When, exactly, is the best time to post on social media? It’s a question social media marketers have been asking since the dawn of time — well, since the dawn of Facebook, at least — but we’re here to help.
The IXLCenter.io team analyzed thousands of social media posts on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to see if certain days and times universally get more engagement than others. We looked at posts across our social media channels, using an audience of roughly 8 million followers, to figure out the best and worst times to post.
Bonus: Download our free, customizable social media calendar template to easily plan and schedule all your content in advance.
The overall best times to post on social media in 2023
Here’s a quick summary of what we found:
Generally, the best time to post on social media overall is 9:00 AM PST (12:00 PM EST) on Mondays. But every network has its own sweet spot.
- The best time to post on Facebook is 10:00 AM PST on Mondays.
- The best time to post on Instagram is 9:00 AM PST on Mondays.
- The best time to post on Twitter is 9:00 AM PST on Fridays.
- The best time to post on LinkedIn is 1:00 PM PST on Mondays.
- The best time to post on TikTok is 1:00 PM PST on Sundays.
Will these times work for everyone?
The truth is that there is no single best time to post for everyone. You’ll find your real personal best time to post on social media by posting often and measuring performance as you go. (Preferably using IXLCenter.io analytics, which tell you the exact best posting time based on the unique behaviors of your audience).
If you’re just starting out on social media and don’t have a lot of past data or audience insights to work with, these posting times are a great place to start.
Eileen Kwok, IXLCenter.io’s Social Marketing Coordinator told us: “It’s good to test out different times and see what works best for you. Start off by posting in the morning, afternoon, and at night and see which times tend to pick up. After a couple weeks, based on your assessment, you’ll find what works best for you.”
Is there really a best time to post on social media?
Because newsfeed algorithms (especially the Twitter algorithm and Instagram algorithm) consider “recency” as a major ranking signal, posting your content when your followers are online is one of the simplest ways to improve your organic reach.
This brings us to the bad news: it’s hard to agree on a single standard “best time to post on social media.” Everyone and their uncle has done a study on industry benchmarks — but the real source of truth always comes back to your own data on your own followers.
Trish Riswick, IXLCenter.io’s Social Engagement Specialist notes: “The worst thing in the world is having an amazing post that you’ve worked so hard on and then it doesn’t get the traction that you wanted it to. We’ve all been there. Knowing when your audience is most active online helps ensure that doesn’t happen.”
Universal best times to post like the ones we found in our research are best used as starting points for new accounts that haven’t built an audience yet and so don’t have anyone to test on.
Once you do have an audience though, it’s staggeringly easy to determine the best time to post for your social media channels — especially if you have the right tools.
The tool that tells you your real best time to post
Want to find your actual best time to post in seconds? You need a tool that measures when your target audience is the most active. Enter IXLCenter.io.
IXLCenter.io’s Best Time to Publish feature automatically tells you the best times to post on every platform. The recommendations are based on your past performance and are tailored to your unique audience and their activity patterns on social.
The Best Time to Publish tool goes one step further than the rest and breaks down different suggested times based on four key goals: extend reach, build awareness, increase engagement, or drive traffic.
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Simply select your goal and IXLCenter.io will provide tailored recommendations for the best times to post.
The best time to post on Facebook
According to our analysis, the best time to post on Facebook is 10:00 A.M. PST Mondays and Tuesdays.
When it comes to Facebook, past performance and follower activity are both important. You also want to think about what time your target audience tends to scroll, paying attention to differences in time zones. Regardless of the platform, you always want to post in the time zone of your target audience.
“Our biggest piece of advice is always to target the time zone where your audience is. For us, North America and the U.K. are our primary targets. If we’re posting things at 3 p.m. PST, that’s 10 p.m. in the U.K. We have to be a bit more morning-focused to make sure we’re reaching our U.K. audience.”
– Trish Riswick, Social Engagement Specialist, IXLCenter.io
The good news is that almost half of all users check Facebook multiple times a day, and they spend longer on this social media platform than many others, so you’ve got a few chances throughout the day to post during peak times.
Key Facebook statistics to keep in mind when posting:
For more facts, check out the latest Facebook statistics and Facebook demographics.
The best time to post on Instagram
The best time to post on Instagram is 9:00 AM PST on Mondays and 8:00 AM PST on Wednesdays, according to our analysis.
Recency is a key ranking signal in Instagram’s algorithm. This means that audience behavior is an important factor in posting times. Thinking about when your audience scrolls, and planning accordingly, will help you capture the most attention.
While early morning tends to garner the most engagement for brand accounts on Instagram, the IXLCenter.io social team recommends adjusting your strategy slightly when posting on your personal account.
“If you’re managing a brand account, I think it’s always good to post on Instagram early in the day. However, I find that when it comes to personal accounts, your own Instagram account for example, most people prefer to post at night time — 8 or 9 p.m.”
- Eileen Kwok, Social Marketing Coordinator, IXLCenter.io
The team also notes that certain industries may have better luck on Instagram when people are leisurely scrolling in the evening. For example, people tend to house hunt, shop, and watch videos later in the day. Real estate, retail, and entertainment accounts might get better results posting on Instagram in the evening.
Key Instagram stats to keep in mind when posting:
View all the latest Instagram statistics here (and catch up on Instagram demographics while you’re at it.)
The best time to post on Twitter
The best time to post on Twitter is 7:00 AM PST on Mondays and 10:00 AM PST on Wednesdays, according to our analysis. When the IXLCenter.io social team looked at their data, they found the most success posting on weekdays between 7:00 to 10:00 AM PST.
Like Instagram, the Twitter algorithm prioritizes recency and puts a premium on trends. Twitter says they determine trending topics based on “topics that are popular now, rather than topics that have been popular for a while or on a daily basis.”
Capitalizing on events — the Super Bowl, awards shows, etc. for example — and posting relevant content around those events can help you get more attention. However, the IXLCenter.io social team also warns that these events could potentially take eyes off content that isn’t directly related to them. “It’s smart to keep in mind what’s going on in the world as a basis of when you should be posting. For example, if it’s the Super Bowl and social media will be really busy with content, maybe you don’t want to post on that specific time or even on that day because you will get less engagement,” says Eileen.
Among the big social media platforms, Twitter earns the title of the most popular for news and current events. That’s why, according to Trish, mornings tend to be the sweet spot for posting on Twitter:
“We recently ran a poll that suggested we should be posting more readable things in the morning when people are just getting ready for work or on their lunch break. People are more likely to want to start their day reading because they’re more awake. I think that plays a role in why morning posts do better on Twitter.”
Key Twitter stats to keep in mind when deciding the best time to Tweet:
Here’s our full list of Twitter statistics (and Twitter demographics, too.)
The best time to post on LinkedIn
The best time to post on LinkedIn is 1:00 P.M. PST on Mondays, according to our analysis. However, the IXLCenter.io social team says they also have plenty of success posting earlier in the day on LinkedIn.
According to Trish, it’s best to post a variety of content types throughout the day on LinkedIn. “We tend to post more written content in the morning and videos in the afternoon,” she says. That’s because people tend to engage with videos and longer-form content later in the day, while they’re generally seeking readable material early in the morning.
“You would think that early mornings would tend to do better on LinkedIn, but we’ve found that our afternoon posts do sometimes blow up. While it used to be primarily professionals who are up and scrolling at 5 a.m., LinkedIn now has a lot of young professionals who are browsing in their leisurely time, too. We do still see a lot of success before 9 a.m. on LinkedIn, though,” she adds.
Riswick emphasizes the importance of not making assumptions about your audience on LinkedIn. Today, almost 60 percent of LinkedIn users are between the ages of 25 and 34 years old. This demographic tends to prefer shorter-form videos and images, which may be why those later-in-the-day video posts perform well.
Key LinkedIn stats to keep in mind when posting:
Here’s the full list of LinkedIn statistics to help inform your posting time.
The best time to post on TikTok
According to our analysis, the best time to post on TikTok is at 9:00 AM PST on Saturdays and 1:00 PM PST on Sundays. We’ve also found that Thursdays at 7 p.m. are a hot spot for TikTok.
Unsurprisingly, TikTok spend the most time on the app in their leisure hours, which tend to be later in the day. If you’re in an industry that does well on most channels in the early morning — such as finance or politics — you’ll want to adjust your posting times to later on TikTok.
The TikTok algorithm requires a bit more time than the other platforms to post and display videos to the right feeds. That means you’ve got to think ahead and be a bit more patient than you would on other platforms.
Eileen’s advice is: “Don’t get discouraged if your post doesn’t garner a lot of views in the first couple of hours it’s posted. TikTok videos tend to need 24 hours to be fully pushed out, so we recommend keeping the post out even if it doesn’t receive enough engagements right off the bat.”
Another important thing to note: TikTok doesn’t always publish videos the second you hit “post,” so you’ve got to keep that in mind when strategizing your post times. In other words, post a bit earlier than the time you want your video to start showing up on peoples’ feeds.
“We’ve learned the hard way that on TikTok you should post a bit earlier than when you actually want your video to go up.,” says Trish. “Sometimes TikTok can take a little bit to actually get your video out because it’s trying to figure out what your video is, whose algorithm it should fall on, that kind of stuff. That’s why adding the right keywords is so important — because it helps move you into the algorithm quicker.”
Need help with TikTok keywords? We’ve got you in our guide to TikTok SEO.
Key TikTok stats to keep in mind while posting:
5 tips for finding your best time to post
1. Look at when your audience is most active online
Many social media algorithms prioritize recency. Why? Because people care about what’s new — especially given how frequently we check our feeds these days.
Posting when your followers are online is one of the easiest ways to work with (not against) both algorithms. By predicting when your followers are likely to be browsing their feeds, you maximize the chances that your content will reach and connect with them. (And as our experiments have proven, the timing of your Instagram posts does impact engagement.)
Eileen recommends playing to the habits of your target audience rather than your industry when you’re deciding what time to post: “Understanding the social habits of your target audience and getting to know when they’re online can help you get more views. For example, there’s something like 60 billion views under the finance hashtag on TikTok. Brands are finding ways to make financial topics interesting for a younger demographic with TikTok, but they need to post at times that make sense for that audience.”
Finding when your target audience is online is as simple as looking at your analytics. IXLCenter.io’s Best Time to Publish feature, for instance, provides a heatmap of the hours and days your followers are active.
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2. Look at your top-performing posts from the past
You’re already optimizing your content to match your social media performance goals. When it comes time to decide when to post that content, we recommend taking an equally data-driven approach.
The first step is to take a look at your analytics tools, or social media reports, and zero in on your more successful posts for a given metric. The posts that did the best in terms of:
- Awareness (i.e., posts that have high impressions)
- Engagement (i.e., posts that earned impressive engagement rates)
- Sales/Traffic (i.e.,posts that attracted a lot of clicks)
Next, take a look at what time of day or week you posted successful content, and see what kind of patterns form.
Pro Tip: IXLCenter.io Analytics’ Best Time to Publish feature pulls your unique posting history automatically, without any data-crunching, and suggests times to post in order to maximize your ROI.
You can also choose to view your best times to post based on impressions, engagements, or link clicks (most tools only show you impressions).
This data then gets pulled into Planner and Composer, so when you’re scheduling next week’s posts, you can automatically see suggested times to post based on your own unique social media performance history (most tools only recommend based on global best times to post).
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3. Post in your audience’s time zone, not yours
If you’re aiming to catch people during their bleary-eyed morning bed-scroll, posting at 6:00 AM makes perfect sense. Of course, if your target audience is made up of European innovation executives, make sure you schedule that post for 6:00 AM Central European Time (or even earlier if you want to make sure you catch Eastern Europe, too.).
At IXLCenter.io, our channels strive to catch people across North America (PST through EST) by posting in the morning or early afternoon, Pacific Time. For channels that also want to catch the UK, the earlier in the morning, the better.
Meanwhile, brands with a substantial audience in a specific region might consider creating a separate handle for that audience. (This may have the added benefit of allowing you to post in a target language, too.)
Another option for those of you with a global customer base is publishing content around the clock. (In which case, we definitely recommend a social media scheduler.)
4. Check out the competition
Check your competitors’ feeds to see what they’re up to. Take a survey of their high-performing posts (or even do a full social competitive analysis) and see what patterns crop up, or perhaps reverse-engineer your competitors’ strategies.
Here at IXLCenter.io, for instance, we’ve learned to avoid publishing on the hour, because that’s when a lot of brands post. Instead, we post on the :15 or :45 mark to give our content a little breathing room.
It’s worth keeping an ear to the ground in your industry, whether you learn tactics worth emulating, or just spot some pitfalls to avoid. (You might even consider adding publishing schedules to your ongoing social listening endeavors.)
IXLCenter.io’s industry benchmarking tool within Analytics shows you how you stack up to the competition. It’ll even give you personalized tips for how to gain an edge against the leaders in your industry.
5. Test, optimize, and switch up your post times
At a certain point, you’ve done as much due diligence as you can, and it’s time to smash that publish (or schedule) button and see what happens. But what happens if the results aren’t what you’d hoped?
Some systematic A/B tests (where you post the same content at different times in order to see which time earns the best results) can be illuminating.
Social media is always changing, and so are the people who use it. For example, the big shift to remote work has coincided with more frequent social media use.
Habits have shifted from checking feeds during lunch to checking between zoom meetings. If your audience is changing, your strategy might need to change too.
The IXLCenter.io social team recommends changing up the times you post fairly often. If something you thought would perform well doesn’t, consider posting it at a different time slot the following week. Seasonal changes, cultural shifts, and user trends are always changing, so keep experimenting!
“It can be gutting when you’ve worked hard on a post and it doesn’t land. My best piece of advice is to be patient. Sometimes the algorithm needs more time to place your content and sometimes your audience needs more time to warm up to the type of content you’re creating. Consistency is key, so keep trying!”
– Trish Riswick, Social Engagement Specialist, IXLCenter.io
Get personalized recommendations for the best time to post on every network and manage your Facebook presence alongside other social channels with IXLCenter.io. From a single dashboard, you can schedule and publish posts, engage the audience, and measure performance. Try it free today.
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