These days, the only constant on Instagram is change. From nonstop platform updates to an unpredictable algorithm, navigating Instagram continues to get trickier as it tries to adapt to the ever-changing behaviors of its more than 1.4 billion users. As a result, many accounts are seeing much lower engagement and higher rates of losing followers than normal.
While low engagement can be discouraging, all is not lost! Low engagement is simply a signal from the algorithm gods that it's time to make some necessary shifts to what, when, and how often we're posting.
Currently, the biggest questions on everyone's mind about Instagram is 1. how often should we be posting and 2. whether it's finally time to take Adam Mosseri's 'Instagram is no longer a photo-sharing app' advice to heart and ditch our old faithful carousels for good.
Ultimately, this answer varies for every account, so in this blog post, we're going to walk you through the necessary steps to identify the right posting frequency and content types for your Instagram account.
Start by tracking your content performance
If you're feeling completely stumped by Instagram right now, the good news is that you already have tons of insights to help you discern how you should shift your approach right in your analytics. Before you make any changes to your posting schedule or frequency, take a deep dive into your analytics to identify what has been performing well for you so far.
PLANOLY’s Analyze feature is a game-changing resource for social media managers, creators, business owners, and agencies that gives you a clear picture of your audience engagement for better planning & content creation success. This feature is available to all premium PLANOLY users.
Here are a few things to look out for in your insights:
#1 Identify when your audience is most active
Timing is everything - especially when it comes to your posting schedule. You can easily be losing out on tons of engagement, simply by posting the right content at the wrong time.
Use PLANOLY's best time to post feature to easily identify the best times to publish your content based on the time your followers are most active according to Instagram.
#2 Analyze what content formats your audience interacts with the most
Even if your posts aren't going 'viral,' there are sure to be some posts that have performed significantly better than others, so pay attention to those and identify any commonalities between them. For example, are your reels skyrocketing in views and engagement compared to your static posts? Or are your carousel posts receiving significantly more saves and shares than any other form of static content? Take note of these trends and consider them when determining what type of content you should lean into moving forward.
#3 Experiment with different types of content
Once you've identified the type of content that is already performing well for you, play around with different content styles to see what generates even more engagement.
Are reels performing exceptionally well for you? If so, try leveraging trending sounds, talking-to-camera videos, tutorials, and vlogs. Pay attention to what garners the best response from your audience, and refine accordingly.
Need somewhere to map out your video content ideas? PLANOLY's video planner feature to take notes of your video ideas, keep track of trending sounds you want to use later, add placeholders to your content calendar for when you plan to post videos and more.
#4 Stay consistent
Maintaining a consistent social media posting schedule is a lot like maintaining a consistent workout routine. The more consistent you are, the easier exercising becomes, and the quicker you begin to see results.
Identify a content planning and batching system that works for you and commit to sticking to it. If you aren't riding solo and you have a social media savvy team member or two who can help, get them on board to support you with creating video content. This will do wonders for your consistency!
Test your posting frequency
Once you've done a deep dive into your insights to figure out what times you should be posting and what types of content your audience wants to see, it's time to put your posting frequency to the test!
Decide on your weekly posting frequency stick it for one month. We recommend starting with 5 times per wekk. Increase your posting frequency incrementally month after month. Be sure to keep track of how your engagement and follower activity changes based on your posting frequency. Once you've done this for a few months, you'll have a clearer idea of how often you should be posting based on your analytics.
Don't Forget Your Best Practices
While many things may change on Instagram, there are a few best practices that always stay the same. Don't forget to always include these key factors in your posts to ensure you're optimizing your content for the best performance and discoverability:
- Craft engaging captions that educate, entertain, and spark conversation. Also, be sure to include keywords that will improve the searchability of your content.
- Include up to 30 targeted and relevant hashtags to increase the reach of your content.
While there is ultimately no right or wrong answer to the question of how often to post on Instagram, we know that posting more frequently increases the opportunity for your audience to engage with your content. It also provides you with more data to make informed decisions about the type of content you should be creating. Find the right balance between a consistent but sustainable posting schedule, keep testing, and use your insights to help you determine what works best for your audience.