Social media posting times play a significant role in whether or not a particular piece of content gets the attention it deserves. And as social behaviors change, your social media posting times should too.
Knowing the time of day and week to post can take your social media marketing strategy to the next level–as long as you stay up to date with the times and adjust your strategy for each platform.
This article will cover the latest research on the best posting times for each social media platform and more:
Why Timing is So Important for Social Media Marketing
If you post content on social media, you want as many people as possible to see it–and ideally, click on a call-to-action (CTA). That's why posting content when your agency or client’s target audience is on that specific social platform is crucial.
Social networks are governed by algorithms that prioritize engagement, so content that immediately gets attention is usually shown to more users. In other words, accounts with a high engagement rate tend to receive an additional algorithmic boost to their posts.
This means that posting at the right time of day and week may help increase the reach of that particular piece of content and maximize the effectiveness of your social media management.
When you consider these three things, it becomes clear that determining the best posting times should be factored into your agency or client’s overall social media strategy.
What Does the Research Say About the Best Social Media Posting Times?
You probably already know that early morning or late evening when people are sleeping is not the best time to post on social media—so when exactly should you post?
The research on this topic will give you a general understanding of peak engagement time frames. In this article, we'll be using analysis from:
The SproutSocial team, who used data from their customer base of 30,000+ businesses and broke down the results by industry
Hootsuite, who did a study to see what the best time to post on Instagram was and used internal data from over 30,000 Instagram posts
HubSpot–another industry leader that surveyed over 300 social media marketers in the US to determine the best social media posting times.
All three studies analyze the best days and times to post on various social media platforms. We’ll look at the findings of these studies, see where they diverge, and discuss what conclusions we can draw from all this research.
The Best Social Media Posting Times by Platform
No need to make the research comparisons on your own! Here are the best social media times for your agency to consider.
The Best Social Media Posting Times in General
According to Hootsuite, in general, the best social media posting time is “between 9 and 10 a.m CT (Central Time), and during the midweek (i.e., Tuesday to Thursday).”
This comes from averaging the best days and times to post across all social media platforms and industries, so it may not necessarily apply to your agency or clients.
That being said, let's look at the best social media posting times by platform, including:
The Best Times To Post On Facebook
According to Sprout Social’s research, the best posting times for Facebook are:
They also found that the best days to post are Tuesdays through Fridays. Conversely, the worst posting day was a Saturday.
It makes sense–on a Monday, it’s likely that social media users are more preoccupied with starting their week and prioritizing other activities.
According to HubSpot, a Friday is the best day to post on social media, with the most popular time windows being 6 - 9 p.m., 3 - 6 p.m., and 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. (note that they didn’t specify a time zone in their research).
Interestingly, there’s no time intersection between Hootsuite and HubSpot’s research, though they found Friday to be an ideal posting day.
SproutSocial also broke down the best days and times by industry:
Consumer Goods: The best days are Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and the best time is Friday at 10 a.m.
Media: The best days are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, and the best times are Fridays from 9 - 5 a.m. and Sundays at 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.
Education: The best days are Monday through Wednesday and Friday, and the best times are Mondays from 8- 10 a.m., Tuesdays at noon, Wednesdays at 9 a.m., and Fridays from 9 to 11 a.m.
Non-Profits: The best days are Monday through Wednesday and Friday, and the best time is Friday at noon.
Tech: The best days are Wednesdays and Fridays, and the best times are Tuesdays at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., Wednesdays at 11 a.m., and Fridays at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., and 12 p.m.
Healthcare: The best days are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and the best times are Mondays at 10 a.m., Tuesdays at 10 and 11 a.m., and Fridays at 10 a.m.
Hospitality: The best days are Wednesdays and Fridays, and the best time is Wednesday at noon.
Finance: The best day is Thursday and the best times are Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 11 a.m. and Thursdays at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.
Restaurants: The best days are Thursdays and Fridays, and the best times are Tuesdays at noon and Thursdays at 1 and 2 p.m.
Travel and Tourism: The best days are Tuesdays through Fridays, and the best times are Wednesdays at 9 a.m. and Fridays at 10 a.m.
The Best Times to Post On Instagram
Looking for ways to make your client's Instagram metrics skyrocket? According to the Sprout Social team, the best posting times for Instagram are:
Generally, the best posting days for Instagram were Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with the worst time being a Sunday.
The great thing is that Wednesday at 11 a.m. was also determined to be an ideal Instagram posting time, according to Hootsuite’s Instagram-specific research (so that’s definitely a point to consider- keep in mind their research is based on Pacific Standard Time).
Interestingly, HubSpot’s best Instagram social media posting time varied a bit, with Saturday being the best day (which isn’t included in Sprout Social or Hootsuite’s recommendations). However, it’s important to note that HubSpot’s ideal time window also has 11 a.m.
So, what’s the consensus with all this data? Wednesday at 11 a.m. seems to be the best posting time for Instagram (the common intersection between SproutSocial, Hootsuite, and HubSpot).
For more granular insights, here’s SproutSocial’s breakdown by industry for ideal Instagram posting time:
Consumer Goods: The best days are Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays, and the best time is on a Sunday at 3 p.m. or 4 p.m.
Media: The best days are Mondays through Thursdays, and the best time is on a Tuesday between 10 - 11 a.m.
Education: The best days are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and the best time is on a Tuesday at 10 a.m.
Non-profit: The best day is on a Tuesday or Wednesday, and the best times are Wednesdays 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. and Sundays at 9 a.m.
Tech: The best days are Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and the best times are Wednesdays at 8 a.m. and Fridays at 10 a.m.
Healthcare: The best days are Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and the best time is Thursday at 7 a.m.
Hospitality: The best days are Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and the best times are Thursdays at 11 a.m. and Fridays at 10 a.m. or 3 p.m.
Finance: The best day is Wednesday, and the best time is Wednesday at 6 a.m.
Restaurants: The best days are Wednesdays and Thursdays, and the best time is on a Wednesday from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Travel and Tourism: The best days are Wednesdays and Fridays, and the best time is Wednesday at noon.
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According to Sprout Social, the best posting times for Twitter are:
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 9 a.m.
Meanwhile, the best posting days were Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with the worst day being a Sunday.
On the flip side, here’s what HubSpot's research found for the best Twitter posting times.
While there’s no consensus for the best posting time between the SproutSocial and Hootsuite research, they found Friday to be an ideal day to post on Twitter.
Consolidating both of these findings, stick with 9. a.m. or between the 12 p.m. - 9 p.m. time window.
Here’s SproutSocial breakdown by industry for the best Twitter posting times:
Consumer Goods: The best day is on a Wednesday, and the best times are Tuesdays at 9.m. and Wednesdays at 3 a.m.
Media: The best days are Tuesdays through Thursdays, and the best times are Mondays at 10 a.m., Tuesdays from 9 to 11 a.m., and Wednesdays between 10 a.m. to noon
Education: The best days are Mondays, Tuesdays, and Sundays, and the best time is on a Monday at 6 p.m. or 7 p.m.
Non-profit: While most days work well for non-profit organizations, the best days are Mondays through Fridays. The best times are Mondays 9 a.m.- 1 p.m., Tuesdays 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., Wednesdays 9 a.m. - 1p.m., Thursdays 10 a.m. - noon, and Fridays 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Tech: The best days are Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and the best times are Thursdays at noon and Sundays at 3 p.m.
Healthcare: The best days are Tuesdays through Fridays, and the best times are Mondays at 1—2 p.m., Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and noon, Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Thursdays at 8 a.m. and noon—1 p.m., and Fridays at 8—9 p.m.
Hospitality: The best days are Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and the best time is on a Wednesday at 8 p.m.
Finance: The best day is Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and the best times are Tuesdays at 4 p.m., Wednesdays at 4 a.m., and Fridays at 11 a.m.
Restaurants: The best days are Mondays and Wednesdays, and the best time is on a Monday at noon.
Travel and Tourism: The best days are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and the best time is Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
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The Best Times To Post on LinkedIn
Sprout Social’s research has found that the best day and time for posting on LinkedIn is:
Additionally, the best posting days were a Wednesday or Thursday, and the worst days were a Saturday and Sunday (again, in alignment with a standard US work schedule).
In comparison, here’s what the HubSpot research found for the best posting times based on LinkedIn analytics. HubSpot’s best LinkedIn posting days were Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays (which directly clashes with SproutSocial’s finding that a weekend doesn't work well).
What’s interesting is that both SproutSocial and Hootsuite found midweek days (Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively) to be good posting days. Again, it makes sense if you’re considering when professionals may take a break to scroll through their LinkedIn feed.
SproutSocial didn’t provide a breakdown by industry (probably because many LinkedIn posts are geared around thought leadership and not always as promotionally based as other platforms).
What Conclusions Can We Draw From This Research?
Looking at these studies, a few key points stand out:
All four social networks see the most weekday engagement during the first part of the workday, which suggests that people use social media to take a break from work. In other words, office hours are social media peak hours.
Facebook users appear to follow this “office hours” pattern the most since all ten industries SproutSocial looked into listed workdays as best posting days
While there was some variation in the research findings, it’s important to note the common days and times where possible. That way, you’ll increase the likelihood of social media marketing success.
How Much Should You Trust "Best Social Media Posting Times" Research?
You may be wondering how reliable this data is, and rightfully so. Alfred Lua, the product marketer at Buffer, encourages healthy skepticism towards “best social media posting times” research:
“And while knowing your best time to post is still very relevant, I’m starting to feel that it’s no longer useful to refer to studies on this topic. Bad insights can drive poor decision-making, and simply going with the best time to post from a study could hinder your marketing efforts rather than help.”
In particular, he points out two main issues with much of the research:
Aggregate data vs. unique audience: As he points out: “The challenge with this is that the data includes businesses and individuals from different locations and industries while your audience is unique to you. It’s hard to say that the average best time to post for a wide range of businesses would apply to your business.”
Outdated studies: Another issue is that social media algorithms evolve fast, so a survey from a few years ago may not be relevant anymore. Since many "newer" studies simply reference older data, checking the source before relying entirely on the recommendations is vital.
That being said, Lua doesn’t see these studies as useless since they give you a place to start.
“They can serve as a great starting point, especially if they suggest plausible explanations for those best times to post. For example, if you are working on an entirely new social media profile and do not have any data of your own to work with, some studies can come in handy. But they are not a copy-and-paste blueprint for success.”
This is an important point. It may be tempting to look up the best social media posting times and schedule posts accordingly, but it may backfire if everyone else is doing the same thing.
That’s why you need to figure out what works best for your business.
How To Determine When You Should Post on Social Media?
It all boils down to understanding your target audience. When are they using social media? That is when you should post.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself about your ideal customers:
What is their work schedule?
People who work 9-5 are likely to check social media during office hours (and commutes), but those with flexible schedules may behave differently.
Do they have access to the internet at work?
Of course, people have smartphones with them all the time. Still, checking Facebook while coding is easier than doing it while fixing a roof.
Are there any cultural differences that you may need to keep in mind?
Lunch breaks in the United States and siesta in Spain are different.
How many time zones does the region you’re targeting cover?
Figuring out the best time to post on social media when dealing with several time zones is challenging. At what time is the most significant percentage of your target audience online? You may want to look for workday overlap across time zones.
Whenever you aren’t sure if a specific time is a good idea, try to imagine what your ideal customer will likely be doing. The more your target audience deviates from the average person in these studies, the more careful you need to be about trusting these studies.
That said, you shouldn’t blindly trust your assumptions, either. Instead, schedule posts for a month based on your understanding of your agency’s or client’s target audience, then analyze the data and make adjustments accordingly.
Agency Tip: Create an ideal customer profile (or more than one) to hone in on your agency’s or client’s target audience (including their lifestyle, occupation, pain points, and demographics). That way, you’ll understand the optimal posting schedules based on relevant individual characteristics.
Summary: Social Media Posting Times
Studies on best social media posting times are excellent starting points when planning your clients’ social media content calendars. However, you can’t assume that what worked for the average business in the research will work for your agency or client. That’s where tracking your own internal data, observing trends, and relying on data visualization comes in.
Regardless of time zones, posting schedule, or social media marketing strategy, your agency needs a reliable way to keep track of progress and metrics. Over time, you may even uncover unique posting times that garner the most traction and social media reach.
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