The fact is, however, that the best time for you isn’t necessarily the best time for everyone else. In short, it will depend a lot upon your industry, audience, and time zone. However, we do have a few tips – so read on for the lowdown on how to optimize your Instagram schedule.
Why is it important to know the best time to post on Instagram?
Before we get on to those handy tips, you might want to know why we’re even asking that question. Especially if you aren’t a major influencer – does it really matter when you post your content? The answer is a resounding yes: knowing when the best time is to post on Instagram can work wonders for your engagement ratings.
Put simply, Instagram’s algorithm controls who sees your posts and how soon. Friends, family, and accounts you interact with lots will come near the top of your feed, with business posts and those including outbound links ranking near the bottom. But knowing when your audience is most likely to be scrolling will give you a big advantage. Schedule posts for when your Instagram community is online, and you’ll instantly get more comments and likes. Higher engagement helps push your posts up these users’ feeds, and may also get them viewing your Story or IGTV. As we all know, engagement is everything. And that, in short, is why it’s good to post your content when it’s most likely to be seen.
How to find the best time to post on Instagram
There are two ways to go about finding the best time to post on Instagram. The first is the most personalized, but, unfortunately, also the most time-consuming. As we said before, all accounts are different – your brand or business may well have a target audience operating in a specific time zone or at certain hours of the day. The best way to find out when they’re active on Instagram is some good old trial and error:
- For around a month, post content on different days and at different times. Note each one on a weekly calendar.
- Analyze each post’s immediate performance – write down the number of likes and comments it receives within the first half-hour.
Of course, this involves a fair amount of effort over a period of weeks – something you may not have the time or patience to do. Luckily, experts like HubSpot and Sprout Social have been on the hunt for the best times to post on Instagram worldwide. Remember that these are general, so your business may be quite different. And if you do start experimenting with these time slots, be sure to adjust your time zone if necessary (all times here are given in CDT).
According to Sprout Social, 10am to 3pm Tuesday through Friday is the best time to post on Instagram. Looked at in more detail, their study shows Wednesday as the clear winner when it comes to days of the week, with Friday morning coming in second.
HubSpot takes a similar approach, but also suggests:
- late Saturday or Sunday morning (around 11am, when people may be eating brunch or hanging with friends)
- 5am on weekday mornings, a time many people get up to head to the gym
- Wednesday at 3pm is a suggested “hot time”…
- …as is Thursday at 11am
All these times make sense because they correspond with gaps in people’s daily schedules. Most 9–5 workers check their Instagram in the morning, during lunch breaks, and perhaps in a mid-afternoon slump. Posting fresh (and compelling) content at these times can catch their interest and boost engagement.
How to organize an Instagram schedule with a weekly calendar
The problem with posting on Instagram according to a set schedule is that life can easily get in the way. However, there is a range of tools to help you stick to that all-important weekly calendar – remember, consistency is key when it comes to good content marketing. Apps such as Loomly, ContentCal, Later, and HootSuite can help immensely if you want to stick to your schedule. Template posts, analytics, and automated postings will all keep you on top of your Instagram game.
We mentioned analytics just there, and before we go, we’d like to tell you: it really is important to stay on top of this. User behavior can change (not to mention algorithms), so as time goes on you may have to tweak your weekly calendar. Keep a close eye on your audience and engagement ratings, and you can be sure you’ll always know when the best time is to post on Instagram.