Do you struggle to find the best time to post to Instagram?
Maybe your engagement is lacking, or you’re not attracting followers quickly enough. Whatever your hangup is, posting to Instagram at the right time can help you overcome those roadblocks and reach your goals.
Doing so can help you achieve the results you want including: getting more engagement, getting ranked higher in the Instagram algorithm, and attracting more of your ideal followers.
But how do you find the truly BEST times to post? This is often harder than it looks…
What can I say, there’s a LOT of conflicting information out there when it comes to this topic.
Maybe you’ve felt confused after reading one study telling you the best time to post on Instagram is on Sunday night around 9 pm… and then reading another post on how Tuesday mornings before work is the best time.
Who do you believe? What are you supposed to do?
Though there are lots of opinions on the generic “best” times to post, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best time for YOU to post your fabulous content on Instagram.
If we’re going to get straight down to the matter there really is no single best time to post on Instagram.
But don’t freak out! The solution to your problem is to find YOUR specific best time — and this is different for everyone. I’m here to show you how to find yours.
Related Reading: 3 Instagram Strategy Mistakes Keeping You From Success
What Finding Your Best Time to Post Can Do For You
Posting at your peak times will help you in a whole host of ways such as:
- More engagement – The more your followers like and comment on your posts the better. This signals to Instagram’s algorithm that you are posting quality content, and you’ll show up higher in your followers’ feeds as a result.
2. Signals to Instagram’s algorithm that you’re posting quality content → your content shows up higher in your followers feeds & shows it to more of your followers. Instagram wants to promote content that keeps people on the platform longer.
So if you’re regularly posting great content at peak times and gaining lots of engagement from your followers, Instagram will take note and push your content forward.
3. Faster Growth & More Engaged Followers – All of the above factors lead to faster growth and more engaged followers. And what’s so great about having extra popularity and engagement? Popularity doesn’t pay the bills, but the extra revenue you generate as a result of warming up your followers to become happy customers does. Happy followers who interact with you on a consistent basis and love what you’re posting are much more likely to become paying clients and customers. It’s a win-win.
4. Fast engagement leads to higher chances of going VIRAL via the Explore Page – which leads to big boosts in growth and potentially hoards of adoring new followers and fans.
How does this work?
Basically, when you publish a new Instagram post, the more engagement you get and the faster you get it, the higher Instagram ranks you for showing up on the Explore Page. Once you pass a certain threshold, your post can get in front of thousands of new people, who engage with your content, which in turn causes MORE people to see it…
The Explore Page is where you and other Instagrammers can find content from accounts you’re not already following.
My Explore Page is tailored to my own specific interests, based on what I’ve been interacting with on Instagram. This is the Explore Page I see with my @lobotany gardening account (lots of garden content shows up) — the content will be quite different for my personal account.
Related Reading: How to Stop Losing Instagram Followers… and Gain Them Instead
The real power of the Explore pages comes from the fact that it is tailored to each person’s specific interests. So if you can show up on a lot of people’s Explore Pages, you’ll be getting in front of a bunch of new people who Instagram has determined to already have an interest in your topic. These users are much more likely to follow you on average.
Posting at peak times will get you more likes and comments from your followers, which boosts your chances of getting featured on the Explore Page where you’ll be front and center in front of a targeted audience of potential followers.
Here’s what happened when I had a post go super viral on the Explore Page:
Viral post gained over 280,000 views in 24 hours!
Now that you’re pumped to boost your growth by finding the best time to post on Instagram, let’s dive into finding the perfect time for you:
Things that determine your best time to post on Instagram
There are several factors to take into consideration when finding your best time to post on Instagram.
- Your location
- Your audience’s location
- Who your target audience is (demographics): job, location/time zone, family, marital status, when do they have free time?
So how do you find out the above information on your audience? There are a couple of different ways you can do it, but first there are some general rules to consider.
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General rules of thumb to determine your best time to post on Instagram:
1. Pick off-hours: before work, lunch break, after work & evenings
Ask yourself this:
When do you personally spend most of your time on social media?
Hopefully it’s not (too much) while you’re at work!
Most people are busy at work during business hours, so their peak times of Instagram activity fall outside of these times. Try posting in the morning before work, at lunch time, and in the evenings when most people have some down time to scroll through Instagram before hitting the sack.
2. Weekdays, not weekends (engagement goes down on weekends generally)
A bit counter intuitive considering our last point, but social media engagement generally goes down on weekends, not up. This is likely because many people are out doing fun things with their families and friends on weekends, and spend less time with their eyeballs glued to their screens.
3. Consider time zones
If your target audience is in the USA or North America, keep that in mind when choosing your times to post. The majority of the population in the USA lives in the Eastern Time Zone, so you’ll want to consider posting according to the Eastern time zone and not Pacific.
I did this even when I lived in Vancouver (on the West coast of Canada) because a larger percentage of my audience lives in the Eastern parts of Canada and the US.
How to use Instagram Insights to find your best time to post on Instagram
These are all things to consider when getting started — but it’s not enough to get the results you want!
You need to get really specific with your best time to post to Instagram, which means we’re going to take a look at your analytics.
This is the fastest and easiest way to get a snapshot of who your audience is on Instagram, and when they’re most active.
You can find most of the important data points listed above (such as your audience’s time zone, most active time of day, etc) inside Instagram Insights (link to tutorial on how to switch to biz account) if you have a business account on Instagram.
To access Instagram Insights, just tap the hamburger icon in the top right on your Instagram profile, and click the Insights tab:
And here’s what you find inside of your Instagram Insights dashboard: a whole host of useful data, charts, and graphs depicting your audience’s activity.
You can use Instagram Insights to dig into the specific demographics of your audience, including:
- Their age and gender – great for determining what kind of content to post and when they’re likely to be using Instagram.
- Their location – Insights shows the most common countries and cities that your followers come from. Use this data to determine what time zones to target.
- Which days of the week and what time your followers are most active – use this to find out what days of the week to post your best content and at which time in order to get the most engagement.
You can use your Instagram Insights to get started, but you still need to TEST AND FIND OUT what works best for you.
Using the guidelines we talked about and looking at your analytics data from Instagram Insights will help you get started, but the most important thing to do is to test, test, test!
Here’s a simple test for finding your true best time to post on Instagram:
- Choose a time and post for several days in a row at that specific time. Record your results each day.
- Look at your results and analyze them — did you get higher or lower engagement compared to your average results?
- Did you gain more or fewer new followers over that time frame? Make note of the answers for each time you test.
Here’s an example of a spreadsheet I’ve used to track my tests of different posting times:
If a time or date is consistently getting you better than average results, then you’ve found a winner! You’ll want to schedule your best posts for these times in order to maximize your results.
If you didn’t see a difference in results, keep going. Keep testing different times until you find one that performs better than your average.
Once you’ve found your peak times to post, what next? You may have found them to be at inconvenient times, in which case…
Scheduling Your Instagram Posts at the Best Times
Once you’ve found out your best times, you want to make sure you don’t accidentally miss posting on them! This can be difficult to stick to, especially if your best times happen to be:
- Late at night – this can happen if you target an audience in a different location than where you live.
- During working hours – you don’t want to keep running off to the bathroom with your phone to post — the last thing you need is getting fired for being caught too many times taking Instagram breaks.
- During special occasions, or simply interrupting your daily life. Social media is enough of a distraction as it is, and sometimes life just gets in the way.
That’s why I highly recommend scheduling all of your Instagram posts in advance. This personally saves me a load of time, but it also guarantees that I don’t ever miss my best times to post.
I personally use Later to schedule my posts to Instagram — at the time of this writing it’s free for up to 30 scheduled posts per month. Here’s how to schedule your posts:
Step 1: Sign into the Later app. Click on the ‘Media’ button in the lower left to open up your media library. Click Upload Media to add the photos you want to schedule to Instagram.
Step 2: Add your caption and include any hashtags that you want to add. Crop your photo if you need to. Hit the ‘Pick a Time’ button at the bottom and choose one of your best dates to post.
Step 3: Select your time and then hit the button to schedule your post.
Step 4: Your scheduled posts will show up in the ‘Schedule’ tab inside the Later app. All you have to do is wait, and Later will publish your post to Instagram at the specified date and time! Easy-peasy!
Scheduled posts that have already been published will be grayed out inside the scheduling app.
With Later, you can quickly and easily upload your photos, add a caption and hashtags, and select a time and date for your posts to go live. It is really a huge time saver that can help you achieve your engagement and growth goals on Instagram.
3 Reasons To SCHEDULE Your Instagram Posts.
- Consistency is key to your success on Instagram. With scheduling, you’ll never miss posting at your best times.
- Helps so you don’t forget or miss your peak times to post
- Maximize growth – by posting at your peak times you get in front of a bigger segment of your audience. This results in higher engagement, getting ranked higher in the algorithm so your posts show up higher in your followers feeds, and an increased chance of going viral on the Instagram Explore page.
And that’s it!
Once you’ve found your best time to post on Instagram, all you need to do is start scheduling your content and you’re off to the races. You can look forward to an increase in engagement from your followers as well as increased exposure and a boost in follower growth.
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