When is the best time to post to social networks?

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Social Media 101 Blog

Courtesy of United Methodist Communications

Want the largest audience for your post on Facebook? Want the most likes, favorites or clicks? Like cooking a soufflé or preparing a good roux, there’s an art to the timing of your posts.

Fast-food posting (serving the masses)

If you want the most eyeballs possible on Facebook, make sure to post between 1 and 4 p.m. That time recommendation comes from a study by the link-shortening service bit.ly. The service charted when the largest numbers of people were using social networking sites. For quick reference, here is the cheat sheet:

  Weekday Weekend
Facebook 1-4 p.m. Same (Less overall)
Twitter 1-3 p.m. Ghost town
Tumblr 7-10 p.m. Friday 8 p.m. (More overall)

If only it were that simple. This works for measuring overall eyeballs, but engagement via favorites, shares, likes and so forth are another story. If you have ever been on a social network when most of your friends are, you realize quickly that you do not spend a lot of time with each post but swap into scan-mode looking for the best bits.

Posting around the dinner table (focused on engagement)

That’s where Dan Zarella’s work comes in. He collected a database of 1.3 million posts from the top 10,000 pages on Facebook and analyzed their likes, comments and shares. It turns out that when you are presented with the fire hose, each of those posts in the overwhelming stream is less likely to receive any real depth of engagement. While the peak traffic is at 1-4 p.m. on Facebook, you are most likely to get engagement from 5 to 9 p.m. Here is the cheat sheet (with some Twitter engagement data from a related post):

  Time Day
FB Likes 5-9 p.m. Saturday - Sunday
FB Shares 8 a.m., noon, 4-6 p.m. No data
Twitter 2-5 p.m.,  8-11 p.m. Thursday, Saturday - Sunday

Salt and pepper to taste (making it yours)

Remember that this is nationwide data. It may turn out that you have a bunch of moms on in the middle of the day or shift workers logging on in the wee hours of the morning. Matching this information with your knowledge of the community, you have a perfect recipe for success. Also, there are many tools to help you analyze your Twitter followers for the best time to tweet.

Even if your schedule doesn’t match that of your audience, you can write at your own time and schedule posts using a service like HootSuite to serve up your perfectly crafted social media posts still piping hot when your audience is online and ready for a little something.



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