So you’ve got your channels, you’re growing your audience but you’re not quite getting the interaction and engagement you had hoped for. You may be missing your key posting times. Social media can be hard to navigate, but once you have the insights you can adjust your timings accordingly. Just like a recipe that almost-works, if you know how to amend it, it will work in future. Take the guess work out and post at smarter times on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using our tips.

First, consider your audience because the audience make-up of channels differ hugely. Who are they? Actually, where are they is maybe the more important question here, because if you’re a creator in Scandinavia but your biggest audience is in Australia and the USA, you need to adjust your posting times to reach the maximum amount of your audience. So delve into your insights and find out when your audience is most active and what locations they are based in.

Facebook: Lunchtime Lingering

The biggest social media platform by far is Facebook, and you may be surprised to learn that globally the best times to post are late morning to mid-afternoon. It seems everyone’s on Facebook during their lunch break, right? Or maybe breaking up the middle of the day by taking some time to chill out and scroll for a while. Similarly, it’s interesting to note that weekends are notoriously low for engagement, with Sunday standing out possibly one of the work times to post. So, weekdays around lunchtime is your best bet! Sprout Social has some great figures and diagrams depicting optimum post times for Facebook.

Instagram: An All-Day Affair

Interestingly, Instagram mimics Facebook by having similar optimum posting patterns and timings for best performance, but it’s more drawn out, so actually the length of a working day, 9 - 6pm in general is a good time to post, with early morning and late night (plus Sunday, again) not bearing as great a fruit as other times. Peaking at lunchtime, much like Facebook, the sweet spots seem to be 12-2pm and then 5-7pm.

Twitter: Constantly Churning, Sunrise to Sunset

Twitter is the fastest-paced of the major social networks, because a tweet has an incredibly short shelf life (less than 30 minutes for the average tweet) so it’s a network bursting with constant updates and content pumping through it, like blood through veins, so there’s a much wider, broader and longer scope for content to perform, but to stand out the content has to be seriously high quality. Think of breaking news or announcements, little bite-size snippets of information that have mass appeal, those are the things that live on beyond the thirty minute window. So for Twitter you’ve got the window between 7am and 3pm to really stand out.

Just like breakfast news and the daily papers, Twitter is a news source, so people are logging on and checking for updates almost the moment they rise, so the window is a little earlier than other networks. Likewise, customer care accounts are huge on Twitter so they operate on a normal working day/hours, but even though Twitter is also at its peak around lunchtime - like most other networks - it’s not necessary to only stick to that time.

LinkedIn: Breaking Up The Day

For LinkedIn - and don’t discount it, there’s been lots of writing recently about how active this seemingly inactive social channel is - the optimum times are unsurprisingly mirroring the work day, but just before key points. So, just before work begins (around 8am), just before mid-morning (11am), just before lunch (12:30pm) and just around leaving time (5-6pm). The rest of the time, the users of this professional social network are working, so you’re catching them on their commute, at their mid-morning break or lunch break and just as they leave the office. LinkedIn is all about professional connections and networking, so if you’ve got interesting, engaging content that applies in that sphere and is shareable, use this network to your advantage.

Pinterest: Throw The Rule Book Out!

Pinterest is an anomaly in so far as, the user base is almost entirely female and eschews the working day so it’s actually most active in the evening and into the night, so 8pm onwards. Even though Pinterest is not as popular or frequently used as the other channels, this is important as it demonstrates how different one channel can be to another, adding emphasis to the point that you need to take each channel as individual and apply and tweak your content slightly differently for each.

A final point, use the tools available –– if you need to reach an audience at a particular time but you’re in a meeting, on a flight or catching z’s on the other side of the world, you can schedule your posts using the various social scheduling apps available, on both free and premium plans.