Social media feeds today are getting cramped. It’s easy for your content to get lost in the shuffle. Not only is the stream bigger than ever, it’s also faster. Fresh content continually overshadows older entries. While, Tweets and Facebook posts are saved in perpetuity, they have a short half life for clicks and impressions:

“…a post reaches 75 percent of its potential engagement in five hours. A median Tweet reaches this 75 percent mark in less than three hours.”

Impressions peak even faster, reaching 75 percent in just two and a half hours. If you aren’t posting at optimal times of the day and week, you are missing out on reaching the biggest audience you can.

There’s no one sized fits all approach; each brand has its own character and ideology that should carry into all facets of its marketing including social media posts. Additionally, each social media platform has its own idiosyncrasies that must be taken into account. But, extensive metric analysis has given us some guidelines to work from.

For example, mega-brands with presences in multiple locations across the country and world often develop offshoot social media accounts to stay up to date with local feeds and communities. B2B companies typically stick to workdays and standard business hours. B2C brands prefer the second half of the workweek and workday (Weds-Fri, 1pm-5pm) when people are starting to wind down and are more open to messaging.

Here are the optimal times to post to the major social channels:

Facebook

The best time to post to Facebook is usually at lunch and immediately after (1pm-3pm). Most employees are discouraged from spending their work hours on non business-oriented social media sites, but it’s generally acceptable during lunch time.

Facebook shares come easiest on Thursdays and Fridays at 1 pm. Two hours later clicks peak: “The less people want to be at work, the more they are on Facebook!” The relaxed atmosphere reaches its zenith Friday afternoon as everyone gets ready for the weekend. This makes for an easy going and receptive audience. “For brands, Fridays generate 17% of all likes, 15% of comments and 15 percent of shares.”

Pinterest

Unlike more staid brands, fashion and retail companies can even find success posting late at night (8pm-1am) and on the weekends. Pinterest, which has a heavy focus on those sectors often sees usage spike on the weekends. Brands can find a particularly approachable audience among the pinners:

“Pinterest is a bonanza for retail engagement, particularly for women consumers. A full 55% of Pinterest users have engaged with retailers and brands through the program.”

Twitter

Twitter is less structured that Facebook or Pinterest, and it is understood that posts are coming in 24/7 from everywhere. However, businesses still follow some rough standards: “The best days to Tweet for business-to-business organizations is Monday through Friday, for business-to-consumer it’s the weekends and Wednesdays.” Highest retweets typically come later in the day (5pm-6pm).

Instagram

Instagram has a younger audience than most of the major social networks (over half of all users are between 18 and 29). Its youthful, image-sharing user base often moves at the web’s frenetic pace. Impressions fluctuate throughout the day and week hitting peaks at 5pm10pm, and 2am, especially on Monday and Wednesday.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the most buttoned-up of the social networks. It’s primarily used by professionals during normal working hours (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm). However, similar to Facebook, the best time to reach your audience is generally believed to be around lunch time. Another good opportunity is during the evening commute. Carpoolers and mass transit users are often checking their accounts at these times.

One last tip: if you are timing your posts, but finding them lost in the sea of other content at these highly desireable times, SEO specialists recommend going against the grain and posting in the less trafficked early hours:

“While posting volume is relatively low during those morning hours, users are still peeking at their feeds regularly on their smartphones. Therefore, they represent a sizable audience during a time when there’s less competition for attention.”