Social media is always evolving, and users’ behavior changes with it. One fact that doesn’t change is that all social platforms move fast, with a constant stream of content vying for attention. You want to get the most eyes possible on your content and maximize engagement by knowing the best times to post on social networks.
It’s not enough to guess when users might log in to a given network, or when audiences in your niche are hungriest for the latest information. Now that more and more brands from all kinds of industries realize the value of connecting with their audiences on social networks, it’s important to understand how your audience uses social platforms and what they want out of your content. An ecommerce brand may see social engagement follow daily and seasonal patterns of shopping engagement, while a corporate thought leadership account may see plenty of clicks at the start of the workday when readers are looking for inspiration.
In order to get granular and find out the best times to publish on social media for four social media networks, we worked closely with Sprout’s data science team to pull this information based on our customers. The data below shows when our 25,000-plus Sprout customers were engaged the most (and least) across major networks and broken down by industry.
Let’s take a look at the unique insights we found for the best times to post on each social network:
Best times to post on Facebook
Facebook has over two billion active users, making it the most populated platform by far. This huge audience means there’s a major opportunity for organic engagement on Facebook, if you keep in mind the current Facebook algorithm. The changes in the algorithm in the last couple of years have emphasized friends, family and meaningful connection, so content that drives genuine engagement is your best bet.
In addition to a content strategy that connects meaningfully with your audience, you’ll best meet this need for engagement by posting at the times when users are most active on the network.
Here are the key data points we found for the best times to post on Facebook:
- The best times to post to Facebook are Wednesday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
- Wednesday is the best day to post on Facebook.
- The safest times to post are weekdays from 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
- Sunday has the least amount of engagement for Facebook during the week.
- Early mornings and evenings, before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m. have the least amount of engagement per day.
What we learned
As you’ll see with other social networks, mid-week is the peak period on Facebook. The middle of each weekday, from morning to mid-afternoon, are safe times to post, meaning engagement remains consistent throughout these blocks of time.
While people frequently check in throughout the middle of the day to see what’s going on, the peak times are around lunch breaks. When people have more time to scroll through their Facebook feeds and dig into interesting posts, engagement rises correspondingly.
On the other hand, late night and early evening along with weekend days bring in relatively low engagement. While people may check in or post a few updates from weekend activities in the middle of the day on Saturday, these times aren’t your best bet for reaching audiences.
Best times to post on Facebook for media
Social is a crowded space for media companies vying for attention, and the Facebook algorithm can make it especially difficult to find a place on users’ feeds. Tap into these times to post to boost engagement:
- The best times for media companies to post on Facebook are Tuesday at 5 p.m. and Friday from 8–9 a.m.
- Other top times include Wednesday from 8–9 a.m., Wednesday at 5 p.m. and Thursday at 5 p.m.
- The safest times to post are Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m
- The lowest engagement is on Sunday and every day from 10 p.m.–3 a.m.
Best times to post on Instagram
Having recently grown to one billion monthly active users, and a median 1.60% engagement rate per post, Instagram is definitely on the rise in the social space. The network has also debuted a number of new features recently, expanding the options for how users can interact with posts on this visual-first platform.
Similar to Facebook’s 2018 focus on a more authentic and personal-feeling social experience, the Instagram algorithm in 2019 prioritizes certain posts algorithmically in a user’s feed, marking a change from the previous reverse chronological order. In addition to the main feed, Stories has grown significantly since its 2016 launch, and 2018 also brought the debut of Instagram TV. Taken together, all of these options let brands create engaging video content of both micro-length and long-form templates.
With all of these ways to reach an audience, plus Instagram’s notable focus on retail, you’ll want to know these key stats for the best times for brands to post on Instagram:
- The best times to post on Instagram are Wednesday at 11 a.m. and Friday at 10–11 a.m.
- Wednesday is the overall best day to post to Instagram
- The safest times to post are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m–3 p.m.
- Sunday receives the least amount of engagement on Instagram
- The least amount of engagement occurs during late night and early morning from 11 p.m.–3 a.m.
What we learned
While Instagram engagement peaks mid-day and mid-week, similar to the other major social networks, there are a few opportune windows found in the evening and morning during the middle of the week. While the safest times to post are still during those core weekday times, it could be well worth it for certain brand niches to consider if your audiences are among those reaching for the ‘Gram first thing in the morning or last thing before sleeping.
While there is a bit of increased engagement around midday on Saturday, weekends aren’t your best bet for getting eyes on your posts. Similarly, even those late night users eventually pack it in, with engagement dropping in the latest hours of the night and earliest hours of the morning
Best times to post on Instagram for media
As Instagram expands its video offerings, it’s becoming a unique channel for media companies to highlight their best visual content. Our findings show that Instagram’s audience taps in a bit earlier in the day for media content than other industries, so consider these times to post when planning to highlight your best content:
- The best time for media companies to post on Instagram is Friday at 9 a.m.
- The safest times to post are Wednesday through Friday from 8 a.m–4 p.m.
- There’s also a period of higher engagement that lasts all the way through Thursday night into Friday morning. It’s lower than the highest peak times, but it could be a unique time to capture audiences that aren’t active in other industries’ niches.
- Saturday and Sunday have the least engagement for media companies on Instagram.
Best times to post on Twitter
Twitter presents a huge opportunity for brands to connect directly with audiences and manage customer care.
This means timeliness is key on Twitter. While the social network selectively highlights some activity out of chronological sequence based on user interests, most people are still scrolling through to catch up on the latest posts and musings from their group of followed accounts. Posting at off-peak hours could and cause you to miss out on a lot of your potential engagement.
With 500 million tweets sent per day, Twitter provides a goldmine of social opinions and conversation that can inform your brand strategy. In addition to using Twitter listening to know what topics offer the most opportunity to engage, you’ll want to keep in mind these stats for when to post on Twitter:
- The best times to post on Twitter are Wednesday at 9 a.m. and Friday at 9 a.m.
- Tuesday and Wednesday are the best days to post on Twitter.
- The safest times to post are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
- Saturday gets the least engagement.
- Times to avoid that get the lowest engagement are every day from 10 p.m–4 a.m.
What we learned
Twitter heats up a bit earlier in the morning, probably as audiences are starting to go about their day and take a moment to catch up on and digest the biggest news and updates from their areas of interest. The peak times of engagement also carry into the lunch hour, and begin to taper slightly through the late afternoon and evening, finally dropping off as late night approaches.
Like other social networks, mid-week on Tuesday and Wednesday are your top days to post on Twitter, and engagement drops off on weekends. We do still see that morning check-in occurring around 9 on both Saturday and Sunday, just to a lesser extent.
Best times to post on Twitter for media
Twitter has become a go-to platform for journalists, authors and experts to share ideas and opinions—often around the clock. We saw this reflected in the hotspot of activity that lasts throughout the night from Thursday through Friday morning. There are still some other peak times you’ll want to know about if you’re looking to get your top stories and content in front of Twitter users:
- The best times for media companies to post on Twitter are Thursday at 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.
- Other high engagement times include Thursday from 4 p.m–8 p.m.and Friday from 7 a.m.–11 a.m.
- The safest times to post are Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m.–12 p.m.
- The day with the least engagement on Twitter is Saturday.