The Best Times to Post on Each Social Media Platform
If you’ve been putting in a lot of effort into growing your social media following but haven’t noticed meaningful progress, there is a chance you aren’t posting updates at the optimal time. Think about it in your own life: there are times where you look at social media more times than not, and even the day of the week can affect how likely you are to check your newsfeed and when.
Things get even more complicated when you take into account time zones, your audience’s work hours, and algorithms shuffling around content on people’s newsfeeds. Deciphering this sea of complications seems impossible for lone influencers trying to make a name for themselves, but it doesn’t have to be.
Luckily, there is a lot of money to be made by marketers in figuring out ideal social media posting times, so a bunch of the hard work has already been done for you. All you have to do is keep reading to learn when you should best be posting on your many social media accounts.
The Notable Factors
Though we will eventually disclose the best times for posting on the various social media platforms below, it is important to know some of the main factors that contribute to social media post visibility. That way, you can be better informed why some of the best times are the way they are. Such understanding makes it possible for you to adjust the general wisdom to what you find works best for you.
Time of Day
We mentioned this above but it is truly one of the biggest factors in post visibility. People don’t check their socials at 3:30 am; of course, that’s ignoring the effect of timezones. You might be in EST, but the majority of your followers are in Central Time Zone, are even in GMT. You’ll want to account for the time differences when considering your target audience.
Day of the Week
Your gut might tell you that weekends are the best time to post on social media since people aren’t busy, but your gut would be wrong. Bit of a spoiler, but social media sites report way more usage during the weekdays. Makes sense though, most people save all the fun stuff they want to do for their days off, so they won’t be as compelled to see what is going on their social media accounts. Of course, not everyone has the same days off.
The Social Media Platform
It might seem redundant to mention this, but different social media platforms have different peak best days and times to be posting. A big part of this comes down to the user base the different platforms appeal to, so naturally, some demographic differences affect your ideal timeframe.
If your metrics show that your particular audience is an outlier for the platform, don’t become attached to the norm. The purpose of the platform can also be something to consider: more business-related social networks like LinkedIn are more popular during standard working hours than an entertainment platform like YouTube.
Purpose of Your Posting
There are more things to worry about as an influencer besides just your number of followers. We discuss the intricacies more in this article, but the two biggest factors are the size of your audience and their engagement rates.
Social media marketing data shows that there are different peak times for higher visibility and higher engagement. So depending on what metrics you are looking to improve or what your marketing strategy calls for, you’ll want to adjust your posting schedule with the differences in mind.
Timing is No Replacement for Consistency
Just because you’re chiming in during the best posting times doesn’t mean you can expect to have everything go your way on social media. For one, other people will be aware of peak times and you’ll have to fight through lots of other accounts for users’ attention.
Someone might like one of your posts, but when they dig a bit deeper, they realize you hardly ever put anything out. You don’t have to post all day every day, but you do have to build a reasonable body of content to attract attention. Your starting point should be finding a consistent flow of content that works for you, then you can make adjustments to make use of better times.
Time Breakdowns By Social Media Site
With all that advice out of the way, let’s get into the reason why you probably came here. We won’t be able to get into the nitty-gritty with every social media site -- there are so many and not all the data is available -- so we’ll be sticking to the big players.
The best day to post on Facebook bar-none is Wednesday. It seems to be regardless of the kind of content you are posting about, whether you are going for the best engagement or visibility, Wednesday is the day to be posting Facebook updates. Conversely, the worst day to post anything on Facebook is Sunday. Both weekend days are generally bad, but Sunday is a bit worse all around and an especially bad day for engagement.
The best times hover around the middle of the day for the respective timezone you are working in. A couple of notable exceptions are the boosts of activity for media and educational content that occur around 5 pm -- after the workday is over.
These factors combine to make Wednesday from about 10 am to 2 pm to be the best general times to post things. The reasoning for peak time to be in the middle of the workday, in the middle of the workweek, is probably a result of boredom. Facebook is a great distraction, and it can be especially hard to focus on your work when you are burned out. Whether we like to admit it or not, we are all guilty of some Facebook scrolling when we are supposed to be working.
The most popular social media app for aspiring models has less clear-cut answers to which days are the best to post. Wednesday is still one of the best days to post, if not the best day, depending on the content type. Friday contends with it and even edges out as the best day for things like media and finance.
Tuesday is a decent runner up to both of these days in most categories, except for healthcare content, which mysteriously experiences a huge increase in engagement on Tuesdays. Much like Facebook, weekends tend to be weaker than weekdays in terms of consistent engagement, except for some decent increases in education content engagement on Saturday evenings.
The best times to post also vary heavily on the subject. Things like consumer goods, non-profit, finance, and recreation float around the midday hours of 10 am to 3 pm, similar to Facebook’s peak hours. However, other topics experience their best engagement in the early mornings.
The Tuesday healthcare spike starts at 8 am, media content engagement is best around 9 am Friday, and tech-related content does best from 6 am to 10 am on Wednesdays and Fridays. Something notable about the timing for posts on Instagram is that the best time for one subject is often the worst time for another.
It makes sense if you think about there being a swarm of people looking for, say, media content and burying the educational content behind it. A few subjects like healthcare even have over half of their total weekly engagement crammed into one or two hours. In short, try not to stray too far from the established patterns in Instagram because you could easily end up shooting yourself in the foot.
Instagram has fewer generically good times to post because it is more in tune with user interest than a social networking site like Facebook. As a result, more people use Instagram intently more so than as a general distraction.
Hence, why the best times to post vary so wildly based on the content in question. Content marketing on Instagram will require you to be more strategic and think about what you are posting to figure out the best time to be posting it.
In comparison to the other two main social media sites we’ve discussed, Twitter is the wild west when it comes to the times for highest engagement and visibility. Twitter since its inception has framed itself more like a way to catch brief updates and check-in quickly. This is largely due to it originally working entirely through phones and instant messaging services. Since we have our phones with us constantly, the boundaries on when things are likely to be posted are removed.
There is not a clear best day to be posting on Twitter. Every day is better for some subjects, but they are all fairly decent to post on, except for the weekends with some content topics. Conversely, the worst days are dependent on the content type, but even the worst days aren’t dead in terms of engagement. As long as you avoid posting at a bad time on a bad day, you can still expect reasonably good engagement levels.
Twitter is notably different as well in terms of weekend engagement. Facebook has overall terrible engagement and traffic on weekends, and Instagram only has decent weekend activity at specific times. Twitter is much more active on weekends as a whole and has more weekends peak times than any other major social media platform.
Midday Sunday, around 11 am, has the highest engagement rate for consumer goods. For media engagement, Wednesday at 9 am and Thursday at 8 pm are the best. Saturday evenings have the best results for educational content. Bright and early on Wednesdays at 7 am is when nonprofit content does best.
Tuesdays are for tech topics, doing their best right at around 9 am to 10 am. If you are discussing healthcare on your social media account, almost all day Wednesday has great engagement. Finance has the weirdest times -- 1-5 am Tuesdays and also 2 pm on Sundays. Finally, recreation does great at 9 am on Fridays.
Some of these times are a bit unusual and can be hard to keep up with if you aren’t already up around those times -- especially that middle of the night window for finance. You don’t have to freak out over manually posting at those times, though.
There are plenty of social media management tools that can let you make a post and then delay when it will be shared through your account. We’ll discuss the benefits of those later on since we have one more major player to discuss.
Of the most commonly used social media sites, LinkedIn is the least recreational by a long shot. Plus, it is the only one designed with a specific person in mind. You aren’t going to this site to worry about follower count and engagement, you are more interested in finding a job or finding someone to fill a job. In either case, you may be able to glean some insights from the metrics.
Since LinkedIn is a business website first, and most businesses operate on the Monday-Friday work week, weekends are the worst times to post by an absurd margin. However, not all weekdays are equally either. Mondays are overall poor -- understandable since it’s the first day back from the weekend -- and Tuesdays are only okay. The remaining days of Wednesday through Friday see greatly increased traffic when compared to the other four days of the week. So, it’s hard to go too wrong as long as you post on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.
Across those three days, though, there are a few specific hours that stand out from the rest. Wednesdays do their best from 8 am to noon. Thursdays peak first at 9 am, then again at 1-2 pm. Fridays do especially well at 9 am, but the traffic tappers of quickly as it gets closer to noon.
All the previous social media sites have a strict recommendation to stick to peak times for the best possible results. LinkedIn has a slight exception under specific circumstances. If you are looking for employment, you’d do well to adhere to the peak times whenever possible.
However, if you are the one doing the hiring, consider scanning the platform occasionally at some of the slow hours. You might be able to find promising candidates that aren’t aware of the optimal times, and you can more reasonably filter through profiles without there being a torrent of activity.
Social Media Management Tools
We touched on social media management tools as a way to get ahead of the game when it comes to scheduling posting times. However, there are many more benefits to them. There is often a hefty cost associated with a subscription to one of these services, but it can be well worth it if you are aiming to become an influencer full-time.
Delaying and scheduling when your posts go live was mentioned earlier, and that is a huge draw for some people. Not only is it good for the common situation where you are busy during the normal best times to post, but it can be a huge boon to content creators whose main audience is in a much different part of the world and thus timezones.
Speaking of time, a high-quality social media management service will have analytics tools that can show you when your audience is most receptive to your content. Sure, there are some general patterns across entire platforms, but there is always the chance that your specific audience is the exception more than the rule.
With these kinds of analytics, you can dial in exactly the best times to post if you are looking for engagement or visibility. If done right, you can find the times where your followers are more likely to share your content, helping you grow your audience organically and ticking the engagement box at the same time.
Some of these management services can do more specific things than you might expect. For example, some of the tools can automatically retweet specific accounts or designated content on a timer. This is a huge benefit to Twitter-heavy influencers, especially those partnered with other influencers or brands.
Similarly, if you find that your audience comes in two or more waves -- say the morning, afternoon, and midnight crews -- you can retweet yourself for the different times so you can make sure no one misses anything with almost no extra work for you.
For those who have diversified their portfolios across several social media platforms, you’ll probably be tempted to pick up a social media management software if only for one feature: automatic cross-posting. That’s right, some services let you make a single post inside their service, and once you hit send, it will automatically update every linked account with that update.
The best part? If you want, you can format and tailor the content specifically for each platform to make sure it looks exactly how you want it.