Don't obsess over when to post, but be consistent
tl;dr Building an audience is about consistency. Obsessing over exactly when to post is rarely worth your time. If you need a sensible default, post in the morning, Monday to Thursday. This gives your audience more time to see your post during the day.
As creators, we often worry about when exactly we should post something. I don't think there's an answer. And it's not something we should worry about.
There are many reasons why there can't be one single ideal time to post. But the most straightforward explanation is time zones: As soon as you have fans in more than one time zone, it becomes evident that there isn't the perfect time to post. And even if everybody was in the same time zone, you'll quickly realize that successful accounts post at varying times.
Focus on what you can control
The customers of ad-supported social media platforms are advertisers. Twitter, TikTok, Instagram and Facebook therefore want to maximize the time users spend on them. That gives them more opportunities to sell ads. They prioritize content they think will make people stay1. The times when posts were ordered chronologically are gone, and you have little control over who will get to see your content2.
People become your fans because they like you and what you create. Your first priority when building an audience should be making things people like.
If people like your content, the social media algorithm will also like you because you make people spend more time on their platform. If people like you, they want to hear from you as often as possible. This is why you should focus on posting regularly. Aim to post in the morning Monday to Thursday, and see if this doesn't help you more than trying to find the perfect time for a single weekly post.
This might sound stressful, and it takes work. But I hope you'll see the following happen:
- If you post regularly, there's less riding on a single post.
- You'll interact more with your fans, which is very rewarding.
- Your fans care less about polish but more about authenticity. This is excellent news for you, allowing you to share work-in-progress3.
This is the first post in a series where I talk about how to pragmatically grow an audience. It was inspired by a comedian friend that I asked if she had any questions about building an audience:
People tend to be so rambly, and my interest is already low, so I usually am just like, f*** it. It's like when you want a recipe and have to read about someone's personal relationship to bread. I don't want to do it, I just want the ingredients. If you are thinking about doing something like that, I think it would be amazing.
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TikTok, Instagram's new release, and Twitter's "Top Tweets" all show you posts without respect for chronological order and from people that you don't necessarily follow. ↩
Those systems are very complex, and they most likely optimize for different goals to varying degrees. But given their business models, social-media platforms need people to give them the most attention possible, which doesn't happen if you don't like the content. ↩
"Show Your Work!" by Austin Kleon is an excellent guide on creating exciting posts from your daily work. ↩