Timing matters. It matters if you’re a surgeon, it matters if you’re a migrating bird, and it matters if you are marketing on social media.
Get the timing wrong and the surgeon kills the patient, the birdie gets left behind in cold weather and freeze its tail-feathers off, and you post your great stuff on social media but next to no one ever sees it!
Get your timing right on social media, and you can rock in terms of shares, likes, attention and traffic the way you want to rock.
That’s why you need to know the best times to post on social media.
Going “Viral” Starts with Timing
Let’s start with something everyone dreams about even more than having six-pack abs and supermodel girlfriends: to have something go viral on the Internet.
Ask a lot of marketers, and a lot of them would tell you that the elite few who had something “go viral” on the Internet were “lucky.”
And they’d be partly right. Because it does take some luck.
But luck has a way of showing up far more often for people who learn what they need to know, and do the work they need to do, to invite it in.
So in addition to having what is usually some kick-butt content, those who have had anything go viral almost nearly all started by...
You guessed it (I hope), posting it at the right time on social media.
Sad for Them, Good for YOU!
Sadly, most people who work hard on creating great content -- and as part of their content marketing post to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and all the rest with dreams of viral, or at least significant, traffic – will never know just how important social media timing is.
Or they’ll know but ignore the importance of timing, hoping their content becomes and exception to the rule.
And their content will join the 99.999% of other content that is never really seen and acted upon by anyone, except maybe their mother.
Sad for them. Not sad for you.
Because if you follow the marketing tactic of posting your great content at the right times on social media, you’ll have a big advantage most of those sad saps don’t have.
Two Important Social Media Posting Notes
Before we get to the juicy stuff, a few important notes you may be tempted to skim over but shouldn’t.
Important Note 1: Why the Best Times to Post are the Best Times.
Why are these times below the best times to post on social media?
Because they are.
Sorry, couldn’t resist being cocky.
The reason these are the best times on each of the social media platforms is because:
Important Note 2: Keep Location in Mind
Your location, and the location(s) you are targeting, obviously matter here.
For example, as you’ll see, during most weekdays, the best time in general to post on Facebook is between 12pm and 3pm.
This means between 12pm and 3pm in the time zone of whatever region of the country and world you are targeting.
If, for example, you are in Chicago and it’s 2pm on a Monday, you’re going to hit the Pacific, Mountain, Central and Eastern USA time zones at prime Facebook time, and that’s good.
But if you’d rather have European traffic, for example, you’re hitting them in the evening. Not as good.
You get the idea here.
Know your time zones, know the regions you most want to target, and post accordingly.
Important Note 3: Fine Tune Accordingly
Interestingly, at least to marketing geeks like me, different types of content – different industries, different topics -- can have different best times to post on social media than the general times below.
For example, for some reason posts on how to get over a hangover fast are very popular on Sunday mornings (wink). And so are posts on “what to do if the condom broke” (double wink). And “best places to bury the body” (triple wink).
What I’d strongly suggest, therefore, is that regardless of your industry or type of content, you start by posting at the prime general times for the social media noted below, and then test test test.
Gauge the average response over several posts, for example, at 1pm. Then try 2pm for several more posts. Noon for several more posts. 11 am, 3pm, and so forth.
Testing is the only way to really find your sweet spots, anyway, but the general prime times below are the smartest places to start (unless you are in the business of posting hangover cures, which may universally be Sunday mornings.)
Alright, enough of the Important Notes that you probably didn’t pay attention to but should have.
Here are some of the top social networking websites and the best times to post on each of them.
Best Times to Post on Facebook:
With membership of over a billion users, or like 1/7th of the friggin world, Facebook is the monster of all social media monsters. And growing.
On the one hand, that means even in what seems like the darkest, loneliest of times, millions of people from somewhere are always on Facebook.
On the other hand, that means millions from somewhere are always posting on Facebook, including competitors within your niche (unless your niche is microscopic, such as “The Stacy Q Fan Club of Boise, Idaho.”)
And timing definitely matters on Facebook, don’t get me wrong, but it will likely increasingly matter a little less, and then a little less more… because Facebook has (and will have) algorithms in place that prioritize content for users based on their interests / previous behavior, versus just presenting content in chronological order of posting.
That said, timing can still give you a significant advantage.
So here’s the best times to post on Facebook to give yourself some significant edge:
Best Times to Post on Twitter:
While a Facebook post reaches 75% of its engagement potential in five hours, a Twitter tweet does that within 3 hours. A tweet’s potential twitters out fast, in other words.
And while Facebook and Instagram, for example, use algorithms that (somewhat) reduce the importance of timing because it generates content to users based more on their content preferences, Twitter presents content posted in a straight chronological order.
What this means is that if you want your tweet to catch attention, it needs to be good, of course, and you can help your cause tremendously by posting at “prime tweet times,” or PTT as no one calls it.
The best time in general to post on Twitter is between 1:30pm 2:30pm on Mondays to Fridays. 5pm is also good.
And again, that means 1:30pm to 2:30pm, and 5pm, in the time zone you most want to hit.
The most tweets occur between noon and 1pm in a given time zone on weekdays, but so many tweets are usually occurring at that time that competition is stiff.
And sure, if you suffer insomnia, you could post between 3am and 4am, which is the time that the fewest tweets are typically occurring.
But 3am to 4am is also the time in any given time zone that the fewest people are paying any attention to tweets. Because they’re sleeping, or lying in bed wishing their spouse would stop snoring so they could get back to sleep.
The prime time to tweet is generally 1:30pm to 2:30pm because the other tweeters have died down in their tweeting, but still a very large volume of people are on and paying attention.
However, speaking of paying attention, note this…
If you tweet a lot, or intend to, the smartest steps you can take is to first get an app that analyzes the best tweet times for you, based on your data.
Tweriod is a great – and free – tool for you. It analyzes up to 1000 of your Twitter followers and lets you know the best time to tweet based on their habits.
Then get an app that makes it easy for you to schedule your tweets at the best times, such as Buffer.
And HEY, YO! If you’re really serious about rocking on Facebook and/or Twitter, then consider a social analytics and auto-scheduling tool such as Hootsuite Analytics.
For under ten bucks a month for most individuals and businesses, Hootsuite gives you some seriously useful insights and tools. Hoot hoot.
Best Times to Post on Pinterest:
Pinterest can be a butt kickin’ social media platform for you and here in short is why:
Relative to the other major social media platforms here in 2017, businesses have not quite dominated it (taken it over, watered it down) yet.
And it has a large and very dedicated following, who are predominantly women.
Post for post, if you have a pretty good idea of what you are doing, your time and energy spent on Pinterest can go further than time spent on Facebook or Twitter… especially if women in their 20s to 50s are your prime market.
So the first big recommendation for pinning on Pinterest – post a lot if you have the content to do so.
Make sure the posts are catchy and lead to good quality content, of course, but the “ideal” would be to post between 5 and 30 posts a day if you can.
And if you can, it’s best to spread them out in terms of timing.
If you only have a limited amount of material to pin on Pinterest, though, or for the best times to post your best content…
Here’s what you need to remember: Pinterest is an especially “leisure time / break time / down time” type social media, where people – particularly women – wander through interesting graphic material focused on topics like fashion, fitness, food, inspiration, crafts, and funny stuff to plan, daydream about, share with others.
The best times to pin correlates with the common sense times that they’d be taking such “daydream breaks,” such as on Saturdays… and the “slow down times” at work, which are generally 2pm to 4pm when people get sick of working… and after the kids have FINALLY gone to sleep on weekdays, 8pm to 11pm.
Hit them with worthwhile pins at those times and you can expect good things.
Best Times to Post on Instagram:
First a reminder: just as eggs are crucial for making soft and delicious cakes (a metaphor I am using because for some reason I crave chocolate cake), good hashtags are important for posts that get attention on Instagram.
#besttimestopostonInstagram, for example. Or #chocolatecakerecipe, for that matter.
That’s because the Instagram addicts overwhelmingly use hashtags in their search for whatever specific thing they want to find.
So because Instagram users search hashtags so much, versus watching what’s new and coming through, and because of newer algorithms Instagram has in place, timing tends to be somewhat less important on Instagram than on some other social media sites.
But that doesn’t mean it is un-important.
You’ll still want to post at the best times because results are still showing it gives you higher chances of gaining the audience attention you crave.
So what are the best times to post on Instagram?
Weekends tend to pull less Instagram attention, especially Sunday, likely because Instagrammers tend to be younger and hanging with friends and generally doing stuff on weekends.
Again, the second-most important recommendation I can give you (the first is to have really good content) in regards to the best times to post on social media here in 2017 is to test, test, test.
Start with the general prime-time guidelines on the best times for each social media site above, and work outwards from there.
Most businesses in most industries will find these best times to be pretty accurate (unless the social media sites change their algorithms), but there are certainly some industry / content niches that may show dramatically different results.
For example, if you’re in the business of selling something that helps people sleep, I’ll bet your content’s prime time on social media will be from 11pm to 3am.
And speaking of sleep, I’ve gotta get some.
So #1 – Be sure to subscribe to the free Buster Guru newsletter, for powerful and proven marketing insights you can really use in your business, presented in a fun way.
And #2 – SHARE your thoughts below. What are the best times you’ve seen for posting to social media?