The Best Time to Post on Twitter? Depends on Your Industry

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Imagine if you never wasted another social media post at the wrong time again.

This is where the Burrito Principle comes in.

No, it’s not a new campaign from Chipotle. The Burrito Principle is an idea put forward by Darian Rodriguez Heyman of Social Media for Nonprofits.

Heyman’s thesis is simple: if you want to reach people on social media, do it during their spare time — say, when they’re eating a burrito.

I’ll let him explain it:

“The basic idea is that you want to reach people on Facebook and Twitter during their down time, when they’re most likely to log in. Your Facebook posts and tweets should be timed to catch people when they have time on their hands:

  • 8:30am— when they’re on their way into work
  • 12:30pm— when they’re checking their iPhone, like while eating a burrito
  • 5:30pm— on the bus ride home
  • 10pm— after the kids go to sleep, which in general is the single best time to post during the week”

Here at TrackMaven, marketing analytics are our bread and butter (to stick with the food analogies). We just so happen to have a whole host of data on social media timing thanks to the thousands of top marketers using TrackMaven.

So we put the Burrito Principle to the test.

We analyzed more than 17.5 million social media posts by 17,737 brands to identify the best time to post on Twitter (as well as on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest).

In the broadest strokes, the Burrito Principle holds true.

The best time to post on Twitter is 5 p.m. EST, during the post-work day on the East Coast. Thursdays are the best day of the week to post on Twitter.

Click to tweet!
But hold on.

A few layers of complexity swirl around the hunger pang-inducing simplicity of the Burrito Principle.

Down time — and the use of that down time — differs by demographics. So what is the best time to post on Twitter in, say, the restaurant industry? The fashion industry? The sports industry?

Our new research on optimal social media timing goes a few clicks deeper than broad best practices. We break down the best day of the week and the best time of day to post in 75 different industries.

It turns out, the best day of the week and time of day to tweet in the restaurant industry is 1 p.m. EST on Fridays — perhaps when restaurant goers are making weekend dining plans.

For apparel and fashion companies, however, the lunch hour is the sweet spot; noon EST is best time to tweet.

And for companies in the sports business? It depends if you are marketing for a sports team, or for a company selling sporting goods:

  • For sports teams, Sunday is the best day to post on Twitter, and 10 a.m. EST is the optimal time.
  • For sporting goods companies, Wednesday is the best day to tweet, and 1 p.m. EST is the optimal time.

So while the Burrito Principle is supported by data in the big picture, you’ll be better served by understanding the down time trends of your particular audience.

Want to know the best times to post on social in your industry? Download a free copy of Best Times to Post on Social Media + Cheat Sheet for 75 Industries.