You put tons of work into creating fantastic Instagram posts for your audience.
You slave over the perfect photo angle, spend hours on photoshop getting the filter just right, and agonize over the ideal #hashtags to help grow your business organically. But, for some reason, your Instagram dreams just aren’t becoming a reality.
What’s the big deal?
The simple answer is this: Timing is everything.
The perfect IG post isn’t going to do much for your following if your audience isn’t online to see it. Yet countless influencers, companies, and individuals seem to post their content without any planning whatsoever.
If you want to achieve your IG #Goals, you need to know the answer to this question:
“When is the best time to post on Instagram?”
The Best Time to Post on Instagram: What the Studies Say
Good news, you’re not the first person to wonder which time is best for posting on Instagram.
Unfortunately, you won’t be the last either.
Although plenty of research is available into posting schedules, the numbers don’t always add up. For instance, one company studied 61,000 posts in 2015, and found that the best time to post was on Wednesdays, between 2:00 am and 5:00 pm Eastern Time.
A more recent HubSpot report suggests that Mondays and Thursdays are the best time to post on Instagram, generally between 3 pm and 4 pm. Sprout Social agrees with posting on Thursday, but they believe that Wednesdays at 3 pm and Fridays at 5 am are also good times for engagement.
Confused? You’re not alone.
It seems like there’s not a one-size-fits-all schedule for Instagram success.
Your “perfect time” will depend on a variety of factors, including where you’re located, what the Instagram algorithm looks like, and who your target audience is.
The Best Time to Post on Instagram: General Rules
Figuring out the best time to post on Instagram isn’t easy.
Since the social channel’s algorithm replaced the chronological feed, with a solution focused on user interest, it’s become even trickier to find the right time to connect with your followers.
Of course, there are a few general rules you can follow. For instance:
- Share during off-work hours for engagement: Most people (no matter how much they’d like to), can’t spend much time on social media when they’re at work. According to the notorious social expert Neil Patel, it’s best not to compete with your audience’s professional life. Instead, post either at lunchtime or when your audience gets off work.
- Know your time zone: Factor time zones into the equation if you’re appealing to an audience outside of your local area. If you’re operating your business from the UK, but your target lives in the US, then posting at mid-day means scheduling your photos to appear at their lunchtime, not yours.
- Stick to mid-week days for the critical stuff: When it comes to getting engagement on Instagram, Monday and Thursday are the best days, according to the team at Sprout Social. People expect to engage more with social channels through the week.
Finding Your Best Time to Post on Instagram
Ultimately, while there are a lot of studies out there that look at the best time to post on Instagram, they’re all just looking at a tiny snapshot of data.
Every customer base is different, and the only way to make sure you’re engaging with your audience is to find out what schedule works for them.
The good news?
I’m going to show you exactly how to do that.
Step 1: Use Your Insights
Are you more of a local celeb, or an international superstar?
If you want to find the best times to post on Instagram, then you need to find out. You can do this by looking at Instagram’s analytics, located within the Instagram app.
Pro tip: You’re going to need to be an Instagram business user to use these analytics, so if you haven’t signed up yet, do it now. Once you’ve set up your Business account, you can head into the “Insights” tab, and check out some demographic details about your followers.
The Insights tap shows you:
- Where your users are from (Top Locations)
- When they’re most active (Hours and Days)
- What their general age range is
- What their typical gender is
Basically, Instagram Insights give you everything you could need to find the best time to post on Instagram. You’ll not only know where your customers are coming to you from, so you can get your time zones right, but also which days they prefer to visit you too.
Step 2: Play Mad Scientist (i.e., Experiment)
Of course, Insights are only super helpful once you’ve started to gather a significant following on Instagram. If you’ve still got a while to go before you become popular, you can crunch some numbers yourself.
Pick three or four different times throughout the week to post on Instagram and track your performance on those posts. Look for things like engagement (likes and shares), and additional followers on your IG profiles.
The next week, try a different set of times and record your results. It’s probably a good idea to start with the suggestions you can find in today’s Instagram studies and post on days like Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, so you’re not starting your research entirely from scratch.
You can also look at the basic things you know about your target audience. For instance, if you’re appealing to people who are generally going to be at work between 9 am and 5 pm, you know not to post during those business hours. On the other hand, if you’re reaching out to stay-at-home moms, then you might want to schedule your posts around school runs.
Remember, keep an eye on how the type of post affects your engagement too. You might find that the best day to post your Instagram stories is on a Friday at 5 pm, but the best time for everyday photos is between 11 am and 1 pm on a Wednesday. The more tracking you do, the more you’ll start to understand your audience, and how they interact with social media.
Step 3: Know Your Niche
Getting to know your audience is a great way to determine the best time to post on Instagram. However, it’s also important to understand your market, and how it affects your social media presence. Sprout Social offers some particularly useful insights into posting for different industries. For instance, according to their studies:
- The best time to post on Instagram for technology companies is Wednesday to Friday between 10 am and 5 pm (CDT)
- The best time for Educational institutions is between 11 am and 4 pm on weekdays (CDT)
- The best times for Healthcare companies is between Tuesday and Friday, from 9 am to 4 pm (CDT)
General data like this gives you a great starting point to work from.
Check out the studies available online regarding engagement in your sector and remember not to overlook the power of competitive analysis. If you’re not sure when the best times to post in your niche might be, try checking out the Instagram pages of people or brands just like you. Look for the posts where they get the most engagement and use that information to guide your scheduling decisions.
Is There a Worst Time to Post on Instagram?
If there’s a “best” time to post your pictures on IG, it stands to reason that there’s a worst time too.
Once again, your schedule will depend on specific things like your audience and niche. However, most experts agree that that Sunday posts typically get the lowest engagement, compared to other days throughout the week. Additionally, Hubspot suggests avoiding the hour between 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm if you really want to connect with your audience.
The truth is that every Instagram account is different. If you want to build an engaged Instagram audience, and connect with them on a deeper level, then you need to understand your niche, your following, and more.
The good news? The team at Upleap can help with all of that. Reach out to us today to discover your strategy for better social engagement.