If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail. Sure, Benjamin Franklin probably wasn’t thinking about social media posting schedules when he said that, but hey, if the shoe fits…

Clichés aside, you can have the best social media content strategy in the world, but are you posting your content when anyone will see it? Or, the better question is: Are you posting when your target audience will see it?

Here’s everything you need to figure out the best social media posting schedule for your business.

Bonus: Download a free, customizable social media schedule template to easily plan and organize all your posts in advance.

How to create your perfect social media posting schedule

A schedule for posting on social media will keep you organized and ensure you create content in advance for all your upcoming social media marketing campaigns. But there isn’t a “one size fits all” perfect schedule. The ideal frequency and timing of your social posts will depend on your audience and industry, among other things.

Read through this five-step process to find your ideal times to post on social media. At the end, you’ll have a wham-bam complete plan for social media domination.

1. Know your audience

This is the most important step! In order for your social media content schedule to work, you need to know:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What times of day are they online?
  • Where do they hang out online, and when? For example, do they start the day with Twitter and end the day doom-scrolling Instagram? (Don’t we all?)

Don’t worry if your audience is in a different timezone than you. We’ve covered the ideal solutions to that problem in our post on the best social media scheduling tools!

2. Figure out how often to post

Whenever content doesn’t perform well, many people are quick to blame “the algorithm.” And as much as sometimes content flops simply because it’s not great, algorithms do play an important role in what your audience sees on social media.

Every social platform has its own algorithm, which is a fancy word for “a system that aims to understand what its users want, and then delivers that to their screens.”

How often you post is one of the factors that algorithms use to assess and distribute your content.

In June 2021, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri confirmed that posting two posts a week and two Stories per day is a best practice for success.

TikTok recommends posting at least once a day and up to four times a day for best results. Once a day doesn’t sound like a lot until you realize that’s basically conceptualizing, scripting, shooting and editing what used to be a TV commercial every single day.

For Facebook, recency is a top algorithm factor. Newer posts are always given more weight, even when combined with other ranking factors. It’s especially important to know when your target audience is on Facebook and post accordingly.

Need a little help figuring out how often to post on each network? Here’s a quick guide based on our research:

  • On Instagram, post between 3-7 times per week.
  • On Facebook, post between 1 and 2 times a day.
  • On Twitter, post between 1 and 5 Tweets a day.
  • On LinkedIn, post between 1 and 5 times a day.
  • On TikTok, post between 1 and 4 times a day.

For more info on algorithms, check out our detailed posts for each social platform:

3. Plan your campaigns in advance

In addition to your mix of regular content, plan your big product launches, announcements and seasonal campaigns well in advance.

To keep everything organized, put together a high-level calendar. This isn’t just where you write and plan your post content. Your calendar is part of your social media content strategy and helps make sure you account for everything you need to get out into the world.

It’s your guide for what to post, not just when to post it.

It could be as simple as a to-do list to make sure you get everything done on time — without the last-minute rush:

September

October

  • Produce visual assets for BF/CM campaign
    • Finalize by Oct 15th

November

  • Schedule and promote BF/CM posts

If you’re more of an “amazing digital tools to get things done better” person, you can plan campaigns with your team directly in Hootsuite. Here’s how it works.

Bonus: Download a free, customizable social media schedule template to easily plan and organize all your posts in advance.

Get the template now!

4. Evaluate your performance

You can post during every “hot” time to post from this article and hundreds of other sources online, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best schedule for you.

We’ve already talked about the importance of knowing when your audience is online. But you also need to run experiments.

Maybe you’re pulling in a thoroughly average organic post reach of 5%, or roughly 1 in 19 followers, but what if 6% of your audience could be seeing your posts? Or 7%? Or 10%?!

Following the same content posting schedule quarter after quarter, year after year, will likely hurt your growth.

This doesn’t mean you have to dramatically switch things up every week. You need a baseline to tell if any of your experiments are working. Try running one experiment a month. Change one of your usual posting days or times to a new one for a month and see which time slot performs better.

Small tweaks and experiments over time can yield big results. Think of it like A/B testing your social media.

5. TL;DR? Post at these times

You’ve reached the cheat sheet section of this article.

While all of the above is true, and you shouldn’t arbitrarily post content at times you find on the internet without doing proper audience research first… Well, if you’re not gonna follow my advice, here are some universal benchmarks for the best times you should post, based on extensive research.

The best time to post on social media overall is 10:00 AM on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

But is that when your audience is online? Who knows!

Scheduling your content at these times is a good starting point that should be followed up with a review of your analytics and audience research. That will allow you to come up with a personalized and truly effective social media marketing posting schedule that will work for your brand and your audience.

Free template: Social media posting schedule

OK, so you know what you’re going to post about from your social content strategy. You now know also how to find the best times to post on social media for your audience. Now, how do you make it all happen? It’s time to start creating a social media posting schedule that works for your business.

Click the link below to download our free social media posting schedule template. It’s built for Google Sheets, so it’s easy to edit anytime, anywhere and collaborate with your team.

Bonus: Download a free, customizable social media schedule template to easily plan and organize all your posts in advance.

Here’s how to get the most from it:

Make a copy

The file is going to open as a read-only Google Sheet. Click File, then Make a copy to create your own editable version of the sheet that will be stored in your Google account.

Google Sheets social media posting schedule template

You’ll see a tutorial for how to use it on the first tab, so check that out. You can delete that tab from your own copy.

Edit it for your needs

The schedule shows one week of content planning for all the major social platforms. Now, it’s time to make the schedule your own.

Don’t post on all the social networks listed? Delete rows.

Post on ones not included? Add rows.

Don’t want to post daily? Edit the schedule.

You get the idea. Make the template fit your business.

Once you have it set up to work for your social media platforms, posting frequency and times, copy and paste rows so that you can write a month’s worth of content in the tab.

Then, duplicate that tab 11 times to create your entire social media content calendar for the entire year. #mindblown To do that, right-click on the tab’s name at the bottom and click Duplicate.

Duplicate option on template

Add your content

Time for the best part. Get in there and start writing out your social media content.

You don’t need to plan months or even weeks ahead. If you don’t already have a content production process, aim for creating content a week ahead of time at first. Of course, large campaigns will need more planning.

The template offers suggestions on types of content to post, from sharing your latest blog post to a video or something curated. Modify these content categories to be what you post about.

Then… get to work:

Those are the basics to plan your content, but this spreadsheet can do a whole lot more. See our detailed social media calendar guide for more tips on using this template, like how to create an evergreen content library, an editorial calendar, and more.

How to schedule social media posts

Hootsuite makes it easy to schedule all your social media posts in one place.

There are two ways to schedule your posts:

  1. Individually
  2. Bulk upload

How to schedule individual social media posts

Using the Hootsuite Planner, you can schedule individual posts for all your connected social media accounts. You can set it to post to only one account or multiple profiles, and edit your content to look just right on each platform.

You can schedule and auto-post the following content formats with Hootsuite:

  • Facebook feed posts
  • Instagram posts
  • Instagram Stories
  • TikTok videos
  • Tweets
  • LinkedIn posts
  • YouTube videos
  • Pins (on Pinterest)

Ready to get started? Here’s how to schedule a post in three quick steps:

Step 1: In Hootsuite, click Create, then Post (or Pin) on the left-side menu.

pin or post on Hootsuite

Step 2: Build your post.

Select the platform(s) you want to post to and write or paste in your content. Add a link, photo, video or other assets.

A feature I personally love is the ability to tag people or brands. If you write @hootsuite, for example, it will automatically prompt you to select the appropriate account to tag on each platform. This saves time and ensures you’re tagging the right account.

Build Twitter post on Hootsuite Planner

Step 3: Pick a time — or have AutoScheduler do it for you!

Hootsuite AutoScheduler chooses the best time to post based on your performance history and audience. Posts can also be saved as drafts or posted immediately.

Hootsuite AutoScheduler recommended times

And that’s it!

How to bulk schedule your social media posts

With Hootsuite, you can also save time by uploading and scheduling up to 350 posts with one click.

Here’s a walkthrough explaining how Hootsuite’s Bulk Composer works:

Want to test these features out for yourself? AutoSchedule and Bulk Composer are both included in Hootsuite’s Professional plan, which you can try free for 30 days.

Try it for free. You can cancel anytime.

3 time-saving tips for creating your social media schedule

When it comes to making social media scheduling easier, there are several ways we can help. But there is no substitute for having the right tools for the job! Once you’ve had a look at the tips below, check out our in-depth guide to the best social media scheduling tools!

1. Plan ahead

Someone named Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. Planning ahead is what scheduling is all about, so make sure you have what it takes to do it right!

If you are using Hootsuite you can save a ton of time. Hootsuite Planner is where you can view and edit your upcoming scheduled posts. It’s like the “mission control center” for your social content.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to use Hootsuite Composer and Planner to create and schedule posts:

 

2. Know the best time to publish

Hootsuite’s Best Time to Publish feature, found under Analytics, analyzes your past performance to show you data for the best times to post on each of your social platforms.

But, there’s no “best” time to publish for everything, so this tool goes one step further than the rest and breaks down different suggested times for three key goals:

  1. Building awareness
  2. Increasing engagement
  3. Driving traffic

This allows you to map each piece of content to business goals and optimize your scheduling for maximum ROI. (Feel free to copy/paste that tech broetry sentence to your boss to justify getting Hootsuite.)

Hootsuite Analytics best time to publish

Best Time to Publish is available for Hootsuite Team accounts and higher.

Try Hootsuite’s Team plan free for 30 days

3. Manage paid and organic content at the same time

Being able to work with both kinds of social media content side-by-side is a huge time saver. While most networks keep these sections separate, with Hootsuite Social Advertising you can manage your paid content right alongside organic.

Besides saving time for scheduling, you’ll get the full picture of your social media results with unified analytics and ROI reporting.

By seeing the results of your paid campaigns and organic content together, you can make informed decisions and quick edits to active campaigns.

Here’s more information on how to streamline your social media advertising with Hootsuite Social Advertising:

Use Hootsuite to plan and schedule your social media content across all platforms. Plan your content, find the right time to post, and measure performance with real-time analytics — all from one dashboard.

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