When it comes to social media, there are so many questions – and lots you don’t know you don’t know! It’s also very difficult to find straight answers. There is no definitive guide on what to do, and what not to do, although I wish there was!
A question I hear all the time is ‘What are the best times to post on social media?’
The answer is; it depends!
It depends on the platform, your audience and your objectives.
My number-one rule is to only post when you have something relevant to say.
You will know what is relevant to say if you have defined your purpose for using social media as a marketing channel. You will also know what is relevant to say if you know your target audience.
The right time to post is a little trickier. The best answer to this is; when your audience are most likely to be online. The reason this is so important is the pace of social media. Post something when your audience is not looking and the opportunity will be gone.
Through trial and measurement, you will find that certain days of the week and times of day provide more engagement than others. For example, quite by chance I found that Saturday morning is a great time for me on Twitter – I believe people have a bit of down time to catch up with their reading at a weekend.
There are guidelines for the frequency of posting, which relate more to the pace of each platform. A Tweet will be gone from user timelines in less than an hour; a Facebook post may be visible in a timeline for a few hours; a LinkedIn post might last a few days.
The correct answer to ‘What are the best times to post on social media?’ can only be found in your own data. Only you can decide the best time and day to post your content for your target audience.
I find Facebook use increases around lunchtime and evening. People do also like to check in on social media during their lunchbreak, and during that mid-afternoon slump!
If you have a Facebook Page, go to ‘Insights’ and click on ‘Posts’ to see the data of when your viewers are online. There’s a free tool called FanPage Karma that can also provide this information, along with lots of other useful data analysis.
If you have upgraded Instagram to a business account you will also find data showing the times your audience are most likely to be online. Iconosquare is a useful independent analytics tool for Instagram.
Twitter Analytics provides an easy way for you to understand the best days to tweet according to your own audience’s engagement with your content. Go to the ‘Tweets’ tab on your Twitter Analytics dashboard. Finding the best times to Tweet can be made even easier, thanks to a tool called Tweriod.
With LinkedIn, you can use analytics to assess responses to content posted on your Company Page, but this is not always useful as most activity on LinkedIn takes place on a personal profile. As LinkedIn is a professional social network you could assume that it’s best to post during the working day, however I have often found it to be a busy place over a weekend when people are catching up and/or preparing for the week ahead. The pace of LinkedIn is much slower than the other platforms, and I see engagement on a post update lasting well over 7 days, so it’s perhaps not so time critical when you post on this platform.
Scheduling social media posts
There are many social media management tools to help you with scheduling, including Buffer, MeetEdgar and Hootsuite. If you are using Hootsuite as a social media management tool, Hootsuite’s AutoSchedule will choose a time based on when your post have performed the best. You can AutoSchedule from both the dashboard and the Hootlet Chrome extension.
The power of your content lies in its potential to start a conversation; so you have to focus on your target audience. The mantra of ‘right place, right message, right time’ applies to the fast-pace of social media, and with some good planning and data insight, you can find your best time to post content on social media.