The Science of Timing (Your Content) On Social Media
In the digital age, almost everybody is posting on social media. In fact, over 1.8 billion photos are uploaded across all of the major platforms every single day.
However, some of these posts get a lot more engagement than others, even from the same influencers and brands. So, is there a right time to post on social media? ⏱️ Absolutely, but it depends on several factors. Let's talk about how to optimize your timing to build your brand awareness and generate more leads!
Right Time To Post On Social Media
No matter what, your goal is to hit your specific target audience at the times when they are most active. The older generations are likely to be active at different times than the younger generations, and these differences need to be taken into account.
Each of the highly active times lasts for roughly an hour each, so if 9 AM is a good time, that time frame lasts until about 10. However, getting a post up and running at the beginning of that window (or just before) is the perfect way to maximize the views within that hour-long window. 😉
Weekdays and weekends are obviously different for the average consumer and social media user. Schedules will vary from person to person, and some will be able to access their accounts during work, but for the average user, weekends will have some prime times for social media posts.
If you're posting promotional content on the weekend, it's important to think about who you're trying to reach. Many young adults will be on Snapchat late at night on a Saturday, but they might also be scrolling through their Facebook feeds in the early afternoon before they go out.
However, from Thursday through Sunday, the times most active times (on average) stay consistent. During the day, you want to aim to post at around 9 AM, 1 PM, and 3 PM.
People who work from 9-5 during the week tend to sleep in by an hour or two on the weekends and they hang around in bed and scroll through social media. This is a great time to show off your new content! The afternoon is also a good time because people are often at home waiting for the fun to begin, so they tend to be active on their devices.
Remember that weekends are not a great time to reach any other businesses or organizations, but they are excellent for ordinary consumers.
Monday through Wednesday is a little different. Believe it or not, Wednesday is the most active day 👀 of the week across all platforms. Overall, people are waking up earlier, at work for most of the day, and they tend to wind down on their phones later at night. However, the same principle applies on the weekend. Get them when they wake up.
On weekdays, 7 to 8 AM is the time where most people will be killing time on social media before getting ready for work. They also tend to be active on their lunch breaks at noon, and then after work from 5 to 6 PM.
Differences By Target Audience
Okay, there are a lot of differences to cover between a wide range of different targets. You may be targeting Millennials and Gen Z, older generations, businesses, hospitals, or anything else.
You'll also want to choose the right platform if you haven't already. For example, Gen Z uses certain platforms like Youtube and TikTok at very high rates, whereas older generations use Facebook more than any other platform.
Let's run through the list as closely as we can. All of the times mentioned above are optimal for the average business-to-consumer (B2C) business model. If you're selling directly to the average consumer, those times should work wonders for you, even if the age ranges are different. Even if your target audience is older, those times tend to be consistent.
For a business-to-business model (B2B), the best time to reach your desired audience (business owners and managers) is between 3 and 4 PM. Yes, they like to check their social media feeds toward the end of the workday, just like the rest of us. There's also a good chance to catch them between 9 and 10 AM during the week, right when they step into the office. For Instagram and Twitter, 9 PM is another hot spot, if you're trying to grab their attention outside of the office!
Nonprofits tend to get the best success around mid-day on Wednesdays. They are the most active between 10 AM and 2 PM, with very bad luck on weekends. However, lunchtime seems to be a good place to stick throughout the week!
Hospital staff, including management, work strange hours. ⚕️Early in the morning, as early as 6 to 7 AM, is good for Facebook, where mid-day, between 10 AM and 2 PM, seems to be the best across other platforms.
For higher education, 5 to 6 PM is the prime time across every platform. 🎓 Everybody is done studying, leaving the classrooms, and opening up their feeds. 8 AM tends to be a good time, as well.
No matter what kind of business, experiment with these times and see what works for you. Knowing the best times is some of the most valuable social media data you can get!
How To Hit These Targets
It may sound daunting to come up with content to fill these time slots on a consistent basis, but there are plenty of ways to make it easier! 🎯
There's nothing wrong with creating content or posts in advance and preparing to drop them at specific times. If you're a small business owner or a social media manager, you can easily schedule your content with ZoomSphere! 😍
Don't forget to account for time differences! If you're running a blog or an eCommerce store (or anything else) and you're operating out of New England but your target audience is on the west coast or in another country, keep their time zone in mind for your social media campaigns.
So if there are a few times every day when posting is optimal, should you be aiming for all of them? Not necessarily, but in some cases. It depends on the platform and your target audience. Let's run through the platforms really quickly.
For Facebook and Instagram, it's best if you aim to post about twice a day. On twitter, aim for about 3. LinkedIn and Reddit will be fine with once a day. However, if you're on Pinterest, aim for up to 5!
While these are the best practices for each platform, studies do show that once a day is a safe place to stick across most platforms. Experimenting to see which of the peak times works best for you may be a good way to start, but studies suggest that engagement drops by up to 50% per post after the first one of the day, and the drop-off continues through the day, so keep that in mind!
Alternatively, you could use a social media scheduler to make it even easier to be consistent! Every brand could use these to make sure they're utilizing timing to their advantage.
What If You Run Out Of Content?
If you're trying to post multiple times a day, you may be able to get a few days' worth ready in advance, but it will run out quickly. It's hard to keep up with, especially if you're running a business.
Alternatively, if you're really struggling to create new content, you can try interacting with your followers in comment sections or sharing their content. It's an excellent way to show that there's a human behind the account and to make your customers feel appreciated.
Sharing people's content, especially if it relates to your business, won't just make them feel appreciated, but it will encourage others to follow suit! Create an Instagram story, then a Facebook post, then a tweet. Change it up as you go but try to keep it consistent.
You can also run promotions on social media and follow up with them, giving you an easy way to fill those spaces and stay relevant. "Like, share, and follow for a chance to win-" or "Click this link for 20% off this service." Those are posts you can run multiple times. It doesn't have to be unique, viral-worthy content every time, just posts that will keep your audience engaged.
Now that you know the right time to post for almost every platform and demographic, you're ready to get started. However, it is a lot of work to manage a social media account all by yourself, especially if you're running a business. Get to work, stay up to date with our latest social media news, and check out some of our social media management services to take the hassle off your back!