Social media is always evolving, and users’ behavior changes with it. One fact that doesn’t change is that all social platforms move fast, with a constant stream of content vying for attention. You want to get the most eyes possible on your content and maximize engagement by knowing the best times to post on social networks.
It’s not enough to guess when users might log in to a given network, or when audiences in your niche are hungriest for the latest information. Now that more and more brands from all kinds of industries realize the value of connecting with their audiences on social networks, it’s important to understand how your audience uses social platforms and what they want out of your content. An ecommerce brand may see social engagement follow daily and seasonal patterns of shopping engagement, while a corporate thought leadership account may see plenty of clicks at the start of the workday when readers are looking for inspiration.
In order to get granular and find out the best times to publish on social media for four social media networks, we worked closely with Sprout’s data science team to pull this information based on our customers. The data below shows when our 25,000-plus Sprout customers were engaged the most (and least) across major networks and broken down by industry.
Let’s take a look at the unique insights we found for the best times to post on each social network:
Disclaimer: Data from Sprout Social include users from various plan types, industries and locations. All time frames are recorded in Central Time Zone (CST). Number of engagements represents total engagements a brand received on the specific channel during that hour time frame. Industry-specific data includes mid- to high-level engagement times.
Best times to post on Facebook
Facebook has over two billion active users, making it the most populated platform by far. This huge audience means there’s a major opportunity for organic engagement on Facebook, if you keep in mind the current Facebook algorithm. The changes in the algorithm in the last couple of years have emphasized friends, family and meaningful connection, so content that drives genuine engagement is your best bet.
In addition to a content strategy that connects meaningfully with your audience, you’ll best meet this need for engagement by posting at the times when users are most active on the network.
Here are the key data points we found for the best times to post on Facebook:
- The best times to post to Facebook are Wednesday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
- Wednesday is the best day to post on Facebook.
- The safest times to post are weekdays from 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
- Sunday has the least amount of engagement for Facebook during the week.
- Early mornings and evenings, before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m. have the least amount of engagement per day.
What we learned
As you’ll see with other social networks, mid-week is the peak period on Facebook. The middle of each weekday, from morning to mid-afternoon, are safe times to post, meaning engagement remains consistent throughout these blocks of time.
While people frequently check in throughout the middle of the day to see what’s going on, the peak times are around lunch breaks. When people have more time to scroll through their Facebook feeds and dig into interesting posts, engagement rises correspondingly.
On the other hand, late night and early evening along with weekend days bring in relatively low engagement. While people may check in or post a few updates from weekend activities in the middle of the day on Saturday, these times aren’t your best bet for reaching audiences.
Best times to post on Facebook for consumer goods
Whether you’re promoting an online shopping experience or driving audiences to brick-and-mortar retail, Facebook plays a key part in your social strategy. In addition to your niche’s unique customer personas, find your audiences when they’re most active at these top times to post for consumer goods and retail:
Disclaimer: Industry specific heat maps are more concentrated to show medium- and high-level engagement.
- The best times for consumer goods brands to post to Facebook are Wednesday at 1 p.m. and Friday at 11 a.m.
- Other high engagement times include Wednesday from 1–3 p.m, Friday from 10–11 a.m. and Thursday at 5 p.m.
- The safest times to post are weekdays from 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
- The lowest engagement is on Sunday and every day from 10 p.m.–4 a.m.
Best times to post on Facebook for media
Social is a crowded space for media companies vying for attention, and the Facebook algorithm can make it especially difficult to find a place on users’ feeds. Tap into these times to post to boost engagement:
- The best times for media companies to post on Facebook are Tuesday at 5 p.m. and Friday from 8–9 a.m.
- Other top times include Wednesday from 8–9 a.m., Wednesday at 5 p.m. and Thursday at 5 p.m.
- The safest times to post are Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m
- The lowest engagement is on Sunday and every day from 10 p.m.–3 a.m.
Best times to post on Facebook for education
Facebook can be a great source of information for education institutions. Compared to other industries, mornings and nights offer stronger opportunities for schools’ social media content to get seen, as well as some spikes in activity on the weekend. Check out the full details of the best times to post on Facebook for education:
- The best times for schools to post on Facebook are Wednesday at 9 a.m. and Saturday at 5 p.m.
- It’s safest to post Monday through Friday from 9 a.m–3 p.m, with the most engagement occurring between 9 a.m.–12 p.m. on those days.
- Saturday from 12 p.m.-9.pm is also highly active.
- Sunday has the least engagement, and the lowest engagement times for schools are every day from 11 p.m.–5 a.m.
Best times to post on Facebook for nonprofit
Facebook is a great place to highlight a nonprofit’s mission with longer form posts and discussions, as well as drawing attention to upcoming events. We found that nonprofits on Facebook frequently see the most engagement during weekday mornings.
- The best time for nonprofits to post on Facebook is Wednesday at 8–9 a.m.
- Other high engagement times include Thursday at 10 a.m. and Friday 8-10 a.m.
- The safest times to post are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Saturday and Sunday show the least engagement per day, and the lowest engagement times are 10 p.m.–5 a.m. every day.
Best times to post on Facebook for tech
Even with challenges in gaining organic engagement, Facebook is still an essential part of tech companies’ social strategy. Whether you’re looking to tap into conversations geared towards a B2B audience or a B2C one, top times for tech companies to post on Facebook include:
- The best time for tech companies to post to Facebook is Wednesday at 10 a.m.
- Wednesday from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. is a peak time during the week as well.
- The safest times to post are Monday through Friday 8 a.m.–2 p.m.
- The least engagement is seen on Sunday and every day from 6 p.m–4 a.m.
Best times to post on Facebook for healthcare
Social audiences increasingly expect healthcare practices to have a social presence. Facebook is a great place to highlight your local practice and provide essential info to current and prospective patients. The best times to post for healthcare to reach these audiences include:
- The best time for healthcare practices to post on Facebook is Wednesday at 9–10 a.m.
- The safest times to post are Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m.–3 or 4 p.m.
- Times to avoid are Saturday and Sunday, which have minimal engagement, and every day from 9 p.m.–4 a.m.
Best times to post on Instagram
Having recently grown to one billion monthly active users, and a median 1.60% engagement rate per post, Instagram is definitely on the rise in the social space. The network has also debuted a number of new features recently, expanding the options for how users can interact with posts on this visual-first platform.
Similar to Facebook’s 2018 focus on a more authentic and personal-feeling social experience, the Instagram algorithm in 2019 prioritizes certain posts algorithmically in a user’s feed, marking a change from the previous reverse chronological order. In addition to the main feed, Stories has grown significantly since its 2016 launch, and 2018 also brought the debut of Instagram TV. Taken together, all of these options let brands create engaging video content of both micro-length and long-form templates.
With all of these ways to reach an audience, plus Instagram’s notable focus on retail, you’ll want to know these key stats for the best times for brands to post on Instagram:
- The best times to post on Instagram are Wednesday at 11 a.m. and Friday at 10–11 a.m.
- Wednesday is the overall best day to post to Instagram
- The safest times to post are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m–3 p.m.
- Sunday receives the least amount of engagement on Instagram
- The least amount of engagement occurs during late night and early morning from 11 p.m.–3 a.m.
What we learned
While Instagram engagement peaks mid-day and mid-week, similar to the other major social networks, there are a few opportune windows found in the evening and morning during the middle of the week. While the safest times to post are still during those core weekday times, it could be well worth it for certain brand niches to consider if your audiences are among those reaching for the ‘Gram first thing in the morning or last thing before sleeping.
While there is a bit of increased engagement around midday on Saturday, weekends aren’t your best bet for getting eyes on your posts. Similarly, even those late night users eventually pack it in, with engagement dropping in the latest hours of the night and earliest hours of the morning
Best times to post on Instagram for consumer goods
Over the past year, Instagram has cemented its role as a top network for shopping. This means that any retail or shopping business can’t afford to ignore the platform. Improve your chances of cutting through the noise in this busy space by keeping in mind the top times to post on Instagram for consumer goods and retail:
- The best time for consumer brands on Instagram is Wednesday at 3 p.m.
- The safest times to post are Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
- Another higher engagement time period occurs on Saturday around 10 a.m.
- Sunday has the least engagement, as well as every day from 11 p.m–3 a.m.
Best times to post on Instagram for media
As Instagram expands its video offerings, it’s becoming a unique channel for media companies to highlight their best visual content. Our findings show that Instagram’s audience taps in a bit earlier in the day for media content than other industries, so consider these times to post when planning to highlight your best content:
- The best time for media companies to post on Instagram is Friday at 9 a.m.
- The safest times to post are Wednesday through Friday from 8 a.m–4 p.m.
- There’s also a period of higher engagement that lasts all the way through Thursday night into Friday morning. It’s lower than the highest peak times, but it could be a unique time to capture audiences that aren’t active in other industries’ niches.
- Saturday and Sunday have the least engagement for media companies on Instagram.
Best times to post on Instagram for education
For colleges and schools, Instagram is a great opportunity to build your visual identity and highlight on-campus experiences. Engagement patterns trend a bit later in the day for education as the student-heavy audience starts getting on their phones in the later afternoon. Here are the best times to post for educational institutions on Instagram:
- The best time to post on Instagram for schools is Friday at 10 a.m.
- Other high engagement times include Wednesday at 11 a.m., Friday from 11 a.m.–12 p.m. and 2 p.m., and Saturday at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- The safest times to post are Wednesday through Saturday at 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
- The least engagement for schools is on Sunday and every day from 11 p.m–5 a.m.
Best times to post on Instagram for nonprofit
Instagram is the perfect complement to the rest of your nonprofit’s social strategy. If you’ve promoted an event ahead of time on Facebook, follow up on Instagram to show off photos from the event and start building your brand’s visual identity. Keep in mind these peak times to post for nonprofits:
- The best time for nonprofits to post to Instagram is Wednesday at 2 p.m.
- Other high engagement times include Monday from 2–3 p.m., Tuesday from 1–3 p.m. and a relatively strong block of time on Saturday from 1–2 p.m.
- The safest times to post are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
- Sunday gets the least engagement, as well as every day from 11 p.m.–5 a.m.
Best times to post on Instagram for tech
Trends for the tech industry vary somewhat from the global peak times on Instagram, with audiences tuning into their feeds for bursts of activity earlier in the day. Take these peak times into account for your content planning as you highlight your products, services and company culture on Instagram:
- The best time for tech companies to post on Instagram is Wednesday at 6 a.m. and 9 a.m.
- Other times that get significant engagement include Wednesday from 10–11 a.m., Friday from 7–10 a.m., and Saturday from 7–11 a.m.
- There’s also fairly high opportunity for engagement on Tuesday at 10 p.m., and both Wednesday and Friday mornings show more engagement than other industries at these early hours.
- The least engagement on Instagram for tech happened on Sunday.
Best times to post on Instagram for healthcare
It’s clear from our findings that Instagram still isn’t a priority for many healthcare practices. However, considering the high engagement it drives for many other industries, it’s clear that audiences, including prospective patients, are on the platform. It’s well worth it to expand your reach by planning around these times to post:
- The best time for healthcare practices to post on Instagram is Tuesday at 8 a.m.
- The safest time to post is Tuesday from 7 a.m.–4 p.m.
- The lowest engagement times are evening and overnight every day from 6 p.m.–6 a.m.
Best times to post on Twitter
Twitter presents a huge opportunity for brands to connect directly with audiences and manage customer care.
This means timeliness is key on Twitter. While the social network selectively highlights some activity out of chronological sequence based on user interests, most people are still scrolling through to catch up on the latest posts and musings from their group of followed accounts. Posting at off-peak hours could and cause you to miss out on a lot of your potential engagement.
With 500 million tweets sent per day, Twitter provides a goldmine of social opinions and conversation that can inform your brand strategy. In addition to using Twitter listening to know what topics offer the most opportunity to engage, you’ll want to keep in mind these stats for when to post on Twitter:
- The best times to post on Twitter are Wednesday at 9 a.m. and Friday at 9 a.m.
- Tuesday and Wednesday are the best days to post on Twitter.
- The safest times to post are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
- Saturday gets the least engagement.
- Times to avoid that get the lowest engagement are every day from 10 p.m–4 a.m.
What we learned
Twitter heats up a bit earlier in the morning, probably as audiences are starting to go about their day and take a moment to catch up on and digest the biggest news and updates from their areas of interest. The peak times of engagement also carry into the lunch hour, and begin to taper slightly through the late afternoon and evening, finally dropping off as late night approaches.
Like other social networks, mid-week on Tuesday and Wednesday are your top days to post on Twitter, and engagement drops off on weekends. We do still see that morning check-in occurring around 9 on both Saturday and Sunday, just to a lesser extent.
Best times to post on Twitter for consumer goods
Twitter is an essential customer care channel for retailers and ecommerce businesses. Compared to Facebook and Instagram engagement, activity actually builds during the weekend rather than falling off. This could indicate that users are online for answers and help about products they’ve been putting off during the week, or seeking info to complement a shopping trip or outing. Either way, quick response times are essential when people take time on days off to reach out to your brand, so be ready for these peak times:
- The best time for consumer goods brands to post to Twitter is Sunday at 11 a.m.
- Other peak engagement times include Saturday at 3 p.m. and Wednesday at 1 p.m.
- The safest times to post are either Sunday from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. or Monday through Wednesday from 12 p.m–3 p.m.
- Friday is the day with the lowest engagement, and the lowest engagement times each day are between 10 p.m–6 a.m.
Best times to post on Twitter for media
Twitter has become a go-to platform for journalists, authors and experts to share ideas and opinions—often around the clock. We saw this reflected in the hotspot of activity that lasts throughout the night from Thursday through Friday morning. There are still some other peak times you’ll want to know about if you’re looking to get your top stories and content in front of Twitter users:
- The best times for media companies to post on Twitter are Thursday at 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.
- Other high engagement times include Thursday from 4 p.m–8 p.m. and Friday from 7 a.m.–11 a.m.
- The safest times to post are Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m.–12 p.m.
- The day with the least engagement on Twitter is Saturday.
Best times to post on Twitter for education
Educational institutions can take a unique approach to Twitter by segmenting out different parts of their social stream with separate Twitter accounts for everything from sports teams to dining services. As with other social networks for education, the peak times are shifted a bit from the global top times, so adjust to the unique schedules of your students with these top times to post:
- The best time for schools to post on Twitter is Saturday at 5 p.m.
- Other high engagement times include Saturday from 1 p.m.–10 p.m.
- Weekdays get a bit less engagement, but safe times to post during the week include Wednesday from 8 a.m.–12 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m.–12 p.m.
Best times to post on Twitter for nonprofit
Nonprofits have a great opportunity to build up their community on Twitter and start conversations with the audiences most engaged with their causes. Keep in mind these key times to post for nonprofits on Twitter:
- The best time for nonprofits to post on Twitter is Wednesday at 7 a.m.
- Other high engagement times include Wednesday from 6 a.m.–4 p.m.
- The safest times to post are Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m.–3 p.m.
- Saturday and Sunday get the least engagement, as well as every day between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.
Best times to post on Twitter for tech
It’s no surprise the tech industry is consistently active throughout the week on Twitter. Whether you have one or multiple accounts conducting customer service, promoting your brand or sharing thought leadership, consider using social listening or Twitter advanced search features to tap into the topics your audiences are discussing. Consider these top times for the tech industry to get active on Twitter:
- The best time for tech companies to post on Twitter is Tuesday at 9 a.m.
- Other high engagement times include the rest of the morning on Tuesday from 7–10 a.m. and Wednesday from 8-10 a.m.
- The safest times to post are Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m.–1 p.m.
- Saturday and Sunday are the days that get the least engagement, and engagement is lowest from 6 p.m to 5 a.m. every day.
Best times to post on Twitter for healthcare
As we’ve emphasized, Twitter is ideal for conversation and customer care. Health questions can be the most pressing of all, so whether it’s an account for a local practice or a major pharmaceutical brand, be ready for your audiences by being aware of the best times for healthcare accounts on Twitter:
- The best times for healthcare practices and business to post on Twitter are Wednesday at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
- Other notably high engagement times include Monday at 2 p.m., Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Friday at 8 a.m. There’s also additional engagement on Wednesday morning compared to other weekday mornings.
- The safest times to post are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.–3 p.m.
- The day with the least engagement is Sunday.
Best times to post on LinkedIn
LinkedIn targets a more specific audience than other social networks, and as it continues to grow, we’ve gotten a fuller picture of the best times to post compared to our overview in 2018. In order to provide the greatest accuracy, we didn’t break down this data into individual industries.
The network’s more niche audience is no reason to ignore its marketing power, however. These motivated users tend to generate more leads, especially for B2B marketing. Here’s our findings on when to post on LinkedIn:
- The best times to post to Linkedin are Wednesday at 9–10 a.m. and 12 p.m.
- The best day to post on LinkedIn is Wednesday.
- The safest times to post are Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m.–2 p.m.
- The least engagement per day occurs on Sunday and the least popular times to post are every day from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m.
What we learned
Considering LinkedIn’s corporate-minded mix of thought leaders, job seekers and company page curation, it’s no surprise that activity is much more concentrated around workdays. Activity ramps up on Tuesday as people get through the Monday rush, and tapers fairly uniformly after 3 p.m. as the last tasks of the workday take priority.
Weekends garner fairly low engagement, which is expected as people step away from their devices and desks on Saturday and Sunday.
How we gathered the data
We understand that these type of reports can raise questions about just where the data is coming from. That’s why we want to be clear about the data we pulled and how we got here.
First off, we were luckily enough to work with Sprout Social’s very own data science team to gather together this information from our customers. Joel Booth, a Senior Data Scientist at Sprout, explained how it all works.
“Sprout integrates with the different social media platforms via their API, which allows the application to receive messages on behalf of our customers,” Booth said. “Essentially, this is how we power features such as Sprout’s Smart Inbox and Reports.”
Using ViralPost to publish at the best times
Our data team is constantly collecting data. And this information isn’t just used to put together amazing reports like you’ve read above. In fact, Sprout Social’s very own ViralPost works off this data regularly for our customers.
Booth further explained that Sprout’s proprietary algorithm analyzes the publishing history of our customers and collects data on how and when their audiences engage. This is what makes ViralPost so unique—it allows users to find future times to post that work best for their channels.
“ViralPost is an opportunity for the data science team to not only make our customers’ social efforts more effective, but also easier,” Booth said. “The algorithm can look at more messages, more engagements and more factors over a far wider range of time than a person in order to pinpoint those ideal times to send a message and how those times change week to week.”
Simply put, having publishing times is extremely handy, but why not use a tool that can publish during the suggested times? ViralPost works with actual customer data, just like what we’ve pulled to assemble this report, to give you the best opportunity for your individual account.
Want to see it in action? Sign up for a demo of Sprout Social today!
This content was originally published here.