Social media success can sometimes seem like a dark art. Going viral is the dream, but solid consistent posting is the secret. A recent report from social media management platform Sprout Social offers tips on the best posting times to increase ROI on regular efforts across key channels.
- There are close to 4 billion users active across the major social media platforms and most people using multiple platforms. With more than 70% of consumers using social media more over the last 12 months than ever before, it is a huge potential distribution driver for publishers.
- Based on data from the social networks of 30,000+ customers, the data science team at Sprout Social reviewed social media usage over the past year. The resulting ‘Best Times to Post’ study identifies the times when people are most engaged and active within each of the major social media apps, assisting brands, marketers and publishers to schedule their social publishing calendars.
- In covering the report, Social Media Today starts with a huge caveat. The optimal time for social media posts is dependent on how a publisher’s audience uses each social platform. To find the absolute best posting times for your unique audience, you will need to experiment and test to identify when posts generate the best response.
- The best times to post on Facebook are Mondays through Fridays at 3am, and Tuesdays at 10am and noon (all times are Central Standard Time). The 3am slot seems strange but it might highlight the international nature of social media usage, or simply that posting when there’s very little else going on brings results.
- The Sprout team recommends avoiding weekends. Either fewer people log on to Facebook on Saturdays and Sundays, or the Facebook algorithm could be prioritising content from friends and family. Whatever the reason, engagement rates are lower on Saturdays and Sundays.
- Mid-morning is the ‘sweet spot’ for Instagram. Sprout’s research suggests scheduling Instagram posts for Mondays at 11am, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10am to 1 pm, and Thursdays and Fridays between 10am and 11am. Mid-week, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the top days for posting, with Sundays failing to deliver.
Pointing to Twitter’s role in news distribution, the best time to tweet is 9am on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Users are active on Twitter for the rest of the morning, up until noon. But after that activity drops off.
Like Instagram, Tuesday and Wednesday are the best days on Twitter and Sunday is a bust.
As the business-focused social network, LinkedIn starts earlier than the others. Weekdays, between 7am and 3pm, are fairly busy and Sprout’s analysis suggests Tuesdays between 10am and noon are the best time to post.
Later in the week – Wednesday’s and Thursdays – work best for LinkedIn and it’s no great surprise that weekends don’t bring much ROI on a professional networking site.
Research your audience
Posting at peak engagement times is a ‘go-to strategy’ according to Sprout Social, and these findings highlight when leading social networks are most active. But performing a detailed analysis on your own data is the best way to figure out the best times to post for your audience.
Writing for Social Media Today, Andrew Hutchinson said:
It’s individual, it’s different for every brand, every audience, and you’ll need to test and experiment to find what works best.