If you’re one of the 81% of small businesses that use social media, you’ve probably invested time and resources into building a solid social media marketing strategy and crafting creative and engaging content to share on your social networks, but what good does it do if no one sees it?
Each post or update represents an opportunity to showcase your business, solidify your relationship with your followers and most importantly, attract new customers. Every status update, tweet and post you share on social media is a chance for a potential customer to discover what you have to offer, which could lead to a site visit, and eventually a conversion.
Each post or update represents an opportunity to showcase your business
The secret to successfully getting the most views to your social media updates and increasing your business’ brand awareness is identifying the right time to post them. If you want to make the most of your posts, maximize your exposure and reach, then it pays to know the times when people are most likely to be receptive to your posts.
Look for down-time
A rule of thumb is that you want to reach your audience by posting on social networks during their down-time, that’s when they are most likely to be using social media and have the chance to interact with your content. Bear in mind however, that you want to take the profile of your target audience into consideration when choosing a time to send your updates; down-time for professionals is not the same as students or stay-at-home moms for example. Also, the right time varies across the different social platform as each one has its own optimal time.
Pick the best time of the day
While there is a lot of conflicting information regarding the best time to post, we put together some charts based on data from a variety of sources that we feel is a pretty good starting point for determining the best times to reach users.
Lets start with the time of the day when your posts are most likely to be noticed across the main social media platforms. As you can notice, each social network has its own “prime time”. So to help you be organized, we laid it out for you in a way that lets you better plan your day by scheduling when your updates should be sent out.
As the timeline above shows, you can start your day by posting on Google+ and Linkedin first thing in the morning, as they have higher usage during the morning hours. As the day progresses, you can post on Facebook and Twitter around the early to mid-afternoon. After work hours, you may want to share updates on Linkedin again. Then wrap up your day with pins on Pinterest.
The ideal days of the week to be social
Figuring out the most favorable time of the day for updating your social media accounts is good, but combining that with knowing best days of the week is even better. As with the day planner we showed you before, here is a weekly timeline that can give you some guidance in determining effective days to reach your audience:
As you can see, weekdays are the best days to post except on Pinterest. And while Instagram reaches its peak usage on Mondays. Twitter and Google+ are good pretty much throughout the whole work week. Linkedin’s optimal days are Tuesday through Thursday; while you should probably save your Facebook updates until the end of the week.
When you should absolutely avoid posting
So now you know when you should be posting, pinning or tweeting your updates/promotions for maximum impact. With that in mind, you should also know when to avoid engaging in social media marketing; so here are the absolute worst times to be posting your content on the social sphere, that’s when the least amount of people will see your content.
Nothing really surprising here, basically anything you post across the main social networks in the middle of the night will largely go unnoticed. Linkedin is the one social network that stands out since its off-peak hours are during the daytime, which makes sense since it is more geared towards professionals, meaning that the majority of its users are probably busy at work.
Review the times for each social network
So to sum it up, different networks, different times. here is an overview, broken down by social platform:
|Facebook: Thursday & Friday in the afternoon|
|With research showing that user engagement on facebook is about 18% higher on Thursdays and Friday, your posts are most likely get the most traction towards the end of the week, especially in the early to mid-afternoon. Understandably, unless you’re targeting night owls, posting between midnight and 8am is probably not the best use of your time.|
|Twitter: Monday thru Thursday from 1pm to 3pm|
|User engagement on twitter seems to be highest on weekdays Monday thru Thursday, with the optimal time being the early afternoon. And even though twitter users tend to log in several times a day, user activity tends to peak between 1pm to 3pm; that’s when your tweets stand the highest chance of getting noticed and retweeted by users; while posting anytime after 8pm will probably be ineffective since that’s when the users are least likely to be logged in.|
|Linkedin: Tuesday Thru Thursday before and after work|
|Given its nature as a business-oriented social network, user engagement on Linkedin tends to peak in the middle of the week. With the best time to get the most clicks and shares being out of office hours, be it in the early morning between 7 and 9 am or after work from 5pm to 6pm. Avoid posting during office hours (9am to 5pm) when your posts are less likely to receive views or clicks.|
|Google+: Weekdays early in the morning|
|While there is little variation in user engagement during weekdays on Google+, the typical user seems to be more of a morning person; which is your posts should get more interaction and +1’s between the hours of 9am to 11am, with usage peaking on Wednesday between 9am and 10am. However, you should forget about posting before 8am, that’s when Google+ users are least likely to be logged in.|
|Pinterest: Saturday evening|
|Did you know that Pinterest is the social network where Americans spend the most time (ahead of Twitter)? In fact, the average visit duration is about 16 minutes. So with that in mind, when it comes to pinning content, you may want to do it on Saturday and in the evening between 8pm and 11pm to increase the likelihood of your pins getting noticed.|
|Instagram: Monday between 5pm and 6pm|
|While it’s harder to to pinpoint when users are most active on Instagram, a general consensus is that the best time to post a photo is after school/work (between 5 and 6pm), especially on Monday. That’s when people get the chance to check their phones while relaxing or sitting in transit. As with the majority of other social networks, posting between midnight and 8am is to be avoided.|
The Bottom line
While the information outlined in this article should hopefully give you a better idea on when you can maximize your business’ social media reach; finding the right times that best fit you and your audience will require experimenting and testing how your content performs at different times. Depending on your business goals and your customer demographic, certain days and times may deliver better results than others.