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Is there really an optimal time to post on social media? Experts weigh in

Is there really an optimal time to post on social media? Experts weigh in

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 Social media is crucial when it comes to executing a successful brand campaign. As the bedrock of getting across key messaging and getting clicks and eyeballs, an airtight but flexible online strategy is very necessary for any marketing team. 

Last week, MARKETING-INTERACTIVE released a study by software company Sprout Social who analysed near nearly two billion engagements across 400,000 social profiles across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok to find out which timeslots yielded the most engagement online. 

Don't miss: These are the best times to post on some of the biggest social media platforms in 2023

social media best times to post on social media overrall stats

The extensive study found that the best days to post of social media in general were Tuesdays and Wednesdays while the worst day was Sunday. It also broke down some of the best timings to post day to day depending on which platform you are targeting. 

While you can check out the full breakdown here, it is important to note that a simple Google search will yield a multitude of results and sites, each claiming to know the best and most effective times and days to post online. 

So which ones can you really trust, and which ones are actually accurate? The answer it would seem doesn't even really matter all that much because of the way user behavior has shifted, according to the social media experts MARKETING-INTERACTIVE reached out to. 

"It really depends on the type of content you are putting out and the audience that you’re aiming to reach out to," said Kristian Olsen, the founder and managing director of Type A. "Each type of audience essentially has different times when they are online more and have the time to engage with content they like. So, you can’t just say straight away what time of the day is going to work. You’re going to have to trial this with your content posting times and keep track of what content and which audience gets the most traction," he said. 

Adding on, he noted that things like finding the ideal time to post does not even matter considering that platforms such as Facebook have "all but killed" organic content.

What’s the point of locking in a time that makes sense when the latest research shows that just 0.07% of a page’s fans engage with the average organic post?

He added that additionally, with media spend and decent targeting behind a campaign, it doesn’t matter what time you post content because your target audience will see it at some point.

The importance of paid media

True enough, unless significant boosting or media spend is allocated to a campaign, the chances that it will reach a brand's target audience lessens significantly no matter what time or day your post and that is simply because organic content is no longer a priority for a majority of social platforms. 

In fact, when setting up a campaign, platforms such as Meta allow advertisers to choose where their ads go based on a person's location, age, gender and language. It also allows advertisers to have detailed targeting by including or excluding certain groups based on a certain criteria. 

"Being in the social media business for so long now, I’ve come to realise that it doesn’t really matter what time you post anymore, thanks to Meta’s flat-lining algorithms for both Facebook and Instagram," said Kimberley Olsen, the co-founder of Yatta Workshop, a social media led creative digital agency. "This is why Yatta’s approach has always been to recommend adding in paid media to boost every piece of content to ensure it gets a decent amount of awareness above and beyond the existing communities online."

She continued by noting that as a result, the agency does not generally consider timing to be a factor, however, understanding days of the week that users are most active does help decide the best days to post. "Days are a bit more subjective to respective brand communities hence we find this to be more insightful when planning on when to publish our content for clients," she said before adding:

In general, unless the brand has a very specific audience behavior, we find that post timings from brand to brand do not vary that contrastingly.

Additionally, there is no formula to getting content seen, according to Olsen. She highlighted an example of when marketers would religiously dedicate a section of their caption with exactly 11 hashtags that in their opinion, "didn’t really do much."

"However, on TikTok, the use of hashtags is extremely powerful, and people use hashtags to actively search for content. When posting on TikTok, we would put our priority on including the relevant trending hashtags for our content over the right timing to publish it," she said, disrupting the idea that there is one solution or strategy that can be applied across platforms. 

Agreeing with her, Bryan Leong, strategy director at The Chariot Agency noted that it is more crucial for advertisers to understand audience behavior and state of mind of the moment they are pushing to identify when the best time would be to serve branded content.

"It’s important for brands and agencies to continuously observe, test and adapt your timing strategy to achieve the best results," he said before nothing that there is a constant shift in user behaviour correlating to how they consume content on social.

It is also crucial to note that timing advice has zeroed in from general to specific target audiences of varying demographics, preferences and even on a geographical level, he said while noting that platform algorithms are also constantly changing and prioritising different types of content. 

As brand custodians then, we can use such recommended posting times as a starting point and take our own initiative to experiment with specific brands and audiences.

He concluded by recommending that marketers post at times when their audience is most active and likely to be online and it will increase the chance of it appearing in users' feeds. 

"Posting at optimal times can also help your content appear in users' feeds when they are actively scrolling, increasing the likelihood of likes, comments, and shares," he said before cautioning that it is still important to note that timing alone cannot compensate for poor content quality or a lack of audience relevance.

Related articles:
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Why brands increased their ad spend on TikTok despite the looming ban
What the removal of IG shop tab says about its commerce priorities

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