A social media presence expands your reach to your audience. However, knowing what and when to post on social media can make the difference in how much engagement you receive. It would be nice if there were a cut and dried answer about the best time to post and you could always put content up at the perfect moment.
The answer about when to post on social media is fairly complex and depends on when your customers visit the various platforms. It’s also important to realize that while there may be an optimum time for people to see your post and respond to it, any interaction is valuable and remains on your page for whenever people come to visit.
Consumers spend as much as 40% more when they engage with brands on social media. The key is to post something. You can then refine your timing to meet customer needs. When to post on social media depends on your audience as much as the platform and your business model.
When Should You Not Post on Social Media?
Maybe the best place to start is with when not to post on social media. Think about your audience to answer this question. If you run a local-based business, such as a service provider, what are the typical hours people might hop on social media and see your posts? For example, you probably wouldn’t post anything around 2 a.m. local time. However, posting in the afternoon may give you great reach.
You should also be sensitive to local and world events as you decide when to post on social media. If a tragedy just occurred, don’t post a happy little note about how beautiful the day is. You’ll come across as insensitive at best. Timing truly is everything in social media, where circumstances shift quickly and topics can blow up before you realize what’s happening. Be aware and stop any posts that may be taken in the wrong context at the incorrect time.
The good news? There are some rules of thumb you can follow about when to post on social media for maximum impact.
1. Start With a Set Day/Time
In the beginning, you won’t have many analytics to go on. Whether you use a third-party social media posting tool or you use each platform’s diagnostic algorithms, you need some data before you can decide what works best with your audience.
You’ll have to make an educated guess for your initial days/times. For example, do you notice more of your followers like posts on the weekends? You may want to start by posting on Friday and Saturday around noon. Get a baseline, so you can tweak it as you go along.
2. Choose Busy Moments
Statista estimates social network advertising spending is around $56.86 billion in the United States. Apparently, most businesses–big and small–now see the advantages of promoting their products and services on social platforms.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to throw a lot of money at advertising and not see any return on investment (ROI). One of the best ways to reach more people is to choose busy moments. Sites such as Facebook allow you to choose when your ad will run. You won’t gather impressions–or pay for them–in the hours when people are less likely to engage with your brand.
3. Consider Seasonal Posts
Be aware of major holidays and the changing seasons when you schedule your posts on social media. For example, if you run a recipe blog, you might want to push your fall and winter desserts in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas.
On the other hand, if you sell clothing, you’ll want to list summer clearance items before summer is quite over and people aren’t yet thinking about buying fall items. The timing of weeks and months is almost as important as days and time with some types of products.
4. Go With Weekdays
When in doubt about what days to post, always choose weekdays. People are already online for remote work or on a break at their jobs. They’re more likely to check their notifications and feeds. On the weekends, they may be busy with other things. As always, pay attention to your audience, as you may find what is typical does not apply.
While users are busy getting ready for the day, commuting or spending time with family probably isn’t when to post on social media for engagement.
5. Post Tuesday or Thursday
Sprout Social took a look at various social media platforms and analyzed when the most interaction occurred. In general, they concluded when to post on social media for best results was Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at 9:00 a.m. or 10:00 a.m.
Their research showed these mid-morning posts were the most successful on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
6. Vary a Bit for Facebook
The researchers for Sprout Social do point out that Facebook is still the most highly utilized marketing platform, and the times may be a bit different. They suggest Mondays through Fridays at 3:00 a.m. and Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m. and noon. They suggest avoiding Saturdays.
Once you have a few posts going and can analyze your business page, go ahead and see when you’re getting the most engagement. Which times seem to be peak? Make any adjustments needed to take advantage of those moments. Once you have hard data, you’ll know when to post on social media and draw more traffic.
7. Boost Your Posts
Another way to ensure you get maximum engagement is paying to reach your followers and set audiences. Create buyer personas and add details to your social media accounts about who you’re trying to reach with your posts.
Some social media sites give you options for your advertising goals. Others rely on you to do that research and input the parameters for who you want to see your ads. Just make sure you’re getting enough ROI to justify the advertising costs to boost posts.
So, When to Post on Social Media?
The best time to post on social media depends on your customers. You should follow some general rules of thumb and then take time to dig into your business’ social media analytics. Look for patterns and try different tactics until you find the exact right time to post for maximum results.