Finding the best time to post on social media means getting to know your audience platform by platform, not just looking for a single magic formula.
Like many bloggers, I’m always looking to improve my social media strategy, since that can help get additional eyes on the blog itself.
Like some of those bloggers, I always am interested to see takes on the best time to post on social media — from Facebook to Twitter and even Instagram — so I can get the most out of my posts. Social can, after all, be a huge help to blogs looking to get additional visits from potentially new visitors who might otherwise miss your post.
Both Lifehack and AdWeek’s Social Times posted infographics showing the supposed “best times” to post to various social networks. Lifehack used an infographic prepared by StartABlog123.com, while Social Times posted an inforgraphic from QuickSprout.
Here are some general takeaways that I found interesting.
Posting to your blog
The best time to publish a blog post, according to StartABlog123.com’s graphic, is between 8:00am and 1:00pm Monday through Thursday (in the time zone where your majority of followers happen to be). Late afternoons, evenings, and the weekend tend to get fewer views and are therefore less effective.
I post daily, but I do tend to post at either 8:00am or 10:00am, depending on how well I do at getting the post done on time. Occasionally, particularly on weekends, I sometimes publish a bit later than this, but like all things, it’s a work in progress.
What’s interesting here is that the best time post to your blog can differ significantly from the best time to post on Facebook and Twitter.
One source states Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are the best days to post, and between 1:00pm and 4:00pm is the best time of day to post. The worst time to post, it says, is any day after 8:00pm.
The other source would tell you to take Wednesday off as well, because Thursday and Friday are the best days to post. Their argument is based on the notion that the less people want to be at work, the more they are at Facebook. Well who wants to be at work on a Monday? And, if we’re honest, aren’t you busier on Friday making sure everything that has fallen through the cracks over the course of the week are done so you can leave for the day (and the weekend) as soon as possible?
This source also suggests the best time to post would be between 1:00pm and 3:00pm.
Both identify 1:00pm as the time to get the most shares, while 3:00pm is the time to get the most clicks.
If you have a Facebook fan page with at least 100 fans, you can go to your Insights to get some interesting information about when your fans are most often online. The peak of people tends to be in the evening, but you can click on individual days to see, based on your page, when the majority of your audience is there. By all means I’d recommend you post at 1:00pm and 3:00pm on Thursdays and Fridays (and maybe even on Wednesdays if you’re bold), but I’d also suggest you try posting content one or two extra times when the graph shows your audience peaks on the service.
It may work and it may not, but at least you’ll be using actual data about your specific audience as part of your social strategy.
If you see that those posts aren’t getting any more interaction, you can always adjust your posting times. But I can tell you the highest engagement of my posts over the past month or so happened outside of the recommended days and times.
Do what works for your audience.
Twitter guidance is based on whether your content is considered “business to business” or “business to customer.” (If you’re a blogger who isn’t selling services to other blogs or trying to get hired by a business, you’re the latter, commonly referred to as B2C.)
For B2C, the best times of day to post are Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, both sources say. Why Wednesdays? Who knows.
Both sources also agree that posting between 12:00pm and 6:00pm will give you the greatest click-through rate, with 5:00pm listed as the time for the most retweets.
And both agree that posting any day after 8:00pm is the worst time to post.
Posts with hashtags get double the engagement: posts with at least one hashtag see a 55% jump in engagement, while one to two hashtags can increase engagement by 21%.
I post a variety of times throughout the day, but my most-engaged posts are conversations, which tend to happen during Twitter chats which are mostly either Sundays or Mondays after 8:00pm. Another theory shot to hell!
Twitter analytics can give you a better picture of when your followers are online as well as specific keywords or hashtags they’re most into. This can help you take the global guidance and further customize it for you.
Again, you have to use a little common sense here. If your own account’s analytics indicates your audience isn’t as big during the recommended times, use them to attract new users. But you’ll still want to make sure you’re posting where your current audience is.
It’s steady. That’s the good news. There’s even a slight spike on Mondays.
The spike on Mondays would suggest that more people are bored at work and looking at Instagram instead of getting their job done. However, off-work hours tend to pull in higher engagement.
For me, Instagram seems to be growing the fastest, though none grows as fast as I’d like. (That’s probably true for all of us, right?)
…And the Rest
The individual infographics also show the best times to pin on Pinterest and to post on Google+ and LinkedIn.
It’s interesting to see how the networks differ.
But it’s worth repeating: take this guidance for what it’s worth in your own social strategy. Use it to reach more people and potentially increase your followers. But you should also know where your current audience is (if it’s in other times than the “popular” ones) and be sure not to abandon that important base.