The quality of the content you publish on social media channels matters, but so does when you post it. That may be obvious; what is less obvious is that the optimum times for publishing can change from year to year.
Sprout Social, the social media management solution, took a sample of over 30,000 customers and looked at the most productive times for engagement, broken down by social platform (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter) and industry.
The best times to engage.
There is some commonality between the four platforms studied. Across all of them, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings are the best opportunities for engagement; the worst, predictably, Sunday.
Facebook: Tuesday through Friday are the best days, Saturday the worst. At first glance, it seems odd that 3am (CST) is the best time to engage on a weekday, but it reflects Facebook’s global reach.
Instagram: Mid-morning hours are most promising, 11am to 1pm on weekdays; avoid Sunday.
LinkedIn: The same goes for LinkedIn with mid-mornings and mid-week being the way to go.
Twitter: People check their tweets first thing, so prime time on Twitter skews earlier, 9am — again on weekdays.
Times are changing.
Sprout detected some variations year-over-year. Very early mornings have overtaken mid-morning as the best times to post on Facebook, and there are more “off” times than seen in previous years. Prime time on Instagram expanded in 2021, with good opportunities in the early evening as well as the top-ranked mid-morning hours. In past years, engagement on LinkedIn had spread beyond work hours, but no longer. Engagement is heavily concentrated on the U.S. workday.
Why we care.
This data counsels against a scattershot approach to social engagement and underlines the importance of developing a thoughtful and focused social calendar. It’s more complicated, of course, for marketers seeking an international audience, although there is an indication that Facebook — at 3am CST/8am GMT is where that audience is to be found.
There’s a message for B2B here too. LinkedIn audiences are using the platform as part of their regular working day. Despite the work/life blur prompted by remote working, that’s still the best time to engage with B2B buyers.