This has become somewhat of an age old question, at least in terms of Social Media. When is the best time to post on Instagram? Are you just posting whenever you get a chance? Or is there a strategy behind your post times? Is it even necessary to have a strategy? Does it matter? Of course it does.
We’re going to run through the best ways to figure out when you should be posting on Instagram, but if you’d prefer to watch us talk about it instead of reading, look no further:
There are three main ways to discover the best times to post on Instagram in order to get the best possible engagement and increase your opportunities to grow.
The first way is, well, essentially, to wing it. If you have a new account with no follower data as far as the times they’re online, how are you supposed to know when to post to reach your prospective audience? The best educated guess is to post during typical times when people are likely to be in transition or have some downtime. So if you’re aiming at a follower base who work the typical 9 to 5 hours, you could post during their morning commute (7am to 9am), during their lunch break (12pm to 2pm), during their after work commute (5pm to 8pm), or after dinner in the evening (9pm to 11pm). It’s not very scientific but it’ll get things moving while you begin to generate actual follower data you can use to know when to post.
Speaking of follower data, the second way to figure out when to post is to use your native Instagram Insights which have been built using your accurate user and results-based data. Instagram tracks when your followers are most active, so if you post during those key times you have the best chance of reaching these people. However, there’s a little more to it than that. This method will only help you post when your current followers are online – what it doesn’t do is let you know when your prospective followers are best reached. In order to do that, you’ll need to optimize your posts using our 3 tag approach, which you can reach (and watch) more about in a recent blog post.
The third and final way to figure out when to post on Instagram is to use a third-party tool, some of which we’ve spoken about in this recent blog post. Our favourites are Sprout Social, Buffer and Planoly. Sprout is a paid-only service as it’s the most robust of the three, while both Buffer and Planoly have limited free plans which can be helpful for most businesses starting out, or who don’t need super in-depth analytics. They all have some sort of variant of an optimal send times feature, which is one of our favourite things that any third party tool offers.
Essentially, what these tools do is analyze the data from all of your posts and determine the exact times for each network when you’ve achieved the highest engagement – down to the minute – and suggest an optimal time for your posts. Sprout even has a five star rating system, offering several post time options with a corresponding rating based on the effectiveness of each one. We love this feature, as occasionally the five star option is, for example, at 10pm when the post needs to go out before noon so we have to decline to use their suggestion, but at least we’re aware of the potential downside of our chosen post time and can apply other methods to help boost the post (sharing to Stories, running some ads etc). You get what you pay for, so if you want the best possible results from your efforts, it might be worth investing in one of these third party tools to give you the most accurate data and help grow your account as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Hopefully this shed some light as to some best practices in determining the optimal time to post on Instagram for your business. Whether your account is brand new or you’ve been at it for years, there’s a way to make sure you’re doing all you can to get your followers – and prospective members of your online community – to see what you’re up to.
Don’t have time to focus on all of this while also running your business? Get in touch with one of our Social Media Managers so that we can help put together a social media solution that’s right for you.