If you want your posts on Facebook or Twitter to get the most views, clicks or possibly go viral, you should avoid updating after 8 p.m. Eastern Time. This, according to a recent study from link shortening service bit.ly, which analyzed the best and worst times to post on popular social platforms.
For instance, to get the most bang for your Twitter buck, post on Monday between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., bit.ly advises. Anything after 3 p.m. gets less traction, especially on Fridays when most people are focused on leaving work rather than looking at or responding to tweets.
It was also found that the average half-life of a Twitter post is about 2.8 hours, meaning you should, at the very least, consider posting within three-hour periods. A similar study done last summer by KISSmetrics indicates that the best tweeting frequency is one to four tweets per hour.
Bit.ly found that Facebook times were slightly different, with the optimal posting times between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Specifically, Wednesday at 3 p.m. happens to be the sweet spot. Similar to Twitter, posting updates you want to go viral should be avoided during the weekend.
"It's easy to see that just like your neighborhood restaurants, each social network has its own culture and behavior patterns," bit.ly noted in the blog post. "By understanding the simple characteristics of each social network, you can publish your content at exactly the right time for it to reach the maximum number of people."
Going back to the KISSmetrics study, The Science of Social Timing, some of its findings were relatively similar to bit.ly's while others were entirely different.
For instance, regarding Twitter, researchers found that the best time to tweet is at 5 p.m. EST, as about 6 percent of all retweets occur around that time.
In addition, the best times to increase tweet volume were identified as midweek and on weekends - this is different from the previous study which stated that in general, weekend social media updates should be avoided.
The researchers also revealed that Facebook shares tend to spike around noon and shortly after 7 p.m., although they dip precipitously afterwards. In terms of the number of posts to share per day, it was recommended that a business post one update every other day (or 0.5 updates per day), as this increases the likelihood that you will achieve the most likes.