If you’ve ever seen a romantic movie, you know that being in the right place at the right time can result in true magic. Imagine if Harry had never met Sally, Bridget Jones had never gone to that New Year’s Eve party, or if Jack and Rose had never stepped aboard that ship? Okay, that last one might not have been the best example, but you get the idea. The art of perfect timing is something that both screenwriters and social media marketers around the world have been trying to master for ages.
As a social media marketer, you always want to make sure that your timing is right, and that your content isn’t being sent into a deep, dark abyss when you miss the mark. The equation is simple: more audience members and viewers equals more opportunities for engagement and meaningful connections—all of which benefit your business.
With this in mind, you have probably done tons of research trying to figure out when the best time to post on social media is. Spoiler alert: There is no one, definitive answer. But there are numerous resources to guide you towards finding the best time for you and your purposes. To help you out, we’ve put together the following guide—no serendipity required.
The best time to post on Twitter
As a constant stream of information, getting your timing right on Twitter can seem like a fine art. With the half-life of a Tweet being 24 minutes—four times shorter than a Facebook post—your window of opportunity is tight. As Wiselytics explains, “For Facebook, a post reaches 75 percent of its potential engagement in five hours. A median Tweet reaches this 75 percent mark in less than three hours.”
This short timeframe means that the Tweets you do send out get in front of as many eyeballs as possible. How do you do this? Our previous post, 3 Tips On How To Find the Best Time to Tweet, gives some advice for finding the optimal time for your Twitter activity:
- Location matters—”One useful strategy is to create a Twitter handle for each region, use a social media management tool to manage and monitor all of them in one place, and then create social media reports to track when you get the most engagement for each Twitter handle.
- Use the right tool—There are numerous tools out there to help you find the best time to Tweet, such as Audiense (previously SocialBro) and Hootsuite’s AutoSchedule which “chooses a time based on when your Tweets have performed the best.
- Make sure you engage on social media—”Knowing when the best time to tweet from your company’s Twitter handle starts with social media engagement.”
We’ve gathered data from a variety of sources so that you can use these tips as a starting point, rather than a blind trial and error. Here are the best times to Tweet, according to data gathered from a variety of organizations:
- The Huffington Post: “For maximum retweets, post at 5 p.m., 12 p.m., and 6 p.m. Additionally, 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. also deliver higher click-through rates. The best days to Tweet for business-to-business organizations is Monday through Friday, for business-to-consumer it’s the weekends and Wednesdays.”
- Hubspot: Between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. from Monday to Friday, and between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Wednesdays.
- Kissmetrics: Weekdays at 5 p.m., where the highest percentage of Retweets occur.
So while there are some overlaps, there is no one definitive answer to this question. But this information is a great place to start with your own strategic trial and error efforts. Start Tweeting at the above times, and pay attention to when your audience engages the most. This is the only way to find out when the best time to post to Twitter is—at least for your own business.
The best time to post to Facebook
As Facebook is often a smorgasbord of personal connections and brand interactions, it’s an interesting one to try and navigate from a timing point of view. Throw in Facebook’s algorithm, and this might feel like a more difficult task than it truly is. A whopping 75 percent of your Facebook post’s engagement will happen within the first five hours, which means that while it’s not a huge amount of time, you have more leverage than with a Tweet. But as Post Planner explains, your Facebook post “impressions hit their climax much sooner than engagement.” A full 75 percent of your post’s lifetime impressions are reached after just two and a half hours.
To make the most of this time, you want to ensure you’re paying attention to when your audience is most active. Just like Twitter, the best time to post on Facebook will obviously depend on your business. But here are some recommendations to get you started:
- Quick Sprout: Thursdays and Fridays, either at 1 p.m. for the most shares, or 3 p.m. for the most clicks. As explained, “The less people want to be at work, the more they are on Facebook!”
- Optimizely: Mondays through Thursdays between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- Microsoft: Thursdays and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
- Hubspot: Thursdays and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
While there are some differences, there’s the consistent finding that Thursdays and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. are a good place to start when trying to find the best time to post to Facebook.
The best time to post on Instagram
Although its name originally suggested that you should be posting to Instagram, well, instantly, that simply isn’t the case these days. As Likes are the main measurement approach to Instagram posts, you might feel as if there is more pressure to get timing right with your content here. I can confess that I’m definitely somebody who has delayed putting up a picture because I felt it wasn’t during a ‘peak time’ and would get less Likes. (This way of thinking is broken down in a hilariously accurate Man Repeller post The Instagram Post-Time Debate, which I highly recommend reading.)
Think about a day in the life of your audience, and try to strategically post according to this. What time are people waking up and doing their first-thing-in-the-morning-Insta-scroll? Do they work full-time? Where do they live? Consider your audience’s down time such as between meetings, commuting, lunch, and before bed. All of these are things to think about when trying to match post time with your audience’s use time.
In addition to considering these factors, test out some of the following recommended times:
- Hubspot: Anytime from Monday to Thursday except from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- Latergramme: Wednesday at 5 p.m.
- Weekdays between 6 a.m. and 12 p.m.
As Mavrck explained, “While posting volume is relatively low during those morning hours, users are still peeking at their feeds regularly on their smartphones. Therefore, they represent a sizable audience during a time when there’s less competition for attention.”
Just like there is no crystal ball to tell you where you’ll meet your true love, there is no magic formula to tell you when the best time to post on social media is. Depending on your audience, goals, industry, and overall plan, you will need to discover when your own timing is right.