Instagram is enjoying unprecedented popularity as one of the most active social networks in the world. Reaching 1 billion users in 2018, it’s come a long way since its humble beginnings. As a result, your Instagram story has a massive built-in audience but it can also become lost among the countless other stories.
You see, not everyone is checking Instagram at the same time. And hitting the peak times can ensure that your story is read and not buried in a newsfeed. So is there a formula to determine the best time to post an Instagram story?
Finding the Right Time
You already take careful consideration and planning when managing your Instagram account. But it’s time to take it to the next level. And that means optimizing your posts.
Finding the right time is one step. Consider when your followers may be online. You can do this by checking on your Instagram analytics.
Simply go to your “My Profile” page and take a look at your metrics. When do you see the most traffic? Maybe you have early risers checking your posts by 9 am. Or perhaps your followers lead busy lives and don’t have time to check out Instagram until bedtime?
These times can help when planning for stories. Think of them as deadlines. You want to hit these peak times as much as possible to ensure the most readership.
Furthermore, keep your most active time zones in mind. You might live in sunny Los Angeles, but if the majority of your followers are in New York City, you may want to post according to their time zone and not your own.
This is especially true if you have many followers around the world. It’s not feasible to hit optimal post times for followers around the world. But you can concentrate most of your energy on the areas with the highest followings.
Alternatively, you may also want to consider posting your stories at odd times. This may translate to more people catching your stories across multiple time zones and a higher chance of reaching multiple people.
Picking Your Day
Maybe you’re a prolific poster and post stories to Instagram every single day. That may be your brand, but others may only post once or twice a week. If that sounds like you, you may need to refer to your Instagram metrics again.
Take a look at the “days” tab. Which days are the most popular? Some studies say that midweek days are the most popular. But before you plan your posts for Wednesdays and Thursdays, keep in mind that there is also research pointing to the opposite.
In reality, your own metrics may paint the best picture. Just keep in mind that most interactions are shared during the workweek. So whether that means Tuesday and Thursday posts or Wednesday and Friday really depends on you.
One thing that experts generally agree on is that weekend posts are a no-go. But once again, that depends on your followers.
If you have a business Instagram account, you aren’t reaching other businesses on the weekends. However, if your followers are mainly friends and family, they may be more prone to interact on a weekend.
Typically, Sundays are low user days regardless of followers. So maybe you can take a page from your followers and consider it a rest day as well.
In general, it’s a good rule of thumb to schedule your most important posts for weekdays. Save entertaining, fun, and inspirational posts for the weekends.
What’s Your Niche?
Individual or personal brands may have more leeway when it comes to the best times to schedule stories. However, if you are posting for an organization, there are some different rules at play.
For example, according to research the best time for a tech company to post is on a Wednesday at 10 am CST. If you want the most consistent engagement time, you’re looking at Wednesday through Friday from 10 am to 5 pm.
Does that sound like a workday for you? That’s because it is. And tech followers are more likely to engage after the beginning of the workweek during work hours.
On the other hand, B2C companies like Saturdays. Remember what we said about posting on weekends? Throw that out the window if you’re a B2C company targeting consumers. They like Saturdays around lunchtime.
However, you may see the most consistent engagement from them every day from 10 am to 3 pm. Every day except for Mondays. According to some recent data, that’s the worse day for these followers.
You can throw that rule about Monday postings out the window if you’re posting for an educational organization. The followers tend to like Mondays a lot. In fact, it’s one of their best engagement days with 8 pm being the most optimal time for posts.
As you can see, there are really no hard and fast rules when it comes to the best time for your Instagram stories. In general, if your followers work 9 to 5, many of them probably won’t check their app during the workday. The exception to that audience is lunchtime when many people like to check social media apps.
In addition, after work hours may be another time period to consider. Think of the hours between 7 pm and 9 pm when people are finally home and relaxing with their phone. This may also be a good time to catch your Instagram followers.
Search for Your Sweet Spot
Your posting sweet spot may be different than other Instagrammers. That’s why there’s so much conflicting information. Why? Because your optimal time depends on your followers and every brand is unique.
Therefore, getting to know when your followers like to browse the app is a priority. You can play with these general engagement guidelines until you hit the days and time that work best for your brand.
Also, don’t forget that you have Instagram’s own analytic tools at your disposal. Use them to track your numbers and optimal times with the highest number of engagements.
You may also want to check out the location and age data to find out which content works best. And the most time-zone friendly times to post it.
Lastly, you can take your analysis one step further and keep a spreadsheet for your analytics. Finding your sweet spot can take a few weeks or more. But you may find the work to be worth it when you see your engagement grow.