Influencers

Ideal Instagram Posting Time and Other Best Practices

Whether you’re working on the social media team for a major brand or running a small hobby social media account, you have little hope of reaching an audience without a strategy. Perhaps most important, you must understand the best practices for the social account you’re using. For this post, I’ll be showcasing my personal travel … Continued

Whether you’re working on the social media team for a major brand or running a small hobby social media account, you have little hope of reaching an audience without a strategy. Perhaps most important, you must understand the best practices for the social account you’re using. For this post, I’ll be showcasing my personal travel Instagram account, said(a)broad. Through this post, I’ll showcase some of the most important Instagram best practices –including best posting times, hashtag strategy, and engagement rate optimization– and how I applied these strategies to my account.

Best Posting Times on Instagram

One of the first Instagram basics you should be aware of is the best posting time for your content. This differs depending on your time zone, target audience, and even content type. Understanding when your audience is using the app is key to maximizing performance. For example, “many engage with content more during off-work hours than during the workday,” (Cox, 2019). And average Instagram trends dictate that “the best times to post on Instagram across industries are 1 p.m, and 5 p.m., during lunch and the end of the typical workday, respectively,” (Cox, 2019).

However, the best times can be different for your Instagram account. For instance, the original content schedule for said(a)broad was experimental, with posts going out in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings to determine what timing worked best for the campaign. The results of this experiment, along with research, showed that posts from this account should go out during the Instagram peak time of 11 AM on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays, (ContentCal, 2020).

Key questions to help you determine what times you should be posting for your brand can include the following:

  • What time zone is my target market in?
  • When is the highest engagement during the day? During the week?
  • What do my analytics show?

So, why do you need to know the answers to these questions? “It’s important to identify how scheduling works for your timezone so you can better allocate your time and energy into the right audiences… You have to keep track of when your audiences are active the most, while also keeping an eye on holidays, events, current trends, and key influencers to see what’s attracting the most engagement,” (Socialbakers, 2020).

Instagram Hashtag Strategy for Brands

Next, it’s key to understand how to best utilize hashtags within your account, as this is how you’ll find and build your audience. Instagram allows you to include up to 30 hashtags on any given post, however, using that many could negatively impact your brand if you don’t understand best practices for your individual account.

Most of all, you don’t want your hashtag strategy to feel “spammy” to your consumers. Many brands stick to two to five hashtags per post and make sure that these hashtags either appear in the first comment or lower in the description of the post. My said(a)broad uses up to ten depending on the post.

You should also try to find a balance between more specific or branded hashtags, and broad hashtags that can help new followers find you. Additionally, “When you’re targeting frequently used hashtags, you need the photo that goes with your Instagram caption to stand out,” (Barnhart, 2020). Finally, encourage your followers to use your branded hashtags and try to leverage that user-generated content.

Instagram Engagement Rate Optimization

Finally, you should always be working towards the optimization of your content engagement rate. More followers are always nice, but unengaged followers ultimately provide little value to your brand. To determine your engagement rate, divide your total engagements on a particular post by total impressions, then multiply it by 100. Note that the average engagement rate for most industries is 3%, (Influencer Marketing Hub, 2020).

So how can you optimize your engagement on Instagram? You’ll ultimately achieve this by providing quality content and value to your followers. Think of unique, value-filled content formats that encourage engagement like polls, questions, and infographics. Or provide a variety of rich content like high-quality photography (the most utilized of content types on said(a)broad), Gifs, or best of all– video.

Video has quickly become one of the most effective ways to improve engagement on social channels. “No matter what you’re selling, no matter what your company does, if you don’t have a video marketing strategy for the biggest video platforms, you are going to lose,” (Vaynerchuk, 2015).

Outside of video and other rich content formats, the best way to encourage engagement on your content is to listen to the questions and wants of your audience. Ask yourself how you can add value to their social experience and deliver content based on those answers. How are you different? How do you improve your followers’ lives? What do you want your followers to think about your brand? Engage them correctly, and they’ll engage back with you. “Whether you do this by using a real person to answer questions and address comments, or a social tool — keep a real and worthwhile conversation going,” (Clarke, 2019).

Final Thoughts on Social Media Best Practices

Social media best practices differ from brand to brand and platform to platform, but understanding these best practices will ultimately make or break the success of your account. Share in the comments below what best practices surprised you, or what additional best practices you wish were included on this list!

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