What Time Works for You? Social Media Posting Guidelines
While we all know there is no such thing as a one size fits all approach to social media, there is now a lot of data available that can help us determine what, when and where to post different types of content. For now let’s focus on when, as the time you chose to post directly influences who will see your content. Below, we’ve shared some guidelines to posting on you blog, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.
A note regarding timing suggestions below: All suggestions are based on EST. Although 80 percent of the population is located in the eastern and central time zones, we advise using Google Analytics to locate where a majority of your audience is located to identify the best posting time for you. And yes, this is our version of a disclaimer.
Blogging is a tricky business; it’s harder to gain visibility for longer-form content in the age of short attention spans. However, as is the case with every social platform, posting can be a calculated science.
- Audience: According to data gathered by KISSmetrics, most blogs see the largest amount of traffic at 11 a.m.
- Engagement: TrackMaven reported engagement is highest on the weekends and during “leisure hours” later at night. This same study found that during work hours, competition for eyeballs is high as brands and news blogs are pushing out a majority of their content during the day.
- A note about posting frequency: The math is simple here: the more posts per day you are producing, the higher your unique monthly views are. We know that creating more than one new piece of content per day is difficult, but with a systematic approach to content marketing, the payoffs can be more than worth it.
Research on Facebook’s optimal post timing is more concrete. Engagement is the highest towards the end of the workweek. Thursday and Friday engagement is at about 18 percent, up from about 15 percent through the rest of the week.
- Audience: A study done by KISSmetrics states Facebook sees its largest audience at noon and again at 7 p.m.
- Engagement: The best times to post is before work, during the morning commute between 6 and 8 a.m., and again later in the afternoon between 2 and 5 p.m. (it’s ok to admit you check Facebook then as well). Posting towards the end of the week also encourages consumers to interact with your posts on weekends, when engagement is 32 percent higher.
Don’t underestimate the power of morning people; they may not be fully awake, but they are sharing on social media. Google+ is another network where early-in-the-workday posts do best. Like with Twitter, individual brands can use analytics to see what posting times resonate with their audience – a good resource for this is Timing+.
- Audience: Google+ sees the largest audience between 10 and 11 a.m. according to data compiled by Fannit.
- Engagement: As a general guideline, posting between 9 and 11 a.m. while avoiding posts after 6 p.m. will garner the most engagement. Peak time for click-throughs and shares is Wednesdays at 9 a.m.
It’s not just about kids: Be mindful that Google+’s fastest-growing demographic is adults between the ages of 45-54 and adjust your content accordingly.
LinkedIn is a strictly weekday social network. While we might all be guilty of occasionally checking over the weekend, that is probably a good thing.
- Audience: LinkedIn’s audience is engaged periodically throughout the day, however the largest audience is reachable during lunch hours, 12-1 p.m. and at the end of the workday, 5-6 p.m.
- Engagement: According to research from SurePayroll, optimal LinkedIn posting times are before the workday begins and right after it ends, with peak days being Tuesday and Thursday. Beware though, Entrepreneur reported that between the hours of 9 and 5 p.m., LinkedIn is an engagement “dead zone.”
- Keep in mind: LinkedIn sends 4 times as much traffic to your business’ website as Facebook and Twitter, so make sure to be consistent about publishing content.
Twitter has a fast and high volume feed, so picking your time carefully is crucial. Research pertaining to the optimal time for brands to post on Twitter varies; some studies state that brands get more engagement on weekdays while others say you should be more of a weekend person, so it’s important to experiment with posting times to see what resonates best with your specific audience. However, there are some guidelines to follow:
- Audience: Twitter sees the largest audience between 1 and 3 p.m., but here is where knowing your audience becomes increasingly important. For example, a financial organization will be trying to reach a completely different audience, with different schedules, than a company selling university services.
- Engagement: Retweets are highest around 5 p.m.; click-through rates are highest around noon and 6 p.m. Avoid posting content after 8 p.m. every day except Friday, when you should avoid posting after 3 p.m.
- Mobile Matters: According to Twitter, 60 percent of its 200 million active users are on mobile. The same study from Twitter states that mobile users are also more highly engaged with brands.
As you can see, finding the best times to post content will require a bit of trial and error. Continue to tweak posting times until you find what works best. And remember there are a multitude of resources that provide analytics on what posts are getting the best engagement including HootSuite and Google Analytics. Now it’s time to get your message out – post away!