If you were to instinctually Google the best time of day to post on social media, you would likely be hit with a plethora of different statistics claiming to know the absolute best way to guarantee maximum views and engagement. All of which will suggest a different time of day, maybe even certain days of the week, and probably even more specific timings for each of the different platforms out there. You are bound to become confused and frustrated pretty quickly with all the mixed messages.
But the truth is, there is no one true BEST time to post on social media to optimise the performance of your content.
Knowing the optimum time to post content online is based on a number of factors, for sure, but it doesn’t need to be super complicated. Let’s look at them one by one;
The first thing you need to consider when trying to understand how timing impacts your posts’ performance is your target audience. For example, there is no point in posting all your content at 10am on a Monday morning if you’re trying to target young professionals who are probably at work already. For this particular cohort, you’ll have more luck posting in the evenings and weekends when they are most likely to be scrolling and have the time to read your content.
Not all target audiences have such predictable time constraints of course, but the idea is, that if you put yourself in the shoes of the people you’re trying to reach out to, it is easier to understand when might be more or less appropriate to try and show them specified content.
Rather than worrying about all the answers on Google, you can actually get a more personalised perspective on social media user activity by checking out the insights on your own account.
Take Instagram for example; Instagram is well known for having accessible and easy-to-use insights which can show you detail beyond just how many people liked or commented on your post. Instagram’s insights feature offers a deeper understanding of how many accounts are reached by a post, how many engage with it, and also crucial information about your current audience including their age, gender and location. But more importantly, you can actually see which days of the week as well as what times each day the majority of your followers are active on the app!
Each of these elements helps you to learn how much reach your posts are getting, and how much of an impact they are having on your audience. Furthermore, by taking note of the specific performance of each post that you share, you can start to understand what sort of posting times work best for your content and your audience.
Most other social media platforms besides Instagram have similar analytics functions available, including Facebook, TikTok, Twitter and LinkedIn. So whichever platform you’re using most, you have a free and easy way to check in on how each of your posts performs, depending on when you post them.
It’s important to remember of course that other elements such as the quality of the copy, any photos or graphics you’ve included and added features such as hashtags will have a big impact on your audience’s interaction with your post as well, so it might be a good idea to just play around with timings.
If you haven’t posted much, or haven’t posted in a while, it’s worth putting a few posts of similar quality out there to test the waters and keep an eye on the insights in the process to see what works and what doesn’t in terms of post timing.
If you’ve been using social media for your work for more than five minutes, you’ve probably come across the concept that, like with most things in life; consistency is key.
If you post three times in one week and then post nothing for a month, it’s not only hard to keep track of what sort of content and post-timings work best for your account but you’ll also likely fall victim to the dreaded algorithms lurking on all the social media platforms.
Every social media platform has an algorithm encoded within it which analyses the content and times you post, user interest in that content, user session time, and interactions between users. If you are posting inconsistently then your audience is less likely to see your content, and the algorithm will enhance that by bumping you down users’ feeds. Ouch!
Be careful though not to post too often, which will trigger the algorithm to ‘shadowban’ your content, effectively hiding it from your audience to avoid clogging up their feed, especially if they weren’t engaging in the first place. Posting a couple of times a week and keeping your activity consistent is the best way to work alongside the algorithms.
Getting to grips with all the ins and outs of social media statistics can be confusing at the best of times, and it’s easy to find yourself getting overwhelmed with trying to create flawless social media posts and figuring out the perfect formula of content and posting time to guarantee your posts hit the top of everyone’s feed.
To avoid all this stress, one of the absolute best things you can do for your social media account, particularly if you’re trying to run a business and social media isn’t the industry you’re working in, is to hire yourself a social media manager, or SMM.
Paying a professional to pinpoint your target audience, interpret and monitor your account insights, and provide essential consistency to your posting schedule is probably the easiest way to make sure you are posting your content at the best possible time to ensure the best possible outcome for your account.
Obviously, an SMM would take a lot of the stress away from trying to understand all the data and statistics, but they would also save you a ton of time and energy on your account in general. Whilst you would be able to maintain complete control over what gets posted and when your SMM could guide you to make sure you are making the most out of your social media presence.
For more information about professional social media advice, check out 'why you should use a social media manager' blog post.
The bottom line…
The come away from all of this is that there is a delicate balance to be found when trying to establish the best time to post on social media.
It’s definitely important to do your research, but also to make sure that most of your research is relevant to your industry niche, includes specific data relative to your account, and that you don’t rely on supposed facts you find on Google.
With all those elements considered, it’s important not to overthink it too much and cause yourself overwhelm; remember to consider your target audience’s schedule, check your insights and be consistent.
If you’d rather make sure you get it right the first time than spend months in the trial and error period, or if you’ve tried and errored and need a bit of help figuring out what’s best for your account, why not consider hiring a social media manager to do the hard work for you?
If you would like any further advice or are interested in having a chat over a cuppa, why not get in touch.
(by Dani Tucker, Guest Blog Writer - Copper)