Time Management: The Best Times to Post on Social Media

A fair amount of Social Media is common sense. If I post a picture at 2:00am, I probably won’t get as many likes as 6:00pm. When it comes to personal use, the difference between 5:00pm and 6:00pm isn’t extremely important. It could be the difference between a couple of likes, but the post is still targeting the same audience. However, for businesses trying to optimize their social media presence, common sense isn’t sufficient. Companies are turning to analytics to find the optimal times to post their content.

TrackMaven, a marketing analytics software provider analyzed 17.5 million social media posts by 17,737 brands across 75 industries. The result? A cheat sheet that helps companies better understand how to reach potential customers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. In the report, TrackMaven describes the best day of the week and time of the day to post for each social channel. They also dive a little deeper and explore the best day of the week and time of the day to post for each of the 75 industries.

Let’s get into it:

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-1-12-58-pm(TrackMaven evaluated the best times to post “based on the average number of interactions per post per 1,000 followers during each hour of the day and day of the week”)

 According to the analysis, these are the best times to post for each of the corresponding sites:

  • Twitter: 5 p.m. EST, Thursday
  • Facebook: 8 p.m. EST, Thursday
  • LinkedIn: 9 a.m. EST, Wednesday
  • Instagram: 7 p.m. EST, Friday
  • Pinterest: 1 a.m. EST, Friday

I think this data is extremely interesting; it paints a picture of our social media habits. For example, none of the optimal times are during the weekend. My initial hypothesis was that Saturdays and Sundays would be gold mines for likes, comments, and shares. People have more free time during the weekend and can interact with content while lazily watching football on their couches. But apparently users are the most active toward the end of the workweek. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pick up activity right before the weekend, perhaps because people are trying to connect with friends before making weekend plans. Pinterest’s activity spikes on Friday at 1:00am, possibly serving as a nightcap for people lying in bed getting ready for their weekend activities.

screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-9-07-19-pm

As you can imagine, this data gets a lot more complicated as it is applied across 75 industries. Even within the same industry, the optimal times to post vary by social network. In the apparel and fashion industry the best time to tweet is around noon EST on Tuesdays, while on Pinterest, the best time is Saturdays at 6:00pm EST. In the airline business, the best time to reach customers on Twitter is 1:00pm on Friday, probably as people as preparing to travel for the weekend. Although TrackMaven didn’t release all of this data you can access it here, by giving them some of your information.

Hubspot did their own analysis of the best time to post on social media. They pulled data and research collected by CoSchedule from sources such as QuickSprout, SurePayroll, The Huffington Post, Buffer, TrackMaven, Fast Company, and KISSmetrics. Their answer to the question is a little bit different than TrackMaven’s. Hubspot’s general answer is: whenever. They encourage marketers to post on social media as often as possible as long as its worthwhile content. Additionally, they recognize that the best time to post depends on a couple of key factors: the platform, the region that is being targeted, your goals (clicks vs. shares), and how your target audience interacts with the platform.

The following quotes and pictures come from this Hubspot article:

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-2-23-55-pm

“Engagement rates are 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays, and weekdays from 1:00–4:00 p.m. tend to see the highest clickthrough rates. On Fridays, Facebook use spikes by 10%.”

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-2-23-46-pm

“For B2B organizations, the best days to post are Mondays through Fridays, and clickthrough rate is highest on Wednesdays. For B2C organizations, the best days to post are Wednesdays and the weekends, when clickthrough rate is highest. According to CoSchedule, B2B content performs 16% better during business hours, whereas B2C content performs 17% better on weekends.”

Screen Shot 2016-10-06 at 2.23.26 PM.png

“Pinterest users skew heavily female, and are most active in the evening. The best time to post on Pinterest is in the evening any day of the week, especially Saturdays from 8:00–11:00 p.m. Other optimal times include every day from 2:00–4:00 a.m. and 2:00–4:00 p.m., and Fridays at 3:00 p.m.”

Screen Shot 2016-10-06 at 2.23.12 PM.png

“Videos tend to perform best any night of the week between 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., according to TrackMaven’s research. Some businesses have also seen success with posting at 2:00 a.m., 5:00 p.m., and Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m.”

Screen Shot 2016-10-06 at 2.23.35 PM.png

“Tuesdays tend to see the most clicks and shares, especially between 10:00–11:00 a.m. Mondays see lower engagement rates than the rest of the workweek, likely because people are catching up from the weekend. Friday may see lower engagement rates too, as people are wrapping up the week and even leaving early for the weekend.”

Key Takeaway:

The time that you post on social media is important, however, it won’t make or break your brand. Although some times are better than others for posts, the most important takeaway is to stay within your strategy. Focus on providing interesting content that understands the platform being used, the audience being targeted, your specific goals, and how your target audience uses the platform (how, when, and where).

6 comments

  1. Great post! Of course, I’ve always wondered once these times are made known and everyone begins posting at the optimal time, does that mean the market is saturated and then another time would be better? Need a dynamic model for timing to account for this….

  2. michaelahoff · ·

    This is really cool. The LinkedIn time makes a lot of sense, as it the first break that people who start at 8:30 get. Or, if you start at 9, then you may want to procrastinate/network before you really start your day.

  3. Nice post. I think Professor brings up a good point about feeds becoming too saturated during these times. However, I do think these times are not catered towards every business. Each business, at the end of the day, needs to make sure its marketing to its key demographic. Although it may be best to post on Instagram between 3:00 and 4:00 PM Monday through Thursday, if your company is advertising to, for example, a school teacher, posting during that time might not be ideal if schools end at 4:00 PM. Their optimal time might be 4:00-5:00 PM. I think, in a general sense, these can be useful. However, successful marketing on social media will come with a more focused approach.

  4. dabettervetter · ·

    I love this post and I think it is actually so relevant! I have noticed that some companies post on all of their accounts at once and it crowds my feed. As much as their analytics tell them that the specific time is ideal, I think they should split it up a bit. Also it makes their posting look so computer generated on my feed and has less of the personalized Instagram feel.

  5. Nice post! I thought this was interesting and especially can’t wrap my head around how posting to Pinterest at 1am is the best timing!

    While this shouldn’t drive all social decisions, I think it is a good tool to reference when you’re making especially big announcements via social.

  6. magicjohnshin1 · ·

    Awesome post! I loved reading your blog. It’s so interesting how intricate it gets for businesses to decide when is the optimal time to post. It’s also so cool to see that with different forms of social media, there are different times and days. It made sense that LinkedIn would have a 9am peak time but it was surprising that Pinterest would have a 1am time. I look forward to reading more from you, cheers!

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