Is there really a best time to post on social media?
Yes. The best time to post on social media is whenever your audience is most likely to see and engage with your content. A well-timed post can lead to more likes, comments, shares, and click-throughs.
But, timing varies depending on industry and your specific audience.
So, using data from social benchmarking tool Unmetric, we’ve compiled data from 300 brands on social media and divided the results into B2B and B2C industries.
We were able to get the best time to post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and the best day to post for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
In general, our data shows that the best time to post on social media is between 9 and 12 a.m. EST, early in the workweek (i.e., Monday to Wednesday). That’s regardless of whether you’re a B2B or B2C brand.
Read on for more details.
Table of contents
The best time to post on Facebook
In 2019, Facebook changed its News Feed algorithm to prioritize “meaningful interactions” from family and friends over content from brands. Brand publishers on the platform have since found it more challenging than ever to get their organic content in front of their customers without paying to boost it.
Beyond creating high-quality content, one of the most effective tactics for “hacking” the algorithm is to make sure you’re posting at the right time.
But what is the best time to post on Facebook? See below.
- The best time to post on Facebook is between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
Outliers: a few viral posts may be skewing the data. However, they are a true testament to what kind of organic traffic you can attain when you pair great content with great timing. View them here:
- Oracle, June 5, 2018, 9 p.m. EST
- VMware, September 25, 2018, 4 p.m. EST
- VMware, September 27, 2018, 1 p.m. EST
- UPS, December 5, 2018, 11 a.m. EST
- UPS, December 17, 2018, 11 a.m. EST
- UPS, November 14, 2018, 11 a.m. EST
- The best time to post on Facebook is 12 p.m. EST on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.
Considerations for posting on Facebook
- 74% of Facebook users visit the site every day—more than any other social network
- 88% of Facebook users access the site via mobile device
The best time to post on Twitter
The lifespan of a tweet is very short—only 18 minutes. So timing matters more than ever on this network. You have less than 20 minutes to make sure your content reaches the right people!
But what is the best time to post on Twitter?
- The best time to post on Twitter is between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. EST on Monday or Thursday, with emphasis on the 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST window.
- The best time to post on Twitter is at 12 p.m. or 1 p.m. EST from Monday to Wednesday.
These graphs include data from the 2019 Superbowl, which occurred on a Sunday. Since it is a statistical anomaly, we have decided to disregard the data from Q1 2019, which shows Sunday as the most popular day to post.
Considerations for posting on Twitter
- 46% of American Twitter users visit the site at least once a day
- 80% of Twitter users are affluent millennials
- 80% of Twitter’s users aren’t American. The platform operates in 33 languages.
The best time to post on Instagram
Since Instagram is becoming more and more important to brands, we did a separate break out post on the best time to post on Instagram. In that case, we used data from 258,956 posts and the top 20 Instagram accounts in North America from 11 different industries.
The results varied widely between industries. The food industry, unsurprisingly, received the most engagement when they posted at 12 p.m. EST, while educational organizations got the best results at 4 p.m. or 5 p.m EST.
When we analyzed Hootsuite’s own posts in 2018, we discovered that the best time to post on Instagram was 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. EST, Monday to Friday.
The Instagram algorithm favors “recency” when it determines which posts you will see in your feed. It’s not strictly chronological, but it’s designed to serve you fresh content that you’re likely to engage with.
That means newer posts are more likely to appear in your feed first, no matter how many times you refresh it. So, you need to make sure your posts are “recent” when your followers are most likely to be online.
Find the best time to post on Instagram for your industry.
The best time to post on LinkedIn
LinkedIn’s API doesn’t allow us to collect engagement data by hour of the day, but we were able to determine the best day of the week to post on LinkedIn. Combined with our own internal data on when Hootsuite gets the most engagement on LinkedIn, we can state the following:
- The best time to post on LinkedIn is 7:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 12:45 p.m., and 5:45 p.m. EST.
- The best day for B2B brands to post on LinkedIn is Wednesday (followed by Tuesday).
- The best days for B2C brands to post on LinkedIn are Monday and Wednesday.
“The Hootsuite social team posts on the 45-minute mark because most brands are posting on the hour,” Amanda Wood, Hootsuite’s Social Marketing Lead says.
And that brings up an interesting point. When you hear about the best or most popular time to post, we recommend you test and measure the results against a wildly different schedule.
Think your audience only engages with your content on the weekends when they are at home relaxing? Try workday hours. The results may surprise you.
And yes, maybe a larger share of your audience is online over the weekend, but are all your competitors flooding those times with content? You might benefit from posting off peak hours when competition is low.
Considerations for posting on LinkedIn
- 50% of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn
- 45% of LinkedIn users are in upper management
- 57% of LinkedIn use is on mobile
How to find the best time to post on social media
Know your audience
How old are they? Where do they live? What’s their commute like? What do they do for work? What are their challenges and pain points? What social networks do they use? Do they scroll through their feeds on a phone or computer?
Those are the types of questions you need to answer to figure out the best publishing schedule. Our guide to creating audience/customer personas will walk you through each step of this important exercise.
Use the same content to test different times
Like any good experiment, you need consistency to accurately measure results. When testing times, use the same or similar content. That way a less than engaging post shared at a high-traffic time won’t skew the results.
If you’re based in the PST time zone and have followers in the EST and GMT time zones you might find posting at 8 a.m. PST works best because it hits the workday in both other regions.
If you have a global social media you could create different social media handles for different regions. Or, simply schedule content throughout the day and night for 24-hour engagement.
The point is location matters. If 6 p.m. on Thursdays is a good time to post for retail brands, that’s 6 p.m. for the target customer, not necessarily the brand.
Use the right tools
Obviously we’re partial to Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can post to all of your social channels and use built-in analytics to see which times yield the best results. Once you have that information you can schedule all yours posts during those periods.
Keep an eye on the competition
When do your competitors get a high amount of likes, shares, retweets, reactions, and comments?
Test those times as well as an opposing schedule. Do you also get more engagement at noon on weekdays? Or do you see a boost on the weekend when your competitors are quiet? The question here is whether you should follow suit, or zig when they zag.
You should also take note of what the leaders in your industry are doing. If you’re representing a smaller company, look to larger organizations with sophisticated social strategies. Chances are they’ve had the time and resources to optimize their publishing schedules. But remember that it’s different for every business and audience. Take your cues from the leaders, but always run tests to optimize for your own audience.
Continue to test and optimize
Don’t get complacent. Find the times that work best for you, but never stop testing. Audience habits—and network algorithms—change.
Be sure to create social media reports to track when you get the most engagement for each posting time. And determine how often you’ll rerun experiments on your social channels.
Now that you know how to find the best time to post, use Hootsuite to easily run tests, measure results, and schedule your content for optimal engagement.