We’re pretty keen on optimal timing for social media here at Buffer, and I figured it was high time I collected all the information we have about online communication into one place. I’ve collected research and stats on Twitter, Facebook, email and blogging to help you find the best time to communicate with others in each format.
The tricky thing I’ve come across is that since the web is still so new, a lot of the research available to us is conflicting. We really need more time and more studies to get definitive answers about what works best, and the fact that our audience members are constantly changing their own activity patterns makes it even harder to work out for sure. Looking at the latest social media stats seems to only confirm that.
So my suggestion would be to use this guide as just that—a guide to help you work out what to test for your own audience, so that you can see what actually works best in your specific case.
Let’s get into the stats then!
Facebook – find the best time to post your updates
When I posted about Facebook’s News Feed algorithm, one of the factors I talked about was time decay. This is simply the age of your post: how long has it been since you posted it? With the recent introduction of Story Bumping, time decay matters a lot less than how relevant your story is to the user in terms of getting into their News Feed (i.e. does it from a user or Page they interact with often, or have interacted with recently). Still, it’s good to keep time decay in mind, since it does make some difference: you won’t see posts from 3 months ago in your News Feed today.
In terms of specific days and times to post on Facebook, here are some of the stats I found:
Engagement rates are 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays.
I love the way this was explained in Buddy Media’s study: as they put it, “the less people want to be at work, the more they are on Facebook!”
Specific industries varied slightly in which days of the week garnered the most engagement, but most of them sit around the end of the week, from Wednesday to Friday.
Another study found that engagement was 32% higher on weekends, so the end of the week is definitely a good rough guide to start experimenting with.
The best time of day to post on Facebook is debatable, with stats ranging from 1pm to get the most shares, to 3pm to get more clicks, to the broader suggestion of anytime between 9am and 7pm. It seems that this generally points to early afternoon being a solid time to post, and anytime after dinner and before work being a long shot.
Twitter – when is the best time to Tweet for engagement vs. clicks
Twitter is such a popular network for mobile users that it can be a bit tricky to lock down exactly when the best time to post is. Here are some suggestions from the research I’ve found:
Twitter engagement for brands is 17% higher on weekends.
If you’re tweeting from your company account, you might want to keep this in mind, especially if engagement is what you’re looking for. Buffer can help you spread out your tweets to post at the optimal times, so you don’t even have to work weekends to take advantage of this! Click-through rates are generally highest on weekends, as well as mid-week, on Wednesdays.
On the other hand, an Argyle Social study showed that weekdays provide 14% more engagement than weekends, so this is definitely one you’ll want to test on your audience.
When we look at the time of day, retweets have been shown to be highest around 5pm.
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Article written by Belle Beth Cooper.