Social Media Timing: Best & Worst Hours to Post

Engage During the Afternoon Lull, avoid Late-Night Posting

By Ryan Crockett

Social media timing is an absolutely critical factor in executing an effective marketing strategy that maximizes audience outreach. Knowing when to post (and when not to post) on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for optimal engagement can truly take your efforts to the next level.

Social media timing chat bubble
To be heard on social media, you have to speak when your audience is actively listening.

Many will tell you that the early evening is the best time for sharing because that’s when the greatest amount of internet activity occurs. However, some argue that social media timing is best in the mid-morning because most users will check their Facebook accounts immediately after waking. We’ve occasionally heard experts claim that lunchtime is ideal for sharing your freshly written blog because social activity hits a peak just after the mid-morning work rush.

So who is right? Where is the data-driven, analytics-backed evidence for social media timing?

We’ve managed social media for a variety of clients and have found that there is simply no cookie-cutter answer when it comes to social media timing. There is no overarching rule, no one formula that guarantees optimal engagement with your audience. Much like everything else in the world of digital marketing, your specific answer will be based on your audience, target market, and content. It is difficult to tell when to post on social media networks and nearly impossible to tell if a specific share will go viral within the online community. The very best results are driven by data gathered from your own specific audience, organized by properly analyzed metrics in the right context.

Probably not the answer you were looking for.

Alright, before you pull your hair out and start screaming at us through your computer screen, we actually do have a simplified answer for you. Being the responsible social media marketers we are, the Emergent Digital team just wants to make sure you have the full picture, the more detailed answer before giving you the simplified one.

Rules of Thumb for Social Media Timing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Social Media Site

Best Posting Time

Worst Posting Time


1:00 pm – 4:00 pm 11:00 pm – 7:30 am


12:30 pm – 3:00 pm

10:00 pm – 8:00 am

Instagram 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

11:00 pm – 8:00 am

Happy now? Based on big data from a myriad of respected sources and metrics viewed in a variety of frameworks across a vast array of different industries, these are our suggestions for optimal social media timing. Perhaps more importantly, you will find the sharing times you want to avoid most in the right-hand column. Even the most engaging post or well-designed share could fall completely flat during these periods of the day.

Social Media timing engagement
The key to driving engagement on social media is awesome content shared at the right time.

While not meant to be taken as gospel, and your own data should be used to formulate your own SMM strategy, this is a pretty solid starting point. Notice any patterns here? If you noticed that the afternoon tends to be the best time for social media posting while late-night sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram should be avoided, you’re dead on. Why is this? As we mentioned earlier, social media engagement hits a spike during the afternoon, with the highest amount of activity occurring at about 2:00 pm. This seems to make some sense, as studies have shown employees hit their lowest amount of productivity right after lunch (tsk tsk) and social media is the great procrastinator of our time.

It probably goes without saying, but the lowest social media engagement occurs during the late night hours because (surprise) everyone is asleep. Now that you have a few general rules to help guide your initial social media timing, stop being lazy and create your own custom plan. Nothing beats a carefully-crafted SMM strategy based on your own industry, audience, and experience.

Questions? Comments? What’s your opinion on the ideal social media timing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Please share in the comment section below!

Posted in: Digital Marketing, Online Advertising Tips, Social Media