Social media has revolutionised the way we communicate, and in doing so has created multiple platforms for brands to reach out to consumers and show them what they have to offer. Despite how powerful social media has become, the time at which a company posts on a particular platform can massively influence the reach and effectiveness of the maneuver. It really is all about timing. Just like a social media content calendar helps you organise campaigns around important dates, the time of day you send out a post is equally essential.
SOCIAL MEDIA IS KING
Research has shown that brands without a consistent social media strategy don’t stand a chance when it comes to standing out and being recognised. It’s not all about SEO anymore, and social media is a sea of endless possibility. Although posts will remain on a particular platform for long periods of time, they may be quickly swept away into irrelevance. Newsfeeds are busy places, and receive a constant and steady stream of content from competitor posts. For a post to be effective and seen by large numbers, releasing it at a time of day when people are likely to see it is crucial. Of course, estimations can be made. Many people check their social media platforms upon waking to see what may have occurred overnight. Checking social media during lunchtime hours is quite common too. And a scroll through your newsfeed before sleeping is also likely. However, estimations are not accurate enough when really trying to expose your posts to your target audience.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
The best time of day to post on social media for one business may not be the same for another. Consumer habits vary widely based on many factors. This is why it’s advantageous for a company to firmly establish who their target audience is, down to the last detail. From here, you will have a better idea of the potential patterns of this group and when they are most likely to be online and see your post.
DIFFERENT TIMING FOR DIFFERENT PLATFORMS
Reports from SurePayroll document some of the optimal times for posting content. These times differ from platform to platform, so be sure to schedule the release of each post accordingly.
When it comes to Facebook, the highest average click-through has been documented to occur between the hours of 1–4 p.m. This is not super surprising, considering lunchtime and the end of the day fall within this period for many individuals. This is also the time of day when workers become lethargic and bored, and are likely to scroll through their feeds. 3 p.m. was reported to be the peak time on the platform, so have your Facebook posts ready by then, and keep consistent. Weekends are the worst time to post on Facebook when it comes to getting some serious attention. This is most likely due to people enjoying downtime and unplugging for a couple days with family and friends. Furthermore, before 8 a.m. and after 8 p.m. are the times that your posts are likely to get the least engagement. It’s been concluded that photos generate the highest rate of engagement on Facebook, accumulating 53% more likes and 104% more comments than other posts.
Twitter is a great platform for releasing snippets of information and marketing material. It’s also a superb venue for updating consumers on any brand-related news. Much like Facebook, the optimal time to post on Twitter is said to be 1–3 p.m., Monday–Thursday. On the other hand, the worst times to post on Twitter are every day after 8 p.m., and after 3 p.m. on Friday. These times are likely too late for most people to be checking their newsfeeds that day. Twitter is another platform where images really matter, and they can make or break the success of a post. An attractive and attention-grabbing image is far more likely to garner interaction that raw text alone. Tweets with images result in 36% more clicks, 31% more visits, 41% more retweets, and 48% more favourites.
LinkedIn is an essential platform for businesses and brands. The whole basis of the site is to create networks and expand your contacts within your chosen industry. LinkedIn also has a newsfeed feature, often featuring written articles, images, and updates. It’s been likened to a kind of Facebook for businesses. Basically, it’s a great way to get your brand seen and engaged with. The best time to post content on LinkedIn is in the middle of the week—between Tuesday and Thursday. There are three optimal times to post on the platform to ensure maximum outreach. The first peak time occurs between 7:00–8:30 a.m., the second is during midday, and the third occurs between 5:00–6:00 p.m. The worst time to post on LinkedIn is really when everybody is asleep, usually between 10:00 p.m.–6:00 a.m.
Instagram is a great platform to build a brand, allowing users to target specific audiences via hashtags. The platform is particularly popular among young females. A massive 68% of Instagram users are women, and 59% are between the ages of 18–29. Instagram is by far one of the most frequented social media platforms in the world with over 800 million active users, making it a fantastic online environment to reach out to consumers. 80% of Instagram users live outside of the US, making it even more useful for international companies. Due to Instagram’s large number of users, people engage in the platform throughout the entire week. However, Sunday is the worst day to post on the platform. The two best days for posting are Monday and Thursday. The best times to post on the platform are 2:00 a.m., between 8:00–9:00 a.m., and around 5:00 p.m. Posts will perform worst between the times of 3:00–4:00 p.m.
Pinterest is another social media platform that sees far more female users; 70% of all users are in fact female. Pinterest is a unique platform that differs greatly from other popular social media outlets. To reach out to users, you have to do your research and understand them. The median age of users is 40, however, most active users are younger than this. Successful posts on Pinterest have to be quite specific, as different pins are more popular depending on the day of the week. Keep this schedule in mind:
- Monday – Fitness
- Tuesday – Gadgets
- Wednesday – Quotes
- Thursday – Outfits
- Friday – Gifts
- Saturday – Travel
- Sunday – Food
The best time to post on Pinterest for optimal outreach is between 8–11 p.m., with Saturday being the best day. Pinterest is much less popular during working hours, so it’s best not to post during these times.
This information provides a good set of guidelines, but shouldn’t be taken as dogma. Different industries and individual companies have different audiences altogether, making experimentation the most valuable approach. Try posting different types of content at different points throughout the day and week, then analyse the results.