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My social media habits during the height of the pandemic were positively wild.

  • Instead of sleeping, I would mine countless LinkedIn articles at 2 a.m. on a Thursday trying to motivate myself to stay positive and productive while trapped in my 500-square-foot box of an apartment.
  • Instead of brunch, I'd spend a gross amount of time on Sunday mornings doom-scrolling on Twitter.
  • Instead of doing anything remotely productive, I'd spend most evenings curled up in the fetal position on the couch with my cat, watching videos on Facebook and Instagram.
  • Instead of interacting with humans in person, I would entertain my geriatric millennial self by trying (and failing spectacularly) to learn TikTok dances. (Remember the Cha Cha Slide? Those were the good ol' days.)

I wasn't alone, which is why we saw some pretty substantial shifts in when the best times were for businesses like yours to post on social media during the pandemic.

Over a year later, however, the picture is a bit different. I'm beginning to cautiously emerge from my hermit-like cocoon, with my habits finally starting to return to something one might consider (gulp) normal? Dare I even say that?

As a result, my social media habits – and (more than likely) yours, as well as those of your dreamy ideal buyers – are starting to shift back to a more stable, daytime-focused state. But what do these changes mean for your company's social media marketing strategy?

Thankfully, the folks from Sprout Social are back with a heaping new pile of data showcasing the best times to post on social media in 2021, now that all of us are attempting to regain a sense of normalcy in our daily lives. 

Here are a few notes about this data before we dive in:

  • This data is across a global audience, not specifically the United States.
  • All times below, per Sprout Socials reporting, are in Central Time Zone (CST).
  • The trends reported are based on findings within 20,000+ Sprout Social customers across a wide range of industries, from restaurants to tech.

Best times to post on Facebook for brands

During the pandemic, mornings (especially around 11 a.m.) were best – specifically, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. There was also more engagement activity during weekdays. 

Now, it's a little different:

Screen Shot 2021-05-18 at 2.20.51 PM

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays are the best days, particularly between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. The worst day now is Saturday.

This is different from pre-pandemic social media behavior when Sunday was the worst day, and Wednesday was the hands-down weekday winner.

Best times to post on Instagram for brands

During the pandemic, the window to really ace your Instagram strategy was pretty narrow. You needed to slide in on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. and then on Fridays between 10 and 11 a.m. If you posted on Sunday, be prepared to see very low engagement because it's a dead zone for Instagram.

Now, it's a little different:

Screen Shot 2021-05-18 at 2.30.52 PM

Give it up for Tuesday, emerging from its pandemic slumber with a stunning glow-up as now the best day to post on Instagram; specifically, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Although, 11 a.m. on any weekday is also a pretty safe bet. The only thing that hasn't changed? Sunday still sucks, so steer clear.

This is different from pre-pandemic social media behavior when engagement wins could be seen across windows on Monday, Tuesday and Friday mornings.

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Best times to post on Twitter for brands

During the pandemic, Friday opened up as a huge opportunity for engagement for brands on Twitter. In particular, on Friday mornings, between 7 and 9.

This isn't really that big of a surprise given that many people (myself included) would wake up every morning and look at Twitter to see what news we had missed in the few hours we had dared to sleep.

🔎 Related: The ultimate guide to online community management for brands

Now, it's a little different:

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Tuesday and Thursday mornings between 9 and 11 are very strong, and Wednesday is now the anchor between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Like Facebook, Saturday is the worst also for Twitter.

This is different from pre-pandemic social media behavior when the "safest" times to post were any weekday, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Although Wednesday was also an all-star day back then, too.

Best times to post on LinkedIn for brands

During the pandemic, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings were your safest bet to bring in the most engagement with your LinkedIn activity.

Now, it's a little different:

Screen Shot 2021-05-18 at 2.35.55 PM

Now, Tuesdays and Wednesdays overall are the best days of the week, and even Thursday edges out as a winner, specifically from 9 a.m. to noon. Once more with feeling, Sunday is a no-fly zone. 

This is different from pre-pandemic social media behavior when Wednesday through Friday were the best days of the week, with an 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. window being the safest bet – even on Tuesdays. Sunday, however, was still a big pile of nope back then.

Social media posting differences by industry

Of course, not every industry has to play by the same rules, and the days and times that work for some will not work for others. For example, according to the data shared by Sprout Social:

  • The best day for healthcare companies to post on Facebook is Tuesday, whereas the best day for brands in the finance industry is Wednesday.
  • The best day for tech companies to post on Twitter is Tuesday, but the best day for those in the hospitality field is Thursday.
  • The best day for a nonprofit to post on Instagram is on Wednesday, and the best for restaurants is actually Monday, surprisingly.

You should review the entire data set to see the best times are for your specific industry, based on the averages Sprout Social has identified.

Ready to ace your brand's social media strategy?

I don't know about you, but I find this quantification of human behavior so endlessly fascinating. Well, OK ... to a certain extent. You see, you should only use this to inform your decision-making once you've done some research of your own on the behaviors of your unique audience.

Moreover, the best business leaders and digital marketers out there know that understanding when the right time is to post on social media is only one piece of the puzzle: 

You need to check those three boxes first before this data will be of any use to you or your company, in terms of helping you achieve your goals.