You worked really hard on those social media posts for an upcoming campaign, but do you have any idea how many people will engage? Learning the best times to post on social media is more than just turning a few clicks into a dozen. This data lets you understand your audience inside and out.
And if you think these best times to post are the same across networks–you’d be sorely mistaken. Audiences change per network and even with each unique industry. Managing these communities takes more knowledge than a few hunches.
That’s why it pays to fish where the fish are biting when publishing to social media. However, it’s important to know there’s no exact magical time of the day to solve your publishing problems. Most other similar reports just focus on one set time. But we think it’s better to work off a heat map of when users engage the most with brands.
We worked closely with Sprout Social’s Data Science team to pull this amazing information from our customers. Our data shows when Sprout customers’ networks were engaged with the most (and the least) across the major networks. This helps you visualize when our 20,000-plus customers see engagement.
Let’s take a look at each major network and industry to see our unique data on the best times to post on social media:
- Best Times to Post on Facebook
- Best Times to Post on Instagram
- Best Times to Post on Twitter
- Best Times to Post on LinkedIn
- How We Gathered the Data
Disclaimer: Data from Sprout Social include users from various plan types, industries and locations. All time frames are recorded in Central Time Zone (CST). Number of engagements represents total engagements a brand received on the specific channel during that hour time frame. Industry-specific data includes mid- to high-level engagement times.
Best Times to Post on Facebook
Facebook still reigns supreme in social media with more than 1.4 billion daily active users. However, it’s also the top choice for social media advertising with 93% of marketers using the platform regularly.
What does that mean for your brand? It’s simply not as easy to reach your customers anymore. In fact, with the newest updates to the Facebook algorithm, users see more posts from friends and family instead of business pages.
Brands still see organic engagement from users on Facebook, but it’s a guessing game on what works best. Luckily, our data provides immense insights into exactly when brands across the globe receive the most engagement on Facebook. Here’s a few data points we found:
- The best times to post on Facebook are Wednesday at noon and 2 p.m. and Thursday at 1 and 2 p.m.
- Thursday is the best day to post on Facebook in the week.
- The safest times to post include weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Saturday has the least amount of engagement for Facebook in the week.
- Evenings and early mornings have the least amount of engagement in the day.
What We Learned
If this data shows us anything, it’s engagement rates consistently peak during the midday on weekdays. The most engagements are sent on Facebook during typical lunch breaks on Wednesday and Thursday. This could be from users trying to reach out for help during lunch or simply due to the additional free time on their phone.
Additionally, weekends tend to be poorer times for engagement–especially on Saturday. People are out and about on Saturdays so don’t expect much engagement when your audience is the busiest.
Best Times to Post on Facebook for Nonprofits
For nonprofits, Facebook works as a great gathering point to get users to attend events, follow your organization and be up-to-date on happenings without going to your website. When we pulled data from all of our customers considered a nonprofit, we found some unique engagement times for this specific sector.
Disclaimer: Industry specific heat maps are more concentrated to show medium- and high-level engagement.
- The best times to post on Facebook for nonprofits is Wednesday and Friday at 2 p.m.
- Other notably high engagement times include Monday at 9 a.m., Tuesday at 6 p.m., Thursday at 10 a.m. and noon and Friday at 9 and 11 a.m.
- The safest times to post are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.
- Sunday has the least amount of engagement for nonprofits on Facebook.
- Weekends and Mondays see less engagement in the week for nonprofits on Facebook.
Best Times to Post on Facebook for Education
Whether it’s reaching out to alumni or new students arriving on the first day, Facebook can be a good source of info for schools and higher education institutions. Let’s take a look at when people engage with educational brands on Facebook:
- Schools receive the most engagement on Thursday at 2 and 3 p.m.
- Generally between Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. is safe to post.
- Fridays and weekends drive the least amount of engagement.
- Engagement spikes later in the evening on weekends.
Best Times to Post on Facebook for Healthcare
More than half of US healthcare practices have a Facebook page. This industry demands organizations to be more present on social media. Hopefully, this data will help you reach your target audience on the network more efficiently.
- The best time to post on Facebook for healthcare is Friday at noon.
- Other notable highly engaged times are Monday at 2 p.m., Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m., Thursday at 2 and 7 to 8 p.m. and Sunday at noon and 2 p.m.
- Saturday has the least amount of engagement for healthcare brands.
- Midday posting works best Sunday through Friday.
Best Times to Post on Facebook for Tech
While Facebook organic reach dwindles as low as 2% for some brands, it’s more important than ever to know the best times to post. This notion is no different for those in the tech industry. Here’s our data around when tech brands receive the most engagement on Facebook:
- The best times to post on Facebook for tech brands are Monday at 11 a.m. and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon.
- It’s generally safe to post anytime between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays.
- Tech companies see the lowest amount of Facebook engagement on Saturday.
- Engagement drops off on early mornings and late nights every day.
Best Times to Post on Facebook for Consumer Goods
No matter if you’re selling online or in store, Facebook can be a major player in driving awareness, leads and sales. For consumer goods brands, here’s the best times to reach your consumers:
- The best times to post on Facebook for consumer goods brands are Thursday at 2 p.m. and Friday at 11 a.m.
- Other notable high engagement times are Wednesday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday at 4 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Safe to post weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (likely for at-work online shoppers).
- Weekends have the lowest engagement rates for consumer goods brands.
Best Times to Post on Instagram
More than 70% of US businesses currently use Instagram and many expect that number to rise. Whether it’s highly engaging photos or breath-taking videos, Instagram is the home of visual content.
The only problem is, just like Facebook, it’s getting harder to organically appear in front of your followers. Instagram says more than 80% of users follow a business on the app–so why not make sure you’re reaching out to them in the best way possible?
If you’re still not convinced, our Sprout Social Q1 2017 Index found 67% of Gen Xers and 60% of millennials say they’re more likely to make a purchase from a brand they follow. Don’t sleep on the power of social media–especially Instagram. Here’s some of the critical data we pulled from our customers using Instagram:
- The best time to post on Instagram is Wednesday at 3 p.m., Thursday at 5 a.m., 11 a.m., and 3 to 4 p.m. and Friday at 5 a.m.
- Thursday is the best day to post to Instagram.
- The safest times to post to Instagram are Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Sunday is the least engaging day for Instagram.
What We Learned
This data shows us some very interesting trends with Instagram engagement. For starters, some of the highest engagement was at 5 a.m. Tuesday through Friday. More likely than not, this is from people waking up and checking their phones first thing in the morning.
Other high engagement times include the middle of the day on weekdays. Instagram users under 25 spend approximately 32 minutes a day on the app–so think of all the midday lulls when users are picking up the phone to check their feed.
Weekends are not necessarily that far off from weekday engagement. Afternoon brunches, hangouts and other events still have people on their phone through the day. However, engagement falls off dramatically early Sunday and Monday in the a.m.
Best Times to Post on Instagram for Nonprofits
Several nonprofits have turned to Instagram to better engage and visually represent their brand. If we noticed anything with our data, it’s that the best times to post for nonprofits is similar to the overall peak engagement times we saw on Instagram.
- The best time to post on Instagram for nonprofits is Friday at noon.
- Other notably high engagement times include Tuesday at 3 and 9 p.m., Wednesday 3 to 4 p.m., Thursday 2 to 3 p.m. and Friday at 10 a.m.
- The safest times to post are weekdays from noon to 5 p.m.
- Saturday has the least amount of engagement for nonprofits.
Best Times to Post on Instagram for Education
School systems and higher education organizations need to be where their students (and alumni) spend their time. In fact, nearly 60% of 18 to 29 year olds use Instagram. So there’s a good chance students of high school, college or vocational schools are engaging with brands on Instagram.
- The best time to post on Instagram for education is Monday at 8 p.m.
- Monday has the most engagement for education of the week (think of the weekly updates for students).
- The safest times to post are weekdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Sunday has the least amount of engagement for education on Instagram.
Best Times to Post on Instagram for Healthcare
Healthcare organizations are truly missing a great opportunity to engage with followers and show inspirational stories if they’re not on Instagram. The Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles regularly brings in celebrities and sports stars to meet the children and provide an experience of a lifetime. The images and videos on Instagram connect with users–which makes this platform a must for the industry.
- The best time to post on Instagram for healthcare is Tuesday at 1 p.m.
- Tuesday is the best day to post to Instagram for healthcare.
- The safest times to post are generally 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Friday.
- The weekend is the least engaged days of the week for healthcare on Instagram.
Best Times to Post on Instagram for Tech
Tech brands sometimes have a tough time visualizing their brand on social media. However, there are ways to use Instagram to build engagement. Getting inspiration from some of the best Instagram accounts is a good start to help your brand stand out on the app. Here’s our engagement data from the tech brands using Sprout:
- The best time to post on Instagram for tech brands is Wednesday at 10 a.m.
- Thursday is the best day to post to Instagram for tech.
- The safest times to post are generally 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Friday.
- Sunday is the least engaged day of the week for tech.
Best Times to Post on Instagram for Consumer Goods
With the introduction to Instagram Shopping, consumer goods brands are provided with easier ways to sell on the app. It’s important to know the best times to post to reach your audience. Here’s the data we found around the industry:
- The best times to post on Instagram for consumer goods is Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
- Wednesday tends to see the most consistent engagement throughout the week.
- The safest times to post are every day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Monday is the least engaged day for consumer goods on Instagram (likely catching up on work and spending less time shopping online).
Best Times to Post on Twitter
With more than 350,000 tweets sent every minute, driving Twitter engagement can feel like a needle in a haystack. Marketers have to be smarter about how and when to reach their core audience.
However, there’s still plenty of opportunity for brands on Twitter. In terms of organic posts, Twitter still has one of the best chances to answer a question, comment or concern in real time–providing a much better brand experience.
Did you know that 35% of users will straight up boycott a brand if their social media message goes unanswered? That’s serious business for brands unresponsive on networks like Twitter. We recommend to always be available by listening, engaging and publishing at the right times.
- The best time to post on Twitter is Friday 9 to 10 a.m.
- Friday is the best day to post to Twitter.
- The safest times to post Tweet are everyday 10 a.m. to noon.
- Sunday mornings receive the least amount of engagement.
What We Learned
Twitter engagement doesn’t stop on the weekends. Some of the higher engagement happens during afternoons on Saturday. This could be due to sporting events during these time periods. Additionally, engagement goes deep into the night nearly every day except Monday.
Twitter’s “instant thought” and then “instant reactions” drives so much communication throughout the week. Friday’s could be popular simply due to workers and students checking out before the weekend. Lastly, 9 and 10 a.m. seem to be the common engagement time for most brands on Twitter.
Best Times to Post on Twitter for Nonprofits
Nonprofits rely on communities, which is why Twitter makes perfect sense for so many organizations. Whether it’s fundraising, upcoming events or updates on the organization, Twitter is a great way for nonprofits to reach their followers.
- The best times to post on Twitter for nonprofits are Thursday at noon and Friday 11 a.m. to noon.
- Other notably high engagement times include 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
- The safest times to post are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Sunday has the least amount of engagement for nonprofits on Twitter.
Best Times to Post on Twitter for Education
Many universities have a plethora of Twitter accounts. Everything from the dining hall to the women’s volleyball team have their own personal account. Managing them all under one space is crucial, but so is knowing when to reach your audience on the channel.
- The best times to post on Twitter for education are Monday at 3 and 7 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m.
- The best day to post on Twitter for education is Monday.
- The safest times to post are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Weekends still see a lot of engagement, but Sunday ranks the lowest.
Best Times to Post on Twitter for Healthcare
Physicians, pharmaceuticals and hospitals tend engage with users on Twitter as much as other industries. Just like any other business, healthcare brands have to communicate and engage with thier followers on Twitter. Here’s some data on the healthcare industry relating to Twitter:
- The best time to post on Twitter for healthcare is Wednesday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- The best day to post on Twitter for healthcare is Wednesday.
- The safest times to post are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Sunday ranks the lowest for engagement, but still sees higher engagement at 2 and 5 p.m.
Best Times to Post on Twitter for Tech
Twitter and tech go hand in hand, but what about when it comes to engagement? Tech brands tend to have multiple Twitter accounts for customer service and general inquiries to help reach customers faster. Here’s what our data says for tech companies engaging on Twitter:
- The best time to post on Twitter for tech brands is Friday 8 to 9 a.m.
- The best day to post on Twitter for tech brands is Friday.
- The safest times to Tweet are Tuesday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Sunday ranks the lowest for engagement for Twitter tech brands.
Best Times to Post on Twitter for Consumer Goods
Selling on Twitter relies on great copy and even better landing pages for your customers. However, it always pays to know when you can reach the most users to get the most engagement on your tweets.
- The best time to post on Twitter for consumer goods is Saturday at 1 p.m.
- The best day to post on Twitter for consumer goods is Saturday.
- The safest times to post are 1 to 3 p.m. every day.
- Sunday ranks the lowest, but still has high engagement times at 11 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m.
Best Times to Post on LinkedIn
Let’s go ahead and talk about the elephant in the room. When it comes to brand engagement, consumers are simply not lining up to reach out to you on LinkedIn. And that makes sense!
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network for a reason–the channel is perfect for advocacy, sharing helpful career tips and connecting with industry leaders. However, it’s probably safe to assume GE isn’t selling all its refrigerators on LinkedIn.
But that’s fine. LinkedIn should still be used by brands to find valuable content, locate future employees and share stories closely related to your industry or company news. On that note, engagement rates are pretty low across the board compared to the other networks we looked at. But we did find some interesting data about LinkedIn.
- The best time to post on LinkedIn is Wednesday 3 to 5 p.m.
- Wednesday is the best day to post to LinkedIn.
- Engagement varies per day, but Tuesday through Thursday rank best.
- Friday through Monday receive the least amount of engagement.
What We Learned
Overall, the weekdays are the best times to post, which makes sense given LinkedIn’s demographics of professionals. Fridays and weekends could receive lower engagement due to workers checking out for the weekend.
How We Gathered Our Data
These type of reports always raise eyebrows and we understand. That’s why we want to be clear about the data we pulled and how we got here.
First off, we were luckily enough to work with Sprout Social’s very own data science team to gather together extremely telling information from our customers. Joel Booth, a Senior Data Scientist at Sprout, explained how it all works.
“Sprout integrates with the different social media platforms via their API, which allows the application to receive messages on behalf of our customers,” Booth said. “Essentially, this is how we power features such as Sprout’s Smart Inbox and Reports.”
Using ViralPost to Schedule & Publish at the Right Times
Our data team is constantly collecting data. And this information isn’t just used to put together amazing reports like you’ve read above. In fact, Sprout Social’s very own ViralPost works off this data regularly for our customers.
Booth further explained that Sprout’s proprietary algorithm analyzes the publishing history of our customers and collects data on how and when their audiences engages with this. This is what makes ViralPost so unique–it allows users to find future times to post that work best specifically for their channels.
“ViralPost is an opportunity for the data science team to not only make our customers’ social efforts more effective, but also easier,” Booth added. “The algorithm can look at more messages, more engagements, and more factors over a far wider range of time than a person in order to pinpoint those ideal times to send a message and how those times change week to week.”
Simply put, having publishing times is extremely handy, but why not use a tool that can publish during the suggested times? ViralPost works with actual customer data to give you the best opportunity.
Want to see it in action? Sign up for a demo of Sprout Social today!