This is a question I get asked a lot here at InkHouse, and it has a much more complicated answer than, “Mondays at 7AM.” It varies by client, social network, audience location, and the brand’s social media manager’s ability to respond.
There are plenty of social media guides available, but if you look closely you’ll see that each of these studies gives different suggestions. As this BufferApp blog post points out, Hubspot says you should post on Facebook on Thursdays and Fridays from 1PM to 3PM, TrackMaven says Thursday at 8PM, and Buzzsumo says off-peak times are best.
What’s a social media manager to do? Here are some tips on how to determine when to post to each of your social media channels.
Consider Your Response Time
Picture this: you are a diligent social media manager living in San Francisco. You pay attention to best practices on when you should post. You follow an article saying that early morning on the East Coast is the best time to post on Twitter - that’s 3AM your time. You decided to schedule the posts to go out at 3AM to follow best practices, and check on it when you get into the office at 9AM - a full six hours later.
You sit down, horrified to see the link isn’t working, there are comments that need a response, and there’s an unfortunate typo that six people have kindly pointed out.
While post time is important (as is checking your work before scheduling), your ability to see what’s happening and respond quickly is also vital to your tweets doing well. My suggestion is to post most often when someone is available to respond in case a crisis comes up.
Consider Your Audience
Who is your primary audience and what timezone are they in? Are they mostly East Coasters? Maybe you have a truly global audience. As the saying goes, it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere. If 5 o’clock is a suggested time for LinkedIn posts, know that you can reach different people in different timezones by posting at 5PM in London one day, and in Los Angeles the next.
Track Performance & Adjust
Instead of blindly following what’s been recommended, adjust your posting strategy based on what you see for the individual accounts you manage. Tools like BufferApp will determine what’s best for you, or you can track engagements per post over the course of a month and take notice of any trends.
Remember: Great Content is Key
Regardless of when you post, your content has to be great in order to be engaged with. What time of day you post won’t help boring content. Consider small changes to your copy, or revamp what it is you share and post about on social media.
General Best Practices
Despite what I explained above, there are a lot of great studies that give general best practices for each of the social networks based on data from Hubspot, Coschedule, BufferApp and more. I have compiled their aggregated recommendations, which can be a good place to start from as you test out what works for your individual pages and social networks.
While Sarah has extensive experience with social media strategy, community management, and sponsored content, she understands that second-guessing what worked in the past is the only way to be successful in the future. Prior to joining InkHouse, Sarah worked at Edelman San Francisco as the main community manager and digital content strategist for Adobe’s Digital Imaging brands: Photoshop and Lightroom. She has won numerous awards including Facebook’s Craft award, a PR News social media icon, and two Cannes Lions. She majored in Marketing and Management at the Villanova School of Business and remains an active member of the alumni community.