The Best Time to Post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn
When, exactly, is the best time to post on social media?
It’s an age-old question. You’ve spent hours (or months) researching, brainstorming, creating, editing, and polishing this new post (or campaign), and now it’s time to unveil it to the world.
But wait. What’s the optimal time? Are all hours or minutes equal in the eyes of the algorithm?
No, they’re not.
That’s why we analyzed over 30,000 social media posts to see if certain days and times universally get more engagement on social media than others. Here’s a quick summary of what we found, but continue reading to find out how to find the best times to post specific to your audience, industry, and time zones.
The best times to post on social media overall is 10:00 AM on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
The best time to post on Facebook is 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The best time to post on Instagram is 11:00 AM on Wednesdays.
The best time to post on Twitter is 8:00 AM on Mondays and Thursdays.
The best time to post on LinkedIn is 9:00 AM on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
But what do these times mean?
If you’re starting fresh on social media and don’t have a lot of past posting data or audience insights to work with, these are good posting times to start with. But they are very general. As your accounts grow, you’ll want to tweak your posting schedule to better fit your specific audience’s behavior. You may be surprised how much it differs from the general population.
Is there really a best time to post on social media?
Because newsfeed algorithms (especially the Facebook algorithm and Instagram algorithm) consider “recency” as a major ranking signal, posting your content when your followers are online is one of the simplest ways to improve your organic reach.
This brings us to the bad news: it’s hard to agree on a single standard “best time to post on social media.” Everyone and their uncle has done a study on industry benchmarks—but the real source of truth always comes back to your own data on your own followers.
Universal best times to post like the ones we found in our research above are best used as starting points for new accounts who haven’t built an audience yet and so don’t have anyone to test on.
Once you do have an audience though, it’s staggeringly easy to figure out the best time to post for your social media channels—especially if you have the right tools.
The best time to post on Facebook
According to our analysis, the best time to post on Facebook is 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This tracks with what the Hootsuite social team found when they dug into their own data.
When it comes to Facebook, past performance and follower activity are both important.
Key Facebook statistics to keep in mind when posting:
74% of American users check Facebook at least once a day
51% of American users check Facebook several times per day
People spend an average of 34 minutes per day on Facebook
80% of people access Facebook using mobile only (19% use both mobile and desktop)
The best time to post on Instagram
The best time to post on Instagram is 11:00 AM on Wednesdays, according to our analysis. The Hootsuite social team had similar findings when they dug into their posting history.
The best time to post to Instagram is anytime between 8 AM-12 PM or 4-5 PM PST.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Instagram’s algorithm has a lot in common with Facebook’s. That is, recency is a key ranking signal. Which means that audience behavior is, again, an important factor in posting times.
Taking a look at when your followers are online can help get you started.
Key Instagram statistics to keep in mind when posting:
63% of American users check Instagram at least once day
42% of American users check Instagram several times per day
Instagram use went up to an average of 30 minutes per day in 2020, (from 26 minutes per day in 2019)
People spent an average of 6 minutes 35 seconds per visit on Instagram in 2019
The best time to post on Twitter
The best time to post on Twitter is 8:00 AM on Mondays and Thursdays, according to our analysis.
When the Hootsuite social team looked at their data, they found similar (but broader) results: weekdays at 6-9 AM PST.
According to Social Engagement Specialist Nick Martin, click-throughs are the most important metric on Twitter analytics are clear. Tweeting during East Coast office hours drives the best results in terms of clicks and engagement.
Even on weekends, mornings are still best, but he schedules posts slightly later.
Key Twitter statistics to keep in mind when posting:
42% of American users check Twitter at least once day
25% of American users check Twitter several times a day
People spent an average of 10 minutes 22 seconds per visit on Twitter in 2019
The best time to post on LinkedIn
The best time to post on LinkedIn is 9:00 AM on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The best time for them to post on LinkedIn is weekdays between 8-11 AM PST.
Key LinkedIn statistics to keep in mind when posting:
9% of American users check LinkedIn at least once day
12% of American users check LinkedIn several times a day
57% of LinkedIn’s traffic is mobile
Look at when your audience is most active online
Posting when your followers are online is one of the easiest ways to work with (not against) both the Facebook and Instagram algorithms. By predicting when your followers are likely to be browsing their feeds, you maximize the chances that your content will reach and connect with them.
Twitter and LinkedIn, alas, do not make audience activity information available to users, brands, or even your friendly neighbourhood analytics dashboard. For these platforms, researching your audience’s priorities and behaviours is crucial.
Meanwhile, for your Facebook and Instagram strategies, knowing when your followers are online is as simple as looking at your analytics. Hootsuite’s Best Time to Publish feature, for instance, provides a heatmap of the hours and days your followers are active.
Check out the competition
Check your competitors’ feeds to see what they’re up to. Take a survey of their high-performing posts (or even do a full social competitive analysis) and see what patterns crop up, or perhaps reverse-engineer your competitors’ strategies.
Avoid publishing on the hour, because that’s when a lot of brands post. Instead we post on the :15 or :45 mark to give our content a little breathing room.
It’s worth keeping an ear to the ground in your industry, whether you learn tactics worth emulating, or just spot some pitfalls to avoid. (You might even consider adding publishing schedules to your ongoing social listening endeavours.)
Post in your audience’s time zone, not yours
If you’re aiming to catch people during their bleary-eyed morning bed-scroll, posting at 6AM makes perfect sense. Of course, if your target audience is made up of European innovation executives, make sure you schedule that post for 6AM Central European Time (or even earlier if you want to make sure you catch Eastern Europe, too.).
To catch people across North America (PST through EST) by posting in the morning or early afternoon, Pacific Time.
Meanwhile, brands with a substantial audience in a specific region might consider creating a separate handle for that audience.
Test and optimize
At a certain point, you’ve done as much due diligence as you can, and it’s time to smash that publish (or schedule) button and see what happens. But what happens if results aren’t what you’d hoped?
Some systematic A/B tests (where you post the same content at different times in order to see which time earns the best results) can be illuminating.
We are continuously testing for multiple variables, whether that’s the images we choose, copy, or what time we post at.
Keep monitoring for changes
Social media is always changing, and so are the people who use it. For example, the exodus to remote work over the course of 2020 has resulted in more frequent social media use.
Habits have shifted from checking feeds during lunch to checking between zoom meetings. If your audience is changing, your strategy might need to change too.
The key is to think of time as an important, but variable, factor as you continue to optimize your social media scheduling strategy.
Key takeaways about the best time to post on social media
In conclusion, there’s no failsafe universal best time to post on social media. Your brand’s optimal time is as unique as your audience, and different for every channel.
But with the right data, optimizing your posting schedule can drive real results and improve your social ROI.
For Twitter and LinkedIn, pay close attention to past post performance
For Instagram and Facebook, look at past post performance and when your followers are online