Midday a good time to get social with consumers on Facebook, LinkedIn

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The study "serves as a strong reminder for brands to take time to understand the unique engagement habits of their audiences across platforms," says Rachel Samuels of Sprout Social. (Facebook)

It seems the lunchtime lull at work could be the best time to socially engage with consumers, according to new data from Sprout Social.

Sprout looked at social media users to determine the best times for companies to engage with users. The study, broken down by vertical, was able to look specifically at the best times for brands of consumer goods to post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. 

"What struck me most from this data is the wide variance in engagement times, both by platform and industry," Rachael Samuels, social media manager for Sprout Social, told FierceRetail. "While not necessarily surprising, this serves as a strong reminder for brands to take time to understand the unique engagement habits of their audiences across platforms. For example, when looking specifically at the consumer goods industry, the data shows that Instagram and Twitter see the highest engagement on Saturday, as opposed to Facebook and LinkedIn which see the lowest engagement on the weekend. This makes sense for the CPG industry given the former have greater e-commerce capabilities, likely prompting increased engagement when many consumers have more time to dedicate to leisure activities such as shopping."

Facebook is still the most active social media channel, with more than 1.4 billion daily active users. And it's also the top choice for advertisers, with 93% of marketers using the platform regularly. In general, the data showed that Facebook gets the most traction during midday and on the weekends. 

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But specifically in the realm of consumer goods, the best times to post on Facebook are Thursday at 2 p.m. and Friday at 11 a.m. Other high-traction times include Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday at 4 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Surprisingly, weekends have the lowest engagement rates for consumer goods brands. 

For popular social media site Instagram, Thursday is the best day for consumer brands to post, and Sunday is the least engaging day. Specifically for consumer goods, the best times to post on Instagram are Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and Wednesdays tend to see the most consistent engagement throughout the week. Monday is the least engaged day for consumer goods on Instagram as consumers are most likely catching up on work and not shopping online. 

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Twitter is a great platform for answering questions in real time, so the best time for brands to post on Twitter and reach potential consumers is Friday from 9 to 10 a.m. Sunday mornings get the least amount of traffic on Twitter. And tweets don't stop on the weekend. In fact, engagement goes long into the night on most days. 

Specifically for consumer goods, the best time to tweet is Saturday at 1 p.m., though anytime on Saturday is a good time. 

Finally, the data collected looked at LinkedIn engagement. While LinkedIn isn't traditionally a place where consumers are looking to get ads from brands, it can be a place to editorialize the brand and its employees. The best day to engage on LinkedIn is Wednesday from 3 to 5 p.m.  

"Based on the data, a strong CPG social marketing strategy will focus on Facebook and LinkedIn content during weekdays, with a greater emphasis on Twitter and Instagram content on the weekends," Samuels said. "With that in mind, this data can serve as a helpful guide, but businesses should still do their due diligence when creating their publishing strategy. Spending time analyzing their social data by platform will give them greater insight into audience behavior times as well as the most engaging content. Ideal posting times may change or slightly differ brand to brand, so marketers who keep an eye on their analytics will be better equipped to cut through the noise and maximize the impact of their messages."