Social media is one of the best ways to quickly drive traffic to your website, grow your brand identity and highlight the unique content you're creating. So you're probably wondering, “what are the best times to post on each social channel?”
Unfortunately, there's no one right answer. People use each channel differently, for example, Twitter sees a surge in tweet performance at hours like 3 p.m. during the work day, while the popular channel Instagram sees that certain types of posts perform well as late as 2 a.m.
Of course, these aren't the only (or best) times for everyone on these platforms. Good timing depends on a number of factors like, which platform you're using, regions and time zones you're targeting as well as your marketing goals (for example, content shares versus click throughs).
Luckily, there have been plenty of studies done that can help you to determine the best times to post on the various social channels.
Using this general information along with your business specific information via Google Analytics, you can strategically time, and automate your social media posts for maximum impact. Let's look at some general information on the various social networks.
Let Start With Some Basic Information...
Did you know that 50% of the United States population is located in the Eastern Time Zone? If you add the Central Time Zone that number rises to 80%!
So as a start, targeting your social posts based on EST and CST gives you access to 80% of the U.S. Population when they're online and engaging with social media.
Social Media networks are used very differently by different audiences. Here's a look at some general information on the top six social channels:
Facebook is the largest social network and is used on mobile browsers, desktops, at work and at home.
You'll need to understand your audience and how they use the platform in order to target them on Facebook. Facebook's user engagement is highest from Thursday through Sunday.
Twitter tends to be audience dependent. Much like Facebook, you'll need to know your audience and how they use the platform to schedule posts effectively.
It tends to be read during downtimes like during commutes, so before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. are good general times to post.
Pinterest users are predominantly women and seem to browse the site in the evenings. User engagement on Pinterest is highest on the weekends.
Instagram is a mobile platform and that means that users are online all the time, any time of day. The best days to post are Monday and Thursday.
After 5 p.m. is the most popular time for Instagram users.
LinkedIn is geared towards professionals so they tend to use it during work hours. Tuesday thru Thursday are the most popular days and the hour before and after work (7- 8 a.m., 5-6 p.m.) are the peak usage times.
Like LinkedIn, Google+ targets professionals and the average user interacts in the early morning. The best times to post are between 9 and 11a.m., especially on Wednesdays.
While these guidelines are extremely general, there are several best practices to use when targeting social media users on these platforms.
Keep your post times consistent. For example if your customers are predominantly professionals and you reach out via LinkedIn and Google+, post early in the mornings during the work week for maximum exposure.
Research “highest use” times using platform specific analytics and through various online resources. Each site will have peak usage times. Knowing your personas and the heaviest traffic times, schedule your posts based on what works best for your audience.
Using a program like Excel, you can map out the times your target market are most likely to be online for each social platform. Consider using a social media aggregator like HootSuite to schedule and automate the delivery of your social media message during the peak times you've established for your audience.
Another resource is your own website's Google Analytics report. Google Analytics will show you where traffic to your website originates. By tracking your posts on social media and then analyzing the corresponding traffic through Google Analytics, you can begin to pinpoint the days and times that your posts are most effective.
Analyzing the best times to post your message on social media is part science and part art. You can look at the individual site's analytics to determine hours of peak usage, but it's through trial and error that you will determine the best times for your message to reach your audience.
Start posting using the general guidelines for peak usage on the channels, but adjust and vary your posting times until you find the most effective times for your business.