Do you have a plan to consistently deliver value to your followers?
To maximize engagement, you need a smart posting schedule.
In this article, you'll discover how to improve your visibility in the Instagram news feed.
#1: Find Out When Your Followers Are Online
If you have the new Instagram business profile, you can use analytics to find out when the majority of your Instagram followers are online. Tap the Insights icon at the top right of your profile.
Then tap on the link to see more about your followers, and scroll down to the bottom past the demographics. There, you'll be able to switch between views to see the most popular day of the week and the most popular hours of each day that your Instagram followers are active.
For example, if you know you only have the capacity to publish one main post per day, and you notice that weekdays at 7 AM is the time your followers are most active, that might be the best time to publish your main photo or video to your Instagram profile. Then let your followers know about it in your Instagram story for a little extra boost.
If you don't have an Instagram business profile, you have a couple of options. Simply Measured has a free report for Instagram profiles with fewer than 25,000 followers. It includes a graph that shows you your best time for engagement, assuming you've been posting regularly.
If you have a larger account, you'll have to use premium tools from Simply Measured or other services. Rival IQ, for example, will show you your optimal publishing times, along with your competitors'. In the example below, you can see Instagram activity and engagement by hour and day for the main company versus the landscape (competitors in the same industry).
Seeing your own activity and engagement rates alongside your competitors' should give you an idea if increasing your posting will lead to higher engagement or if competitors are getting more engagement with fewer posts simply by posting at better times.
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#2: Get Notified About Your Competitor's Publishing Schedule
If you don't have data from your own Instagram account to test, and you don't want to rely on third-party tools, you can get notifications each time your competitor posts to Instagram. Simply follow your competitor's Instagram account, tap on the three dots at the top right of their profile, and select Turn on Post Notifications from the menu below.
If your competitor has been on Instagram for a while, chances are they know what times work best for their audience. Assuming you're trying to attract a similar audience, these times should work for your account too.
#3: Send Reminders to Your Smartphone to Post to Instagram
Having trouble keeping up with your Instagram publishing schedule because it has to be done on mobile? Send yourself some reminders. If you're a Hootsuite user, you can schedule posts to Instagram via Hootsuite and it will remind you when to post to Instagram on your mobile.
If you're not a Hootsuite user and your social media management tool doesn't have a similar feature, you have other options. For example, if you're creating your Instagram photos and videos on your desktop, you can use Boomerang for Gmail to schedule an email to yourself with a file attachment of your photos so you remember to post it on time.
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Or set a regular alarm or reminder on your phone to snap a photo or record a video at scheduled times each day that you want to post to Instagram. This works particularly well if you're more of a spontaneous content creator or use mobile apps to create your visual content for Instagram.
You may even want to create an album in your smartphone's camera roll or (if your space is limited) a Dropbox file of images that you can access on the go. Then when your reminders go off, you have some Instagram content ready to download and post.
As you can see, it's possible to come up with a good Instagram publishing schedule so that you consistently deliver valuable content. Just remember not to sacrifice quality for quantity so your followers will want to like and comment on your Instagram posts! And always do some analysis of your own to make sure what you're doing is right for your audience.
Note: All screenshots and directions are based on an iPhone 6 using the latest version of iOS, Instagram, and an Instagram business profile.
What do you think? What Instagram publishing schedule have you set up for your business? Let us know in the comments!
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