer notes that the best times for pinning content vary not only with the type of post, but also according to topic. For example, if you have a fashion brand you should be concentrating on Thursday posts, but if you just want to post humorous memes you’re best to post on Fridays.

As a contrast 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.

You need to post between 5 and 30 pins a day to build your audience on this platform, so if you’re serious about building your brand on Pinterest, scheduling apps such Tailwind will help you keep up with the constant pinning, repinning, and looping that you’ll need to do to remain visible.

Pinterest users don’t log in to the platform as frequently as other platforms, so make sure the intensive nature of the content that’s needed here fits in with your business goals and your ability to pin like crazy on a daily basis.

The best time to post on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a little different from the other 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 cupcakes – unless, of course, your business is cupcakes.

LinkedIn is all about 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 be in line with what this platform is all about.

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.

Hootsuite’s CEO has flagged LinkedIn for his choice of places to be seen on social in 2019. This is due to a growing backlash against fluffy posts and empty influencer marketing, and a yearning for a place people can go to engage with more authentic, meaningful content.

Like Facebook, LinkedIn’s default feed sorts by the content that their algorithm thinks is going to be most relevant to you – meaning you might not see every post that’s recent in your newsfeed. This setting can be manually changed using the dropdown in your feed to show you the most recent activity from your connections instead.

Taking all of these things into account, the best time to post on LinkedIn is generally regarded as being midweek between Tuesday and Thursday. This avoids the natural downtime of users battling Monday meetings and the Friday panic to get everything finished and start the weekend.

The Hootsuite team recommends posting at the 45 minute mark, as most brands schedule their posts to go live on the hour. For their specific audience, they found that posting at times such as 7.45am, 12.45am and 5.45pm Monday to Thursday produced the best results.

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, Hootsuite found they were able to stay ‘recent’ in the feed and get good user engagement.

As always, you should test the times that work for you and for the audience you’re trying to capture on LinkedIn. Founders and C-suite executives are notorious for working late into the nights, so you may find the best engagement for your brand happens out of hours. When everyone else stops posting, you’ll be making the most of getting better organic reach in the newsfeed.

Making the leap to video posts on this platform is a good move if you’re thinking about the type of content you could post here. Video is on the rise, pulling in three times more engagement than text posts. They can run for up to 10 minutes on LinkedIn, which gives you ample opportunity to create high-value video content for your business-minded audience.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the best times to post on social media are the times that work for your brand and your specific audience. By taking the combined data provided by expert studies and your own analytics and research, you can build a clearer pattern of your audience’s behaviour. This will help you pinpoint the best time for you to launch the best type of content at the right time, boosting your engagement levels and propelling you towards social media superstardom.