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best times to post on social media, when to post on Facebook Twitter LinkedInSocial media marketers often ask: When are the best times to post on social media? And how often should I post? They believe posting at the right time will generate more engagement and click-throughs. Does posting time really make a difference?

Many studies have tried to determine the answers. Nathan Ellering at CoSchedule found 20 studies that analyzed posting times. They often produce contradictory recommendations.

Contradictory Recommendations

Quick Sprout recommends posting on Facebook on any day during the workweek. Elle & Co. recommends weekends and between 1 and 3 p.m. SurePayroll says Wednesday at 3 p.m. is the best time. Fast Company recommends 1 to 3 p.m., especially Wednesday 3 p.m. Kissmetrics says the best day is Saturday and the best time is at noon.

CoSchedule offers a tool that it says helps marketers determine the best posting times for their particular brands, Ellering notes.

New Analysis by HubSpot

In one of the latest in-depth studies of posting times, HubSpot analyzed about 10,000 accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, 15,000 posts on LinkedIn company pages, 25,000 posts to Facebook business Pages, and nearly 60,000 posts on Twitter.

It found that, depending on the network posting times generally matters less than quality of the content.

Timing of Posts on Twitter Doesn’t Matter

For Twitter, the time or day of posts generally makes little or no difference. The recommendation: Post when it’s convenient for you. Focus on content, not the time.

More tweets typically generate better results, but publishing terrible posts will harm your brand’s reputation and not get click-throughs.

LinkedIn: Post during Business Hours

On LinkedIn, posts published during business hours on weekdays, except Monday, perform best. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are especially good days to publish on LinkedIn. If you publish more than five times a week, typically once per weekday, benefits drop substantially. Benefits begin to plateau after two posts per week. LinkedIn doesn’t want a single company to dominate users’ feeds with frequent posts.

Recommendation: Post between two and five posts each week, before 5 p.m. on Tuesdays through Fridays.

Facebook Recommendations

There’s no preferred time or day to post on Facebook, although Sundays produce slightly better results. Return on investment drops after five posts a week. Facebook’s algorithm may even punish frequent posters who gain little engagement.

Recommendation: Post between two and five times per week. Focus on quality, not time of day. However, post more frequently if you can attract engagement. Posts with more than five likes and comments appear more frequently in news feeds.

Keeping an active Facebook page for your company and its brands is important. Customers visit Facebook pages to research brands. If your Facebook page is incomplete and inactive, they may choose a competitor that’s active on the platform.

Analyze Your Audience

The reality is the best posting times can vary by audience and by the poster. Marketers can examine Google Analytics to find nations and states where website visitors live.

Facebook Analytics reports when audiences are on Facebook. Go to Insights and click on Posts to view data. Twitter Analytics may reveal the best times to tweet. Visit Audience tab to find their regions and the Tweets tab to learn days when they engage most with tweets. LinkedIn Analytics also reveals days that posts receive more impressions and engagement.

National brands targeting U.S. audiences should keep in mind that 50 percent of the U.S. population lives in the Eastern time zone and another 30 percent lives in the Central time zone, Ellering points out.

“You want to be smart about your posting schedule, but just as importantly, know what you’re publishing. It’s smart to think of “quality over quantity” for your social media publishing habits,” he advises.

Bottom Line: A multitude of studies attempt to determine the best times to post on social media. Firm answers remain elusive and contradictory. Best posting times can depend on the brand and its audience. Focusing on content quality rather than posting times will almost certainly generate better results.

William J. Comcowich founded and served as CEO of CyberAlert LLC, the predecessor of Glean.info. He is currently serving as Interim CEO and member of the Board of Directors. Glean.info provides customized media monitoring, measurement and analytics solutions across all types of traditional and social media.