Social media is needed to increase brand awareness and search results position. While you probably have a pretty good handle on the basics of social media, there’s one common error many SEO pros make which you need to be aware of.
Here’s a secret about social media: What you post is important – but how and when you post is often equally as important.
Your complete guide to the best social media posting schedule starts right now:
Social Media by the Numbers
Over two billion people use social media on a regular basis. Facebook is the most popular with over 1,600 million active users and an 18% market share. The second most popular social media platform is WhatsApp with 1,000 million active users. Twitter has about 300 million users and Instagram has 400 million.
So, social media is big, growing and where your brand needs to be. Over 91% of all retail brands have a presence on at least two different social media platforms. You’ll want to do the same.
Finding the Best Social Media Platform
Many brands focus only on Facebook and Twitter. While these platforms are very popular, they’re not always the right choice.
You want to identify the platforms your potential customers prefer – and this might not be Facebook. Different platforms are popular with different audiences.
For instance, many business professionals use LinkedIn. If you sell a B2B product, a presence on LinkedIn will help you reach a large group of potential customers. Even better, this LinkedIn audience will be a group you won’t be able to easily connect with through other means. Over half of all LinkedIn users do not have a Twitter account.
Pinterest is another platform with a distinct demographic. Specifically, many women between the ages of 18 and 49 are regular users. If that demographic is part of your customer base, you’ll want to reach them with “pinned” content. Pinterest is especially effective for promoting visually exciting products such as foods and fashion.
Check out The Best Social Media Platform for Your Brand for more info.
Audience Geography and Social Media
Alright, so you’ve identified one or two social media platforms you want to focus on. Now you need to identify the general location of your audience.
Specifically, you want to identify their time zones. This will vary based on the type and location of your business.
If you’re a small, local business with a physical location and a website, then your target audience is likely in your time zone.
If you sell across the country, then your audience will be spread across multiple time zones. For the most part, you’ll direct your marketing to a combination of Eastern and Central time zones. These two time zones cover about 80% of the U.S.
The Best Times to Post
There are no absolute hard and fast rules here. But some posting times are better than others. I would suggest using these times as a starting point, and adjusting course as necessary. Here’s a breakdown by platform:
Over 1.2 million people use Facebook. Not only that, but people who use Facebook use it for pretty long stretches of time. The average user spends – get this! – 50 minutes on the platform each day.
People are on Facebook every day, including weekends. They’re checking their Facebook pages at night, in the morning and throughout the workday.
The best time to post will depend on your user base. If you’re trying to reach a bunch of night owls, you’ll want to post in the evening and throughout the night. If you’re aiming for the lunchtime crowd, you’ll want to post in the mid-morning.
Unsure when to post? Start by posting between 1-3pm EST, Monday through Friday. This is a nice general time when you’ll be able to reach a wide group of people in the U.S.
Facebook users don’t like to be bombarded with brand messaging. You’ll want to limit posts to just a few per day. For much more on the frequency and types of Facebook posts which will create the most customer engagement, check out How Facebook’s News Feed can Help Promote Your Brand.
Twitter is a bit different. You can post more frequently throughout the day. Twelve to 15 tweets a day is actually fairly common.
If you have an international audience, or one spread across the country, tweeting throughout the day is a good way to reach people across multiple time zones.
The Twitter audience skews young and mobile. Some of the best times to reach a Twitter audience are:
- Monday through Friday between 12pm to 3pm EST. This will reach a wide range of people on their lunch break.
- Weekdays between 5pm and 7pm. Here you’re getting people just as they’re getting off work.
- Weekends in the mid-morning. This will reach many people who are looking through Twitter as they wake up and start their weekend day.
LinkedIn has over 450 million members, most of whom are business professionals. Roughly half of all LinkedIn users access the site via mobile. If you offer B2B products or services, LinkedIn can be a reliable source of quality leads.
Your best posting times will be during the traditional work day, which is about 10am to 6pm on Monday through Friday.
To get more specific, try posting between 10 and 11am on Tuesday. This is typically a quieter time in the office when people are more receptive to social media content.
This visual platform is mainly used by young adults between the ages of 18 and 29. Like Twitter, Instagram’s audience is also fairly mobile.
People use mobile platforms often. So you’ll find less restrictions on when you can effectively post.
Instagram also has a rather unique algorithm. Users aren’t shown posts based on time alone. Instead, users see posts based on their likes and previous interactions. This helps your posts be seen by someone who already has an interest in your product or brand.
Many big brands posts during business hours. If you’re not a big brand, you might gain more exposure by posting during off-work hours. There will be less competition.
Posting between 6am and 10 am can also lead to higher engagement. People are awake during this timeframe, but usually they’re just getting their day started and not yet at work. Plus, there’s less posting overall in the early morning from big brands.
You’re mainly trying to target both working women and stay-at-home moms. That’s the core audience on the platform. The best type of products to promote on Pinterest have a strong visual appeal. Some of the best products are foods, fashion and small appliances.
Evenings and weekends are the best here. That’s when the Pinterest audience generally has some time to relax and browse social media. Peak activity for Pinterest is around 9pm.
Fridays at 1 am is another good time to pin. This helps your pins appear to users when they check the site on Saturday morning.
Great content can go unnoticed on social media if posted during the wrong time. You want to identify when your potential audience is most receptive to your message, and post for maximum engagement and visibility.