It’s all well and good crafting compelling ads, posting interesting updates, and using social media in the hopes of reaching your target audience. But if you’re not posting at the best times during the day, you could be radically limiting the engagement you receive.

Figuring out the optimal times to use various social media platforms can involve a great deal of trial and error to find what works for you. That is, unless you have data and experience to fall back on.

So first things first – where are your audience spending most of their time online?

Social Media Usage Patterns in the UK

According to Ofcom:

  • 95% of all adult social media users have a Facebook account
  • 31% of adult users have an Instagram account
  • 26% of adult users have a Twitter account
  • 8 out of 10 users consider their Facebook account to be their “main” social media platform

But let’s look at the particular times and days that get the best engagement for education marketers on each platform. The best data available at this point is from the US-based company Sprout Social. They spoke to 25,000-plus customers across the three major social networks and broke the information down by industry – one of which includes Education.

We can’t rely too heavily on their findings, but they give us something to work with at the very least.

Note: The following data is derived from US-based sources and adjusted for local time zones (i.e. consider 3 pm US time to be 3 pm here in the UK too). Social media usage patterns are fairly consistent among developed countries, so we’re confident these results are applicable to the UK.

The Best Times for Schools to Post on Facebook for Engagement

  • The absolute best times to post for engagement are Monday at 9 am and Saturday at 5 pm
  • It’s safe to post Monday-Friday between the times of 9 am and 3 pm, with most of the engagement coming in the first three hours of that window
  • Saturday 12 pm – 9 pm shows a lot of engagement
  • Sunday has lower engagement than any other day
  • Posting in the middle of the night (11 pm – 5 am) shows poor results

The Best Times for Schools to Post on Instagram for Engagement

  • Peak engagement is at 10 am on Friday
  • The best times to post in general are Wednesday through Saturday between 10 am and 8 pm
  • The worst times to post are on Sunday, or any day between 11pm and 5am

The Best Times for Schools to Post on Twitter for Engagement

  • Peak engagement is at 5 pm on a Saturday
  • Saturday from 1 pm to 10 pm is a good time to post
  • Weekdays see less engagement overall, but Wednesday 8am – 12pm and Friday 9am – 12 pm are relatively safe windows

Source: Sprout Social

Our view

Based on these points & our experience in this market, here’s our interpretation of the data above… and our key recommendations for you.

  • Peak times are highly dependent on your situation – use these recommended times as a guide, but don’t be afraid to test and see what works best.
  • Facebook is your most significant platform for getting in front of your prospects.
  • We’re really surprised that Sunday doesn’t get better engagement, given people are generally less busy. We’d experiment with this one.
  • Many people are busy during the day and may not have access to social media. If you’re trying to reach the parents of prospective students, then posting at the weekends or in the evenings is best, as they’ll be in a better frame of mind for engaging with your content.
  • You should refrain from posting during times where your audience is likely to be busy (i.e. if the school run is generally 8-9 am and 3-4 pm, don’t post during these windows).
  • If you post on Instagram, keep it achievement-focused, visually compelling, and with a very simple CTA. This will work best for engaging with the current student body, but may also help you to reach new prospects too.
  • Twitter is most active at the weekend, but shows decent results in the early afternoon during weekdays.
  • Twitter is not very widespread among teenagers or their parents, so don’t place much emphasis on using it.
  • Twitter is best used for Q & A’s, or else simple picture-based updates linking to your Facebook or website for more information.

Fundamentally, the deciding factor in how engaged prospects will be with your content is quality. The more compelling the story and the more relevant it is to their lives, the better the engagement you’ll get.

That’s all for this week. We hope you’ve found this article useful!