On TikTok, the only thing that moves faster than users’ 15-second videos is the trend cycle.
TikTok creators are constantly posting new content, dueting past posts or making new audios. Trends that dominate the social platform one day are often irrelevant the next. On one hand, the app’s ever-evolving zeitgeist fosters creativity and quick-thinking innovation. On the other, this fast-moving pace can cause many newcomers to mistakenly assume that the best time to post is now.
Before you hit that post button, take a pause.
Your team won’t have to perfect your dance moves or break out any karaoke skills to succeed on TikTok. Instead, getting on your target audience’s “For You” page (aka the FYP) all comes down to not only knowing what to post, but when.
When Is the Right Time To Post?
When a person first opens TikTok, they land on their own personal FYP, which instantly begins streaming new and relevant content. This page is curated using an algorithm that suggests content using their interests and previous interactions.
The TikTok algorithm also prioritizes content that’s received engagement from accounts similar to the users’ own. The more interactions you get, the more likely the app is to push your content to other users’ FYPs. This all leads us to the big question of the day: If you post a TikTok primed to go viral and no one’s around to watch it, did you even post it?
Long story short, no.
Although the app has solidified its spot beside social media giants like Facebook and Instagram, it’s still in its infancy, meaning that there isn’t a ton of research out there related to best practices. Influencer Marketing Hub recently set out to change that, launching the first study of its kind to determine what time really is the best to post.
After analyzing over 100,000 posts, the company found that posting at the following times in Eastern Standard produced the highest levels of engagement:
- Monday: 6 AM, 10 AM and 10 PM.
- Tuesday: 2 AM, 4 AM and 9 AM.
- Wednesday: 7 AM, 8 AM and 11 PM.
- Thursday: 9 AM, 7 PM and 12 AM.
- Friday: 5 AM, 1 PM and 3 PM.
- Saturday: 11 AM, 7 PM and 8 PM.
- Sunday: 7 AM, 8 AM and 4 PM.
You may have noticed that unlike the best time to post on other social media channels, these aren’t all that intuitive. Who (aside from me) is scrolling in the middle of the night on a Tuesday? Well, that’s because there is another major factor at play here: which time zone (or zones) your audience is located in.
For example, if your target audience is split between different time zones in the U.S. and the U.K., only posting with one in mind could leave an entire half of your would-be viewers in the dark. However, if you post on a Friday morning, you could catch your American audience as they wake up and your British followers as they take a lunch break.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to experiment with different times to find the right window for your brand. From there, you can figure out a posting schedule tailored to your specific audience.
Additional Best Practices for Posting TikTok Content
Timing is important, but we should also note that it isn’t everything. To ensure your video gets in front of as many people as possible, there are few other best practices to keep in mind:
Which Hashtags Should I Use?
TikTok hashtags work like every other social media channel. They allow you to label your content, categorizing it in an effort to make it easier for users (and the app’s algorithm) to find.
On TikTok, these tags are also clickable, meaning that you can tap one to explore a search page filled with similar content. For brands, this means if you start a hashtag-driven campaign or label all of your posts with the same tag, they’ll be housed in the same place.
Remember: Like anything on TikTok, hashtags aren’t invincible when it comes to the app’s rapidly moving trend cycle. However, there are several mainstays you can use as a jumping off point:
To figure out which TikTok hashtags are on the rise, check your own FYP feed regularly.
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How Long Should Videos Be?
Up until recently, a TikTok user was limited to 60 seconds per video. Gradually, this window grew, reaching 3 minutes in 2021, and 10 minutes by 2022.
After rolling out the first length update in the fall of 2021, TikTok reported that longer videos had already received more than 5 billion views globally. Additionally, the app also shared that these posts were most popular with users in Vietnam, Thailand and Japan, while users in the U.S., U.K. and Brazil produced the highest engagement rate.
What’s the bottom line here? Well, TikTok was originally founded with short-form content in mind, and that’s still what many users are looking for. Although that app shared that “longer” posts were quickly gaining views, it’s important to remember that these videos were defined as anything over a minute. Try to stay under 3 minutes when possible and keep your audience’s interests in mind if you decide to opt for a longer post.
How Often Should I Post?
Posting frequency on Tiktok can vary significantly. For example, major influencers will often have 2 profiles. One will be updated with content on a daily basis, and another “spam” account will provide an unfiltered look at their day, with some creators posting up to 10 times a day.
Take a breath here: As a brand, you won’t be expected to churn out 70 unique videos a week.
In its guidelines, the app notes that users should be “intentional” about the content they share, recommending 1 to 3 posts per day. The ultimate goal is to be able to post high-quality content on a daily basis, but for smaller teams or brands who are just starting out, aim to share at least 4 videos weekly.
3 Examples of Successful Brands on TikTok
For many brands, TikTok can feel like the Wild West — and rightly so. After hitting the ground running in 2017, it became the 7th-most downloaded app of the 2010s, surpassing 1 billion active users across the world by the end of 2021. Yes, you read that right.
In just a handful of years, the app that originally only hosted lip syncing and dancing videos cemented itself as a social media mainstay. However, despite Tiktok’s grip on all things trendy, many marketers still aren’t certain of how to leverage its power for their brand. Everyone knows someone who’s made it big on the app, but few are familiar with the companies that have carved out a following on the app.
As your own team develops your presence on TikTok, look toward these companies for inspiration:
Duolingo, a popular language learning app, is a beloved education tool used by over 40 million users monthly. However, if you’re not one of the brand’s 3.5 million TikTok followers, you may be surprised to find out its mascot Duo the owl is up to far more than just teaching new languages.
In addition to providing interactive and fun lessons, the app sends daily notifications to ensure users stay on track with their selected language program. Since the website was launched in 2012, it’s been a long-standing joke online these reminders, most of which come from Duo, veer further into the aggressive side of the passive aggressive spectrum.
So, when Duolingo came to TikTok, it knew exactly what to do. Taking the lead from fast food giant Wendy’s strategy, the brand leaned into the memes, creating a menacing (yet hilarious) character from Duo’s online persona.
@duolingo every time you open Google Translate, I lose a feather. #duolingo #swiftok #enchanted #languagelearning #trend #brandtok #comedy ♬ Enchanted Taylor Swift – Kaylen
From guilting users into picking their lessons back up to sassing anyone who dares to comment, Duolingo stays busy on TikTok — amassing almost 70 million views in the process.
The Washington Post
It’s no secret that the news looks far different than it did even just 5 years ago. With the always-on nature of today’s digital savvy audience, The Washington Post knew it needed to take a different approach to connect with younger readers. Or, in this instance, viewers.
The Post first began creating TikToks at the start of 2020, providing its followers with straightforward, real-time updates on current events. During this time, the account gradually attracted followers and took on what the team described to Forbes as “cool uncle energy.”
Now, from updates on the pandemic to changes in inflation, the account covers everything and anything in the news. Having reached over 1.3 million followers, it’s clear that this mockumentary-styled take on current events has cemented its place in the TikTok mainstream.
Lionsgate was instantly at an advantage when it first came to TikTok, having ownership of some of the world’s most iconic films and TV series. While the company could have simply posted fan-favorite scenes or interviews for upcoming movies, the team behind the TikTok page decided to take a more outside-of-the-box approach.
No movie or series is safe from being turned into a meme on this account. Plus, it’s clear from the breadth of content that whoever is manning the account is staying close to the trends, always jumping on the latest TikTok phenomenon.
As your team works to develop your own voice on TikTok, just take these brands as an example. While there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy to this social media platform, it’s clear that creativity wins every time.
Checking Your TikTok Analytics
Our final tip for the day just might be the most important one. If you haven’t already, be sure to switch your TikTok account to a business profile. That way, you’ll be able to gain access to one of the tool’s most powerful features: TikTok Analytics.
After you navigate to the “creator tools” tab in your settings, you’ll find a comprehensive report on everything you need to know about your account, broken down by 3 main categories:
- Overview: Here, find a high-level view of all of your follows, views, likes and comments across any time frame you’d like.
- Content: Discover which content performed best and learn what your audience engages with the most.
- Followers: Dive deeper into your audience with information on where they’re from, what gender they are and — drum roll please — when they’re most active.
Every brand is slightly different, so finding your voice and the right strategy on TikTok will take some work. However, by using TikTok Analytics to keep close watch of these key metrics, you’ll start to get a better idea of what your followers want to see and when to share it. And, when in doubt, you could always try learning the moves to the Renegade.