Best Times to Post on Social Media in 2021

Content Marketing Social Media Best Practices

We’re asked “When is the best time to post on social media?” often, so we wanted to present the ultimate guide for brands and industries to use in 2021 and beyond.

Social media marketers are putting tons of effort into crafting the ultimate tweet or designing the perfect infographic to share on Facebook, but those efforts won’t pay off if no one sees your post or tweet. Figuring out the best time to post on social media will help you increase your reach and engage more of your followers, and can be easily achieved in just a few steps.

This definitive guide offers suggestions about the best times to post on social media and breaks it down by industry, time of day, day of the week, and channel. We hope this information helps you target your posts and increase your engagement. We studied engagement data from 14 key industries across North America.

Here are a few key takeaways:

Best times to post on social: Instagram

We love to say that Instagram is the most engaging social network, and the numbers don’t lie: according to our Social Media Industry Benchmark Report, average engagement rates are 30% more than on Facebook and about 300% more than on Twitter, so it’s really important to make the most of your posting on this channel.

Before we jump into the rankings, let’s talk about how to read the embedded data below. We computed the average engagement rate over the course of the day for a big set of brands, and then correlated whether engagement rates in that time period were better or worse than their average content and by what percentage. Use the temperature indicator to see how engagement rates vary from the average (red is bad, blue is good). For example, a 1.3 ratio in dark blue indicates a 30% increase for brands over their average engagement rate. This strategy makes brands relative to themselves for extra data accuracy.

The size of each dot is the relative volume of posting in each time slot to help give you a sense of how popular a time slot is. It’s important to look at both the engagement rate ratio and the volume of posting in each time slot for a true sense of how to apply these findings to your brand. Just because the engagement rate ratio is high in the overnight slot doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the key to social media success for your particular brand or industry.

Use the drop-down selector to easily toggle between industries.

As we noted above, the best time to post on any channel is unique to your brand and deserves some study and experimentation. That said, here are a few key Instagram takeaways:

How to find your best times to post on Instagram

Instagram makes it easy to see when your followers are online in its native app, and you can also use a handy tool like Rival IQ to dig into your data. We’ll walk you through both options.

To find your best time to post using Instagram Insights, navigate to your profile page and then to the Insights tab. Find your Audience insights by selecting your Total Follower, and then scroll down to the bottom of your follower breakdown to find your most active times. Active time on Instagram denotes when your followers are logged in and liking, commenting, or saving your content.

How to find the best time to post on social using your follower active times in Instagram Insights.

How to find your follower active times in Instagram Insights.

Easily toggle between your best times and days to post using the selector in the bottom right. You can also switch between Insights that go back 7 and 30 days using the selector at the top left for even more data.

If you want to go back further in time or are looking to compare your best times to post on social against your competitors, be sure to check out an app like Rival IQ.

Follower online times in Instagram help you find your best time to post on social.

Here you can see the same 30-day retrospective from Instagram’s native tools in a more digestible format. Our followers use Instagram pretty consistently throughout the week, but midday is definitely the right time to catch them with a post or video.

Average activity and engagement by day and hour help you find your best time to post on social.

For even more information about the best time to post on Instagram, Rival IQ can help you make sense of how your posting activity correlates to engagement rate by day and time. Don’t miss the dotted grey line that compares your average activity and engagement rates by day and hour to that of your main competition. This competitive view comes in especially handy when trying to gain an edge over your competitors by helping you schedule your posts at times when your followers are active and engaged.

Check your best time to post in Rival IQ.

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Best times to post on social: Facebook

Even though Instagram is the engagement juggernaut, it’s still really important to target your followers when they’re most active on Facebook as well.

Here are a few key trends for the best time and day to post on Facebook:

Does that increased engagement on Saturday nights guarantee your brand visibility and likes on Facebook? Not necessarily. The best time to post on Facebook is ultimately unique to your brand, so do some research and experimentation to see when your followers are active on the site and then tailor your posting accordingly.

How to find the best times to post on Facebook

Facebook offers a 7-day view into when your followers are online to help brands and agencies figure out when to post on the platform. Here’s how to find it.

Head to your brand’s Facebook page, and then select “Insights” from the navigation bar on the left. From there, select “Posts” in the updated left nav to check out the days and times your Facebook fans are online.

Using Page Insights in Facebook to find the best times to post on social.

How to find when your fans are online using Facebook Page Insights.

As you can see in the screenshot above, Rival IQ’s fans log into Facebook really consistently no matter what day of the week it is. Our best time of day to post is right around the noon hour, with engagement decreasing early in the morning and late at night.

Sadly, Facebook doesn’t offer competitive insights about the best time and day to post, so you’ll just have to experiment until you find what works best for your brand, or turn to a social media analytics tool like Rival IQ.

Average activity and engagement by day and hour help you find your best time to post on social.

Like in the Post Times table in Rival IQ from the Instagram section up above, you can see your best times and days to post compared against your competitive landscape, which is represented by the grey dotted line. Don’t forget to hover for even more info, and to toggle the date range to go back further in time than Facebook’s 7-day limit in its native analytics.

Best times to post on social: Twitter

Just because Twitter makes it extra-tricky to figure out when to tweet for optimum engagement doesn’t mean it’s not important.

Is the pattern of run-of-the-mill engagement on weekdays while the sun is shining starting to look familiar?

Sadly, Twitter makes it really tough to access the best times to tweet natively (we’re pretty sure it requires a line-by-line Excel export, a map, and a compass). Thankfully, there’s Rival IQ.

Average activity and engagement by day and hour help you find your best time to post on social.

Don’t forget to note when your competitors are tweeting to supercharge your Twitter activity.

Methodology

We studied posting trends for more than 2,000 brands between August and October 2020 on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. We studied the same group of brands from 14 diverse industries that we use in our Social Media Industry Benchmark Report and to study the impact of coronavirus on brands in 2020.

Wrapping it up

We hope these heat maps give you a better understanding of the best times to post on social for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for your industry and brand. We wish there was a one-size-fits-all answer, but ultimately the best thing you can do to ascertain when you should be posting on social is to experiment and track your results over time using native analytics or a social media analytics tool like Rival IQ.

Ready to find your best time to post? Sign up for a free 14-day trial in Rival IQ.

Happy posting and tweeting!

Blair Feehan

Blair is a content marketer based in Seattle who relishes helping companies large and small do one thing: tell their stories. She specializes in content creation, messaging, branding, and community engagement to get the word out. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading her brains out and then running statistical analysis on what she's been reading.

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