With over 3,5 billion social media users in the world, social media is a marketing tool that every brand should take advantage of. It’s an affordable and very effective way to improve search engine rankings, brand awareness, and conversion rates.
Once you decide to take advantage of social media marketing for your brand you need to set and implement a strategy involving a few important steps like choosing the right goals, selecting the channels most appropriate for your business, planning your content, and setting the best times and frequency of posting.
But what is the best time to post on social media?
The truth is, there is no single best time that is sure to achieve top engagement for any type of business. And while there are suggestions on posting times that have been found to boost engagement, when you plan your content you should also consider other factors that will point you to the best times to post content on your social media.
Consider the type of your business, your industry, and competition. Find out more about your audience – what’s their lifestyle, and where they are located. It’s also important to gather and analyze engagement metrics so you have a clear idea of what works for you. For example, an e-commerce brand is likely to have a steady engagement throughout the day, where a coffee shop is likely to get more engagement in the morning when people commute to work and are looking for a nice cup of coffee.
What works for one company may not work for you. The best approach when you set your posting times is to listen to what your audience is telling you and keep an eye on how your posts perform. Use analytics tools to gather data on when your target audience is online and use the information to navigate your social content strategy and the best times to achieve top engagement.
With that said, let’s look at the major social media platforms and the suggested posting times for each.
Facebook is still the biggest social media platform with over 2,7 billion users globally. A huge portion of your target audience will be browsing through the platform daily and posting at the right times is crucial.
However, reaching people on Facebook can be quite challenging for a brand. The organic reach on Facebook has been steadily declining over the past few years. In 2020, according to Hootsuite, the organic reach dropped to 5,2%, for comparison in 2018 the reach was 7,7%. Buffer, at the same time, reports a drop in organic reach of 50% for business profiles.
The numbers show that capturing your audience’s attention will continue to become more challenging and focus on content posting strategy is a priority. So let’s look at some recommendations on the best posting times for Facebook.
According to a research by Buffer, the best time to post on Facebook is between 1 p.m and 3 p.m Monday through Saturday.
Hubspot, on the other hand, reports that the best days for posting are Thursdays and Sundays. They’ve also found that generally, it’s best to post around 9 a.m when users are starting their day, or around noon when people take their lunch breaks. Between 3 and 4 p.m on weekdays also shows higher engagement for B2C, software, and B2B companies.
Sprout Social summarizes the data, stating the safe times to post are Tuesday through Thursday from 8 a.m to 3 p.m. But reports that Sunday is usually the worst time to post on your business profile.
Different sources find different data and that is because there are a lot of variables that will lead to different engagement results for the different industries. On top, if you’re following the reports on the peak posting times, likely, your competition is too, and so the best times to post can easily turn to be the worst times to post.
Then what can you do to ensure your Facebook posts reach your target audience?
Apart from taking into account the specifics of your own industry- what is your business and what are the events you need to share with your audience, find out what is your audience interested in terms of content and where they are located.
Half of the US population is in the Eastern Time Zone, add the Central Time Zone and you have 75% of the country, so these two zones could be important when you schedule your posts.
Learn when your audience is online. Once you have your audience time zones you’ll need to look at the exact hours your followers are online. Start posting at different times and use your social media analytics to see when your audience is more likely to engage with your content.
There are no set rules- it’s all about you trying different tactics and finding what works for your brand.
Instagram has over 1 billion users globally and they predominantly use the platform on mobile devices during off-work hours. As Hubspot reports B2B companies will have the most success posting between 12 and 1 p.m, or 5 and 6 p.m during the week.
They also report that 8 to 9 p.m when people are preparing for rest is also a good time to post information that will be relevant for the next day. For example, a gym will likely have the attention of people if it shares posts that relate to a training session or a special event happening the next morning. When it comes to Instagram, you’ll have to think about how your content fits into your followers’ daily routine.
Relevance plays an increasingly important role in how your content ranks on the feed, so you’ll not only have to create quality content for your followers but bear in mind the factors that help Instagram’s algorithm feature your profile more prominently in the feed of users. There are six engagement elements that this social media considers- interest, relationship, timeliness, frequency, following, and time spend on the platform.
The data on your previous posts will affect the interest factor of your future posts and Instagram will consider that when rating your content. It’s likely that posts in a certain category (educational, funny, etc. ) that have shown better engagement in the past will appear on the top of your audience’s feeds in the future as well.
That’s however not all. Timeliness has also a great deal of influence on whether your posts will appear on top or not. It shows Instagram that you continuously update your followers with new and interesting information, thus you’re relevant.
Add to that the size of your profile followers, the time they spend in your profile, and how often they directly interact with you and you have the formula that Instagram uses to put you in front of your followers.
When you plan your posts for Instagram lean into what the data tells you. Post when most of your followers are online and be helpful- recommend a relevant solution to an issue they have.
With over 330 million users monthly, Twitter holds great potential for boosting traffic, brand awareness, and even generating leads. It’s also a great tool to test your social media marketing skills with a limit of only 280 characters per post. Buffer has even reported that tweets with less than 100 words get a 17% higher engagement rate – another challenge to take on.
However, with the outlandish 500 billion tweets per day, there’s a lot of competition for attention.
Researches show that similar to Instagram, posts on Twitter engage audiences mostly during off-work hours as they browse it on their mobile devices during their commute. In fact, Twitter users who use mobile devices on their way to work are 181% likely to be on the platform. In that case, it’s no wonder that according to Hubspot good times to post are between 8 and 10 a.m and between 6 and 9 p.m. Unlike other social media platforms where you can experiment with posting off-peak time, Twitter algorithms will rank content that gathers the most attention from users higher than posts in chronological order, so you’ll have to stick to the times when your audience is most active.
The best days for tweets are Tuesdays and Wednesdays for B2B businesses and the weekend for B2C. B2C. All that makes sense, of course, since consumers are more engaged with social media in their free time and businesses look for opportunities during working time.
When you plan your content for Twitter you can take advantage of Twitter’s API. The application programming interface of the platform will allow you to listen and analyze information on topics that engage users and help you plan content accordingly.
LinkedIn is the number one social media for professional engagement. It has over 303 million users and provides recruiters, salespeople, and businesses with an ideal platform to promote their brand, reach a specific niche of an audience, and create a following among target professionals.
According to Sprout Social, the best times to post on the platform are between 8 and 10 a.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Posts on Thursdays between 1 and 2 p.m also show increased engagement among LinkedIn users. The worst day for posting on LinkedIn is Sunday and given it’s a professional social platform there’s understandably not much engagement during the weekend.
LinkedIn is the perfect form for B2B companies that look to target a specific audience. The platform is comprised mainly of highly motivated business professionals that engage with brands that manage to use their social media content strategy to show authenticity and break traditional marketing tactics.
Using your LinkedIn Page Analytics you’ll be able to get an idea of your target users and adapt your posting time to leverage strategies like influencer marketing and thought leadership that show great results in terms of increased engagement.
With over 450 million users monthly, predominantly female, Pinterest presents a massive opportunity for companies to increase brand awareness and lead generation among that target audience. Stressing on the visual inspiration of the content the platform offers useful and easy to digest content that followers enjoy.
Businesses like food, e-commerce, retail, and fashion have the opportunity to thrive on this social media. When you plan your timing for Pinterest consider that working hours are not the best to pin posts. Engagement on this social media peaks around 9 p.m and mostly on the weekends. Posts published between 8 and 11 p.m will have better chances of ranking higher on Pinterest’s home page. Fridays around 1 p.m. have also registered higher engagement rates.
Of course, as for the rest of the platforms, the indicated times for posting are more of a general guide rather than a rule and you have to consider other factors when you plan your content.
Pinterest, in particular, uses a Smart Feed algorithm to offer a more personalized experience to its users. That means that users’ home feed gets curated to fit the types of profiles and interests they’ve already expressed interest in.
Not only that but the algorithm ranks pins based on the quality of the photo, the usefulness of the content, expressive descriptions, and consistency in posting. Take that into consideration when you plan your Pinterest posts and measure the results to ensure your social media efforts go in the right direction to ensure top engagement.
Social media is a powerful tool that can help you get your business in front of as many people as possible. To drive engagement with your audience, however, you’ll need to invest time and resources into planning and implementing a social media strategy that works. Part of your successful strategy would be to carefully pick the time to post your content on social media, so it can gain top engagement. To ensure you do that you’ll need to align recommendations from experts with your own users’ data and experiment with different approaches until you find what best fits your brand.