Everywhere I go, people want the magic bullet for success on social media. More often than not, that bullet takes the form of this question: “What's the best time to post on LinkedIn?”.
So let’s talk about that.
Raw Statistics about the Best Time to Post on LinkedIn
Before I get into why trying to find the best time to post on LinkedIn is a fool’s errand, I’ll share the information you probably came here for: statistics.
After all, if you simply abide by these posting times your content will miraculously propel itself into success with stratospheric views and engagement, right?
With any luck, you’ll read past this section and into the stuff that might actually help you down the track. Most notably why you can, and probably should, ignore what people say the “best” time to post on LinkedIn is, and focus on something entirely different.
So, here’s a handy infographic produced by the good people at Oberlo based on their research.
The “best” time to post on LinkedIn according to them is between 10 and 11am and the best days to post are Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays.
Oddly enough, Hubspot takes a different view of the best times, instead suggesting a bunch of other times (though similar days) might be good:
And finally, Sprout Social offer up the following, based on levels of engagement. As you can see, these recommendations about the best LinkedIn posting times are different again.
So you can see that we have a bit of a problem. The three sites above are HUGE players in the social media industry and they can't even agree on when the best time to post on LinkedIn is.
Confused About When The Best Time to Post Is Yet?
So if you put all the above together, you’re going to see that the best time to post on LinkedIn is:
- Wednesdays, maybe between 8-10am, or maybe between 10-11am, or maybe between 10am-12pm
- or maybe, Tuesdays and Thursdays, maybe in the morning but maybe also in the afternoon or at lunch time
- definitely not on Sundays.
Chances of me figuring out which is the best advice there or even remembering those things once I do? Zero.
So before adjusting all your posting times and ensuring that all of your LinkedIn posts from here on in are on the “best” day at the “best” time, there are two really important questions to ask:
- what if posting at the “best” time on LinkedIn is actually a terrible strategy?
- is the posting day/time really the main thing that’s affecting our LinkedIn success?
What Does “Best” Posting Time Mean Anyway? And Why The Best Time to Post Probably Isn't
Looking at the data, what you’re going to see is that “best” has a variety of meanings depending on whose statistics you’re looking at.
Often it means “now is when a bunch of people are active on LinkedIn”.
That then, in a broken piece of logic, must be the “best” time to post something, right?
But what if everyone else who’s on at that time is also posting something, because they read this article too? Is it still the best time to post if 1000 other posts a minute are being pumped into the LinkedIn eco-system?
Here’s the problem, which slightly resembles the Back to the Future movies.
Yes – posting when a lot of people are active sounds attractive, because there is more chance that your post will get short-term traction simply by virtue of available eyeballs.
However, those eyeballs are currently distracted by all the other people posting at the “best” time, and so in fact they are less likely to see your post (or if they do, pay attention to it) than at other times that aren’t in rush hour.
And so, in fact, the best posting time for LinkedIn from a pure numbers point of view becomes a far less attractive proposition.
But in reality, for most lawyers, most of the time, the day and time you post has absolutely nothing to do with the results you’re seeing (or not) on LinkedIn.
The Hard Truth About Why Your Posts Aren’t Doing Well (hint: it’s got nothing to do with posting time)
Just remember that I love you, so I’m going to tell you the truth about why your posts aren’t doing well, OK? Are you ready…?
It’s because they’re not very good.
That said, I should explain what “good” means in this context. A good post is one that achieves it purpose – in this case, to be seen and engaged with by more people. Bigger picture, of course, is that it's positioning you as a known, liked and trusted expert in your space with a view to driving inbound enquiries and getting more clients.
And that’s not as easy as it sounds. In truth, 50% of my posts are a flop and I can’t always predict in advance which ones those are going to be. That's the case whether or not I'm obeying the “best time to post on LinkedIn” rules.
But if you think that posting ordinary content on LinkedIn at precisely the right time will somehow improve your results, then you’re going to be sadly disappointed.
Whether you're hitting “publish” at the best time to post on LinkedIn or the worst, if what you're putting out there just isn't very engaging then your results are going to stay precisely the same.
Ignore the Best Posting Time Data… Mostly
Sure, posting at midnight on a Saturday probably won’t be immediately seen by too many people and so you might best avoid it. That said, I’ve published lots of posts at the “wrong” time that have generated a bunch of engagement.
Once you believe your content itself is a bit more honed and developed, then you might caring about the best time to post on LinkedIn. So for immediate purposes let’s just put aside caring too much about what time we’re posting, and focus on the post itself.
Crafting a good LinkedIn post is probably a more detailed post for another day, but think about these:
- Post more regularly. Your posting strategy should be informed by data, not speculation. The more you post the more data on what “works” you will have.
- Post for engagement. Comments are the gold you’re looking for here in terms of engagement. And comments tend to be attracted by:
- Things people really disagree with
- Things people really agree with
- Hot topics about which people have opinions at all
- Engage with others more often. LinkedIn knows if all you do is post your stuff then leave. And if you’re not engaging with anybody else, how is LinkedIn supposed to learn which people might enjoy your posts to show them to?
There’s a lot more to it (or I wouldn’t have a job) but if you can aim for these three points consistently, you’re going to get a lot more traction than just posting the same old stuff at 10:03am on a Wednesday instead of at 9:52am on a Tuesday.