What time should you be posting on social media in 2020?
There’s no short answer to this question.
But in reality, the biggest factors that feed into the best time to post on social media are the same for any business.
- What time is your audience awake?
- What lifestyle does your audience have?
- How busy will your audience’s social feeds be?
- What is your audience in the mood for?
And of course, all of these factors depend on what sector your business sits in. If you’re selling mattresses, it’s a good time to be online as your audience wakes up and falls asleep.
Most important of all, there are the social media platforms your business uses.
Before we wade into the details, let’s take a step back and look at our overall objective.
We want our posts to get as much reach and engagement as possible.
With that in mind, we’ll run through each of these social channels, and highlight the best time to post for each.
Before we get stuck in, let’s take a closer look at how the best times to post may have changed on social media in 2020 vs. previous years.
More people are working from home and commuting has become a thing of the past, so we’ve all become more active online.
One thing’s especially clear. Social media marketing posting schedules need to adapt, and fast.
So how has coronavirus changed the best time to post on social media?
A study from Sprout Social showed that activity was higher than usual on Facebook during each week day.
The study concluded that the best time to post was Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10am to 11am.
Previously, the best time to post was Wednesday at around 11am and then again from 1pm to 2pm.
The same survey didn’t see too much difference in the time to post on Twitter, which Sprout puts down to the constant feed of updates you see on the platform.
Sprout found the best time to post was on Friday from 7am to 9am. Previously the best time to post was on Wednesday and Friday at 9am.
So how do you know what time the best time to post to your social accounts are?
There are three main factors that help you post at the right time every time and decide what times to schedule your content in your social media calendar.
- A good dose of customer research
- A good dose of market research
- Continuously testing times to post
You have to really understand your audience to instinctively know when the best time to post is.
Here are the most important demographic aspects of your audience that you should be considering:
- Knowing their age
- Knowing what time zone they are in
- Knowing whether they work
- Knowing what they do during the day
Some other important factors to consider are:
- Do they commute to work by bus, train, or car?
- How likely are they to use a mobile phone what time they’re out and about?
Now, when most people consider these factors, they’re conflicted.
“My audience is spread across the world, and there’s no real similarity between their ages, etc.”
If that's the case, you’ll need to find a happy medium somewhere.
For example, ContentCal’s two biggest audiences are the UK & the East Coast of the UK.
For that reason, the best times for us to post are between 2 pm and 6 pm, UK time (we’re based in London).
The more information you have on your audience, the more confidence you’ll have when you’re inferring their social habits and deciding when to publish from your social media scheduler.
Reading ‘best time to post’ articles like this one is a great place to start when you’re looking to understand what the best time to post is for each of the social media platforms.
But realistically, there’s going to be a different answer for each sector.
So you’re going to have to look at some very specific examples of when to post. In other words, you’re going to have to look at what your competition is doing.
When do rival companies think the best time to post on their social media channels is? And how do their posts do?
Take a look at your five closest competitors and make a note of their posting schedules.
What time slots does each of your competitors gravitate towards most often?
You should also make a note of when they don’t post too. Decide whether it’s a ‘dead time’ and not a good idea to post, or an opportunity to grab a share of the audience your competitors are missing out on.
Not sure whether to post? Decide to post at that time slot for a couple of weeks and see what happens.
We’ll talk more about how to structure tests like this later.
There’s another big advantage that comes with checking on the competition.
Your bigger rivals will have probably done some pretty thorough research - and maybe spent some money - on finding out the best times for them to post.
Why not give your biggest competitor’s schedule a go for a while?
If you’re light on customer data and market research isn’t turning up any gems, then you may have to apply a bit of guesswork.
But we don’t just mean pulling a number from a hat.
You should be making intelligent assumptions about when your audience will be online based on who they are.
For example, if they work in an office job, the best times to post are often when they’re commuting, between 5 pm and 7 pm.
Between noon and 2 pm is also a good time to post, because your audience will be on their lunch break.
There seems to be a consensus among social media surveys that the best time to post if you’re a consumer brand is over the weekend, while B2B companies should post during the working week.
It’s easy to sit back and relax once you’ve worked out when you think the best time to post on social media is. But don’t.
Social media certainly won’t stay still for long, especially not in 2020.
Just like your audience changes over time, their social media habits will change too.
That’s why it’s important to update your social media posting strategy every so often. That helps you make sure you’re really still on target with those that schedule.
We’d recommend you keep a close eye on posting times that work each week and then every quarter do a refresh of what time you schedule your posts.
Yep, that’s right. Keep the time slots you know that work, then introduce a whole host of time slots that you don’t know will work at all.
That strategy works for us at ContentCal for a couple of reasons.
- Our global audience is growing quickly. We don’t want to realize in a couple of years’ time that we’ve been ignoring our Australian audience.
- 2020 has been a strange year. We expect things to change quickly.
- Measuring experiments always works if you’re prepared to quickly introduce their results
How do we keep track of all those experiments? We use ContentCal, of course.
Not using ContentCal? Here are what recent studies say about finding the right time to post:
- The best time to post on Facebook
- The best time to post on Twitter
- The best time to post on LinkedIn
- The best time to post on Instagram
- The best time to post on TikTok
- Head into your ContentCal Calendar, and select the ‘Analytics’ tab in on the top menu
- To see your best times to publish across all channels, select ‘All’ at the top left. Right now ContentCal supports analytics for Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- Then pick the time period you’d like to select for the data to be relevant.
- Then scroll down to the ‘Best time to Post graph’ to see when you should be posting on each of the channels.
Once you’ve discovered which times are the best to post content, you’ll want to add these into ContentCal as Preset Publish Times.
Within your content calendar, you can also decide on different publish times to pick from before you or someone on your team posts. These allow you to quickly select from a list of optimum times when scheduling new posts.
This helps maximize reach and reduces any uncertainty your team has about the best time to post. They just need to stick to the predetermined times.
- Head into ‘Setup’ from within your Calendar and scroll down to the ‘Preset Times’ area.
- Select ‘Create Preset Time’ and enter a time of your choice.
- When scheduling a post, select the dropdown beside the timepicker to generate and select from a list of your Preset Times.
Here’s Andy going through the steps:
💡 Pro tip: Regularly make use of the ‘Random’ option when scheduling your content to assign a random publishing time to your post.
This will allow you to continue testing other publish times that might receive high engagement.
Of course, you can check all of this out for yourself by going to your Facebook Analytics page.
Unless you want to go really deep into your best time to post analytics, we’d recommend you use ContentCal.
- Best day to post: Wednesday
- Worst day to post: Sunday
- Optimum time to post: Wednesday, 11am and 1–2pm
In fact, Tuesday all the way through to Thursday from 8 am–3 pm was actually pretty good.
Forget Sunday though. That’s the worst day to post, according to Sprout’s results, and Saturday’s not far behind either.
Interestingly, Facebook engagement significantly drops across the board as soon as 6pm arrives.
Best days to post on Facebook B2C: Wednesday and Friday Worst days to post on Facebook B2C: Sunday Optimum time to post on Facebook B2C: Wednesday at 1 pm and Friday at 11am
Retailers would do well to post on Wednesday and Friday at 11am, according to Sprout Social’s survey results.
In fact, weekends from 10am to 5pm are a pretty good time to post.
Hootsuite released a survey in 2019 which identified that Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday between 9am and 2pm is the best time to post.
(Find the best time in ContentCal)
- Best days: Wednesday and Friday
- Worst day: Saturday
- Optimum times: Wednesday and Friday at 9 am
Previous research has highlighted that Wednesday and Friday at 9am are the best time to get your Tweets out.
In fact, Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm is pretty good overall, especially in the mornings when users are looking for news.
You should avoid Tweeting anything important on Saturday though. That’s when you’re least likely to get engagement.
- Best day: Sunday
- Worst day: Monday
- Optimum time: Sunday at 11am
Able to capture and sort news cycles quickly with an algorithm geared towards engagement, Twitter is unlike other social media channels.
That’s no least because Sunday from 8am to 4pm is the best time to post on Twitter if you’re a B2C company..
The worst day to post is Monday, according to Sprout Social.
However, the Hootsuite study disagrees, instead suggesting that the best time for a B2C business to post on Twitter is from Monday to Wednesday at 12 noon or 1pm.
Either Monday or Thursday and between 9am and 4pm (optimum time between 11am and 1pm) is the best time to post on Twitter for B2B companies.
- Best day: Wednesday and Thursday
- Worst day: Sunday
- Optimum times: Wednesday from 8–10 am and noon, Thursday at 9 am to 1–2 pm, and Friday at 9 am.
If you’re trying to generate B2B leads, there’s no better place to post than Linkedin.
We’d recommend posting to Linkedin on a Wednesday or Thursday in the early afternoon.
But realistically, with the exception of Monday morning and Friday afternoon, if you’re posting on a weekday from 9-5, you’re probably going to get a good level of engagement on your posts.
More recently we’ve seen people have success posting at the weekends. This seems to work because there’s little competition at those times, and Linkedin’s algorithm can tell you what’s gone well
Wednesday is the best time to post on LinkedIn if you’re a B2B brand according to Hootsuite. So your brand awareness and lead generation efforts would be best executed at that time.
Meanwhile B2C brands should use Linkedin for employee branding posts. Here’s when that type of post gets the best engagement, according to Hootsuite.
- Best day: Wednesday
- Worst day: Sunday
- Optimum times: Wednesday at 11 am and Friday from 10 am to 11 am
Like Facebook, Instagram has the most users mid-week and in the middle of the day.
There’s also a strong case to be made for Instagram being the most addictive app, with engagement sprawling across the working week.
Monday to Friday on Instagram is busy from 9am through to 9pm.
However, the weekend doesn’t see quite as much engagement.
- Best day: Wednesday
- Worst day: Sunday
- Optimum time: Wednesday 3pm
Instagram is primarily a consumer-focused app, so it makes a lots of sense to see that the best times to post on Instagram for B2C companies are similar to the overall best time to post on the platform, according to Sprout Social.
Want a more in-depth guide? Check out our blog on the best time to post on Instagram.
TikTok is totally different from all other social apps out there right now, and the best time to post on TikTok is totally different too.
That’s because the app appeals to a younger audience who are more likely to be going to school or working shifts than doing the 9-5.
Before the Covid-19 virus hit, Influencer Marketing Hub analysed more than 100,000 posts and created global time schedules to work out the best time to post on TikTok to get their audience’s attention & win engagement.
Note: These are in Eastern Time, so you may have to add or take away a few hours.
ContentCal doesn’t integrate with TikTok yet, but there are still plenty of ways to find out when you should be posting based on your previous activity.
That is, if you have a pro account.
If you don’t already have a pro account, it’s free for now and pretty easy to get set up.
The analytics within TikTok are pretty good. You can access your analytics by going to your privacy and settings area, clicking on Accounts and then Analytics.
Then you’ll find details on your audience, including gender, location and what content they’ve viewed.
This helps you identify which types of post got the most attention and when, and lets you work out the best time to post on TikTok.
The jury is still out on the best time to post on TikTok. One of the reasons for this is because your audience is just as likely to see a month-old post as it is to see a company’s new post.
Because it’s not yet clear when the best time to post on TikTok is, there’s a popular hashtag on the platform called #besttimetopost where you can join the speculating crowds.
One thing’s for sure, understanding the best time to post would be a boon for marketing managers and content creators.
With the potential to go viral with basically zero followers, TikTok’s algorithm is as attractive to marketers as it is mysterious.
So now you know when to post your social content, but else could you be doing to improve your engagement and reach?
Here are a few suggestions, with links to help you upskill:
- Post better content: Share updates, talk about what you’re doing, comment on research in your industry, showcase a product or service etc. 40 content ideas.
- Use hashtags: People will find your content more easily with a hashtag. Here’s our guide to doing hashtag research.
- Understand how engagement rates work: We’ve put together a guide to understanding engagement rates
Level up your social accounts
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