As a small business stakeholder, you’ve likely introduced social media to your business’s digital-age marketing toolkit. Posting on social media can be a great way to market your business on a more personal level, to complement less-interactive marketing tactics such as billboards or print advertisements.
But just like any other marketing tactic, developing a strategy is key to you getting the most out of your social media marketing.
When planning your social media marketing strategy, one key question to answer is, When is the best time to post on social media?
To save you time, we’ve looked at some of the most well-regarded studies from Hootsuite, Hubspot, and Sprout Social (who also break theirs down by industry) for each social platform. We summarize the general best practices, followed by a few tips for scheduling posts based on your specific business.
Best time to post on social media by platform
Let’s take a look at the best times to post on social media for the most views and engagement.
- General best time: 11am-2pm
- General best day: Sprout Social and Hootsuite show earlier in the week Monday-Wednesday is better, while Hubspot showed Thursday-Sunday is better. (Why the discrepancy? There are variables, like type of business or industry, that can explain why the best days to post may vary from business to business.)
- Higher click-throughs noticeable around 11am-12pm and 3-4pm
- General best time: 10am-1pm
- General best day: Weekdays, particularly Wednesdays and Fridays
- General best time: 8am-10am, 11am-1pm, 5-6pm
- General best day: varies greatly, but any weekdays are generally strong
- Higher click-throughs and retweets noticeable around noon and 5pm-6pm
- General best time: during the typical work day 8am-2pm, particularly 8am-12pm
- General best day: Wednesdays came out on top, but most weekdays are strong
- As expected, weekends (particularly Sundays) don’t perform well on this workplace-oriented platform
If you’re scratching your head wondering how to tailor these suggestions to your brand, you may be asking yourself—Where do I go from here?
While these are strong general guidelines (and serve as a good starting point), the best time to post on social media is highly dependent on variables, such as industry, time zone, and whether you operate a B2B vs B2C business. After scanning the research and best practices, and then use the tips below to help you decide what’s best for your business.
How to determine the best time to post on social media for your business
Here are two tips we recommend to get started:
1) Understand Your Customers
First ask, Who are my customers? This may seem simple, but the more deeply you understand your customers, the better you can reach them. Engagement with social media is a behavioral action, heavily dependent on timing and what people are doing at that moment in time. Consider the general best days and times noted above—they reflect times that your audience is typically commuting, on a lunch break, or taking a late morning social media break after emptying the morning email inbox.
Once you understand who your customers are, put yourself in their shoes. What am I doing at 8am, at 10am, at 12pm, at 3pm? On Monday, Wednesday, Sunday? What am I doing during the week, and on weekends? Are my customers night owls, or early risers?
Time your posts to when your customers are most available to engage.
Quick Tip: your customers likely vary greatly and one helpful tip is to categorize them into different segments. Then you can target your messaging towards customer groups at the best time for each segment. We can help with that.
2) Measure your Posts
Managing and analyzing your social media posts is key to getting the most bang for your buck—and your time. Use raw data from key performance indicators (KPIs), such as views, likes, follows, comments, read time, or tracking links (that track which specific posts led to website clicks) to assess which times and days perform best.
How large your audience is and how much KPI data you can gather from post to post will determine how long you should test a certain day or time before trying something different.
For most businesses, about a month of posting may be enough time to get a sense of when is the best day or time to schedule posts. You can also try some simple A/B testing. An example of this would be a restaurant that posts their daily lunch special for at 10am for two weeks, and then at 12pm for the next two weeks. After the test, observe which time garnered the most engagement or correlated with stronger lunchtime sales, to identify the best times to post for your audience.
Whether you do longer, more in-depth analyzing, or a quick one-to-two week test, any level of measurement is going to improve your social media marketing.
Social media marketing is an investment
We hope this shines some light on the mystery of timing your social media posts. We understand that timing and measuring your posts is time consuming, especially when core operations are calling. But consider the extra care you take to develop a strategy as an investment in increasing the effectiveness of your social media marketing efforts.