It’s one of the most commonly asked questions about social media: How frequently, and at what times, should our shelter or rescue organization post to social media to get the best results for our animals?
There are two ways to get the answer to that question. One is to post and carefully monitor the reach and engagement you get at different times of the day and based on on different posting frequency.
The other is to take a look at the big picture of how different posting strategies perform across large numbers of social accounts and platforms, and use those as your guide.
The first option is the gold standard, but can be time-consuming. Your best bet is to start with option number two, and then monitor performance and adjust accordingly to match your audience’s actual response. How do you do that?
Adobe Spark dug into a wide array of data and came up with the following recommendations for how frequently to post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest:
- Facebook: 6-11 times a week
- Twitter: 3 Tweets each day
- Instagram: 1-10 photos each day
- Pinterest: 4-10 pins each day
That’s probably quite a bit less frequently than you were already posting to Facebook, where two to three times a day seems to be the average for animal adoption pages. But frequent posting can feel spammy to your followers, and drive down engagement and reach. Focus on great, engaging posts, and share them less frequently to make the biggest Facebook splash.
When should you make those posts? Here’s what they found:
- Facebook: 1 PM local time is the best for shares, while 3 PM gets the most clicks.
- Twitter: This is a little less straightforward. Noon to 6 PM is prime time for getting your Tweets seen, but 5 PM is peak for RTs (the Twitter version of shares). There’s also a second prime time from 8 PM to midnight. So basically, just don’t post between midnight and noon, and you should be good!
- Instagram: We have to admit we don’t like this finding: They recommend posting between 2 AM and 5 AM, so your posts will be the first thing your followers see when they get up. That might be a great idea if Instagram allowed scheduled posts, but they don’t — even if you use a scheduler, you still have to manually complete the post using a mobile device. That’s a tough schedule to meet in real time. For what it’s worth, the Shelter Pet Project finds its peak times are noon and 8 PM.
- Pinterest: Aim for late afternoon and evening.
Remember: Your mileage not only can vary, it will vary. Never let generic or aggregate data or trends replace your actual experience. Post, watch performance, tweak your posting schedule, see if it makes a difference, and ultimately land on what works best for your social audience. “One size fits all” really fits no one, in life or in social media!