From increasing brand awareness to hashtag research and displaying social proof at scale, here are 12 ways SMBs can leverage Instagram for marketing.
| Sep 27
Stefana Zaric on July 19, 2021 (last modified on July 13, 2021) • 14 minute read
Too much of anything is good for nothing, goes the old saying. But the other one says, out of sight, out of mind.
So, which applies to your post frequency on Instagram? And how often should your followers see you on their feed?
If you find it challenging to strike the balance, you’re not alone. Many social media managers, regardless of their brand’s follower count or how long they’ve been on Instagram, are not sure if they should post once a day, three times a week, or maybe several times a day.
We get it. You don’t want to swamp your audience with too many posts, but you don’t want them to lose interest, either. So, what should you do?
Although there may not be a universal tip on how often you should post on Instagram, these 20+ marketing specialists share the best practices years of experience have taught them.
Read on to learn how to create a strategy that will work for your audience and your business.
If you were hoping for a secret formula that’ll tell you exactly how often you should post on Instagram, we’re sorry to disappoint you. Every industry and type of business has its own best practices when it comes to post frequency, and, after all, it also depends on what your audience likes.
One thing is for sure – you’ll need to get to know your followers and discover how often they want to see you on their feed. Here’s what marketing specialists recommend and how different posting schedules may bring results for your business. Most of the participants in our survey have been running their Instagram accounts for more than three years (more than 40% of respondents), so they’ve had a lot of time to test various strategies and find out what brings the best outcome.
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Some businesses benefit from posting every day. It may depend on whether they’re a B2B or B2C business, what their goals are, or what other channels they’re using for promoting their products or services.
Is Instagram your main social media platform for reaching new potential customers? Expert marketers say posting every day may have several benefits for your business.
You may have heard a lot of talk about Instagram algorithms and people complaining about their reduced reach after they’ve been gone for a while. Although it’s a myth that there’s a single algorithm monitoring everything going on in this app, it’s true that frequent and consistent posting gets more attention.
John Frigo of Best Price Nutrition confirms: “Instagram and really most Social Media platforms algorithms seem to reward frequent posting, so it’s best to post on a daily basis.”
A post a day seems to be working for a lot of businesses. Many marketing specialists agree that this amount of content (when talking about your feed) isn’t too much for your audience, but it still reminds them you’re there.
Around 10% of respondents in our survey have between 25k and 50k followers on their business account on Instagram, while most participants have less than 1k (over 30%). To increase these numbers, become more visible, and reach more people, you may want to go with daily posting.
For Lily Ugbaja of Finding Balance, posting every day is exactly what works for her business and audience – and it helps new people notice her. “Instagram is a platform that is very visual. Therefore, to maximize Instagram for your business, you have to continually put visuals that represent your business out there so customers and potential customers would constantly see you, notice you, and patronize you.”
Harriet Chan of CocoFinder also believes that daily posting increases your visibility on this platform. Chan explains how even multiple posts a day can work well for some audiences. “Experts suggest that you need to ensure that you post daily. However, for maximum engagement, three posts a day would work. Posting three times a day gives optimal results for your brand visibility and can help to improve sales for your products.”
Posting every day will give an engaged audience exactly what they want. If your followers enjoy interacting with brands, posting every day will keep them engaged and give them a chance to enjoy new content often so they don’t lose interest.
“Over the years, we experimented with different posting frequency strategies in order to find out what works best for our Instagram business account,” says Jonathan Aufray of Growth Hackers Agency. “After many experiments, we found out that posting once a day is what works best because it’s not too much content for our community and lets us stay engaged with them by providing regular content.”
Chloe Sisson of Zen Media agrees that posting more than once a day can be overwhelming for your followers unless you’re posting a set of Instagram stories that are somehow connected. “It is recommended that if you are using Instagram as a primary marketing tool for your business, you should post at least once per day. Pick a time to post each day so that followers know when to expect your content. At Zen Media, we tend to post one time each day. We find that this strategy works the best for our audience.”
What if you can’t post every day? Or your audience doesn’t react well to an overwhelming number of posts during a week? No worries. Some experts recommend posting one or two times a week, while others post on business days and not on the weekends.
Again, it all comes down to knowing your audience well. If your target followers are people who commute over the week, and then spend weekends with their children, not looking at their phones, you will adjust your schedule to them. That way, you’ll make sure your best posts won’t go unnoticed.
Most participants in our survey have an engagement rate of 1-3% (over 30% of them) and 3% and more (almost 40%), which is quite good when it comes to Instagram. Many of these respondents only share on Instagram a few times a week as they’ve found such a schedule boosts their engagement rate. It gives their audiences more time to consume the content and engage with it meaningfully.
Matthew Martinez of Diamond Real Estate Group recommends developing a story strategy to “make up” for the lower-frequency feed posts. “The best posting frequency for my Instagram business account is a post every 1-2 days and constantly posting on my story every day. I have a much higher engagement rate and more of my followers are sharing my posts and stories with their friends, which drives more traffic to my page.”
Sometimes, something will come up and you will want to talk about it to your audience. If your schedule involves two to three posts a week, you can always squeeze in an announcement or post something on a whim without annoying the followers with too many photos on their feed.
Sticking to a strict schedule also deprives your profile of authenticity. Authenticity is important because people want to get to know you, feel your energy, and decide if you’re the right fit for them. Humanizing brands on social media works because people want to talk to people, not robots.
That’s why you should always save some room for posting something you’ve just come up with, like Stephanie Gutierrez of Online Optimism says. Gutierrez finds it’s best to post three to five times a week if you want “to maintain an active Instagram that captures and retains attention. It’s important to leave room in your content planning for on-the-go material that comes up throughout the week to fit in without disrupting your schedule.”
What if you’re posting every day and haven’t prepared anything for today? Will you post anything just to stay on schedule? Frequency is important, but not if you’re going to post irrelevant stuff.
Dennis Hancock of Mountain Valley MD believes that posting just so you can cross off the post in your schedule leads nowhere. For Kolb, the best practice is to “post often enough to eliminate audience friction so your brand is memorable – if your posts are engaging, Instagram rewards you with a broader audience reach. Posting once daily is great, if you have something important to say and aren’t posting ‘just to post’ with irrelevant or weak content.”
Charlotte Spence of Mattress Nerd says “posting on Instagram 3x a day is annoying for many users, and can lead to ‘unfollows’ quickly. Build a schedule with a minimum of 5 posts per week up to a maximum of 2 posts per day, but only if you have good quality content to share. Build your posts ahead of time when a great idea arises, and if you don’t have a great post to fill the void, skip posting in that time slot – it’s better to be quiet than irrelevant.”
Editor’s note: Want to keep an eye on how your posts are performing? Find out what your audience loves the most by tracking your vital post metrics in our free Instagram Business (Post Performance) dashboard template.
What if Instagram is only one of your marketing channels? In that case, you don’t need a daily posting schedule to maintain your online presence and keep your audience up-to-date with the latest news about your brand.
Posting once or twice a week can also work very well for your business as long as you’re consistent.
Mitchel Harad of Expert Opportunities gave us a very visual, but very true description of what it looks like. “The optimal frequency isn’t so much about hitting a figure, but hitting a schedule.” says Harad and highlights consistency as “the most valuable trait” a business can nurture if they want to connect with the audience.
“If you can only post once a week, that’s fine. Just make sure you get in the habit (and stay in the habit) of hitting that same frequency so your audience comes to expect it. Like Pavlov’s dog, they’ll be salivating when your weekly posting time rolls around. The same applies if you can post 3 times a week. That’s not 3x better than an account that can only post once a week. It’s just as valuable as long as you hit those exact same 3 posting windows each week.”
“Your audience craves consistency, and when your posting frequency provides that consistency, that’s how you find your posting frequency sweet spot.” concludes Harad.
It’s true: people love routines and predictability. If they’re used to reading your content over their morning coffee on Tuesdays, it’s the schedule you should follow.
“What’s important is finding a schedule you can commit to and sticking to it so your social media community knows what to expect from you content-wise,” explains Jordin Jewell of Simple Machines Marketing. “If that means two posts a week, then twice a week make sure you’re posting high-value, engaging content that your audience will want to save and share. If you can commit to doing that 5 times a week, that’s great! But it’s better to create high-value content 1-3 times a week than to create low-value content 5-7 times a week just to say you did it.”
Does every business need a posting schedule?
It’s recommended since people will be expecting your content once they get used to a specific time when you’re usually posting it.
Tarlia Smedley of Pulse Recruitment says that consistency is the key. “Rather than following a hard and fast rule with an exact number of posts a day or week, I prefer to look at Instagram success as integral to the quality and consistency of the posts.” says Smedley.
“There is no point in posting content that is not of a high caliber, especially when you are not reaching a reasonable engagement rate. In this case, I would suggest posting overall less content so that you are able to focus on quality posts with a higher engagement rate. The same goes with the frequency of your posts.” adds Smedley and advises the following to the business that are not sure how often they should post.
“If you can’t sustain one post a day consistently, for example, ascertain an achievable number per week and stick with that weekly posting schedule. It may only be three times a week, but if you spread that out over the week and routinely follow this posting schedule, you will yield better results in the long term. The dynamics of every business is different, so have a plan in place that is achievable, whilst also remembering posting a minimum of once a week and no more than three times a day.”
Editor’s note: Would you like to monitor your audience more closely and get to know them better? Check out this free Instagram Business dashboard template where you can top locations that your followers visit, their gender, and more.
Engagement is important, sure, but it’s sometimes challenging to create such content for Instagram, especially if that’s not the only platform you use for building brand awareness and reaching new audiences. Alex Birkett of Conversion.AI believes the whole point is to create something valuable and attention-grabbing says: “I actually think you should probably post less frequently than you think you should. It’s not easy to create interesting content for Instagram, especially as a business. You’re competing with people’s friends and crushes as well as veritable influences like The Rock for attention.”
Birkett’s insight really has a point: “Your product announcement may not be the most interesting thing they’ll view that day.” Most people aren’t on Instagram to shop and look at product ads, so it’s your job to make them interesting and tell a captivating story. “I think you should post as often as you have something actually interesting to post”, adds Birkett. “But don’t overdo it. The way the algorithm works is the more someone engages with your content, the higher you appear on their feed. An unengaged post is a net negative, so do quality over quantity on Instagram – at least for posts, while you can post more stories to stay relevant.”
All marketing experts agree on one thing: quality trumps frequency, all the time.
That means, after a while, your audience gets to know you and can sense when you’re being authentic, and when you’re posting just so you can cross Instagram off your to-do list. When you don’t have enough time to prepare a quality post or you don’t feel inspired, it’s better to postpone it, than post just anything.
Experimenting to learn what works well for your audience may be time-consuming, so a good first step is to test the best practices recommended by marketing pros. You may find your ideal post frequency on Instagram faster and create a schedule that you can follow and your audience responds well to.
The key is to listen carefully to what your followers want and monitor how they react to your content. Then you’ll be able to strike the balance, keep your audience happy and engaged, and provide them with top-quality content that will further grow your Instagram community.
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