Much of the advice you can find on the Internet about the “best time to post on Twitter” or any other social network tells you that the prime times to post are Monday through Thursday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Common themes are that Facebook has a longer window of opportunity, evening posts don’t get much traffic, and absolutely never post after 8 p.m. on a Friday if you want people to actually see your post.

Best time to post on Twitter

While most of this is true – statistically proven and congruous with our common sense (it’s Friday and people want to talk to real people!) – these broad recommendations don’t take into account the nuances of each industry.

Let’s look at some examples.

If a brand in the gaming industry wants to reach its target audience, is it really best to post in the afternoon? Thinking about the traits of the audience, probably not. Game websites tend to be most highly trafficked late at night. Popular computer game League of Legends often receives complaints about long wait times to log into the system, and they are especially common on Friday and Saturday nights. The best time to reach a gamer like that would most likely be, therefore, late at night – perhaps a quick check in between games is all it takes to generate clicks.

How about if your target audience is actually a social media executive? Many people in such positions have a set morning routine. For instance, when I start working each day, I always check my email, Facebook, Twitter, Buzzfeed (although I don’t like to admit it!), and my RSS feed. However, there are often too many posts on my Twitter stream and RSS feed to read them all, so I’ll take only a few minutes to look through the most recent posts. To reach me, a post just has to have the luck of being posted around when I start working. So to reach a social media director with a morning routine, it may be best to post around the morning and lunch or break times.

In the end, the most important thing to keep in mind is that your audience, just like individual people, often don’t follow the trends of the general populace. The only way to tap into all the potential of your target audience is to understand who they are and what they’re looking for.