If you run a Facebook Business Page, you know that organic reach is dwindling on the platform. The average organic reach on Facebook is 2.2%. This means that if you have 1,000 followers, only 20 of them will see your new posts and updates in their feeds. Sucks, doesn’t it?
Now, the number of people who see your posts depends mostly on Facebook’s algorithms, but there’s one thing you can do to increase your reach and engagement. And that is to post content at the right time.
But when is the best time to post on Facebook?
The team at Hootsuite analyzed thousands of Facebook posts to see if certain days and times get more engagement on Facebook than others. Keep reading to find out the results — and how to pin down your very own best time to post, specific to your account and your audience.
Before we get into this, note that everybody and their grandma has done a study on the best times to post on Facebook (and other social platforms) and the results vary widely. So if you really want to know the best times for you to post on Facebook, you’ll have to take a dive into your own followers and Facebook analytics — because peak times that work for other social media marketers can very well flop on your account.
That being said, recency is a major ranking signal for Facebook. So if you want to boost your odds of appearing at the top of your followers’ feeds, you have to post when they’re online.
If you’re just starting with Facebook and you don’t have an audience yet, you might not know when, exactly, your target audience comes online. In that case, you can start posting at the universal best time the team of social media experts at Hootsuite recorded in their research.
When you do have an audience, it’s extremely easy to figure out the best times to post on Facebook — especially if you have the right tools. Read on for specific tips!
According to Hootsuite’s analysis, the universal best time to post on Facebook is 8:00 am to 12:00 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
But as mentioned earlier, these times are not set in stone. They can change depending on your follower activity and past performance.
Here’s great example of this is Hootsuite’s analysis of their own Facebook data.
This heatmap from Hootsuite Analytics shows that most of Hootsuite’s Facebook followers consistently come online around 7 am PST every weekday. So it would make sense for Hootsuite’s social media team to post content to Hootsuite’s Facebook page by that time, right?
When the team took Hootsuite’s past post performance and follower activity into account, it turned out that the best time to post on Hootsuite’s Facebook page is 6:15 am and 12:15 pm PST on weekdays.
“These times are most effective for us, because this is when people tend to have the biggest gaps in their schedule and are available to check social,” says Brayden Cohen, Social Marketing and Employee Advocacy Team Lead at Hootsuite. “It’s best to post first thing in the morning because this is when people are catching up on their newsfeeds. Lunchtime is always great because it’s when people tend to have the biggest gaps in their schedules. Just after working hours are effective too, because people are checking out what they missed over the day.”
So, as you can see, there’s more to finding your most effective time to post on Facebook than simply knowing when your audience is online.
When posting on Facebook, here are some key Facebook statistics to consider:
- 51% of users in the U.S. check Facebook several times each day
- 74% of users in the U.S. check Facebook at least once a day
- People spend 34 minutes (on average) per day on Facebook
- 80% of people use mobile devices to access Facebook (19% use both mobile and desktop)
If you want to find your own best times to post on Facebook, here are six things you should do:
Facebook prioritizes recent posts. Why? Because people care about new things — not old things.
Posting content when your followers are most active online can increase the chances that your content will reach them. And when Facebook’s algorithms detect that you’re posting when your fans are browsing through their feeds, it will push your content to the feeds of people who don’t follow you (yet!).
For Facebook, all you have to do to know when your followers are online is to look at your analytics. The Hootsuite Analytics dashboard includes a heatmap of the days and hours your followers are active. So you’ll know exactly when to post.
It’s good, however, to switch things up from time to time. This tool also suggests great times to post that your brand hasn’t tried in the past 30 days. This way, you can experiment and see if something new works for you.
After you figure out when your audience is online, the next step should be to study the content you’ve posted in the past. Look at your social media reports and analytics tools to see the most successful posts for each metric you track. For instance, check for posts that performed well for:
- Awareness: posts that have high impressions and/or views
- Engagement: posts that have spectacular engagement rates in terms of likes, comments, and shares.
- Traffic/sales: posts that got many clicks
Then, look at the time and day of the week you posted this content, and see the patterns that form.
Pro-tip: Hootsuite’s Best Time to Publish feature automatically captures your posting history and suggests times to post to help you reach your goals. You can even see your best times to post on Facebook based on impressions, engagements, and click-throughs (but most social media management and analytics tools only show you the impressions).
Hootsuite pulls this data into Planner, so when you’re preparing next week’s posts, you can immediately see the suggested times to post based on your specific social media performance history.
If you want to reach people who scroll through their Facebook accounts as soon as they wake up, posting in the early morning (at 6 am to 7 am) is a good idea. If your target audience is located in the United Kingdom, you’d need to schedule your post for 6 am British Summer Time (or Greenwich Mean Time, if it’s winter).
If you’re a brand that has a large number of audiences in a particular region, you might want to create a separate Facebook page for that audience. This allows you to post in the language people in that region understand.
If you have a global customer base, you should consider posting content throughout the day. In this case, you’d need a good social media scheduling tool.
As you work on your Facebook account, you should also check your competitors’ accounts to see what they’re doing–especially if you’re new to Facebook.
Look for their high-performing posts to get an idea of the sort of content your audience might be looking for. Or you could even do a full social media competitor analysis and reverse-engineer your competitors’ Facebook tactics.
For instance, if you notice that your competitors publish content on the hour (the :00 mark), you could try posting on the :15 or :45 mark to get ahead of them.
Keep your ears peeled for news concerning your industry. You might learn strategies worth incorporating, pitfalls to avoid, or opportunities to take advantage of.
After doing your research, you’re ready to press “Publish” on those brand new posts you’ve created. But what would you do if your results aren’t as good as you’d hoped?
Short answer: run A/B tests.
With A/B tests, you post the same content at different times to see which time gets the best results. You can take things up a notch by changing the images (if there are any) on the post or even the post copy itself to see which version performs best.
Pro tip: This advice applies to all social networks, not just Facebook!
Facebook is ever-changing, from its algorithms to its users. For instance, since COVID and the surge of remote work in 2020, people use Facebook (and other social media platforms) more. People shifted from scrolling through Facebook during lunch breaks to checking in between Zoom meetings.
If your target audience’s behaviors are changing, you should change along with them.
Brayden Cohen says that, at Hootsuite, they only change the times they post once a quarter.
“We look at our top-performing posts weekly to determine if there is any data in there that can provide us with insights to rework our strategy or posting cadence,” says Cohen. “For example, we found that International Women’s Day is very popular in the UK, even more than it is in North America, so we shifted our publishing cadence earlier, to hit 9AM-12PM in the UK.”
The trick is to regard time as an important, but variable, factor as you tweak your social media scheduling strategy.
Take the guesswork out of posting. Find out the best times to post on Facebook with Hootsuite’s Best Time to Publish feature. Develop your posting schedule based on when you’re likely to get the most impressions, engagements, and link clicks. Try Hootsuite for free today.