Social media is one of the best ways to amplify the great content you’re creating. But it isn’t enough to just post content to social whenever you feel like it. Some times are better than others.
So … When’s the best time to post content to social media?
Unfortunately, there's no perfect answer. Different businesses may find different days and times work best for them. In fact, timing often depends on the platform you're using, how your target audience interacts with that platform, the region(s) you're targeting, the content of your post (e.g. funny or serious), and your goals (e.g. clicks versus shares).
That being said, there is ample data out there on optimal times to post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram. In the infographic below, we've pulled together data and research collected by the folks at CoSchedule from a variety of sources, including QuickSprout, SurePayroll, The Huffington Post, Buffer, TrackMaven, Fast Company, and KISSmetrics.
Think of this data as a general guideline, and use it to help you find the optimal posting times for your business.
The Best Times to Post on Social Media
Below you'll find the data and research on the best times to post to five popular social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Which time zones do these refer to? For a United States audience, your best bet is to combine Eastern and Central time zones, as they represent almost 80% of the U.S. population. For audiences located outside the U.S., use whichever time zones your target audience uses. Finding your target audience's location or locations should be a part of your buyer persona research.
1) Best Times to Post on Facebook
People log in to Facebook on both mobile devices and desktop computers, both at work and at home. How it's used depends heavily on the audience.
The best time to post on Facebook is 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Other optimal times include 12:00–1:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and 1:00–4:00 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. [Tweet this!]
Engagement rates are 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays, and weekdays from 1:00–4:00 p.m. tend to see the highest clickthrough rates. On Fridays, Facebook use spikes by 10%. Since people tend to be happier on Fridays, Neil Patel suggests posting funny or upbeat content to match your audience's mood.
The worst times to post on Facebook are weekends before 8:00 a.m. and after 8:00 p.m, according to SurePayroll's research.
2) Best Times to Post on Twitter
Like Facebook, people use Twitter on both mobile devices and desktop computers, both at work and at home. How it’s used also depends heavily on audience -- but people often treat it like an RSS feed, and something to read during down times like commutes, breaks, and so on.
The best times to post on Twitter are weekdays from 12:00–3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. [Tweet this!]
For B2B organizations, the best days to post are Mondays through Fridays, and clickthrough rate is highest on Wednesdays. For B2C organizations, the best days to post are Wednesdays and the weekends, when clickthrough rate is highest. According to CoSchedule, B2B content performs 16% better during business hours, whereas B2C content performs 17% better on weekends.
Some businesses have also had success with 2:00–3:00 a.m., 6:00–7:00 a.m., and 9:00–10:00 p.m. post times. Experiment with these times and others to see if they work with your audience.
3) Best Times to Post on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is used by professionals, and they tend to use it during the workweek, during working hours, just before the workday starts, and just after it ends.
The best time to post on LinkedIn is midweek from 5:00–6:00 p.m. Other optimal times include Tuesdays from 10:00–11:00 a.m., and Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 7:30–8:30 a.m., at 12:00 p.m., and from 5:00–6:00 p.m. [Tweet this!]
Tuesdays tend to see the most clicks and shares, especially between 10:00–11:00 a.m. Mondays see lower engagement rates than the rest of the workweek, likely because people are catching up from the weekend. Friday may see lower engagement rates too, as people are wrapping up the week and even leaving early for the weekend.
The worst time to post on LinkedIn is during the night, between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
4) Best Times to Post on Pinterest
Pinterest users skew heavily female, and are most active in the evening.
The best time to post on Pinterest is in the evening any day of the week, especially Saturdays from 8:00–11:00 p.m. [Tweet this!]
Other optimal times include every day from 2:00–4:00 a.m. and 2:00–4:00 p.m., and Fridays at 3:00 p.m.
5) Best Times to Post on Instagram
Instagram is meant for use on mobile devices, and users tend to use the network all the time, any time -- although many users engage with content more during off-work hours than during the workday.
Videos tend to perform best any night of the week between 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., according to TrackMaven's research. Some businesses have also seen success with posting at 2:00 a.m., 5:00 p.m., and Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. Experiment with these to see if they work with your audience.
What Social Media Content Should You Post?
The content you post to each of these social networks depends heavily on your audience. To successfully engage with your audience, you'll have to really get to know and understand your target audience by creating detailed buyer personas.
That being said, there are best practices for types of posts on each of these networks.
The most effective posts on social media have a clear goal, whether that's to drive traffic to your blog, encourage comments, get shared, or something else. The general rule of thumb is to keep it real and keep it relevant. On Facebook and Twitter, your posts should be roughly 30% promotional content that link back to your website or blog, and 70% value-added content that includes relevant information your target audience would find useful or interesting.
On Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, the best posts use brief but compelling language. They also avoid click-bait phrasing, such as "You'll never believe what happened next." On Instagram, your captions can be slightly longer. The official character limit on Instagram is 2,200 characters, but you'll want to cut it shorter than that to avoid losing readers along the way. Use your Instagram captions to tell a story, connect with your followers, promote an upcoming campaign, or sell a specific product pictured in your post. On all the social networks (especially Twitter and Instagram), use hashtags -- but judiciously.
Finally, visual content will perform best on every social network -- especially on Instagram and Pinterest, where it's a critical part of each post. Engage your audience with photos, graphics, animated GIFs, and videos. (Check out our crash course in visual content creation if you need a hand.)
Aching to learn more about what content to publish on each network? Here are a few helpful resources for what to post and how to post it:
- How to Craft Perfect Post on Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn [SlideShare]
- Facebook Marketing: How to Drive Demand, Create Loyal Fans, and Grow Your Business
- The Anatomy of a Successful Facebook Post
- How to Tweet on Twitter
- How to Use LinkedIn
- An Introduction to Pinterest for Business
There you have it, folks. Happy posting, tweeting, and pinning!
What days and times have proven to be the most successful for your business? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in April 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.