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Social Media Marketing for Businesses: When is The Best Time to Post on Instagram
Posting on Instagram, or indeed on other social media platforms, has become quite an advanced science, as social media influencers and businesses alike all compete to snatch the greatest number of views and followers they can. It is no longer just about the quality of the photos that are posted (although that is obviously very important); things like hashtags and captions have also become crucial variables.
One factor that may be overlooked is the timing of one’s Instagram posts. Posting at certain times may yield more views and likes. But how do you know what those timings are?
Depending on others’ data is tricky at best
Let's cut to the chase: the only way to know for sure when to post photos on your Instagram account to get the most amount of attention is to find out yourself.
There are plenty of websites (particularly those touting online marketing services) which claim to have done the research and arrived at a definitive conclusion on when is the best time to post on any social platform. Astute readers of these sites will no doubt have noted, however, that their results are almost always different from each other’s.
A quick look at some of these sites have yielded the following verdicts on when is the peak time to post on Instagram:
TrackMaven: 8 pm, Thursday
Hubspot: 1-3 pm, Thursday & Friday
CoSchedule: 1-4pm, everyday
Hootsuite: 11 am, Wednesday
This isn’t to say that these websites’ data are unreliable. At the time that they conducted their research, with their particular social channels, these could very well be extremely accurate results. However, this sort of information, reliable as they may be, might not be very useful if they are all pointing in different directions and leaving you to wonder who to follow. To further complicate things, consider the fact that the overall best time to post on Instagram might not be the best time for your business specifically.
There are simply far too many variables. Your target audience, the nature of your product or service, the geographical demographics etc can all have an impact which deviates from what someone else’s data is indicating. The only way to suss out the information that is relevant to your operations is to look at your own statistics.
Rely on Instagram Insights
To that end, the first thing you can do to find your optimal posting time for Instagram is to research your audience using Instagram’s native analytics tool, Instagram Insights.
Through Instagram Insights, you can see the gender, age, and geographical location of your followers as well as when they are most active on Instagram.
Using this audience data, you can find out when your followers are most active on Instagram, and which time zones they come from. You may then use this information to optimize your posting times and when to prioritise maximum engagement.
Do note that Instagram Insights is only accessible if you have an Instagram business profile or an Instagram creator profile.
Experiment with different posting times and keep a record
Another thing that you can do is to create a spreadsheet to track how much engagement you receive when you post at different times on different days in order to determine an optimal time to post. Either Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets can easily be used to create and maintain the spreadsheet.
In your spreadsheet, track how many likes and comments each post receives, along with the date and time that you posted them. By setting up a content calendar and posting across the permutations of different times and different days over a certain period of time, it should become more apparent which time of day works best for you.
This could take a few weeks of tracking before a reliable pattern can be established, but this is empirical evidence of what already works and that is almost certainly more useful to capitalise on.
Other actions to consider
Unless the data that you have gathered shows otherwise, it is probably unwise to go against common sense. Certain intuitive actions can and most likely should be taken.
For instance, the best and worst times to post can really be dependent on what types of content you are putting out. B2C companies selling lifestyle products are almost certainly going to fare better by posting during off-work hours. If you are a B2B company who is targeting other businesses as your target market, however, then it stands to reason that you may get more engagement during work hours.
Other logical considerations include understanding that with so many people submitting social media posts all the time, Instagram’s algorithm will not give priority to old content. So if a post does not garner a lot of engagement after a while, it is better to move on and come up with more compelling content for the next post; the older post is not likely to gain significantly more traction.
And lastly, it doesn’t hurt also to consider when your competitors are posting their content. Depending on which industry you are in, it is very likely that many of your competitors have been doing their own research and formulated their own social media strategy. If you see that they are doing pretty well for themselves… why not take a leaf out of their book?
Make adjustments, but be consistent
Ultimately, while optimising your Instagram posts for success takes a lot of work and it might be a while before you get there, it is also important just to have consistent engagement. When your audience gets used to seeing your brand appear on their feed regularly with meaningful and enjoyable content, they will reward you with the credibility and trust that is necessary for a connection that stands the test of time.
After all, if there are enough people already looking out for your content in anticipation, the exact timing you put it out would matter less.
All the best!