You probably dove into this post expecting to get a clear-cut answer, but you’re going to be disappointed. Unfortunately, there’s no right answer for every Instagram account. The answer involves a long, in-depth analysis of your profile, target audience, content type, and goals.
The good news is, you can get a good idea of the number of posts you should be making if you put in the time and effort to track the success of your content. Here are a few factors to consider and strategies to apply so you can determine when and how often to post.
Your Follower Count
Your posting strategy will be largely influenced by the number of followers you have. As frustrating as it may be, large accounts always receive better engagement than smaller ones, even if the big account’s posts are of lesser quality.
There are multiple reasons for this, including the factor of social proof. When consumers see that an Instagram profile has thousands of followers, they’re more likely to engage with the content. It’s just part of fitting in on social media. Additionally, the algorithm that chooses which posts show up in users’ newsfeeds prioritizes content from accounts with more followers.
If you want a more relaxed posting schedule, you’ll need to give your numbers a boost. You can buy automatic Instagram followers that will provide the social proof and algorithm favoritism you need to maintain good engagement with your followers.
Otherwise, you’ll need to spend back-breaking hours creating the best content to get your page noticed. This is still a good strategy, but it’s nice to be able to take a breather by letting your follower count grow instantly and effortlessly.
The Instagram Algorithm
The algorithm is the primary reason that you must carefully select when to post. It’s all about trying to beat the system and get your content front and center. Therefore, you need to understand how the algorithm works.
The algorithm can work in your favor. Before Instagram introduced its artificial intelligence machine, an Instagram post could get up to half of its total engagement within a 72-hour period. Now, you get a greater life span for your posts because it shows some of your followers your post on the first day, some on the second day, and others on the third. That’s why you sometimes see a 3-day-old post for the first time on your feed.
But it also hurts your business because if you’re only posting once per day or once every few days, it may be a few days to a week before consumers see your posts. That’s a lot of time in between when they’re consuming content from potential competitors.
Based on research that takes this factor into account, it appears that brands who post multiple times per day are able to get past this algorithm problem and receive higher engagement.
This was proven through a Union Metrics study of 55 brands who posted over a period of several months.
“Our initial assumption about those high-frequency posters was that the more often a brand posts, the lower their engagement rates would be on the subsequent posts,” the study says. “But that does not seem to be true. We’ve monitored accounts that post once an hour, all day long, and they see above-average engagement rates on almost all their content, no matter when it occurs in the one-post-an-hour sequence. Later posts do not decline in engagement.”
Post the Best
Your posting frequency should also be dependent on the quality of content you create. Posting for the sake of meeting your regular schedule won’t do your brand any favors. It’s better to share nothing at all if it means you don’t have something of high value to share.
Posting daily is best, so to ensure you can post the best content each day, develop a large pull of content to pull from. Take a couple of weeks to develop multiple pieces that can be shared at any given time. Continually create content to keep the pool full.
According to ViralRace, as time goes on, you’ll be able to identify the pieces that will work the best and those that won’t work at all. You can throw the latter out and replace it with the best pieces. That way, you can maintain your high-value brand without missing a day.
Try the Average
Brands struggling to develop their Instagram accounts may not have enough data in their Insights tab to tell them how often to post. In that case, go with the average. The Union Metrics study referenced above says that the average brand posts 1.5 times per day. In other words, sometimes they post once and sometimes they post twice, but they post daily.
It’s a realistic goal for anyone to meet, and it will help you develop the analytical data necessary to develop a more effective posting frequency.
See What Your Followers Want
The average Instagram user spending up to an hour per day on the platform. In that time, they
can likely tell you what they like to see from their favorite brands. Everyone has wished for more
content from their favorites and prayed that others would be a little quieter.
Use interactive posts or the question stickers in Stories to gather feedback. Encourage users to share their preference for the frequency of posting as well as the times of day they’re usually on the app.
Their feedback can be invaluable in shaping a timely, effective Instagram strategy. With time, your posting strategy will clearly develop, and you’ll be unstoppable on the platform.