Jenn Herman
April 7, 2016

How To Find YOUR Best Time to Post on Instagram

Don’t you love when you find a blog post where the title seems to answer exactly the question you have, but then the author turns around and says “it depends”? Yes! Oh, good. You’re going to love this post! ?

What’s the best time to post to Instagram? I seriously get this question all. the. time. And then I get it again. Look, I understand. It’s a completely valid question and I know why you want to know. You want to make sure that your Instagram content is going out at the best time to reach the most people and have the greatest results. Duh. That’s what we all want!

But, can I tell you when your perfect time to post is? No. No, I cannot. For a variety of reasons. However, I am going to give you some ideas here that can help you determine when it is most advantageous for you to post to Instagram.

Yes, you can find a bunch of articles and graphics and people preaching the “best” time of the day or day of the week to post to Instagram. It’s not really rocket science. They will typically tell you that Instagram is most actively used on Fridays at 8:00 pm (or something like that), therefore, that’s when you should post.

Not so fast.

Let’s think about this for a minute, ok?

Who is most likely using Instagram on Friday at 8:00 pm? All those people who are out partying/socializing/hanging out after a long week. And do you know why they are on Instagram? They are posting about how awesome their life is.

Do you think these people are scrolling through their feeds looking for your business post? No, if they are scrolling, they are looking to see what all their friends are doing and comparing how much more awesome their Friday night is compared to their friends.

And besides all this, what does 8:00 pm really mean? Is that “local” time? Is that Eastern time zone (standard time measurement)?

So, before you jump on some “ideal” posting time, stop and think about what that time is really all about.

Which leads me to this… here are my tips for finding your best posting time on Instagram.

Find out when your audience is active

It’s important to know whenengaged your audience is active and engaging with your content. Over time, you’ll start to notice this trend and have a pretty good idea of when you get the most interaction from your audience.

However, if you’re new to Instagram or want to verify the information statistically, you can use a variety of tools. Squarelovin is a free analytics tool which will allow you to see a lot of information about your Instagram account, including when your audience is most actively engaging. Iconosquare is now a paid platform but is what many of used for a long time, and also offers details on when your audience is most engaged.

Of course, if you know your audience is most likely to engage on Wednesday at 4:00 pm, then your instinct would be to post Wednesday at 4:00 pm. But I recommend you actually post about one hour before that ideal time. Why? Because you don’t want your post to go out after they’ve already started scrolling through Instagram. And, let’s face it, not everyone is going to be active at 4:00 on the dot. Many of them may actually be active at 3:53 or 4:12 or some other time “around” 4:00. If you shared your post at 3:00 pm instead, then whenever they open Instagram and start scrolling through, they will see your post. And an hour isn’t so far down that they won’t get to it. Chances are you’ll still be one of the first posts they see.

I also want to point out that, just because Wednesday at 4:00 might be your most active time of the day/week, that doesn’t mean you want to ignore all the other people who are active all the other times and days of the week. Even if that is your most ideal posting time, that’s still only a portion of your audience. Make sure you’re still sharing at other relevant times throughout the week to maximize your whole audience.

Think about the purpose of your post

This is something that people all too often disregard when sharing to Instagram. What is the purpose of your post?

Is it meant to motivate your audience? Then you should be posting when they are most receptive to motivation. Think early mornings, early in the work week. Let’s face it, by 3:00 in the afternoon, motivation falls flat as people get cynical about completing the days chores ?

Are you encouraging people to sign up for a webinar? Then you want to catch them during “work” hours when they’re thinking about these types of things. Try early mornings before they get to work or lunch time. In general, you want to avoid late night posts when they are busy with family responsibilities and are less likely to react to “work” topics.

Are you a restaurant attracting local customers? Think about posting right before lunch, happy hour, dinner, etc. when your audience is most likely looking for inspiration on where to go eat.

There are obviously a ton of other reasons that will apply to you. Take the time to plan out your Instagram posts. Every post should have a purpose. Know that purpose and then determine the best time and day to post that content to maximize your engagement and results.

Factor in your hashtag strategy

We all know the value of a good hashtag strategy. But have you factored in your hashtags to the timing of your post?

There’s a few things to consider regarding the activity of hashtags. First of all, when are hashtags most actively being searched and when are people most actively posting on those hashtags? Yes, those are two different things.

For example, Monday morning at 6:00 am may be (this is a random assessment, don’t quote me on this) the most commonly posted time for #MotivationalMonday posts. Makes sense right? But when are people most likely to actually search that hashtag? It might actually be 9:00 am. Based on a situation like this, you would be better off posting closer to 9:00 am, when people are actually looking for this content, increasing your posts chances for reach and engagement, and avoiding getting lost in the clutter at 6:00 am.

These are some of the most important factors you should consider when determining your best posting time on Instagram. Of course, nothing is set in stone and what worked for you last week may not work next week. This is why you must continue to monitor, test and adapt your strategy to find what is working for you regularly.

Do you have any tactics or tools you use to determine your best time to post on Instagram? Share your tips in the comments below!


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Jenn Herman is a social media strategist and Instagram advocate who writes a blog focused on understanding trends in social media management. She provides tips, resources, and training for small to medium sized businesses that need to structure their social media strategies for success. Her business background includes Administration, Sales, Human Resources, and Marketing. If you would like to learn more about how to use Instagram, you can download "The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Instagram" here.
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