The Best Time to Post on Instagram in 2021, According to Experts

When’s the best time to post on Instagram to make sure a post gets seen?

And what about the best day of the week to get the most likes? The most comments?

Keep reading to find out the universal best time to post on Instagram that seems to work across the board — and how to find your brands very own, unique best times to post. (Because all businesses and audiences are unique!)

We will show you how the social team at Hootsuite found our best time to post to Instagram, and then we walk you through the process of finding yours.

Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a lifestyle photographer used to grow from 0 to 600,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.

Is there a best time to post on Instagram?

Every brand might have a slightly different sweet spot for posting on Instagram — because every brand caters to a unique audience, with unique behavior patterns on social media. But, that said, there are certain best practices you can follow that tend to yield great results across the board.

In general, posting when your followers are online is key, because the Instagram algorithm prioritizes recency. This means that, if all else is equal, a newer post will show up higher on the newsfeed than an older one.

Recency is honestly one of the quickest, easiest wins when it comes to optimizing a post for success. (Though we have plenty more tips on getting free Instagram likes, if you’re interested).

But beyond that, it’s also important to know what, exactly, your goals are for your Instagram marketing strategy. Do you have specific targets around building awareness, higher engagement, or driving traffic? What does success look like to you, and when have your posts achieved that success in the past? Your past successes are a key guideline for when you should be posting, overall.

Overall best time to post on Instagram

According to our observations and experiments, the universal best time to post on Instagram is…

11 am on Wednesdays.

We found that Instagram users are the most likely to interact with content mid-day and mid-week. And that makes sense — it is a perfect time to take a break from work or school and do some scrolling. (And liking. And commenting.)

So, if you’re just starting off on Instagram, and you don’t have a lot of past data or audience insights to work with, try posting around this time, and see how it works for you. As your account grows, you might want to tweak your posting schedule to better fit your specific audience’s Instagram activity patterns. Here’s how we go about finding Hootsuite’s perfect times to post to our Instagram account.

Brayden Cohen, Hootsuite’s Social Marketing and Employee Advocacy Strategist told us:

“Typically, we like to post early in the morning and mid-afternoon. For Instagram, that means we try to post anytime between 8AM-12PM PST, or else 4-5PM PST on weekdays.”

Cohen revealed that—at least for Hootsuite’s North American B2B audience—our Instagram posts do best when we hit the wake-up or lunch-time hours for our Pacific time zone audience, and the sitting-down-to-work or logging-off hours in the Eastern time zone.

Using the activity heatmap provided in Hootsuite Analytics, it’s easy to see when Hootsuite’s Instagram audience is online:

Hootsuite Analytics followers online activity heatmap

Source: Hootsuite Analytics

Cohen and the social team also use the tools in Hootsuite Impact to look at post and campaign performance. “The data there tells us if we should continue focusing on the same strategy or pivot anything going forward.”

Overall, Cohen says that deciding when to post on Instagram goes something like this:

“We use past performance as the guiding star, and then review when the audience is online as a second opinion. If our content isn’t performing well after that, we’ll test different times to post to see if that changes the post performance.“

All in all, an Instagram content calendar should be as data-driven as the rest of the marketing strategy.

And since the big picture matters, too, here are some key Instagram statistics, benchmarks, and demographics to help you strategize:

Tips for finding your best time to post on Instagram

Review your top-performing posts

First, consider what kind of performance you’re aiming for: brand awareness or engagement. Your approach to timing your Instagram posts might vary depending on which of these is more important to you.

In the past, which of your posts have earned high impressions? When did you post them? And are these posts different from the ones earning likes?

Your Instagram analytics are your best source of truth here. Of course, not all analytics tools are born equal, and some social media management tools can help you avoid the heavy data crunching.

Hootsuite Best Time to Publish feature

Hootsuite’s Best Time to Publish feature, for instance, suggests the best times and best days to post to Instagram based on historical performance. It analyzes your posts from the past 30 days, groups them by weekday and hour, then calculates the average impressions or engagement rate to identify the optimal time slots where your posts had the highest impact.

Check when your audience is most active online

The next step for finding your best time to post is taking a look at your analytics to determine when your followers are scrolling their feed.

As marketers, we need to know our audiences. If you’re targeting Gen Z sports fans on Instagram, their social media consumption habits might be wildly different from the tech executives waking up at 4AM to meditate in their infrared saunas.

online followers hourly analytics

Hootsuite’s Best Time to Publish feature will break down this information automatically into a heatmap (see above). It will also help you experiment by predicting time slots where your Instagram followers are online.

It will also suggest time slots that you haven’t used in the last 30 days so that you can shake up your posting times and test new tactics.

Consider when your competitors are posting

Depending on your industry, your competitors may be doing some of the same calculations and experiments you are. Social listening (or even a full social competitive analysis) is helpful for keeping an eye on what may be working for audiences in your industry.

Pro Tip: Many brands post on the hour mark, so consider posting a few minutes before or after the :00 in order to avoid having to compete for limited shelf space.

Post in your audience’s time zone

If you have a global audience, or you yourself are based outside of the “usual” time zones (we see you, Mumbai; how you goin, Sydney?) your best time to post may well turn out to be 3 a.m.

Rather than set some truly cruel alarms, may we suggest automating your Instagram posts? One of the best tools to help you achieve this is to use an Instagram scheduler to make sure your posts are going up at the right time, day in and day out.

Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a lifestyle photographer used to grow from 0 to 600,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.

Get the free guide right now!

Here’s a quick overview of how to post using Hootsuite’s Instagram scheduling feature:

Monitor and adjust

Yes, optimizing your Instagram posts for success takes a lot of work—it’s a lot more than just choosing the right filter. But crunching the numbers once a quarter to figure out the right time to post is actually one of the easiest ways to ensure your content is making it to the right eyes. (Easier than levelling up your videography or writing skills, anyway—though we highly recommend both.)

According to Brayden Cohen, from Hootsuite’s Instagram team: “We look at our top-performing posts weekly to see if there’s any insights that will help us rework our strategy or posting cadence. But we generally only change the times we post once a quarter, if even.”

Cohen noted that, for instance, with the pandemic’s effect on work schedules in 2020, many people are spending less time commuting or enjoying a traditional lunch break. B2B audiences are on their phones more, and that’s showing up in Instagram usage, which is spread out over the day.

The world changes, and audience habits change, so set a reminder in your calendar to review your results and make adjustments.

Show up consistently over the long term

To reap the full rewards of all this knowledge about your audience, it’s important to be systematic about your posting. While you probably won’t see a jaw-dropping bump just by posting a few hours earlier than usual every now and then, using the data consistently will move the needle over time.

It’s a virtuous circle: your audience gets in the habit of seeing your brand pop up on their feed, they enjoy your content, and they engage with it. Consistently showing up on Instagram breeds credibility, trust, and makes for a meaningful relationship.

At the end of the day, when you have an authentic connection with your audience, the algorithm notices, and so does your bottom line.

Manage your Instagram presence alongside your other social channels and save time using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard, you can schedule and publish posts, engage the audience, and measure performance. Try it free today.

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Take the guesswork out of when to post on social media using Hootsuite’s Best Time to Publish feature.

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The post The Best Time to Post on Instagram in 2021, According to Experts appeared first on Social Media Marketing & Management Dashboard.

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