In the spring of last year, Instagram did away with their chronological feed and replaced it with an algorithm that ranks posts based on engagement (likes and comments). The good news to this is that the images you now see at the top of your feed are more likely to be interesting. The bad news is that your posts could be easily buried if you don’t inspire enough engagement right off the bat. The truth is, no matter how good your content, it won’t get very far if you post it at the wrong time.
This makes sense and helps explain why it is important to post at the right time. So this means you should post when most of your followers are active on Instagram and not when it’s most convenient for you.
I found this really hard to do. If I was excited about a post, I wanted to post it. Or if I was busy, I would post when it was easy for me. Finally, I started tracking my response and realized how important it was for me to post at the time when my posts would be seen by the most people.
So how does the Instagram algorithm work? Instagram now manages users’ feeds to show them what it thinks they want to see first rather than showing them all the most recent posts in the order of when they were posted. This means that you could post something at a particular time and still have it seen by many of your followers (or perhaps hardly any of your followers at all), depending on how much or how little they interact with your content.
According to Instagram, “the order of posts in a users’ feed is based on the likelihood that they’re interested in the posts, their relationships with the accounts they follow and the timeliness of the posts”. This means that the more you like the posts from certain accounts, the more those accounts are going to pop up first in your feed.
So how do you know when your followers are on Instagram? The easiest way to find out is to look at your “Insights” on your Instagram page. (This is only available if you upgrade to a free business account. It’s simple to do but you must link it to a FB page for your same site.) Here is my graphic on my insights page on Instagram. It’s very clear when the best times are for me to post.
Since I have started using this information to determine what time I should post, I have had a lot more success with my account. There are even apps, such as Tailwind, that asks you how many times a day you want to post, and then will schedule your post at the two times during the day when they think you will have the best interaction with your followers. How cool is that?