Hands up if you’ve found the perfect infographic to post on social media, only for it to be completely ignored by your followers?
If the thought makes you cringe, we’re here to help you get over it.
Unless your photos and captions are awful – and let’s face it, you’re probably not that kind of social media user – chances are you just got unlucky with the timing.
As a business owner or a brand, knowing the best times to post content online is both an art and a science. It isn’t something to be underestimated.
We’ve got the most up-to-date posting times for 2021, so read on.
How has COVID-19 affected posting times?
The events of 2020 changed a lot of things, including the best times to post on social media.
With most of the world advised to stay home, the existing data on posting times suddenly became meaningless.
To get social media marketing right in 2021, you’ll need to adapt to some new user habits.
You should remember that:
Lots of people don’t commute anymore
In many countries, offices were closed last year and public transportation was deemed unsafe.
Many people who used their journey times to idly scroll through social media were now, well, probably having an extra half hour of sleep.
It’s estimated that double the number of office workers will be working remotely post-pandemic. So, if your social media campaigns relied on engagement from weekday early morning posts, it’s time to think things over.
Social media is a more welcome distraction
Although the idea of a digital detox sounds appealing to many, we all turned to social media a lot more in the last year.
With nowhere to travel to and limits on how often we could see friends, screen time increased in 2020.
Plus, with more people working from home, where coworkers can’t see how often you’re checking your Instagram feeds, overall engagement on social networks has skyrocketed.
Everyone wants to feel good
Phew, last year was exhausting. Even though we weren’t going anywhere, there was a lot going on.
If you run a business, expect to be more accountable for what and when you post on social media. In terms of content, users want to see relatability, which extends to posting times.
Brands should be thinking about what their audience wants to see in correlation with global events. As well as tracking algorithms, you should stay aware of the news, too.
What about time zones?
Before you get your hands on our cheat sheet for each big social network, let’s cross the time zone topic off the list.
Depending on how global your audience is, you’ll need to consider which time zone you should focus on when it comes to posting content.
Not that you have to pick just one: plenty of brands and influencers will post the same message a few times per day. That way, they align with each time zone relevant to their following.
Say you have customers in both Australia and the United States, phasing out your content works a treat. Otherwise, pick the time zone best suited for your target audience.
And if you’re targeting a large country like the US or Brazil, with multiple time zones, opt for the one that covers the most people.
If you live in a different time zone from your main target audience, it’s not a bad idea to try scheduling posts.
Best time to post on Instagram
Let’s get into it, starting with everyone’s favorite app to waste time on.
With over 1 billion active monthly users, almost every business has an audience on Instagram. But if you want your brand’s name to be noticed, you have to find the best time to post.
Fine-tuning your Instagram posting schedule will help you to take advantage of some wildly impressive user stats, like these:
- Over 500 million Instagram accounts view or use the Stories function every day.
- Plus, a staggering 800 million users follow business profiles on Instagram.
- Daily Instagram user engagement increased 14% last year, to an average of 30 minutes.
But that doesn’t mean you can just post and go. Far from it: Instagram uses an algorithm to show people the most recent posts.
Plus, these posts aren’t arranged in chronological order on an Instagram user’s feed.
With such a heavy focus on new content, you’ll need to make sure you’re capitalizing on the best times to post for your followers. In general, the best times to post on Instagram:
- Monday, Tuesday, and Friday at 10 – 11 a.m., prime coffee break time.
- Tuesday at 2 p.m., to take advantage of that post-lunch slump.
- Between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. during the weekend. What else is there to do right now anyway?
The best times to post on Instagram have definitely evolved in the last year. Data indicates that the shift in people’s work hours has something to do with it.
Wednesday used to be the ultimate best day to post, while the weekend was a total washout.
Plus, a brand can no longer rely on engagement with their Instagram posts beyond office work hours. Turns out, scrolling your Instagram account isn’t a priority after 6 o’clock at night.
Best time to post on Facebook
You might think that with so many people using Instagram, why post on Facebook?
For starters, Facebook currently boasts around 2.7 billion active monthly users – dwarfing the Instagram population.
Basically, if you run a business, you’ll usually find customers here. Although Facebook is turning 17 years old this year, here’s why you should still post on the site:
- As the world’s biggest social media platform, over 1.7 billion people use Facebook daily.
- Facebook is regularly used by over 6 million marketers from B2C and B2B brands.
- 78% of users access Facebook exclusively through their mobile phone.
Facebook uses a number of factors to determine which posts people see on their News Feeds. Just like every post on Instagram, it’s not about chronological order.
Content is ranked based on how users interact with friends, followers, and pages. It’s even influenced by which device people are using.
If you want to make an impression, here are the best times to post on Facebook:
- Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10 – 11 a.m. People love a mid-morning browse.
- Just about every day of the week at 11 a.m., except for weekends.
- Wednesday at 1 p.m. for some prime lunchtime content.
The good news is that best posting times on Facebook haven’t shifted that much since Covid-19 struck. Data always pointed towards Wednesday being the best day to post overall.
However, although Instagram is now seeing a boost to engagement at the weekends, it’s still better to post on Facebook between Monday to Friday.
Make sure you post consistently to keep your business visible on News Feeds.
Best time to post on Twitter
Twitter can be a great social media channel for brands when used in the right way. For example, we love how fast-food chain Wendy’s interacts with its followers on the site.
If you’re keen to drop the corporate facade and get personal on Twitter, you’re not alone.
It’s one of the most used social media platforms in the world – in the US, one in five adults uses Twitter. Here’s some more data that might encourage you to post:
- According to Twitter, 80% of their users are what’s considered ‘affluent Millennials’.
- Users spend 26% more time viewing ads here than on other social networks.
- 83% of Twitter users would recommend a brand they’d had a positive interaction with.
Nowadays, it’s almost second nature for customers to take to Twitter with their complaints – or praise – and expect a swift response.
But Twitter isn’t just for customer service. You could post an article, product update, or even a clever ad campaign and likely guarantee engagement.
If you want your audience to see you, here’s the single best time to post on Twitter:
- Friday at 7 – 9 a.m., basically before everyone heads over to Instagram and Facebook.
Twitter has always been the platform for early birds. Before the pandemic, Wednesday morning was one of the best times to tweet to the masses.
While Instagram prioritizes new posts, Twitter gives users the option to view their feeds in order of either Top Tweets or Latest Tweets.
So, if your brand is able to consistently post on Twitter with engaging content, those posts have a greater chance of remaining visible for longer.
Best time to post on LinkedIn
Boasting over 300 million monthly active users, LinkedIn is the go-to social media site for professional networking.
And people definitely needed LinkedIn in 2020. Many countries had a spike in unemployment – redundancies reached a record high in the UK, for example.
With a slightly more specific audience than platforms like Instagram, here’s the data dive:
- LinkedIn is the place for B2B business, with 94% of B2B marketers using this platform.
- In fact, B2B brands say that 80% of their leads come from LinkedIn.
- 9 billion content impressions are created on LinkedIn – that’s a lot of content.
Because of this B2B potential, LinkedIn offers ways to market your business that other social media platforms can’t compete with.
This is the place where you can introduce your team, and share content more specific to the day-to-day running of your company. And the best part is that people are bound to be interested, too.
So when’s the best time to post on LinkedIn? You have a few options:
- Wednesday at 3 p.m. for some midweek engagement.
- Thursday between 9 – 10 a.m. to recap on the week’s events.
- Friday from 11 a.m. to midday – the best time to post before the weekend.
The good news is that the times haven’t changed much in the last year. Wednesday has always been one of the best days to post on LinkedIn, although Thursday afternoon used to be popular, too.
Although most people do business from Monday to Friday, it seems like the best days for engagement are towards the end of the week.
Like Twitter, your LinkedIn followers can view content by either Top or Recent posts. Since top posts are shown on default, knowing the best times to post can heavily influence how many people your content can get a hold of.
How to find the best time to post for your business
Social media is an incredible marketing tool if you want to make a name for yourself. But you don’t have to fire out posts every day on every platform to be successful.
We’ve told you the generic best times to post on social media, so how do you pick the best times for your brand?
For an easy starting point, let’s run through a few considerations you should make to get your social media engagement flourishing.
1. Understand your target demographic
Should you post on Facebook if you run a consulting agency? Is there any reason to post on LinkedIn if your content comes from TikTok?
There’s little point in knowing the best times to post on social media if you aren’t getting engagement from your target customers.
Get to know your audience and you’ll know which social media site they love the most:
- Survey existing customers or followers to understand their habits and interests. Add a pop-up questionnaire to your website, or use customer data to gain insights.
- Use data analytics on sites like Instagram and Facebook to track user demographics. You can find out things like location, age, gender, and shared interests.
- Follow your competitors on social media to see how their audience engages with them. When do they consider the best time to post their content?
2. Focus on one or two platforms
It’s very likely that your audience will have a few social media accounts. They might post on Instagram for fun, browse LinkedIn for work, and post on Twitter with complaints.
But your company doesn’t have to strive for engagement everywhere your audience is.
Even if you have a big team, or a great social media management platform, constant content on several sites is kind of overkill. Figure out:
- How you can guarantee engagement at different times. Opt for an early posting time on Twitter with later, more visual content over on Instagram, for example.
- Which platforms work best for your brand. If it’s highly visual, perhaps you should post on Instagram more frequently. Love an article? Maybe LinkedIn is your focus.
- Where your audience spends the most time. Use those data insights and spend more time on their favorite sites.
3. Set up a posting schedule, and stick to it
Now that you know the best time to post on each channel, you’re basically a social media expert. All you need to do now is create a schedule.
Dreaming up new posts every day will get pretty tiresome. A schedule can save so much time, so put your pens and paper away.
There are loads of great social media management tools that can help you do things like:
- Set out everything you plan to post on social media. You can use what you know about the best day or best time for each channel, and plot it in the schedule.
- Provide data on which posts performed well and at what times. You can learn whether the recommended times to post are in line with your engagement levels.
- Curate content for you. You might always know the best day to post on Instagram, but do you always know what to post? These tools can do the heavy lifting.
4. Keep testing and tweaking
Although there are certain best times or best days to post on social media, the reality is that these things vary.
The data for top engagement is pretty generalized – the best approach is to trial different times.
Spend a few weeks alternating post schedules, and you should be able to figure out which times work best for your business. Here are some suggestions:
- Play with time zones. If you post on Facebook at the recommended best time of 1 p.m. on a Wednesday, do you get low engagement? Check out your user data and try some location-based tweaks. It could be that most of your audience isn’t awake yet.
- Break the rules. Sure, the best time to post on Twitter is Friday. But what if you push content on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for a week? If you don’t get engagement at the best time to post, maybe it’s just not the best time for your brand.
- Post every day. One of the most simple ways to collate data is to post daily for a few weeks and identify the best day for your engagement. Posting consistently is good practice anyway, but this should help you identify peak times on your channels.
5. Adapt and learn
The best time to post right now isn’t necessarily going to be the best time to post in the future.
We already know that engagement across all major social networks shifted last year. And people’s habits, lifestyles, and working days are still adapting.
So make sure that your business is ready to adapt as well.
It could be an almost insignificant change – the best time to post on Facebook might move from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on a Wednesday. Who knows.
Chances are that if you’re running marketing campaigns on social media, you need to be totally aware of engagement across your channels. Just be ready to evolve.
Top tips for when you post on social media
Regardless of whether Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are your most important posting times on Twitter, you need great content.
Finding the best time to post is only part of the process for getting your name out there.
We’ve written a lot about how to use social media to your advantage. Once you know when to post on Instagram, you can learn how to sell on Instagram, for example.
So what are the key considerations when it comes to knowing how, when, and why to post on social media?
Read the room
We all love a social media faux pas unless we’re the ones making the mistake. Nothing quite damages a brand’s name like a controversial post on Facebook or Twitter.
Even if you’ve scheduled content to drop on the best day for engagement, bear in mind:
These days, most social media sites use hashtags as a way of helping users find related content.
While they can be useful, hashtags can also be controversial – or just pointless.
First of all, make sure that at the times you’re planning to post, your chosen hashtags are still relevant to your content. Their meanings can often change.
Also, check that they’re not overused. If your hashtag pulls up a million Instagram posts, your content will quickly get lost – go for tags with tens of thousands of results instead.
If we have learned anything from the events of 2020, it’s that things change rapidly.
Social media management tools are incredible, but it pays to keep your finger on the pulse.
Although Tuesday at 2 p.m. is usually the best time to post on Instagram, you could look a little insensitive if your content is at odds with what’s happening in the world.
Stay close to your schedule and decide whether your post is necessary that day. Engagement is not always a positive thing – and there will be other best times.
Know your limits
We’re talking about the overall number of your posts. Yes, there’s usually more than one best time to post, but that doesn’t mean you should do it constantly.
Avoid getting a name for yourself as an account to avoid, and consider this:
It’s not all about ads
Sometimes it feels like every post on Instagram is sponsored. That approach can quickly get very boring for your followers.
While you’re figuring out the best time to post on each platform, try varying the content, too.
Schedule days for posting inspirational imagery, days for ads, and days for user-generated content. Track the times against engagement levels and then flip the schedule round.
Your data might just tell you that 1 p.m. on a Thursday is the best time to post memes. Firing out different content at different times is an easy way to keep things interesting.
Three posts per day is enough
Seriously, everyone will agree that it’s annoying when you see just one brand’s name plastered all over your news feed.
Keep a limit on how many times you post on social media. We recommend posting every day, but stick to three times per platform, max.
You can be smart with it. If your data says the best time to post on Instagram is 11 a.m., and the best time to post on LinkedIn is 4 p.m. that same day, go for both.
Just consider how much exposure your audience needs to get from you on a daily basis. And if you really can’t stay away, Instagram Stories will be your best friend.