So originally, this Instagram series was only going to be 3 parts. But, since the most recent algorithm change on Instagram, I’m going to write one more post talking about how to “try and beat” the new algorithm! We’ll get more into that in Part 4. Because Part 3 is all about posting your planned and edited content on Instagram.
Now if you’re starting to read the series here, you may want to read Part 1 and Part 2 first. I honestly believe having a great Instagram feed means making small parts all work together to make something great! So here are the links to the first 2 parts in-case you missed it:
How I Gained 20,000 REAL Instagram Followers in 6 Months – Part 1
How I Gained 20,000 REAL Instagram Followers in 6 Months – Part 2
When Should I Post to Instagram?
This is always the million dollar question! And I’ve read a countless amount of posts that supposedly have the best times to post on Instagram. So many articles I read said “Wednesday at 5” or “Sunday at 10“. And guess what? When I first started my Instagram I followed these rules to a tee! And did they work? Yup. At least for awhile. And then all the sudden my engagement started dipping and I couldn’t figure out why!
Truthfully, is there a “right” time to post to Instagram. I’d say no. Do I think there are better times to post then other times on Instagram? I’d say yes!
You’re probably like “okay she kinda contradicted herself”. But let me explain. From my experience posting (and take this or leave this), I find every season and every month are different when it comes to what time to post.
For example, in the Summer Sunday posts were my sweet spot! If I posted Sunday morning and evening I’d get super high engagement. Now, in the dead of Winter when I post on Sunday it’s pretty slow! But, weekday evenings have been killer (in a good way) for me! Why? Honestly, I have no idea but this is what you can learn from it:
- Try the “optimal” times to post on Instagram and see if it works for you! If it doesn’t try a new time.
- When selecting a new time to post, see what other time other related bloggers in your state/province/time zone are posting and try posting then.
- If you still feel like your engagement is low after trying both 1. and 2. then it’s time for trial and error – keep posting at different times to see what works best for you!
And keep in mind that you might have to change your posting times every so often. Depending on the season, the holiday’s, etc.
Right now, I post weekdays at 8 am and 5 pm, Saturdays 9 am-10 am and 5 pm and Sunday 10 am and 5 pm. These times are currently working for me, but my evening posts originally were at 7 pm a few months back! I just changed it to 5 pm because anything after 5 pm is slow for me engagement wise.
Basically, you just need to do a little trial and error on your account to see what works. When engagement dips, try changing up the posting time! And keep trying until you find the best engagement time with your audience.
How Many Times Should I Post?
This question is always the burning question with new bloggers! How many times should I post? I think that’s the wrong question. I think the right question is. How fast do I want to grow and how many people do I want to reach?
When you’re a new blogger reaching your audience is key! It’s also extremely hard, especially with all the other bloggers out there and the new Instagram algorithm changes. When you’re just starting out. Or even if you’re just trying to grow because you feel you’ve hit your plateau. Reaching more people is always key.
Just in-case you may be new to Instagram I’m going to break this down. And if you’re not new you can totally skip over this :)! Once you switch over your personal account to a business account on Instagram you see something called Impressions under your stats.
Impressions are just the amount of times your post has been seen on Instagram. Whether that’s through someone scrolling by it on their homepage or it appearing on the explore page. Impressions are important because obviously the more impressions you get the more potential followers you’ll get too.
Now Instagram analytics also has something called Reach. Reach and Impressions were like one in the same for me because I didn’t understand the difference. And it still kind of confuses me so I’ll try to explain it the best I can. Reach is the potential of your post to be seen by a certain number of people. Take that as you will. But basically, you want your reach to be as high as possible! More reach = more potential followers!
Okay, so now how many times should you be posting on your Instagram. And I’d say 2 to 3. Simple as that!
When I first started, I posted a solid 3 times until I got to about 5k to 10k. I can’t remember the exact number but that’s beside the point. I started to cut back to 2 posts when I realized my followers didn’t want to see my 3 posts a day. Now, this was back when the algorithm on Instagram was “good” so a lot more of my followers were always seeing my posts.
Now, I post 2 times a day. Every. Single. Day! I feel that 2 times a day is a good amount of posting for me. It allows me to share my blog post for that day and share whatever else I’m up to that day too. I gain a pretty good amount of impressions per day/week because of this and my reach has been good also.
I actually tried posting once a day way back in the Summer when I travelled to NYC on business. And couldn’t believe how much my Impressions plummeted and how many followers I lost from the lack of being present online. I also didn’t gain many followers the few days I only posted once too. I honestly didn’t’ know it’d make that much of a difference but it did.
So, try posting 2 to 3 times every day. And don’t forget to keep an eye on your Impressions and Reach. You’ll also be amazed at how much faster you gain new followers! Give it a try and trust me. You’ll be happy with the results!
Should I Use Hashtags and Which Hashtags Should I Use?
Hashtags are a funny and annoying thing in my opinion. You need them to help gain a following but at the same time, you really don’t want to use them. Well, that’s how I feel at least!
They can be time-consuming to find. And it’s also time-consuming write each one out under every post! I mean, who has time for that?
So I’m going to make the hashtag debacle super simple.
Should you use hashtags? Yes – if you want to grow!
How many should you use? Use all 30 or just use 5 or 10. Your choice but once again it depends on how many people you want to reach! But watch out! Try not to repeat the same ones over and over because Instagram might think you’re spam and “shadowban” you!
Which hashtags should I use: read below 🙂
Before we get to which hashtags should I use, I want to clarify why I’m not writing a lot for hashtags. Firstly, there are so many articles about hashtags that I feel like are longer than necessary lol. All you need to know is this. If you want potential followers to find your post or your account, then YES use hashtags. If you are posting for fun and aren’t interested in growing your Instagram following. Then no you don’t need to use them.
I honestly think it’s that simple! The hardest part really is WHAT hashtags to use.
I find so many people are trying to use the “right” hashtags. But in my opinion, you just need to use a bunch of relevant hashtags for your category and then a few generic ones for good measure (think #sundaybest, #pursuepretty and #potd). For example, I always use #ootd. And there are over a million posts under this hashtag. And I’ll likely get pushed to the bottom of that hashtag within minutes (if not seconds) of posting it. But I still always use it.
You can mix highly used hashtags like #ootd with medium used hashtags like #torontoblogger and with small used hashtags like #betrendy. Always try to mix it up with hashtags, see what works and then figure out which ones perform best for you!
And if you’re still sitting here like okay I still don’t know what hashtags to use, don’t worry!
I’ve also included my favourite app to help generate hashtags specific to YOU and my favourite hashtags for Fashion Bloggers! Plus some pro tips on strategically using hashtags!
Just drop your email below and you’ll get a FREE hashtag cheatsheet to help you grow your Instagram to the potential I know it can reach!
These are great tips, I’ll have to read the other posts in the series! Instagram can be such a pain, sometimes I see great growth, and then I’m stuck for months. It’s so frustrating!
Such a great post about Instagram in a whole. I feel like my growth has stopped for quite some time and while I don’t want to completely blame the algorithm (I only post 2 to 3 times week!!), I do agree that if you post more your page gets seen. Great tips and I will definitely try to aim to post more.
Thanks for tips. These are helpful!
Thank you SO. MUCH. for posting this! I recently just completely started over on a new Instagram account for my blog, and it’s been a struggle. I was hesitant about posting twice a day on my new account, but I no longer am, thanks to your post!
-Mallory @ lipstickandlessonplans.com
Wow, thanks for sharing all of these fabulous tips. Instagram is a place I am still learning how to use so this is super helpful
Love this post about instagram. It probably is my favorite form of social unfortunately though I can not make it a public profile which I know totally hinders my growth. I am thinking of making a separate instagram for the blog but I am not sure I would be able to handle that too.
There is some great advice here for Instagram. I always struggle to know if I’m posting enough and how many hashtags I should use.
These are such helpful tips! Can’t wait to learn more about the hashtags
Great tips. I am sitting hers shaking my head though. As a newish blogger who works 5 days per week I struggle to keep up with all of the social footprints I need to make to even get my blog noticed. Sigh. The hashtag makes sense. Why do some IGs posts their hashtags 6 or more spaces below the post?
Omg, I can’t imagine posting more than once a day on IG haha. I struggle to even post daily.
This is such great insight! Appreciate your honesty 🙂
Great advice for growing your Instagram!
Great advice, Lauren!!
I’m a fairly new blogger and I’ve been trying to figure out how to attract more followers so this definitely helps!
I need to save this article! I am a new blogger and all the research is making my head spin. I am also somewhat new to instagram and all I can say is it’s a totally different beast from twitter. Thanks so much for the tips. 🙂
Great tips, I love reading about how other people grow on IG because it’s truly such a mystery these days lol! I need to post more often I think… I’m only doing 1x a day!
This was so helpful to read. I always struggle to post even 1x per day, but after reading this I am going to push myself for 2x.
Great tips! Thanks for sharing!
I love hearing about your fabulous success with Instagram! Thank you so much for sharing so many helpful IG tips – especially how many times you post (2-3 times per day) and your advice to use all 30 hashtags. Hashtags are like tickets to a lottery – the more we have the more chances of being found and “winning” new followers.
I am always pulled into these posts on how people use Instagram. I love to hear that other influencers have a thriving community.