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How to Figure Out Your Social Media Posting Schedule

Social media posting schedule

Social Media

05 Jun 2024 • 7 min read •

Christie Osterhus

Trying to figure out your social media posting schedule and feeling lost? You’re definitely not alone.

Plenty of online resources tell businesses they need to post multiple times a day, every day, on every platform. And so much of it is conflicting. Never post on weekends, only post on weekends, post between business hours, and after business hours, and also before.

There’s a reason this happens and why the advice just doesn’t work: Every business has a unique audience and unique needs, so it need to discover what works for its particular brand, including posting times and frequency across different channels.

While every brand’s ideal social media calendar is different, posting time does matter. Securing early engagement on your posts can mean significant boosts in the algorithm, which means more visibility immediately and in the long-term.

With the right tools and strategies in place, every business can find their own social media posting schedule that actually works for them. In this post, we’ll show you how to do that.

Why one-size-fits-all advice isn’t helpful for posting schedules

There are quite a few reasons why generic advice directed to businesses of all shapes and sizes doesn’t really work. Let’s discuss each.

1. Posting timing vs posting frequency

When creating your ideal social media schedule, you need to decide on two essential things: Post timing and posting frequency.

Post timing determines what time of day and which days of the week your posts go live. You may, for example, realize that posting on Facebook Tuesday mornings before work hours and Saturday afternoons seem to get you the most traction.

Posting frequency determines how often you post. Some brands may benefit from posting at least once per day on every social media channel, while others may benefit from posting just a few times a week per channel.

It’s common for both post timing and frequency to fluctuate. If you’re launching a new product, for example, it’s common to have a big campaign push with increased posting frequency. 

2. Different channels have unique needs

What works for TikTok might not work for Instagram posts, and what works for Instagram posts may not even work for Instagram Stories.

Each channel is unique, and that means they’ll have different best practices regarding both post times and frequencies.

Your audience, for example, may log on to LinkedIn during work hours and Instagram Reels while they’re scrolling during breakfast. Or, you might notice a decrease in Facebook engagement if you post more than 3x a week for your audience, while you consistently get high engagement when posting Reels every other day. 

3. Every strategy is unique

Your strategy will largely determine where you’re posting, how often, and when. For example, you might run a business consultancy and part of your social media strategy is offering exclusive value to community members with private coaching in closed Facebook Groups. If that case, you’ll spend more time posting and engaging on Facebook compared to accounts that prioritize Reels or TikTok to drive massive discoverability for their brands.

How to create a social media posting schedule that works for you

Let’s go over the steps brands should take when determining how to create a social media calendar that can achieve your goals.

Dive into your analytics

If you have social channels that are already up and running, start by closely reviewing your social media metrics

Start by looking for trends in performance based on posting time. If you have content posted on Tuesdays and Fridays at eight in the morning that consistently seems to do well, that’s a huge clue to your posting schedule. Maybe you see that posts in the evening struggle to get any engagement on Facebook or Instagram, but they hold strong on TikTok. That's even more valuable information to work with.

followersInstagram insights panel showing audience active times

There are tons of metrics you can assess in this step, but the most basic to look at is your engagement rate. While you do want to maximize reach, algorithms favor engagement. Ideally you can find the sweet-spot timing that maximizes both reach and engagement rate.

>>Learn how to calculate your engagement rate

You also want to look at your audience analytics, particularly your audience activity time metrics. This data shows when your audience is most frequently online. Take some time to review your audience demographic data, too; we’ll use this information in the next section.

While you can use each platform’s native analytics, we recommend using third-party social media analytics software like Loomly. Loomly provides detailed analytics for each social media platform in a single tool, making it easier for you to compare insights across channels.

Map out audience behavior

Consider what you know about your audience.

A brand providing afterschool programs to kids, for example, will largely be targeting parents. Based on that demographic information alone you can make estimations about their:

  • Average social media usage
  • Common schedules, including wake up time, breakfast time, lunch time, and waiting in school pickup lines based on their child’s schedule
  • Platforms they’re most likely to be on based on the approximate age range

Reinforce what you’re able to guesstimate with the audience analytics data you’ve parsed through already. You might discover that:

  • You get great reach with plenty of unique impressions during breakfast hours, but much more engagement in the hours when parents are waiting in after-school pick-up lines
  • Your audience spends much more time scrolling through their feed during the week, but spends a ton of time on Reels on the weekend
  • Activity in your Facebook Group peaks in the sign-up periods for different programs, and it falls during school breaks.

Once you understand the nuances of your audience’s behavior, you can start to map out what types of content to post when and on which platform.

One caveat: It’s important to monitor your analytics and test regularly because things change. Consumer behavior can shift, especially when new platforms or features emerge. TikTok, for example, continues to disrupt standard user behavior. 

Consider the algorithm

Every social media platform has a unique algorithm, but most operate in similar ways.

Here’s a simple breakdown of what we know (or can safely predict) about the major social media algorithms:

For most platforms (Stories largely being the exception), timing is not a dominant signal over engagement. So do posting times and frequency even matter? The short answer is yes.

Posting at the right time may help a single post get early engagement. If your post goes live when large chunks of your audience are online and engaged, you may get more early likes, shares, and comments that can give you a boost of momentum in the algorithm.

If your content consistently receives better engagement over time, it will be surfaced more often in more people’s feeds.

Posting frequency is also important. The goal is to maximize visibility without causing fatigue (when users see your content too often). We’ll talk more about how to find this balance in the next section.

Takeaway: Timing and frequency can help, but they aren’t the end-all-be-all to success with your social media content calendar. The content itself will always be the most important factor.

Factor in external and internal events

When you find a strong posting cadence, that doesn’t automatically lock you in to a single content schedule forever. It’s also important to consider internal and external events when managing social media content. Common examples include:

  • Holidays
  • Product launches
  • Internal campaigns
  • Conferences
  • Seasonal events

Many businesses will post more leading up to a product launch, for example.

And some businesses may post more often leading up to certain holidays, especially sales-focused holidays. Meanwhile, some B2B brands may post less around the winter holidays, knowing that people may be taking personal time off and are less likely to engage.

Tip: Posting for social media holidays like “National Ice Cream Day” can be an easy way to boost engagement and up your posting frequency, but consider testing audience engagement and visibility in Stories before you commit to tons of holiday posts in your grid. 

Account for internal resources and capabilities

This one is basic, but crucial: If your internal resources can’t sustain posting 10x per week on every platform, then that automatically means your ideal social media content calendar doesn’t include 10 posts per week on every platform.

Choose posting frequencies that your team can actually maintain based on staff bandwidth, cost, skill set, and budget. Creating strong social media content that’s valuable, engaging, and aligned with each platforms’ best practices does take time, and most small businesses aren't working with unlimited time and budget.

If bandwidth is a concern for your business, it might be time to invest in a social media scheduler like Loomly. You can build, edit, and schedule social media posts in advance for multiple platforms, saving you hours in your work week that you would have spent manually coordinating content across channels. It's a simple way to free up time instantaneously.

Tip: Creating social media content in batches and scheduling it in advance can help teams manage limited time for content creation.

Test and experiment!

Testing is an essential part of any marketer’s job, and the fast-moving nature of social media make it the perfect channel for experimentation.

Start by testing similar, high-engaging post types at different times on each platform. If, for example, you have short-form video tutorials that perform well, try posting them at 1PM on a Tuesday and 8AM on a Thursday.

By comparing content that will rank similarly in the algorithm and likely drive comparable engagement, you can see how posting times may impact impressions and engagement.

Loomly social media analytics softwareLoomly's Analytics dashboard

To test posting frequency, work with a baseline posting schedule for a few weeks, and then either increase or decrease posting frequency on one particular platform over at least a two-week period. Day by day won’t tell you much, but looking data over a few weeks (barring major events like holidays) can give you an apples-to-apples comparison.

I don’t know where to start… are there social media posting schedule best practices?

Most advice you’ll find online is conflicting, because every business is different.

But when you’re first getting started, here’s a general baseline to start testing. You don't need to do all of this! Make sure you only choose only the platforms and posting schedules that align with your brand and business goals.

Growth Mindset

  • Instagram posts or Reels: 2-5x weekly 
  • Instagram Stories: Daily if possible 
  • Facebook posts: 2x weekly 
  • Brand-led Facebook Groups: 5x weekly 
  • User-led Facebook Groups: 2x weekly 
  • TikTok: 2-5x weekly 
  • LinkedIn for B2B brands: 3-5x weekly 
  • Pinterest: 3x weekly
  • X (formerly Twitter): 1x daily

We  also recommend that businesses start by intentionally testing content at staggered times to assess when their audience is most likely to see the content and engage with it.

In general, however, conventional wisdom and data show that most users are frequently online during the work week, and may be particularly active Tuesday through Thursday. 

Final thoughts

Social media calendars aren’t the most important part of social media management — the quality and relevance of the content you create do carry more weight.

That said, your posting schedule does have an impact on overall success, so finding the right posting times and frequencies for each channel is worth the effort. The right tools can help with that.

Loomly’s social media scheduler, for example, allows marketers to create, collaborate on, and schedule posts in advance so that you can schedule your content for optimal posting times and frequencies. And, as you’re testing your posting schedule, our social media analytics software can help you determine what’s working and what isn’t so you can fine-tune your strategy.

The right strategies, tools, and dedicated testing can go a long way. It can feel chaotic to not have a set, clear answer at the outset, but the work will be worth it when you lock in on the social media posting schedule that helps your business flourish.

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