TikTok for businesses: when to post on TikTok
TikTok users may find themselves scrolling for hours despite it feeling like minutes.
For them, this is the main “matter of timing” to be concerned about. But for brands looking to leverage the engagement rate potential this social media platform offers, the issue isn’t “where did the time go”—it’s when to time posts so that they make a measurable impact with an audience.
How to time TikTok posts can be a devil of a detail for brands, given the high in-app competition and an often ruthless algorithm. But for brands building TikTok into their marketing strategy, being detail-oriented could mean the difference between a lackluster page and TikTok virality.
Below, we discuss how timing affects TikTok post performance and how brands, when paired with a TikTok agency, can create a content marketing schedule that hits the beat.
TikTok 101: How the “when” affects whether content gets seen
First of all, with so much of marketing revolving around what to post, why should brands care about when to post? There are several differences between Instagram vs. TikTok. For example, unlike Instagram, TikTok content isn’t chronological. So it shouldn’t matter what time a business posts, right?
The answer is a bit more complicated.
For brands and marketers who haven’t used or explored the TikTok app yet, its centerfold feed is known as the For You page. This is a personalized stream of video content tailored to every individual on the platform. Users can toggle between it or the “Following” page (which limits their content feed to the Creators they follow).
Unsurprisingly, the TikTok algorithm is partially shrouded in mystery; most of the information about the social media platform’s nuts and bolts has come from the app’s designers themselves. But in a news bulletin released in mid-2022, to improve your TikTok SEO strategy and appear on the For You page, you must rely on three crucial factors:1
- User interactions – This content hinges on data indicating a user’s preferences. TikTok interprets a user’s likes, shares, comments and the creators or accounts they follow as a barometer for the type of content they want to see.
- Video meta content – This includes songs, sounds, captions, hashtags and the like.2
- Device and account settings – This includes things like the user’s language and country settings. In short, if a user lives in the US., they’ll mostly get content from the US. If they live in Argentina, they’ll probably see more TikTok video content originating there.
In general, the For You page includes videos posted recently—typically, videos that were posted anywhere from a few minutes ago to a few days earlier. This means there’s a relatively slim window when videos can achieve virality. And, more practically, if a target audience is asleep when the content goes live — that creates an even smaller chance of the content performing well.
Intuitively, businesses should know they’ll have more success posting when their target audience is already scrolling. This means there’s just one key to pinpointing the best time to post:
How to figure out when to post on TikTok
A marketer’s ground rules for determining the best time to post depends on communication channels: Email marketing metronomes may be a world apart from TikTok’s, especially when a company has a global audience.
So while TikTok’s rhythms are new (and, yes, they can be fickle) — there are some steps brands can take to find the optimal posting time.
Step 1: Find the core audience
The first question any business should ask themselves when trying to find the right time to post is:
- Who is my audience?
- Where are they located?
- When are they spending the most time in-app?
There are a few ways to answer this question, one of which is using common sense. For example, the person running the social media accounts for the New York Giants is probably safe in assuming that their audience is primarily located on the East Coast.
That social media manager can drill down into the answer further by using the analytics features that come with a Pro TikTok account. These features include information on the brand’s following, such as:
- The followers’ gender split.
- User comments.
- Average view time for content.
- Where the followers are located geographically.3
TikTok also boasts built-in analytics that brands can use to collect at least cursory data for these vitals. Here’s how:
- Tap into the privacy and settings section of the app.
- Navigate to the “Accounts” section.
- Tap “Analytics” and then hit the “Followers” tab.
This is where brands can find “Top Territories”—where in the world the followers are located.
Step 2: Identify when the audience is active
Once a marketer has established where their followers are, they need to determine when they’re active. This typically comes down to several factors:
- Awake vs. asleep – A good starting point to determine the time frames of follower activity is by checking their time zones. So, if a brand is based in the midwest but most of its followers are in Los Angeles, it’s not a great idea to publish content when the majority of the audience is still asleep.
- User habits – As addictive (and profitable) as the TikTok app may be, one would hope users aren’t devoting all their waking hours to doom-scrolling. Individual users may plug into TikTok at relatively consistent times per day. WFH lunch breaks or finding an in-app reprieve at the end of a long work day could be the peak time for many TikTok users.
Additionally, sharp marketers know that many users get to TikToking at “witching hour” times. These can be deduced by leveraging data and analytics to predict user behavior and testing hypotheses over the long haul.
For example, the tail end of the weekend might not seem like a peak scrolling time, but the data may prove that users rely on apps like TikTok to stave off the Sunday Scaries.
Step 3: Dial in posting times
If a brand is just getting started on TikTok — its first priority might be just getting content up there or engaging with followers. Early on, figuring out the right time to post each day of the week may feel less important—but it’s critical.
Two strategies may be used to identify the optimal posting times:
- Looking at engagement history – Brands looking to optimize their content posting strategy should audit their past marketing efforts. Historical engagement rates, follower top-ups and views can all help identify patterns in successful timing strategies.
- Prioritizing analytics – Businesses can learn untold information about their audience by routinely examining, mapping and interpreting TikTok analytics. These metrics provide a detailed overview of a brand’s existing content, including likes, comments and shares.
Moreover, experimenting with post times while tracking these metrics is crucial. Testing out new strategies can help identify the timeframes, days of the week and occasions (like the holiday season) that drive high-performing posts.
One metric that offers a helpful place to start? TikTok’s Video Views. These show which times of the day and the days of the week yield the highest traffic for a brand’s TikTok content.
Of course, the more content, the more data. Posting frequently and consistently means brands collect more data—and the more data, the more information an analytics team will have to work with.
A final word on posting times
By nature, ideal posting times are affected by numerous factors, from audience segments to seasons, to the TikTok algorithm itself. Ultimately, becoming a trusted and authentic presence on TikTok plays the most important role in netting views and attracting followers well beyond whether a post goes up at 10 in the morning or 10 at night.
In our view, two other factors trounce timing when it comes to bullseye TikTok posts
- Content quality (how much content resonates with desired users)
- Content quantity (posting consistently)
Mastering the basics by creating a solid content calendar, producing creative, eye-catching content and establishing a regular posting schedule are paramount. So timing might be important—but (contrary to the old adage) for brands looking to level up on TikTok, it’s not everything.
Optimize your TikTok page with Power Digital
TikTok is an electric new space for brands to connect with their customers in fresh ways, such as TikTok affiliate marketing. However, minting a whip-smart social media strategy that aligns with the app’s nuts and bolts is far from simple.
A tech-enabled digital marketing agency at the intersection of marketing, consulting and data intelligence, Power Digital couples years of experience with the most current analytics tech to guide brands’ strategies in the right direction. If you’re looking for a full-service marketing partner, we want to help you leverage untapped opportunities to build and build with your audience.
For a vision of what that powerful marketing strategy could look like, reach out to us today.
- TikTok Newsroom. How TikTok recommends videos #ForYou. https://newsroom.tiktok.com/en-us/how-tiktok-recommends-videos-for-you
- TikTok. How TikTok recommends videos #ForYou. https://newsroom.tiktok.com/en-us/how-tiktok-recommends-videos-for-you
- TikTok. Understanding your analytics. https://www.tiktok.com/creators/creator-portal/en-us/tiktok-content-strategy/understanding-your-analytics/
- TechCrunch. TikTok was the top app by worldwide downloads in Q1 2022. https://techcrunch.com/2022/04/26/tiktok-was-the-top-app-by-worldwide-downloads-in-q1-2022/