You put real effort into creating awesome content for your social media accounts. So when you send that content out into the world, you naturally want to get it in front of as many eyeballs as possible. And to do that, you need to find the best times to post on social media, right?
I think so. Picking the optimal times lets you maximize the chances for your readers to both see and interact with your posts.
To help out, I’ll dig into data spanning millions of social media posts to help you find out just exactly when to post on social media. It won’t always be a firm answer, but I hope the conclusions give you some insight into how to schedule out your posts.
I’m going to dig into the real data for each social network below. But if you just want to see the end product, here are the times I came up with:
|Network||When to post|
|3 p.m. or 5 p.m. during the workweek|
|Around 12 p.m.|
|Best guess: 7 p.m.|
|No consensus – use an analytics tool|
|Post during business hours (or maybe 8 p.m.)|
As I explain how I came to those numbers, I’ll be referencing a handful of core studies. Rather than link out each time, I’ll link the studies here and summarize the results below:
I’ll also reference a few network-specific studies, which I will link to as needed.
Finding accurate data for the best times to post on social media is actually surprisingly difficult. Most of the popular posts in the Google results circularly reference each other without citing primary data. To remedy that, I’ve done my best to cut through the filler and find only primary data (that is, data which isn’t just being repeated without a source).
This involved quite a bit of headbanging as I Indiana Jones’d myself through a maze of bad citations, but I believe the accurate results are worth it.
The data below is the average result of millions of social posts across a diverse set of industries. It does not mean these are the only times you should post on social media. Nor does it mean that these times will work best for your specific situation.
Use these times as guidelines to help you run your own experiments. In the end, the only time that matters is the time which gets you the best results.
|Data source||Best time to tweet|
|TrackMaven||5 p.m. EST|
|Buffer||2 – 3 a.m.|
|Dan Zarrella||5 and 6 p.m.|
|Bit.ly||1 – 3 p.m.|
|CoSchedule||11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 9 – 10 a.m.|
Twitter is tough to get a hold of when looking into the best times to post on social media. When you filter out all the stale, repeated infographic stats and dig into the hard data, the picture is rather confusing. Let me give you an idea of what I’m looking at:
TrackMaven analyzed 17.5 social media posts spread out over 17,737 brands from Jan 1, 2016 to July 31, 2016, to find the best times to post. In their study, “best” is defined as “number of interactions per post per 1,000 followers”. They found the best time of day to Tweet was 5 p.m. EST.
On the other hand, Buffer analyzed 4.8 million Tweets and found that posting between 2 – 3 a.m. got the best results, with the least engagement happening between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (working hours). They attributed this to the fact that there are fewer Tweets going out late at night, so those that do get more engagement per Tweet.
Dan Zarrella found that posting between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. was best for both retweets and CTR.
Bit.ly’s data clashes with the other studies. They found that posting between 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. EST got the most clicks while posting after 8 p.m. “should be avoided”.
CoSchedule came to their own conclusion, recommending 11 a.m., 9 a.m. – 10 a.m., and 2 p.m.
And just to throw another wrench in things, Hootsuite analyzed 40,000 Tweets and found that 3 p.m. EST during the workweek performed best.
|Data source||Best time to post on Facebook|
|Dan Zarrella||12 p.m.|
|Bit.ly||1 p.m. – 4 p.m.|
|CoSchedule||9 a.m. – 10 a.m., 11 a.m. – 12 p.m., and 4 p.m.|
TrackMaven found that Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST got the most engagement across all of the industries that they looked at.
On the other hand, Bit.ly found that links posted between 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. EST during the workweek had the highest average clickthroughs.
Dan Zarrella’s data says that posting around 12 p.m. EST is the best time for Facebook, though 7 p.m. EST also had a noticeable spike in shares. Interestingly, he found that Saturdays were the best day to post, whereas Bit.ly recommended against sharing on weekends.
CoSchedule’s original data suggests posting between 9 a.m. – 10 a.m., 11 a.m. – 12 p.m., and 4 p.m. are all best for generating traffic from Facebook.
|Data source||Best time to post on Instagram|
|Later||5 p.m. and 2 a.m.|
|Later Survey||11 a.m. – 12 p.m. or 7 p.m. – 9 p.m|
I’ll add a new study to the mix here – Later (formerly Latergramme) analyzed 61,000 Instagram posts at the request of Huffington Post and found that Instagram posts at 5 p.m. and 2 a.m. EST got the highest number of likes and comments.
In TrackMaven’s analysis, they found that 7 p.m. on Fridays is the best time to post on Instagram.
As far as CoSchedule’s data goes, they found that 2 p.m. on Tuesdays was tops for generating traffic.
And finally, for an interesting twist, Later also surveyed social media managers and found that most of them recommended posting between 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. or 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. It’s important to remember that this is a human survey – not real performance data.
|Data source||Best time to post on Pinterest|
|Curalate and Digitas||Depends on industry|
|CoSchedule||12 p.m., 2 a.m., or 1–3 p.m.|
|Pinerly||2 p.m. – 4 p.m.|
Pinterest is another tough network to crack. That’s because the success of your pins depends highly on what topics you’re pinning about, as Pinterest’s Pin Trends illustrates. Additionally, how well you optimize your pins will play a significant role in their success.
With that being said, TrackMaven found that, overall, 1 a.m. on Fridays is the best time to post.
Curalate and Digitas broke it down by industry and found that the best times are 3 p.m. for fashion/retail, 12 p.m. for automotive, and 10 p.m. for electronics.
CoSchedule found that posting at either 12 p.m., 2 a.m., or 1–3 p.m. is the best.
And way back in 2012, Pinerly (no longer around) looked at this question and found that posting between 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. EST was best. Again, take this data with a grain of salt because of its age.
|Data source||Best time to post on LinkedIn|
|White Hat Media||7 p.m. – 10 p.m.|
|CoSchedule||8 a.m. – 9 a.m. or at 4 p.m. or 6 p.m.|
According to LinkedIn themselves, most people are active on LinkedIn during business hours. So it makes sense that you’ll get the most engagement during business hours.
TrackMaven’s data jives with that observation – they found that 9 a.m. EST on Wednesday is the best time to post.
CoSchedule also recommends posting between 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. or at 4 p.m. or 6 p.m.
Despite that, White Hat Media found that posting between 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. got the best engagement for their clients. Similarly, LinkedIn’s own Business Blog says that sometimes posting outside of work hours can be a good strategy.
Okay, so I hit you with all of the best times to post on social media. But are you supposed to just sit around waiting at your computer so that you can post at the right time? Heck no, you want to have a life, right?
Thankfully, there are some tools which can help you schedule out your social media posts in advance so that you can get the benefits of posting at the optimal time without the need to actually be staring at your computer screen.
Here are a few good options:
Perhaps the best takeaway from this post is that there isn’t one set of best times to post on social media that applies to all scenarios. While analyzing millions of posts can provide you with a rough guideline, it’s no excuse for doing the work yourself.
So – try following the data. But if you aren’t getting the results you want, strike out on your own. Remember – the best times to post on social media are the times that work for your specific audience.