“When’s the best time to post on LinkedIn?”
That was a great question asked by a client during one of our regular marketing strategy meetings.
My answer was simple and to the point: “Early in the morning.”
Let’s face it though, it’s not a very satisfactory answer. It’s not based on years of research or empirical evidence. It’s just a gut feeling that anything I post between 6 am and 8 am gets more engagement compared to later in the day.
Interestingly, posts at weekends seem to do just as well (or equally as badly!) as those posted during weekdays.
So, unhappy with my answer, I thought I’d try to find something more satisfactory.
To accurately test my hypothesis, I’d need to post exactly the same message at two different times/days and measure the engagement on each. Even then, multiple other variables (for example, some people may not engage with the second post, having seen the first) mean it would never be a perfect split test.
So, instead, I decided to review research done elsewhere. Here’s a summary of what I found.
In this blog from May 2021, the social media scheduling platform suggests that the best time of day to post on LinkedIn is at 9 am on a Tuesday or Wednesday.
Earlier this year, HubSpot wrote that the best days to post on LinkedIn was on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. The most effective time to post was between 8 am and 2 pm, with B2C businesses advised to focus on a narrower window of 11 am to 2 pm.
The article goes on to add that the worst time of the day to post is outside of normal business hours or on weekends. These are conclusions that run contrary to my gut feeling that we get great engagement before normal business hours (whatever they are these days!) and at weekends.
In common with HubSpot, Buffer suggests that the best days to post are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. When it comes to timings, Buffer recommends 7 am to 8.30 am and then again between 5 pm and 6 pm.
In this detailed article, Sprout Social agrees with Buffer that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the best days to post. It concludes that the best times are Tuesday and Thursday between 9 am and 12 noon and from 9 am to 2 pm on Wednesdays.
According to Sprout Social, Sunday is the worst day of the week to post.
Do your own testing
The research is pretty clear; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings are the best time to post.
You could stop there and just run with those conclusions. However, understanding exactly what works for you, your business, and your target audience makes more sense to us. You can do that by following this three-step process:
Step 1: Define “engagement”
LinkedIn “engagement” can be defined in five main ways:
- Views (how many people saw your post)
- Links clicked.
You need to decide what’s most important.
For us, it’s views and, if I’ve shared a link (for example to a recent blog), the number of times it’s been clicked. Likes and comments are also important as LinkedIn promotes posts that get more of these.
Step 2: Monitor the performance of your posts
Keep a record of the day and time you post on LinkedIn. Do this for a month. Then head back to your posts and see how they performed. Alternatively, look back over the posts you’ve added over the past month.
You can get the number of times your post was viewed, shared, and liked, as well as the number of comments, directly from LinkedIn. You’ll need access to your website’s Google Analytics account to get the number of times a link is clicked.
To help you, we’ve created a simple spreadsheet that you can use to record the engagement on each post. Click here to request a copy.
Step 3: Analyse the data you’ve collected
If you like data, this is where the fun begins.
Sort the spreadsheet to find the posts that gained the most engagement and look for correlation to particular days and times.
Remember, though, that correlation isn’t necessarily causation. Many other variables will affect engagement on each post, most notably the quality and relevance of the post itself. However, if you analyse enough posts, a pattern showing the best day and time to post should emerge.
3 more top tips to improve engagement
As well as the research we’ve highlighted in this blog, and your own investigations, there are several other things you can do to improve engagement.
- Look what your peers and competitors do
Review their top-performing posts (in terms of likes and comments, you can’t track views or links clicked) and check out the time and day they were added. You can use our LinkedIn post tracking spreadsheet to help you with this.
- Avoid posting on the hour
Take a leaf out of Hootsuite’s book: “…we’ve learned to avoid publishing on the hour because that’s when a lot of brands post. Instead, we post on the :15 or :45 mark to give our content a little breathing room.”
- Put links in the comments
We’ve been saying this for over a year now, but it’s worth repeating. If you’re adding a link to your post, put it in the comments. Our research shows that this technique significantly improves engagement, yet we still see people adding links to their posts and not the comment.
So, when is the best time to post on LinkedIn?
The answer is simple (if unhelpful): it depends.
It depends on your target audience and when they’re using LinkedIn.
It depends on when you can post (scheduling posts on LinkedIn isn’t as easy as on other platforms).
It depends on how frequently you post.
If LinkedIn is an important part of your marketing strategy you should be showing up, adding value, and posting every day. While it’s important to get the time of day right, a discussion about whether Monday is better than Wednesday, or Tuesday beats Friday, is irrelevant.
If you can’t commit to daily posting, then showing when you’re likely to maximise engagement clearly makes sense. That seems to be Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday…although your research might show something different!
If it does, let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and telling us what works for you.