The Best Times to Post on Social Media: Why I’m Not Buying It

The world of social media is a fast-paced one. As a social marketer, I spend a lot of time trying to figure out the best possible solutions to the issues that arise in such a dynamic space.

Fortunately, the internet has my back. Social media is something people and businesses use all the time, so naturally there is a treasure-trove of information about a variety of social media topics.

But because social media as a marketing tool is, relatively speaking, such a new concept, it’s easy to take really soft, general data and turn it into a “best practice.” This can be confusing.

With that in mind, I’d like to discuss one of the more peculiar myths out there in social media marketing land and why I’m not buying it.

When is the best time to post on social media?

You could search this question five different times and get five different results. While there’s certainly room for many different perspectives, answers to this question seem to include misleading data.

Any infographic on the subject outlines one of two things (or both):

  1. When the most people are active on a given platform.
  2. When shares/clicks/comments/etc. are highest.

This seems to assume a sort of causation that just isn’t there. Implying that sharing content on Thursday between 3-5 p.m. will garner more clicks just because more clicks tend to happen at that time across the entire platform just doesn’t make any sense.

Why I’m not buying it

Take Facebook, for example. The advent of the news feed and Facebook’s ever-tweaked algorithm has made the time-of-day best practice concept all but null and void. When you’re cruising Facebook, you’re seeing content that’s either A) relevant or valuable to your network or B) has been promoted in some way.

Sure, there may be evidence to suggest that people in general are more active on Facebook at one time or another or the most shares occur on a certain day. But that’s just not how it works. That’s like saying more people will hear your radio commercial between 5-6 p.m. Yes, there are likely more people in their cars at that time. But if that commercial airs on a station no one’s listening to, the point is moot.

On a platform like Twitter, time-of-day can potentially carry a little bit more weight, seeing as the stream is chronological and knowing when most people are on could help point you in the right direction. Still, if it’s not relevant to your audience, you’re going to hear crickets.

Possible solutions

1. Test, test and then test some more

This is the best way to figure out YOUR best time to post. Using platform insight tools, figure out when your audience is online and simply start sharing content during that time. Maybe try early in the morning, right after lunch or late at night. When you find what works for your audience, you’ll find what works for you.

2. See what your competitors are doing

Instead of reading what time, in general, people use the desired platform, scope out when your competitors use it. Other brands in your industry (especially those who are generating a lot of conversation) might have a good pulse on your industry’s audience. Mimic their posting times and cadence and you might see some powerful results.

3. Pay to play

It’s no surprise that when we treat social media as a marketing platform, it starts working like one. Paying to push your content into your audience’s feeds is the best way to generate social action and drive traffic. When you boost or promote a post with a strong and compelling message, it won’t matter when your audience logs on.

At the end of the day, your social media tactics will matter only as much as your audience says they do. Take a look at your insights to see what times are meaningful to your audience, see when your competitors are having success and put some money behind your content. These practices will give you the best data to work with. And the more data you collect, the better decisions you’ll make.

Check out our beginner’s guide to Facebook boosting and read tips on how to find the right social platform for your business.

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