When you post on social media can have just as much as an impact on your engagement rates as what you post. Developing and implementing a comprehensive social media strategy takes time and resources, and it is important to make the most of it. By posting at the right times, you can actually maximize your ROI. So, when should you be posting on social media to maximize the efficacy of your strategy? While this will ultimately depend on your target audience and the platform you are using, there are a few general trends to keep in mind. Let’s take a look.
When it comes to deciding when to post on Facebook, there is one key thing to keep in mind: The less people want to be at work, the more they are probably using Facebook. It’s perhaps no surprise then that as the workweek drags on and people’s stamina wanes, Facebook engagement rates spike. Engagement tends to be lowest Monday through Wednesday, while the highest rates of engagement tend to be Thursday and Friday afternoon, typically somewhere between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Research shows that Fridays accrue 17 percent of all Facebook likes, 15 percent of all comments, and 15 percent of all shares. The more people are clamoring to get out of the office, the more likely they are to be tuned into Facebook — so plan your posts accordingly.
After you’ve identified the appropriate times to post, you need to develop a general posting schedule. The key to success is posting at consistent intervals at consistent times. What times make sense for your buyer personas? As a rule, you should be posting on Facebook at least once per day. However, this will depend on the type of content you are posting as well as who your target audience is.
Twitter engagement patterns tend to vary slightly from Facebook engagement patterns, likely because the majority of Twitter users exclusively access the site via mobile device.
Research shows that Twitter click-through rates tend to spike at noon, when people tend to be on lunch break, and 6 p.m., just as people are commuting home from work. This 6 p.m. spike is especially key, as studies have found that mobile users are significantly more likely to hop on Twitter during their commute, likely because they have to kill time while on the subway or while stuck in traffic.
However, it should be noted that ideal posting times on Twitter can vary pretty significantly depending on whether your audience is B2C or B2B. For example, B2B marketers tend to see much higher engagement rates during the week than on the weekend, whereas the difference between weekend and weekday engagement rates for B2C marketers on Twitter isn’t as pronounced.
When it comes to determining a Twitter posting schedule, you also need to figure out how frequently you want to post. As social media expert Catriona Pollard points out, the more you post on Twitter, the better. “The shelf life of a tweet is very short and only lasts about eight hours (or in a split second depending on how your followers use Twitter),” she explained in The Huffington Post. “With this in mind, it’s a good idea to post at least four tweets a day to ensure you maximize your exposure in the newsfeed.”
With Instagram, people are most likely to be engaged with content when they themselves are not posting. When users are posting themselves, they’re much more interested in choosing a filter for their own photo than they are in liking or sharing others’ content. So, the key is to choose times when users are likely to have some free time, but are unlikely to be posting their own content. When, exactly, might that be?
“2 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST are the best times to post if you want your followers to pay attention to you; the worst times are 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Also, Wednesday is the best day of the week to post, though not by much,” Damon Beres, tech editor at the Huffington Post, explained. So, what’s the rationale for this? Well, it is likely that the 2 a.m. crowd is flicking through Instagram before heading to bed or because they can’t sleep and need to kill some time. The 5 p.m. spike in engagement can likely be attributed to the people trying to bide their time at the end of a long work day before going home. “Posting at 5 p.m. is an especially good time to engage people who have hopped on Instagram at the end of the workday and are procrastinating before they leave for the evening,” Beres said.
However, there is an important caveat to all of this: Optimal times do shift slightly day to day. “On Monday, for example, 5 p.m. is actually a pretty crummy time; engagement is highest at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. On Friday, 1 a.m. and 8 p.m. are apparently the sweet spots,” Beres explained. For Instagram, especially, it is important to tailor posting times day by day. And when it comes to how often you should be posting, keep in mind that most major brands post an average of 1.5 times per day on the site.
Unlike Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, people tend to be most likely to use LinkedIn during working hours, and they are much more likely to be accessing the platform from a desktop computer or laptop as opposed to a mobile device. Therefore, you will want to time your posts with this in mind. It tends to be most advantageous to post in the mornings on weekdays, whereas weekends and evenings are by far the worst for engagement. Between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Tuesday has been shown to be a particularly sweet spot for driving engagement. When it comes to the frequency of posting for LinkedIn, it isn’t as necessary to post as often as you would on Facebook or Twitter. However, do avoid posting more than once per day, as studies show that engagement drops off after more than 20 posts per month (which works out to one post per workday).
Understanding Your Audience Is Key
In conclusion, research has shown a number of different trends that can help companies figure out when to post in order to maximize engagement. However, it is important to keep in mind that while these generalizations are helpful, they are by no means absolute rules. Brands should plan to do their own research to figure out when their own target demographic is most likely to be tuned into social media.
Luckily, this doesn’t require too much time or effort. For example, you can easily take a look at “When Your Fans Are Online” on Facebook to see when your followers are most likely to be online and tailor your posting times accordingly. As Mike Templeman explained in Forbes, tools like CoSchedule, Buffer, and HubSpot can all also be used to help you identify the days and times when your audience is most likely to be engaged. Remember, the more time you put into understanding when your audience is most likely to be on social media, the more effective your strategy will be.
Need help? Contact 10twelve to discuss a social media strategy specifically catered to your target audience.