Posting Times on Social Media are Personal
We get asked a lot when the best time is to post on social media. Our answer is always the same – it depends. Like all things in social media, there isn’t a one size fits all approach. The best time to post depends on the platform, your audience, the type of content you're posting, and most importantly, it depends on the data.
Because social media is so accessible, it can be easy to jump on and start posting. But if you really want to make an impact with your digital marketing, there are a lot of things to consider. Just like you’d research demographics, interests, and data before deciding where to run a TV commercial, the same should be done for social media content. However, the benefit here is the cost of entry is much more affordable, which provides a great opportunity for you to test and learn. Start by considering the tips below, and then continue to optimize until you’re engaging the right audience at the right time.
Here are four things to consider about social media posting times:
1. Consider Audience Behaviors
Any good marketing plan should include target audience research and a user journey. Start by identifying three to four people you are trying to reach and then list out everything you know about them. Some good questions to answer are how old are they, what do they read, what platforms do they use, what inspires them, and where do they hang out. Next we recommend creating a user journey for each target audience. Take a piece of paper and map out how they spend their day from the first alarm to getting into bed at night. This helps you determine when your audience is actually on their social media platforms. For example, if you are trying to reach teachers who are in the classroom all day, posting content after school hours makes most sense.
2. Understand the Platform Algorithms
Algorithms have made posting times on platforms like Facebook and Instagram much more complicated. Content that used to be served to your audience in chronological order is now going through an algorithm and oftentimes causes delays. This is important to consider for date-specific or event-based content. There is a good chance that content you post about an event happening tonight could appear in a user’s feed tomorrow. (This is a good opportunity to use Stories, more on that another day.) That being said, content that receives high engagement will be optimized in a user’s feed so posting when you know your audience is online can help beat the algorithm. Platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn offer users more options to pick how they view content, so the algorithm doesn’t come into play as much here. However, both of these platforms show user’s content their connections have engaged with, so posting when people are most active can help with the reach of content.
3. Evaluate the Data
For business social media accounts, the platforms will provide you with data around when your audience is online and when they are engaging. Click into the insights and spend some time getting to know your existing audience. These are the people who already follow you and engage with your content. You can learn what cities they live in, when they are most active online, what their interests are and so much more. If you start doing ads, you’ll be even to see even more important data. We are big believers in using the data to optimize content and strategy. If something isn’t working, don’t force it. Social media allows us to be nimble and change directions when needed.
4. Pick What Times Your Ad Runs
This goes back to point one, the user journey. Facebook and Instagram ads have a great feature that allows you to turn ads on and off based on time of day. This feature makes sure you are targeting the right audience during a time they are actually on social media. This can be used a lot of different ways. For example, if you are running ads targeted at people who have insomnia, it could be strategic to run these ads at night when they can’t sleep and are scrolling through their phones. Not only are you reaching the right audience, but you’re providing them value in the moment they need it most.
Next time you’re wondering when is the best time to post, these are a few places to start. If you have questions or want help setting up your target audience, send us a note.