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There have been numerous of studies on the best time to post to social media. Ignore them.

Marketers and businesses are obsessed with data, both showing results and driving decisions. So of course, they’d want to know what time the data says they should post to social media to drive the most engagement, garner the most fans or attain the greatest virality.

Researchers have obliged, publishing countless studies that make social media posting recommendations based on lots of aggregated data.

But despite what the studies have shown, we have always recommended that “the best time” might not be “your best time.” What the studies don’t necessarily take into consideration is the habits of people in different age groups, markets or industries. Ultimately, your audience may not be online when everyone else is.

Even Buffer has recently admitted the studies just don’t apply and, if you’ve been using them, it’s time to reconsider.

While studies can be used as a starting point, especially for new social accounts with limited data, a more analytic approach can be taken using your own data.

You can easily use Facebook Insights to see when your fans are online and test your posts within these type periods to see if performance is affected by post time. In Twitter, the analysis becomes more difficult  and is usually a matter of looking simply at when you posted your most popular tweets. There are also apps like Buffer that will help you evaluate your posting schedule, create experiments and adjust accordingly.

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