Instagram has over one billion monthly active users, 90% of which follow at least one business. What’s more, 200 million of these active users also check at least one Instagram business profile every single day. And given the fact that 75.3% of all US companies will have an Instagram account by the end of 2020, the competition for the average 28 minutes people spend on Instagram per day has never been higher.
It’s for this reason why brands need to learn as much as they can about their target audiences, develop a comprehensive social media strategy and business plan, and optimize both their content and posting schedule to generate the best possible results. It’s important to keep in mind that Instagram is, first and foremost, a highly visual platform. This means that the content needs to be specifically tailored to your followers’ wants and needs, as well as their usual login and logout times.
As far as the actual content is concerned, brands can choose to showcase their products in all sorts of creative ways. They can also present success stories, user-generated content, instructional Live videos, or behind-the-scenes moments. When this type of content is not available, companies can also entertain and engage their Instagram followers with slightly off-topic posts in the form of funny quotes, relevant memes, quizzes, or polling stickers. The fact of the matter is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to what kind of content you should use. It all depends on your type of audience, your product, industry, and your own value proposition.
Yet, regardless of these variables, there are several constants that need to be followed by all those that want to be successful with this social media marketing platform.
The Value of Consistency
Many brands fall into the trap of variety, hoping to “snare” as many different people as possible. Unfortunately, this strategy is rarely successful and tends to backfire. What most people want is consistency. In fact, consistency sits at the foundation of every effective social media marketing campaign. There are two main aspects of consistency when it comes to Instagram marketing.
Firstly, brands need to have a coherent theme that will allow Instagram account followers to immediately identify their content as uniquely theirs. And while each post should be able to stand on its own, they all need to feature similar color patterns, filters, tone of voice, captions, and hashtags, and other such Instagram aesthetic elements that can tie them all together under your brand’s unique theme.
The second aspect of consistency relates to your posting schedule and content calendar. Together with a coherent theme, your posting consistency is the main building block of a loyal follower base. As people become familiar with your posts, they will start expecting them at somewhat regular intervals. Providing this level of posting consistency is only achievable by creating a content calendar that ensures a steady and familiar cadence and prevents you from accidentally posting duplicate content on Instagram.
With professional third-party tools, you can also automate posting and other such repetitive work that goes into the process, as well as better organize your content on Instagram. Aside from its automatic posting capabilities, eclincher’s own Instagram scheduler can also help you track performance, generate actionable reports, and benchmark your competitors, saving time and ensuring that you are always on top of your progress. Lastly, you will also want to keep in line with when your target audience is active on Instagram to schedule your posts around that time.
When To Schedule Your Instagram Posts
Even if a couple of years ago Instagram changed how its algorithm worked, timeliness has always been an important factor in maximizing the effectiveness of social media posts. Before the change, the new posts that appeared in a user’s feed were strictly chronological. Today, the Instagram algorithm also takes into account other factors, such as the Instagram business profiles the users interacted with recently. That said, if you’re scheduling your Instagram posts around the same time when your target audience is active on Instagram, you still increase the chances of them seeing your content before it gets buried in their feed.
There have also been several studies, trying to determine when it’s the best time to post content based on the time of day, week, and specific industry. And while all of them came to somewhat different results, there were some common key considerations that were taken into account. These include the following:
- The Days of the Week – There can be significant variation in Instagram engagement throughout the week. For example, morning posts tend to do better during the workweek, before people head off to work than they do on weekends. However, Monday tends to offer less overall engagement than the other workdays, as people rush to get to work and have less time to browse this social networking site.
- Breaks Throughout the Day – Lunchtime and other such work breaks also tend to experience an increase in Instagram use, as well as in the late afternoon when people’s interest in work begins to waver.
- One or More Time Zones – Brands that have their target audiences set in one location will tend to use that time zone as their basis for setting their Instagram posting times. Companies with a more spread out audience will focus less on specific posting times. They will, however, focus on the time when the bulk of their audience is active.
The Best Times to Schedule Instagram Posts by Industry
- Education – Thursdays between 4 and 5 p.m. generate the most engagement among students. Fridays and Wednesdays between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. also work. Early mornings and weekends, however, should be avoided.
- The Tech Industry – On average, the tech industry sees the most engagement on Instagram Tuesday at 2 p.m. Monday at around the same time also works reasonably well.
- The Retail Industry – Those in the retail industry tend to have the most engagement on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays around lunchtime. That’s when they should post to Instagram the most.
- Professional Services – Professional service brands seem to have the most engagement during the early parts of the workday, particularly Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between 9 and 10 a.m.
- Food and Beverage Industry – While Friday at 12 p.m. tends to offer the most engagement for those in the food and beverage industries, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday at lunchtime are also good options. If possible, it’s best to avoid posting outside of mealtimes.
- Entertainment – Tuesdays and Thursdays seem to be the best times to schedule and post to Instagram, followed by Mondays and Saturdays.In terms of the actual time, 12 to 3 p.m. see the most engagement. The worst time for scheduling Instagram posts is in the morning.
- Traveling – The first part of the day, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., generates the most results. Friday is also the most prolific day for the travel industry, followed by Monday and Tuesday. Posting after 1 p.m. and during the weekends, however, seems to be the least effective for scheduling posts to Instagram.
- Healthcare and Fitness – Wednesday and Sunday followed by Monday and Saturday are top performers in these industries. Around 9 a.m. seems to be the best time. Anything outside it performs less well.
- Cosmetics and other Personal Care – The most success in these industries was reported early in the afternoon during the second half of the workweek.
- Non-Profits – The best time to post content for non-profits seems to be Tuesday at 10 a.m or 4 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays were also high performers at the same hours.
Keep an Eye on Your Target Audience Through Instagram Analytics
While the days and hours mentioned above should be used as benchmarks on which to build your posting schedules, they should never be used as an absolute. After all, every brand and target audience is unique. What works for one brand may not work for another, even if they share the same industry and time zone. What’s more, the demographics and habits tend to change over time, as does Instagram’s algorithm. In other words, there is no “set it and forget it” when it comes to scheduling Instagram posts.
This is why you should always base your posting schedule on your own target audience and how it evolves in time. You need to learn as much as you can about it in terms of likes, dislikes, pain points, geographical locations, and, of course, their preferred times to browse this social networking site. Check your Instagram analytics for this information. Likewise, test your own “best times” by scheduling your posts on Instagram over a range of times and take note of the trends in terms of which will generate the most engagement.
With eclincher’s scheduling tool, you’ll have access to even more metrics than Instagram Insights, helping you to gauge your audience even more effectively. Our Instagram scheduler and analytics capabilities will ensure that your Instagram posts will hit their mark every time. Don’t hesitate to start your 14-day trial or schedule a group demo or private demo right now for free!