On March 11th, I got married. On March 12th, I went to Thailand for two weeks on my honeymoon.
Here is proof for all the haters and doubters.
I’ll spare you the travel details because why would you care? But, I can tell you this: definitely go to the beaches on Koh Samui and definitely do NOT go to The House of Ginger restaurant in Chiang Mai. That meal almost ruined my life.
The past three weeks were incredible, and I am very happy, but the reason I’m writing this is because I made some groundbreaking content observations that agents should consider.
Here they are:
1. It DOES matter when you post
There is a 14-hour time difference between where I live (Los Angeles) and Thailand. When I was waking up, America was going to sleep. It was basically like living in the future, which was cool—except for the fact that prime posting time was when I was already four Mojitos deep with a belly full of tom yum soup.
Because of this, I tried to get out my Broke Agent content before dinner. For the first couple of days, I posted around 5:00 pm (6:00 am EST or 3:00 am PST for those keeping score at home). I knew this was early, but I’ve been told (by Byron Lazine specifically), that America operates on East Coast time, and if we don’t have a post up when people wake up, we are FAILURES!
But these posts performed HORRIBLY. When I say horribly, I don’t mean below average, I mean little to no engagement at all. I tested this out over the next couple of days to see if it was the quality of content and not the time, but the result was the same.
I ended up pulling these posts down and reuploaded them a few hours later and was elated to see the engagement return to normal levels. Now, I am aware that this is not a brilliant discovery, as it is widely known that posting in the middle of the night when the majority of your audience is asleep is a fool’s move. But it was good to test it out firsthand and really see that it is useful to post when your followers are most active (or at least awake).
In case you didn’t know, you can actually see a breakdown of the hours your followers are most active in your Instagram Insights.
To find these:
- Go to your Professional Dashboard
- Click See All on Account Insights
- Select Total Followers
- Scroll down and view your Most Active Times.
This is what it looks like on @thebrokeagent account.
I used to shrug this data off and say, “It doesn’t really matter when you post as long as the content is good.” But, after experiencing the extremes of this first hand and revisiting the data, you can see that there is an enormous drop off from 6:00 AM to 3:00 AM, and an even larger one at midnight.
My main takeaway is that if you’re posting on the east coast, be mindful that a large portion of your followers or potential followers will not be awake or active until 9:00 am EST. Even if the majority of your audience is in your time zone, you don’t want to miss out on the potential reach of the other half of the country.
Why does this matter? Won’t people engage when they wake up anyway?
Great question. This matters because the initial engagement that your post gets out the gate determines how successful it will be.
The algorithm works in a way where it shares your content with your followers first. Based on those first impressions, it then decides if and how it will be shown to people outside your following. So, if you post something super late or super early, your overall reach will be destroyed because the people who would initially engage with your content are asleep.
Basically, post between the sixes—and if you’re going to Thailand, schedule your posts.
2. It’s impossible to come up with content when you’re not doing anything
On my honeymoon, my brain was fried. I was not in real estate mode, content mode, or in any mode other than eating as much food as possible. I wasn’t showing houses (insert joke about me never showing houses when I’m home anyway), and I wasn’t consuming content.
I was feeding elephants and tanning.
So when it came time to post, I had nothing.
It was a reminder that it is impossible to come up with content when you’re not active or engaging your brain with what you’re trying to create content for. If you’re just sitting on a laptop trying to come up with video hooks, post ideas, blogs, or whatever, it’s just not going to happen.
You can’t force content without doing or consuming.
On @thebrokeagent, my best posts always came right after a showing, an open house, or talking with a client. When I’m out of the game, my content gets stale and repetitive as I try to summon jokes out of thin air.
If you do find yourself struggling with ideas, here are four easy easy ways to help trigger some inspiration:
- Consume content: Find post concepts and styles from other agents and accounts
- Get in the field and actually do something: Content will come from your experience
- Go through your old posts: Repurpose your best-performing content
- Use ChatGPT: Download our ebook on AI for Agents
3. It’s good to take a break (and sometimes less is more)
I always thought the idea of a “social detox” was soft and annoying. In fact, I thought any detox was annoying, especially when the person participating in it feels the need to yap about it like they are running a marathon.
But, after my brief hiatus, I kind of get it and highly suggest taking the occasional break.
In early 2020, I made a commitment that I was going to treat the BA like a media company (this was before we started an actual media company). This meant no days off, 2-3 feed posts per day and 8-15 IG stories. I wanted there to be new content for agents every time they opened the app, and I became obsessed with this routine. I proudly did not falter ONCE in over three years, and that commitment helped grow my account and brand to where it is today.
Then, my wedding came, and I didn’t post the day of or the day after. Guess what? Nobody cared. Agents weren’t like, “OMG, wtf is happening The Broke Agent didn’t post a FSBO meme!” I was basically compulsive with posting, and it felt great to temporarily break that digital spell.
I carried this nonchalant momentum throughout the honeymoon, sporadically uploading content, and to my surprise, most of my posts actually performed far better than the weeks prior. The less I posted, the more engagement I got. This entire year I felt like I was exhausting myself and my audience with content (at least on the BA), but I was under the impression that more is always better. Instagram is incentivized to keep users on the app and to therefore reward people who post more often. I lived by the principle that the more at-bats (posts) you have, the more chances you get to have something hit, go viral, and gain more followers. This, I believe, is still true, but IG is so oversaturated right now that turning down the volume every now and then might be a good thing for your posting strategy. Give yourself and the algorithm a little break to reboot.
(Btw, this is DEFINITELY true for IG Stories. If your story engagement is down, wait 24 hours for it to expire before uploading a new one, and it will really help with views).
Most importantly, taking a content break is healthy. My entire life has turned into posting, clicks, retention, DMs, open rates, etc. I needed to take two weeks, and I already feel refreshed and more creative. I mean, look at this blog. I literally just wrote about three takeaways that everyone already knew about. But, for the first time in a few months, I actually enjoyed writing it. Hope some of this helps!