The early bird catches the worm!
That is the short answer, as per the 2021 updates. An AI-based social scheduler tool tracked 35M Instagram posts since 2018. The inference in short? Post about your business/brand in the early morning hours to reap great results!
Early posting allows business accounts to catch users during their first scroll of the day. It does not matter if it is several hours after the post was shared! That makes the account less competitive (Because, worldwide, most posts are shared between 9 -1 PM each day).
Instead of focusing solely on the first 30 minutes after publishing a post, the ideal time for posting on Instagram in 2022 will be between 4 and 6 AM. Since you’ll be among the first to post each day, you have the best chance of getting your posts noticed. Regardless of when users are personally most active on the app.
In the past, we believed posting during peak hours would be most effective. It is based on the premise that the Instagram algorithm factors instant engagement like the number of likes, shares, and comments. That helps in boosting it organically. Despite this being a positive sign, engagement is not the sole determinant of its viral-ability.
But there is a big But
The general principle is your type of start-up or business, your region/country, days of the week determine the best time to post on Instagram. While this may sound like a dampener, it is not.
Because according to Sprout Social – a social media management tool, the best time to post on Instagram continues to be as per the prior understanding of publishing when the user is most active. i.e.
- Time: Tuesday 11 AM – 2 PM
- The best day to post: Tuesday
- the worst day to post: Sunday
And Hubspot goes one step further and also recommends based on the industry. For example, for Tech firms, the ideal time mentioned is:
- A good day & time to post: Monday 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM (USA central time zone)
- Frequently Engaged: Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM (CDT)
- Good Weekday: Monday
- Bad Weekday: Sunday
Likewise, it goes on to suggest the best time to post on Instagram for different segments. One issue that we see here is, what if someone’s message is for Sunday. The church has Sunday Mass! Or sports competitions and football matches could be other, which may happen on a Sunday. Should they not post on a Sunday? Middle eastern regions have different weekend cultures.
Moreover, the above data is for the USA. Countries, cultures, and communities have their unique behavioural idiosyncrasies.
Peak engagement times are a sure-shot strategy for posting. On the other hand, a detailed analysis of your audience might reveal a less busy time when your audience is active, but not your competition.
So, what does it mean for businesses like yours?
You can learn and mature with your own customer’s behaviour. Let us elaborate on the ideal customer base that is unique to you. And it works differently according to a few key factors:
- Global vs Local vs Hyperlocal
- Consumer products or Business products
- Men, Women, Teenagers; basically demographics
- And the Content (of course!)
According to Instagram itself, there are 200M+ registered businesses and 500M+ active users on the platform.
How to find the rhythm and cadence to identify and engage with your fans, prospects, and tribe? Timing is everything!
Before we forget, remember to convert your Instagram personal account into a Business account. And a whole new world of support features opens up to you. You can do it simply by opening the settings>account>tap>switch to the professional account. And start posting. If you’re new to Instagram, you may visit business.instagram.com.
Once the account is a bit old and has a body of published posts, a picture will start building up in your Audience insights. Instagram Insights allows you to determine when and where most of your followers are active.
Also note, which posts are doing better than the others. Set up your success matrix. For example, likes and follows may have less impact on your ROI than shared & comments.
There are many tools available like Sprout Social, Hootsuite, Buffer that can help you schedule your posts (even for sleepy hours). You can dig into your own analytics dashboards. You can add specific findings to your accounts that complement the wide range of data across industries found on the internet.
Suggested read: Instagram Captions for Businesses
Instagram in 2022
What is the way forward then?
As of 2022, we have two contrasting opinions and equally valid data to support.
Here is what we suggest:
If you are starting off on Instagram in 2022, try both theories.
- Post earlier than the crowd
- Post for the most active audience time slot
If you don’t have a lot of past data or audience insights to work with, see how it works for you. As your business account grows, keep tweaking your posting schedule to better respond to your specific audience and their activity patterns on Instagram.
The Instagram algorithm prioritizes recent posts, so posting when your followers are online is key. But what an algorithm can never beat is the valuable content. And the response to it.
There are a few guiding principles and universal data sets, yet, every business has a little unique sweet spot. Because your brand caters to your specific audience with unique behaviour patterns on Instagram or any other social media.