Post at the Right Time to Reach Your Instagram FollowersTo build a relevant Instagram audience, you have to do more than create amazing content that captivates your audience. You also have to make sure they see it.
Instagram switched to an algorithm-based feed in 2016 that favours more recent posts and updated the algorithm again in 2018 to ensure users were being served fresh content they were more likely to engage with.
This means that no matter how many times a user refreshes their feed, newer posts are most likely going to be seen first.
If you aren’t posting at the right time, most of your audience will never get a chance to engage with the content you’ve worked so hard on. Everyone loses in this situation.
How can your brand beat Instagram's algorithm and make sure your content is at the top of your followers’ feeds?
Simple, post when the majority of your followers are using the app.
So what is the best time to post on Instagram? The Buzzoid team has some insights to help you structure your Instagram marketing blueprint.
When is the best time to publish Instagram posts?After analyzing thousands of Instagram accounts and millions of posts, the Buzzoid team found that it’s not so clear cut.
The best time to post your content is between 1 pm and 2 pm EST, but depending on the day of the week, your engagement rates can dramatically change. For instance, Buzzoid found that the best time to post on Friday is not just 1 pm, but also at 5 am and 3 pm as well.
Why is this true?
Well, think about the way your routines and moods change from day to day, whether consciously or unconsciously. Your mood and routine will affect your behaviour. The same is true of everyone else.
Here are some insights to think about:
- Some of the highest engagement can be generated by posting from 5 am to 7 am EST on Tuesday through Friday; the first thing many people do when they wake up is to check their phones.
- Posting from 11 am to 2 pm EST during the weekdays generates a high amount of engagement as this is the time people are at lunch and going through the midday slump. They’re losing focus and attention at work and need a diversion. Avoid peak hours.
- Posting on Saturday at 11 am EST is the ideal time because many people are hanging out or eating brunch.
Find the Best Time for You to Post on InstagramFiguring out the best time to post for your specific audience can be done in a few different ways:
- Use a social media management platform to identify your best posting times
- Use Instagram Insights
- Test the timing of your posts to see which generate high engagement
- Look at the posting times of other brands in your industry
Instagram InsightsInstagram Insights is the in-app Instagram analytics tool that can help you figure out the optimal posting time for your audience.
As a starting point, it has all the analytics you could dream of, including your followers’:
- Time of highest activity (Keep in mind the time zones when looking at this metric)
You can easily use this data to form your new Instagram posting strategy that is based on the best days and times to post.
Experiment with Your Posting TimesWhether you’re not a fan of graphs and charts or just prefer to do the math on your own, you can figure out your posting times using a bit of trial and error. A spreadsheet is all you need to track the levels of engagement you get when posting on different days of the week and different times.
Start by looking at the posting times of your top five posts. If you don’t have any posts, you can choose five random times you want to try throughout the week.
Let’s say you choose 10 am, 11 am, 12 pm, 1 pm and 2 pm. This gives you some morning and afternoon data.
You’ll post on Monday at 10 am, Tuesday at 11 am, Wednesday at 12 pm and so on. Then record the number of comments and likes each post receives.
For the next week, switch the specific times for each day. For example, post on Monday at 11 am, Tuesday at 12 pm, Wednesday at 1 pm, on Thursday at 2 pm and Friday at 10 am. Then record the number of comments and likes.
This method will take some time, but it is going to help you identify the optimal times and days to share based on your discreet audience. You may even be able to figure out new insights and see patterns you otherwise wouldn’t if you continue to experiment.
Use Similar Brands as BenchmarksThis strategy is especially useful for business accounts starting from scratch.
The amount of engagement you receive is also based partly on the industry you’re in. If you want to know the approaches the best of the best in your industry take toward posting, looking at their accounts and noting their posting times can offer you more granular timing information.
Start slowly by choosing the top 1-3 companies in your industry and looking at their accounts. Look at the times they’ve posted and the kind of engagement each post received.
If you are serving the same kind of information to the same audience, this will help you form a strategy not only around posting but also the type of content your audience may be interested in.
4 General rules to keep in mind when posting
- Post your most important content on a weekday
- Use your most active time zone(s) when posting
- The best timing in the world can’t make up for bad content
- Be flexible
In order to build a large, engaged Instagram audience for your brand, you need to have a thorough understanding of who your followers/target audience is and how the Instagram algorithm works in showing your content on user's feeds.
One of the best ways to learn about them and hold their attention is to find out when they are surfing their Instagram feed. This allows you to deliver the content you know they want at the best time for them to see it.