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The optimum time for universities to publish content on social media platforms

Universities invest valuable time producing captivating content across social platforms. But what are the best times to publish content to social media networks and is there any consistency across platforms?

For specific events like graduation ceremonies or the start of term or open days, a social media update may need to go out. But for other social posts where the publishing time is flexible, it can be really beneficial to purposefully select times when audiences are active on social media and most receptive to receive content.

In this article, we explore the optimum times to publish content to factor into your content scheduling. The recommendations are based on a recent study by Sproutsocial.

The best times to publish on Instagram

Instagram has now grown to over one billion monthly active users and, as we found in our last Digital Marketing and Web Survey Report, is the platform institutions are focusing on most this year.

Sproutsocial found that for universities and colleges, Friday at 10 a.m. was the best time to publish content. Other high engagement periods included Wednesday at 11 a.m., Friday from 11 a.m-12 p.m and 2 p.m. and Saturday at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Sunday had the lowest level of engagement and was deemed to be a day to avoid posting major content updates.

The best times to publish on Facebook

Students' use of Facebook may be diminishing but it remains the primary social network in terms of reach and its breadth of functionality including group communications, powerful people search and the number of ways it's used for signing into other services.

Sproutsocial found that the best times for Universities to post to Facebook were Wednesday at 9 a.m. and Saturday at 5 p.m. The most consistent engagement was generally experienced in the mornings Monday to Friday from 9 a.m - 12 p.m. On Saturday the highest engagement period was from midday to 9 p.m.

Again, Sunday was to be avoided with the lowest engagement measured on this day.

The best times to publish on Twitter

With over 500 million tweets sent out per day, Twitter still provides an ideal place to provide updates and snapshots of campus activity.

Sproutsocial found that the best time for Universities to post to Twitter was Saturday at 5 p.m. Other high engagement times included Saturday afternoon into the evening. The period with the most consistent engagement in the week was Wednesday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Sunday was again the day to avoid publishing content.

The best times to publish on Linkedin

Linkedin attracts different audiences and typically people go to the site or app with a purpose rather than casual browsing. It remains a great platform particularly for attracting a professional audience and therefore for recruiting to post-graduate programs and to connect with alumni.

Sproutsocial found that the best times to publish to Linkedin were Wednesday 9-10 a.m. and 12 p.m. The most consistent engagement was experienced Tuesday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sunday was also the least popular day for Linkedin.

Using content scheduling tools to maximize reach and engagement

Unfortunately, there is no perfect solution to content scheduling but being mindful of the optimum engagement times for each platform is certainly worthwhile.

Beyond this, institutions should try and factor in the regions being targeted and corresponding time zones and how content is tailored to each platform.

Undoubtedly social media management tools come into their own here and many institutions use Sproutsocial, Hootsuite, Buffer, or CoSchedule or similar. You can use them to create a social media schedule and many also make use of marketing automation features that can optimize the publishing of content based on various criteria including peak engagement times to get the greatest impact.

You can use the recommendations in this post as guidelines. And by regularly monitoring and testing your social media engagement you can identify when it is best to post to social media networks for your specific institution.

With user behavior, social media algorithms and new features constantly changing it's crucial to never stop the testing and experimentation with social media.

So it's over to you. How do you find the best times to post to social media platforms for your institution? And do you have regular engagement monitoring in place? It'll be great to hear from you.

Footnote:

Although there have been numerous studies in 2019 looking at engagement trends to identify the best days and times to release content, we've based the information in this post on data from Spoutsocial.

Sproutsocial worked with a data science team to pull together information based on its customers and crucially they identified trends specifically for education institutions.

Tagged: Social Media

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