A great follow up to my previous post on social media scheduling is figuring out when to post. This is different for each business and can only be figured out through testing days, times and various content. Posting something at 8pm on Thursday may work for one business but will not work for others, so there is no hard fast rules to follow when it comes to this. I am guilty of not spending enough time on measuring and analyzing, yet this is the single most important thing you can do with social media.
Each social network has its own way of analyzing its engagement. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have one single dashboard where all of these separate insights could be viewed? Perhaps there is, and it doesn’t cost $250 dollar a month. Until then, the entrepreneur way is to do it for free, which in this case is analyzing each social network separately on its respective analytics dashboard.
Let’s start off with Instagram.
But, before we jump into analytics, remember that all stats are based on understanding your target market. Are you targeting middle aged men or young teenage girls? You should be optimizing your posting based on their online habits and use analytics to tweak it. Furthermore, you should be using social networks that your target market actually uses. Out of the 150 million people on Instagram, the majority of users are millennials (aged 18 to 29 years old). Based on the most popular hashtags, I would translate this to teenage to young adult girls who take too many selfies for their own good (me included).
Statigr.am is the best analytics dashboard I’ve seen among all the networks by far. Not only is it free, but it also tells you everything you ever wanted to know about your Instagram account down to which filter has the most engagement and how many followers you have lost, yelp. I find this chart particularly interesting as it helps you figure out the best times and days to post your photo, although a bit convoluted.
What can we learn from this?
- The empty circle indicates nothing is posted between 4pm and 10pm (EST) so that area needs to be tested to see if engagement is better during that time (if it makes sense for the target market and timezone).
- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday early mornings show the most engagement, while Wednesday, Friday and Saturday show minimal engagement.
By itself, this doesn’t paint a clear picture, but combining it with other data like the chart below, will bring some clarity. The chart below shows that the majority of posting is done on Wednesday and on the weekend, yet we learned that our most engaged posts are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.
Basically, we need to start posting at the beginning of the week and a day before the weekend and also test out the evenings for all three days. Sunday seems to be a great day as well (probably due to generally minimal social media noise). The goal is to match up density of posting with engagement, then you’ve hit your sweet spot.
Unlike other social networks, Instagram doesn’t need hundreds or thousands of followers before data can be properly analyzed. A good month or two of consistent posting is enough to get you started on tweaking based on analytics. Again, frequency of posting needs to be tested, but a good rule of thumb is that since Instagram is “instant” – your audience doesn’t want to see 10 pictures of the event, one really good one is enough. Post sparingly but make it impactful with filters and use appropriate hashtags (see list above).
Do you use Instagram for your business? Do you have any tips or tricks that work for you?
Next week, I’ll talk about Pinterest.