Consumer habits have changed drastically over the past decade or so. Cell phones have inundated daily life with Pew reporting 92% of American adults have a cell phone and 67% of those users own a smartphone. Social media is another change in the way free time is spent, with Business Insider reporting almost 20% of all online browsing (both desktop and mobile) time is spent on social media.
Many companies have realized the goldmine that social media is in its ability to bridge the gap between consumer and brand. Companies can use social media to boost brand awareness, increase leads, cultivate relationships and strengthen the brand’s face. As companies create valuable content, they should use management software to help them keep track of multi-channel activity, track outcomes and post content at the best times for whatever platform they are publishing on. Discovering those ideal posting times can be difficult, but it is important for gaining optimal engagement levels.
By far the most used social media platform, Facebook now boasts over 1.71 billion monthly users. When posting on Facebook, brands have found that they get better engagement levels in the early afternoon between the hours of 1-3 p.m. Additionally, Thursday and Friday had the highest levels of activity and happy engagement. Friday afternoon activity made up 17% of all brand likes and 15% of comments and shares.
Another important platform for many brands, Twitter can be a place for posting short comments and links to engage in conversations with users. Retweeting users is best after 3 p.m., but before 8 p.m. Many Twitter users are active during work or school, making optimal times during the day, especially around 5 p.m. for the majority of adults.
Video content is often viewed and shared around lunchtime or during breaks. Much of YouTube traffic is heightened from Thursday through Sunday. While weekday engagement rises again after the end of the business day, 5-6 p.m. is the worst time for brands to post.
Because of the nature of LinkedIn, workdays are the best time for engagement between the typical hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The scheduling app Buffer recommends posting 20 quality postings a week on LinkedIn, since each post is likely to only reach about 20% of your network.
The biggest user base on Pinterest are women (87%) and the busiest times on the platform are typically mid-to-late afternoons. Posting between 2-4 p.m. may allow brands to reach peak user engagement, but posting during the average dinner hours (5-7 p.m.) is usually when traffic is at its lowest. This platform has one of the longest average browsing times, with users spending around 89 minutes on the site – more than Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn. This is an especially important platform for retail and fashion brands, since the platform is photo-based.
Since specific target audiences and influencers will have different habits based on their tendencies, companies need to monitor their engagement levels and analyze the activity times, content types and formats that are working best to engage their ideal customers. While these average guidelines may be helpful to get strategies started, social media posting is not a one-size-fits-all formula, so brands will have to learn the patterns of their consumer base.