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Instagram, like social media marketing in general, is an ever-evolving ecosystem.
And getting the best Instagram engagement depends upon the industry you create content for and your target audience.
On top of that, achieving a genuinely effective Instagram content strategy can take some trial and error.
When creating content, it takes a lot of effort to craft the best images, construct engaging copy, and find the right hashtags.
So, it can be a bummer when you put all this work into a post, and all you get is five likes and a bunch of spam comments.
How can you actually improve your Instagram content strategy?
In my time as a social media manager, I’ve conducted many hours of research and gone through my own trial and error.
As a result, I’ve compiled some tips and insight into the best times to post.
This guide will give you background info and specific post times to get higher engagement rates and connect with your target audience on Instagram.
What Time Are Instagram Users Most Active?
First – remember that many time zones comprise the world. So, knowing which segment of a global audience you’re trying to reach is imperative, as the times that follow are contingent on their specific time zone.
(I’ll get into that more when discussing Instagram Insights.)
Once you’ve determined that – think logically about what people do daily.
More often than not, when people wake up, they check social media, spending a couple of minutes or more scrolling through their newsfeeds or watching Instagram Reels.
So, around 7-8 a.m. can be a great time to post in the morning.
Another time when people are often on their phones is when they take their lunch break. Posting around 11-1 p.m., when people are likely to be breaking for lunch, can help ensure that your post will make it closer to the top of their feed.
Remember that, since people work from home more often now, many of these suggested times come with more flexibility.
People also tend to scroll through social media right after work or before bed.
While this isn’t a significant posting time for most days, it is for Sunday, where the peak time is from 6-8 p.m.
So, in general, you have these three sections of the day to send out posts: when people start their day, around lunchtime, and in the evening or before people go to sleep.
But a caveat here is that posting times can depend on your target audience’s age, demographic, and industry.
That’s particularly true for evening posts, so do more research about your target market before becoming an evening poster.
The Best Times To Post On Instagram
We’ve already discussed different global time zones; for this article, we’ll focus on the Eastern Time zone.
You can start by using these times as an initial guide, then adjust your post times according to your followers’ time zone and activity.
Another essential thing to mention is that Instagram’s algorithms will focus on promoting the most recent posts, so trying to find the times when your users are active is crucial.
So now, let’s break down the days and posting times:
- Monday: 6 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m.
- Tuesday: 8-10 a.m., 2 p.m.
- Wednesday: 9-11 a.m.
- Thursday: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 7 p.m.
- Friday: 10 a.m.-12 p.m., 2-4p.m.
- Saturday: 8-11 a.m.
- Sunday: 6-8 p.m.
Post Times To Avoid
Let’s go back to people’s natural routines.
Weekends tend to see lower engagement levels, but don’t count them out altogether. Saturday can be a decent time to post if you post at the right time.
Brands that offer consumer goods tend to see high engagement Sunday evenings.
But the consensus has been that Sunday is generally the worst day to post, as people are decompressing or getting ready for the week ahead. So, typically, they will spend less time scrolling through social media.
But, as I mentioned earlier, you can find some decent engagement levels on Sunday evening.
And Mondays – boy, don’t we all hate Mondays?
As weekdays go, you will likely see slower engagement levels this day, as people are getting into their routines for the work week.
Best Times To Post Reels On Instagram?
Being in the TikTok era means that video-based content is on the rise.
If you want to engage your followers through Instagram Reels, try posting during these times:
- Monday: 6 a.m., 10 a.m., 10 p.m.
- Tuesday: 2 a.m., 4 a.m., 9 a.m.
- Wednesday: 7 a.m., 8 a.m., 11 p.m.
- Thursday: 9 a.m., 12 a.m., 7 p.m.
- Friday: 5 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m.
- Saturday: 11 a.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m.
- Sunday: 7 a.m., 8 a.m., 4 p.m.
There’s also a suggestion from Hootsuite to post from Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
As I mentioned, this can take trial and error – and depend on your industry and target market.
How Often Should You Post?
That depends on a couple of factors.
First, do you have enough product images, content, and ideas to post a couple of times per day or week?
The goal here is to post consistently; Don’t ghost your followers, or they’ll lose interest and unfollow.
On the other hand, don’t put content out there for the sake of posting regularly. Instead, spend time conducting a thoughtful customer journey-based content strategy.
That might take more time on the front end but will leave you with less stress and headaches as the weeks go on.
That way, you can spend more time managing social media and engaging with followers and less time worrying about getting enough content out there.
If you don’t have an abundance of post ideas, try posting three times a week.
Then you can adjust after a month or so to see how the post schedule works for you and the brand.
How To Find The Best Times To Post?
While I’ve laid a foundation for when to begin posting, it’s time to hone in on some tactics to find when your target audience is online.
First things first, your Instagram Insights.
If the account isn’t set up this way, you can easily click on the previous links to set up the account.
Once you build your following to 100 followers or more, you’ll be able to see the demographics – including the age, gender, and location of your followers.
Instagram Insights also gives you the ability to analyze high-performing posts.
Then you can ask yourself, what worked here?
Was it a high-quality image? Was it the post time? Maybe it was the copy and hashtags? Or was it a mix of all of these?
That way, you can create similar posts in the future.
It’s also important to note that some pieces of content just won’t perform well, while others do.
Analyzing your content and post times together will make it easier to see what’s doing well and why.
Using Different Tools
If you regularly post on Facebook, you can also use Meta Business Suite to schedule and analyze posts across both platforms in one place.
Using a content management platform or analyzing Instagram Insights will allow you to easily adjust post times to your audiences’ time zones and tailor your content to your audience.
Or, if you’re not attracting the right audience, you can use Insights to shift your strategy.
Check Competitors’ Content
Another thing you can do is check out your competitor’s content. For example, are their Tuesday 2 p.m. posts performing well, or was another time working better for them?
Doing this can also help inspire you for future topics you might want to highlight.
Instagram Content Strategy
Now that you have all the tips to get your posting time right, it’s time to start building or adjusting your Instagram content strategy.
This process must be flexible and evolve, so patience is key.
The important thing is to stay consistent. Post regularly and check back often to see how your posts are doing.
Over time, the more content you have, the more accurate your Insights will be in analyzing your Instagram post strategy. Then, you can change up your content strategy based on your systematic analysis.
Ultimately, you and the brand must determine what success looks like.
Maybe it’s more likes, comments, follows, or general brand awareness.
One last thing to remember when creating your content strategy is holidays.
Does the brand want to post on those days, make a promotion for them, or avoid them altogether?
As you can see, it can take some time to figure out the best times to post.
But once you do, you’ll be able to establish an effective Instagram content strategy that meets the brand’s goals.
While posting times are a crucial part of overall engagement, you still need to select the right hashtags, visuals, and copy for your posts – and pay attention to promoted posts, as this can impact how you look at your Insights.
In the end, you must balance all these variables to grow your follower base and increase engagement consistently.
Featured Image: Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock