Knowing the best day and time to post on Instagram is an easy way of maximising the chance of our followers seeing our posts – which is what we all want!
Instagram’s photo and video platform is the second most engaged social media platform after Facebook with more than one billion monthly active users. More than half of them log in at least once a day and for an average of almost half an hour a day.
With so many people active on the platform, it’s no wonder we want to be seen by new potential clients as well as staying in touch with our existing followers. To do that, we need a personalised schedule of ideal times to post.
HOW TO FIND OUT THE BEST DAY AND TIME TO POST ON INSTAGRAM
Although there are general statistics for Instagram users worldwide for the most popular times and days, you need to find out exactly when YOUR followers are online so you can post when they are. Posting on Instagram when your followers are online is proven to help you reach more followers and get more engagement.
My favourite way of finding out the best time and day to post on Instagram is the Instagram app itself; you’ll need a business account or creator account. I’ve also used a free app called WhenToPost, but prefer not to have an additional app on my phone if it’s not needed.
HOW TO USE INSTAGRAM TO FIND OUT THE BEST TIME TO POST ON INSTAGRAM
In the app, click the top right hand side where there are three horizontal lines. Select Insights (the icon looks like a graph) and choose Audience. Scroll down to the Followers section. It shows you a graph for each day with the followers online shown in three-hour blocks. Choose the most popular times for your posts. You might also chose not to post on some days if your followers are not online much then.
You can go deeper and see which countries your followers are in, checking on their local time zones and how their use of Instagram fits in with their day. For instance, they may be on Instagram before and after work. You may want to test different content in the mornings and evenings.
HOW TO USE WHEN TO POST APP TO FIND OUT THE BEST TIME TO POST A PICTURE ON INSTAGRAM
Download the Whentopost app (blue and green graphic with a clock) and connect your Instagram account. It will show you the three best times to post today, the next best time to post and best times of the week in graphic form. Click on each day to be given the best three times that day for posting. It’s that simple!
WHY DOES IT MATTER WHEN MY FOLLOWERS ARE ONLINE?
It matters that you post when your followers are online because it feeds into Instagram’s algorithm, which decides who sees your content. Factors that influence who sees your content include past engagement with your account, the engagement of others with your content and or ‘new’ content. The more someone has engaged with you with likes, shares, saves, comments and messages, the more likely it is they will see your new content.
You can test posting at the times when your followers are online as well as an hour beforehand, to see if that makes any difference. Some Instagram experts suggest that it can take an hour or two of ‘warm-up’ time for your post to be seen.
HOW CAN I REMEMBER ALL THE BEST DAYS AND TIMES TO POST?
Most people can’t remember the best days and times to post, so make a note of them in your social media scheduler that you can refer to when scheduling your posts. It’s probably worth checking the times monthly to see if any need to be updated.
Once you know the best day and time to post on Instagram, you can schedule out your posts at those times and add in other content such as Instagram Stories for the times in between.
BEST DAY TO POST ON INSTAGRAM
You can run your own tests to find the best day to post on Instagram for your audience. Check your insights to see where your followers are located. Different time zones and countries will have a large effect on the results.
Are you stuck with what to share on Instagram Stories? Yes? It’s not just you who is – so why not help others and your own business at the same time with this British-friendly Instagram Story hack.
INSTAGRAM STORIES ARE DESIGNED TO BE SHARED
Instagram has designed Stories to be shared. We know that because the platform makes it so easy to share another’s content in a few seconds, either with the share button or when we receive a message that we’ve been tagged in a Story and are invited to add it to our Stories.
And because Stories only last for 24 hours in the feed, we’re constantly looking for more content to share. If we’re busy, Stories is the part of our social media posting that we can let slide. Who wants to share video of themselves when they’re in the middle of a project and aren’t even sure what they should be saying?
SHINE A LIGHT ON OTHERS
A great way to handle this is to shine a light on others. There are two big reasons why this is a great strategy: you’re not having to create original content from scratch AND when you mention someone else in a flattering way, they’re likely to share it on their Story.
Also, when you share the content of others you admire or believe in – or pull out the idea, message or creation of the other, you’re sharing your values. You’re helping your followers see what is important to you, as well as sharing what may be a new insight or person to follow. It’s a subtle way of getting to know you and your business that is British friendly; you’re not talking about yourself – you’re bigging up someone else.
THREE IDEAS FOR FINDING CONTENT TO SHARE
1. Share the post of someone you follow. This is super easy with the share button (the pointy paper aeroplane looking icon below a post). When you see a post in your feed that you want to share, hit that button. Let others know what you value about this post – does it inspire you, give you insight or make you feel all warm inside? Where possible, keep it on a topic that your followers would know you for. 2. Share from a hashtag feed in your niche. Spend a few minutes looking through the hashtag for a post that catches your eye and don’t forget the Stories at the top you can share as well.
3. Record a video. Hit record while you look through a magazine or newspaper article, scroll through an Instagram feed on your laptop or a place/business/website you like. Talk over the top and you’re done. If you’re worried about how you sound, you can record a few times. Remember this content will disappear in 24 hours unless you save it to your Story highlights.
I hope that gives you a useful took in your Instagram Story arsenal either for planned content or for last-minute ‘eek – what do I post?’ days.
If you want to learn how to create a social media schedule so you can be consistent on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, here are the five easy steps you need to take. If you want any further reasons for creating a social media schedule, that’s explained in the last blog post about why you need one.
1. CHOOSE YOUR PLATFORMS
You have limited time, so choose the platforms that are giving you the most return on your time and resources. Review these every quarter, to make sure that they’re still working for you and to check if you need to change anything about your posting schedule or content.
If you want to leave a platform, you can explain in your profile and/or a pinned post that all your latest news is now on Instagram or Facebook or wherever you are active.
If you’re just starting out and have no idea which platforms to choose, have a word with a couple of your clients and see what platforms they’re on. Also bear in mind that photographers deal in the visual, so you may be better off with visual-centric platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, rather than podcasts and Twitter.
2. CHOOSE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTING SCHEDULE
Choose your social media posting schedule based on what you want from it. Someone wanting to build a Facebook page to 1000 fans inside a few months might post two or three times a day; someone who just wants their Facebook page to look up to date for visitors might post once a week.
Start out with the minimum viable posting schedule for each platform if you haven’t been able to post consistently until now. Better to start out slowly and make sure it’s sustainable for you than to crash and burn. You can always increase your posting schedule later.
Your schedule is also reliant on you creating content. As a photographer, you’re ahead of most in having a selection of professional photos to choose from. But if you’re including video in your scheduling, you still need to create and edit that. Make sure that you have enough time in your schedule to curate and create social media content including captions and hashtag research.
If you don’t have enough time to create all the content and/or schedule it, you could hire a social media manager to do some or all of it for you. They may also be able to provide a strategy for you.
3. WHAT TO POST – YOUR CONTENT
Well, photos, obviously. And video if at all possible. Facebook and Instagram stories are perfect for vertical video that you’ve shot yourself and looks a little messy. The buzzword is ‘relatable’ – the kind of video anyone could shoot – the antithesis of corporate or polished.
Think about your audience and what would be useful to them – that’s what is most likely to get most engagement. You can vary the format too: for Facebook, this can mean Lives, memes, gifs and questions.
Think of this as a bit of a science experiment: try lots of things, look at what is most engaging for your audience and do more of that.
4. CHOOSE YOUR SCHEDULER
A scheduler can make or break your social media posting. Sure, you still have to engage with your audience, but schedulers mean your content goes out when it should.
For Facebook, I recommend its own native scheduler. It keeps Facebook happy, by which I mean you are staying on Facebook which it likes, and is easy to use. You can find it on your page’s publishing tools just below published posts.
For Instagram, Planoly and Later both have paid and free schedulers, which cover up to 30 posts a month. If you have an Instagram business account connected to Facebook, both services will post single images automatically for you. For many people, that’s enough. HootSuite will also do the job, just not as visually.
For Instagram Stories, it’s a bit trickier. Although you can plan your Stories in Planoly, Later and a number of other schedulers, you need to post Stories at least partially manually. So when scheduling, you want to think about when you’re available to post.
5. KNOW WHEN TO POST
The best times to post your social media content are when the highest number of your followers are online. You can check this on Instagram in your insights / audience, assuming you have a business account. On Facebook, it’s a similar story. Go to your page insights / posts / when your fans are online. Pinterest (no, technically not a social media platform, but useful to include here as it helps amplify our marketing messages) does not have a ‘good’ time of day to post, but it does like daily posting of new content.
So that’s how to create a social media schedule for your business or blog. When you set it up, it can help you be consistent and totally on top of your schedule through batching and your scheduler.
JUST ONE MORE THING …
If you’re a visual thinker or want to have a bird’s eye view of all your platforms, you can use a spreadsheet such as Google sheets or my new favourite AirTable. The basic version is free and more than enough for a social media scheduler, although I upgraded, for some of the extra capabilities including watching my posts change colour when I’ve created and scheduled them. There are even social media templates you can find in the Universe section.
If you’ve ever ever struggled to post regularly on Instagram and Facebook or regard planning as something a creative avoids, here are seven reasons to create a social media schedule and change your life.
CONSISTENCY – WHICH HELPS BUILD YOUR BUSINESS
Posting consistently helps humans and Google return to your content again and again. We humans like to know you’re going to entertain or inform us regularly, just like your favourite Tuesday night TV show. And algorithms like us sharing new content regularly too – that’s Google, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest right there.
So consistency is possibly the best reason to create a social media schedule – in one fell swoop, you can please your visitors / potential clients, Google search and your social media platforms.
YOU CAN BE STRATEGIC WITH YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTING
When you have a plan, you can be strategic in your posting. You can deliberately post your best work, captions and hashtags based on how posts have performed in the past.
Compare that to last-minute posting, where your photo may not be a great choice, your caption is rushed and you probably haven’t been that careful to figure out the best hashtags or tagging other accounts.
SCHEDULING MAKES SUCCESS EASIER TO MEASURE
When you’re posting at the same frequency over time, you’re able to analyse your successes more easily. For instance, you can compare website traffic numbers month on month in Google analytics, knowing that your blog post and social media frequency is consistent, so any changes in traffic are related to particular posts or other reasons.
The same goes for analysing your success on social media platforms. Consistent posting allows you to compare weeks, months or quarters with each other and spot trends.
For instance, Instagram photos are getting less traction than they did previously for many, because of the rise in Instagram Stories. If you were watching a drop in engagement or reach with regular posts, you could try varying your posting schedule, content or add in Stories to stop that slide. If you aren’t posting consistently, it is far more difficult to see these trends or blame them on your posting.
YOU CAN COAST THROUGH BUSY PERIODS
With all of your social media planned, you can schedule ahead – or at least plan ahead so you know what you’re posting and when. Even if you haven’t shot or processed a wedding yet, you can plan your usual ’just one’ or ‘sneak peak’ alongside your other content.
It also helps you spot dry patches, when you might not have much new content. You could take this opportunity to shoot some styled photos of your latest sample albums or other products for using on social media and your website. You could use client testimonials to create styled graphics in Canva or Photoshop.
You can schedule out content several months in advance, which is likely to cover your busiest time of year. Can you imagine your peak summer time without having to even think about what to post?
A SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS SAVES YOU TIME
One of the main reasons photographers give for not posting consistently on social media platforms or blogging is that they don’t have time. Here’s the good news: a social media scheduler can save you time.
When you use a social media scheduler, you can batch your content. That’s all of your Instagram grid content for June, for instance. Perhaps you go into Lightroom, choose 12 photos for four weeks of posting three times a week. Export. Upload into your scheduler, schedule and write the captions.
Then you might research three new sets of hashtags that cover the three areas those photos cover and you add those. That’s a month COMPLETELY FINISHED!
By batching your content, you’re being super efficient, cutting the number of times you context switch or change your focus between each step.
If you are sceptical about the time saving of context switching, time yourself scheduling out one month as detailed above and then scheduling out another month one post at a time.
YOU KNOW WHEN YOU’RE DONE
Who doesn’t like that smug feeling you get when you’re totally up to date with your processing, even if it only happens once a year? Well, it’s kind of the same when you’re done scheduling your social media posts for the week, month or quarter. (Yes, some people really are that organised – almost weird, huh!)
If you choose to post a certain number of Instagram photos, Stories, Pinterest pins, blog and Facebook posts and you do this all at once for the month, you’re done for another 29 or so days. All you have to do in the meantime is engage on your platforms.
If this is already you, high five! If not, this is what you could have for yourself with a social media schedule.
BE ON TOP OF IMPORTANT DATES
Knowing important dates such as Mothers and Fathers days, Easter, Black Friday and local school holidays can be key for photographers to maximise their sales and profits.
If you’re a portrait photographer, you may plan months in advance for promotions for some of these dates. This might start with a model call on social media platforms for promotional photos or asking your audience what kind of studio set-up they would like for a portrait series.
If you’re a wedding photographer, you might run promotions for past clients for particular dates such as Mothers Day with reprints, albums, photo jewellery or other products.
Being this organised can have other benefits. If you’re this organised with your social media, chances are, you’ll be planning any printed collateral such as flyers or brochures. Plan that far enough ahead and you’ll avoid express shipping fees or save with long turnaround times.
So there are seven reasons to create a social media calendar. Convinced? Would love to know your thoughts if you’re not. Next week, I’ll be going into detail on the essentials of building a social media schedule, so stay tuned.
Local marketing using Instagram is easier than you think! Here are three simple tips to get you in front of potential clients in your local area.
WHY DO LOCAL MARKETING WITH INSTAGRAM?
With Instagram allowing us to reach anywhere in the world, why would it be especially good for marketing in our local area? Instagram’s geotags and hashtags for geographical areas are the perfect way to be found for your town or city and the surrounding area. An increasing number of Instagram’s 800 million users use it to explore areas they are visiting, planning to visit or simply to stay on top of their community.
The power of you posting using geotags and hashtags for an area is that you don’t have to have a marketing budget or – like for Google – done months or years of work to be found. You can open an Instagram account today and be found by locals within a few hours, as long as you’re using hashtags and geotags.
TIP 1: USE LOCAL GEOTAGS OF POPULAR LOCAL PLACES
If you’re a wedding photographer, an obvious use of geotags is to link to a wedding venue. If you haven’t been doing that, you could go back to the past month or two and edit any photos in your feed without a geotag. Couples considering booking the venue for their wedding or who have booked and want to see ALL the photographs from there are going to be looking – your PERFECT potential clients.
For portrait photographers, think about the local clothing stores or boutiques that stock the clothing your clients wear. If you do location portraits, you could tag the location you use or tag your studio, so potential clients can find you if they search Instagram. If you’re searching Instagram places, the first option that comes up is ‘Near current location’, for which you could appear.
If you work on your laptop or phone sometimes, why not work from a coffee shop or restaurant, especially the ones where your target clients go. Get seen!
TIP 2: TAG LOCAL BUSINESSES IN INSTAGRAM STORIES
When you tag accounts in your Stories, they get a notification of your mention and can re-share Stories where they are tagged. Be aware that they can only re-share Stories where they are mentioned, so if your Story has multiple photos or videos, you need to tag them in all the photos/videos.
You could even put together an Instagram highlight of great local service. That way, if a potential client is flipping through your account, they learn that great service is a value of yours – and chances are – if they book you for a job, you’re going to do your best to offer great service too.
It doesn’t hurt to use local businesses and share a photo from there with the business geotag and mention them in your comments, whether that’s a much enjoyed coffee, product or fabulous service. As an aside, while you’re out in your community, you’re most likely meeting more people and connecting with them.
TIP 3: INSTAGRAM HASHTAGS
You can use local hashtags such as your town or city name. If you live in a large city and only want to target a small part, mention just your local neighbourhood or the ‘local’ version. As an example, the #miami hashtag has 55 million posts, which means that you’re unlikely to be seen for any more than a few minutes and there’s fierce competition for the most popular spots.
The hashtag #miamiliving has less than 400,000, where you’re much more likely to appear! And you’re more likely to find Miami locals with that hashtag rather than visitors.
You can mix your location with an interest too, for niching down further. If you target well groomed women in Miami, for instance, you could add tags like #miaminails (290,000 photos) or #miamiboutique (373,000 photos). So now you’re getting your local area AND niching down, potentially being seen in front of thousands of your potential clients – and certainly local ones.
For more help with hashtags for your business, you can pick up the Hashtag Hotshot ebook to nail the hashtags that will help get you in front of the right people on Instagram.
Nothing divides social media users like asking how many hashtags should be used on an Instagram post. Especially if those users have been on social media for more than five years.
It’s easy to see why. Like Google, Instagram has an algorithm that is designed to help us use it more. For the most part, it’s secret, so we guess how it works. Some people run experiments. Unfortunately, many of those experiments test more than just hashtags so conclusions are at best, unhelpful. At worst, they send the online world into a frenzy of unsubstantiated click-baity claims.
On Instagram’s website, the hashtag instructions are simple: you can put them in a caption or comment, they’re seen unless your post is private and you can use up to 30. Instagram won’t let you post any more than that.
Q. So why are the number of hashtags you use on Instagram so divisive?
ANSWER 1: They’re spammy. To be fair, they can detract from a well-worded caption. That isn’t a great reason not to use them though. To overcome this issue, you can put your hashtags in a comment or use the five full stop/period with returns so that your comments are split from your caption.
ANSWER 2: It shows you’re desperate. Really? If you have a great message, product or service, you want to share that on Instagram, right? Sure, some bigger brands don’t use many hashtags or only their own hashtag but that doesn’t mean that everyone else is desperate.
ANSWER 3: You’ll attract spammers. Well, not quite. Spammers tend to hang out on the more popular hashtags such as those with millions of followers. But any time you post, you can receive attention you don’t like: spammers, people following to see if you follow them, bot comments (‘great pic’) and trolls. That’s just part of showing up on any social media platform. Instagram gives you tools to report spammers, block follow/unfollowers and delete bot comments so you can deal with this.
So how many Instagram hashtags should you use on your posts? Anywhere between zero and 30. You choose – that’s frreedom for you.