When is the Best Time to Post to Instagram?
Would you really like to know when is the best time to post to Instagram? Do you want know the secret to beating Instagram’s latest algorithm change? It’s quite simple: schedule posts for when most of your followers are online that’s how we do it at Social Motto.
The algorithm cares about how much engagement your Instagram post gets and how quickly you get that engagement.
If a post goes out when 98% of your followers are online, you increase your chance of accumulating likes very quickly.
If a post gets a lot of likes and comments shortly after being posted, Instagram recognizes the post as quality content and shows your post to even more followers.
Each account is unique and will require careful consideration to hack the algorithm change and increase your reach to get more likes and followers.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a single best time to post, but here are a few tips to help you reach the biggest audience possible.
1) Post for your most active time zone(s):
Sure, you may live in New York, but if most of your followers are in Los Angeles, you should be posting with the PDT time zone in mind. If you have followers in two very different time zones (such as New York and London), posting at “odd” times in your time zone may be helpful for account growth.
Unsure of what time zone your followers are in? Instagram Insights has you covered – and it’s free! After making sure your account is a business profile, click the bar graph in the upper right-hand corner and discover the amazing data in analytics! You’ll learn where your followers are located (you can filter this by city or country), their gender, their age, and, of course, the most popular days and times they are using Instagram.
2) Post more during off-work hours:
Your audience is busy! Think about the times of day you check personal accounts on social media – during your spare time. Prioritize scheduling during lunch time (11am-1pm) and evenings (7-9pm). You don’t want users to miss out on your stellar content simply because they’re too busy.
3) Save the important stuff for Monday through Friday:
Though just slightly, the average engagement does shift depending on the day. Per Later’s research, Wednesdays and Thursdays drive the most engagement, while Sundays drive the least.
4) Experiment and measure:
If you’re the kind of person who prefers to pull numbers yourself, Later has a task you’ll enjoy! Create a spreadsheet and track the amount of engagement each post receives at respective times. Here’s the best way to organize it:
a. Pick five different times throughout the week that falls within the time your followers are most active. For example, if your followers are most active between 12 and 4 pm EST, schedule your posts to appear at 12, 1, 2, 3 and 4 pm.
b. In a spreadsheet, track how many likes and comments each post receives, along with the day and time each was posted.
c. The following week, switch up the timing of your posts! If you posted on Monday at 2 pm during week 1, post at 3 pm during week 2.
d. Continue this cycle for a few weeks and identify the times and days that your audience responds to best.
5) Consider your niche:
Did you know that different sets of audiences tend to engage with posts at different times? Sprout Social advises adjusting your posting schedule according to your brand’s purpose.
a. Nonprofits: Nonprofits are turning to Instagram to help their audience visually engage with their brand.
• The best time to post for nonprofits is Friday at 2 pm.
• Other notable times include Tuesday at 3 and 9 pm, Wednesday from 3 to 4 pm, Thursday from 2 to 3 pm and Friday at 10 am.
• Saturday has the least amount of engagement for nonprofits.
• The safest times to post are weekdays from noon to 5 pm.
b. Education: It makes sense! School systems need to be where their students spend their time, and that’s online.
• The best time to post for education is Monday at 8 pm.
• Monday also has the most engagements overall for the week (consider the weekly updates for students!).
• Sunday has the least engagement for education on Instagram.
• The safest times to post are weekdays from 11 am to 4 pm.
c. Healthcare: Instagram is a remarkable place for healthcare organizations to share inspirational stories.
• The best time to post for healthcare is Tuesday at 1 pm.
• Tuesday is also the best day overall to post for healthcare.
• The weekend is the least engaged days of the week for healthcare on Instagram.
• The safest times to post are generally 9 am to 4 pm Tuesday to Friday.
d. Tech: Tech brands sometimes face difficulty visualizing their brand on social media, and Instagram softens the complication just a bit.
• The best time to post for tech brands is Wednesday at 10 am.
• Thursday is the best day to post to Instagram for tech.
• The safest times to post are generally 10 am to 5 pm Wednesday to Friday.
• Sunday is the least engaged day of the week for tech.
e. Consumer goods: Instagram Shopping has provided consumer goods brands
with an easier way to sell on the app.
• The best time to post on is Saturday at 11 am and 1 pm.
• Wednesdays tend to see the most consistent engagement overall throughout the week.
• The safest times to post are every day from 10 am to 3 pm.
• Monday is the least engaged day for consumer goods.
6) Post when everyone else isn’t:
5 pm seems to be a great time to post for optimal engagement. Why? Matt Smith, the founder of Latergramme, has a theory: “We think this is because fewer people are posting at that time and that more engaged users are using Instagram at that time”. This, of course, makes perfect sense. At 5 pm, people are just ending their workday and procrastinating those final minutes. However, try avoiding Monday at 5 pm. It’s a pretty crummy time to post – perhaps because employees are getting out of work later due to the post-weekend rush?
7) Stick to it for 30 days:
Jumping from one strategy to the next will only hurt you. Stick to a daily posting schedule for 30 days to ensure the most accurate results possible. Daunted by the idea of posting 30 days in a row? Check out Plann’s 33 Amazing Instagram Content Ideas Guide!
How to Schedule for Your Best Time to Post?
Congratulations, now you’ve identified when your audience is most active! The next step is to schedule your posts at the ideal times you’ve identified. A great way to ensure you are consistently posting when your audience is most active is by using scheduling tools. With hundreds of different versions circulating around the Internet, it can be difficult to choose. Here are a few strong contenders that will ensure you are posting at the most optimal time possible:
Later’s Quick Schedule Tool
Quick Schedule allows you to create your own queue based on your best times to post. Simply select your posting times once, and each time you queue up Instagram posts they will automatically be scheduled for your best times to post.
Now that is convenient! Later’s Quick Schedule Tool also includes automatic posting. Yep, simply schedule it and Later will take care of the rest. This is particularly helpful for if your followers are in a different time zone than you.
Sprout Social’s ViralPost
ViralPost truly is a social media genius. It regularly analyzes your audience data and detects the most active times for authentic engagement and rates different posting options with a star system. Five stars at 1:23 pm? Go on and publish. One star at 6 am? Might be best to hold off.
Now that you’ve identified when and how to effectively post on Instagram, just one question remains: how often do I post?
It’s recommended for businesses to post between 1 and 2 posts per day. Does that seem like a lot? Remember to factor in curation as well. The most effective feeds are composed of 50% original content and 50% curated content (quotes, stats, facts and even images from other users). Just be sure to always give credit in the copy! Does that seem like too little? Posting frequency should always be consistent with your goals. Adobe says some brands succeed with as many as 10 photos per day (when sharing photos from an event, for example).
Regardless if you’re posting 1 time per day or 12, always focus on consistency. Try your best to maintain the same cadence each day.
So how do you find the best time to post on Instagram for your account?
1) Post for your most active time zone(s) 2) Post more during off-work hours 3) Save the important stuff for Monday through Friday 4) Experiment and measure 5) Consider your niche 6) Post when everyone else isn’t 7) Stick to it for 30 days