It’s a simple question with a not-so-simple answer but in general, it all depends on which platform is best for your business model and how you can leverage your social activity against their algorithms, however there are some basic rules that are backed by statistical data that I will go over in depth in this post. But first understand there is no cookie cutter approach and there are many different factors to take into consideration such as:
- What platforms are we talking about?
- Does your audience live in Detroit, London – or both?!
- What industry is your brand in?
So When is the best time to post on social media?
Chronological Order vs. Relevancy
The majority of social media platforms no longer publish content to users’ news feeds in chronological order.
Instead, with new algorithms, they “try to surface the updates they believe is most relevant based on different signals, whether it’s engagement, timeliness, and other factors”. Don’t be too disheartened – it can work in your benefit!
A user who is sleeping when you publish a post may still see it when they log in – even hours and hours later this is due to the way internal algorithms work within social media channels here is a fantastic article from search engine journal that explains how social media algorithms work and if there really is a best time to post . This information is especially valuable to brands and business or anyone who uses a social media strategy who have audience members in different time zones.
Let’s dive into the algorithms of each specific platform.
- Facebook: The social network’s latest algorithm change favors posts from friends and family over branded content and allows people to choose to see more posts by their favorite pages. This is an incredible tip – and it may be helpful to occasionally encourage followers to navigate to their settings and request to see more from your brand.
- Instagram: Goodbye chronological photos, hello what you’re interested in! If a person frequently likes and comments on your Instagram photos, chances are they’ll continue to see your photos pop up on their newsfeed.
- LinkedIn: This platform works a bit differently by giving users the option to see the most recent updates OR posts by the pages they interact with most frequently. Cool!
- Twitter: Essentially, this platform works backwards. Most recent tweets are shown up at the top of the timeline and older tweets are a few scrolls down.
Time zones can make it a bit tricky when deciding the best time to post on social media. According to CoSchedule, the Eastern or Central time zone “would be the best time to base off for a United States audience to reach the most people through your social media shares.”
However, we always recommend using analytics tools to discover what time your audience is most active on each of your platforms. Social networks typically offer this information for free. For example, Facebook Page Insights and Instagram Insights both organize what day and time your audience is most active.
If you’re determined to reach all time zones, consider scattering posts throughout the day and experiment with which times seem to perform best. Facebook’s Restricted Audience feature also allows you to post updates to a specific location only. This is very helpful and allows you to post the same post twice – but each time zone will only see it once.
Widely Accepted Best Times to Post
Thanks to studies, every year there are base universal best times to post on social media. If you’re confused about where to start, utilizing this information can be extremely helpful until you are able to identify your audience’s specific needs for example if your business is to the general public or to businesses. You can read a bit more about what social media channels are best for your business and the difference between them in one of my past posts here titled “What social media channels are best for B2B” which covers all types of businesses models.
In 2018, CoSchedule referenced a thorough 23 studies to offer the best times to post on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. Here are some takeaways:
Best days to post to Facebook:
Best times to post to Facebook:
- 9 AM
- 1 PM
- 3 PM
- People seem to be happier on Fridays! This is the perfect time to upload funny and upbeat content.
Best days to post to Instagram:
Best times to post to Instagram:
- 2 AM
- 8 to 9 AM
- 5 PM
- Avoid posting on Instagram from 3 to 4 PM
- Post content more during off-work hours
Best days to post to LinkedIn:
Best times to post to LinkedIn:
- 7 to 8 AM
- 12 PM
- 5 to 6 PM
- Business people are most likely to read LinkedIn in the morning (like a newspaper!)
Best day to post to Twitter:
Best times to post to Twitter:
- 12 PM
- 3 PM
- 5 to 6 PM
- Twitter users are 181% more likely to be on Twitter during their commute.
Best Time to Post by Industry
Different industries have different types of audiences with different habits. It’s important to consider what time your specific audience is able to browse social media. Sprout Social released an in-depth study in 2018 that revealed the best generic times to post on social media for non-profits, education, healthcare, consumer goods, and technology related businesses. Here’s what they found for Facebook:
- The best time to post on Facebook for non-profits is Wednesday and Friday at 2 PM
- The safest times to post are 9 AM to 4 PM on weekdays
- Sunday has the least amount of engagement
- Schools receive the most engagement on Thursday at 2 and 3 PM
- Fridays and weekends drive the least amount of engagement
- Engagement spikes later in the evening on weekends
- The best time to post on Facebook for healthcare is Friday at noon
- Saturday has the least amount of engagement for healthcare brands
- Tech companies see the lowest amount of Facebook engagement on Saturday
- The best times to post on Facebook for tech brands are Monday at 11 AM and Thursday from 10 AM to noon
- Weekends have the lowest engagement rates for consumer goods brands
- The best times to post on Facebook for consumer goods brands are Thursday at 2 PM and Friday at 11 AM
To read in depth about Sprout Social’s industry reports for Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin click here.
What have we learned? Well, when deciding what time to post on social platforms for your business, it is vital to consider your target demographic, the industry you’re in and statistics. However, one thing is clear: every audience is truly different.