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How to generate more Instagram likes

It’s no secret that at Spindogs HQ we love Instagram! And if you follow us (shameless plug), you’ll know we have a passion for all things digital, cake, our fabulous clients, food, our company culture, and cake (yes, we love cake).

Our Instagram feed is our shop window and a lot of work goes on behind the scenes to keep it fresh and engaging. We’re always on the lookout for the next big Instagram trend; we’ve introduced Instagram stories and we’ll be launching our very own Instagram TV soon (watch this space). Instagram’s platform develops faster than the shelf life of a cake in the Spindogs kitchen, presenting a huge opportunity for brands to reach customers far and wide.

So, it’s not surprising that we take a keen interest in how to optimise the performance of the content we put out on our social media, so it’s not much of a surprise that we use the platform’s built-in functionality to determine what we should post and when. But it’s not just businesses anymore who care about optimising content – on average, people search ‘best time to post on Instagram’ 12,100 times each month.

So naturally, we did the same, and here is what we found:

The Instagram algorithm factor

Since Instagram switched to an algorithm-based feed in 2016 the question of timing has been become a hot topic. If posts are not showing up chronologically, does the time you post even matter anymore? The answer is yes! The reason for this is the constantly evolving way in which Instagram determines which posts are quality content.

Instagram shared three factors that influence a post’s visibility in users’ feeds in this presentation from June 2018:

  1. Interest: Posts featuring content a user has previously showed interest in will appear more often at the top of the feed
  2. Recency: More recent posts get priority over posts that are days or weeks old
  3. Relationship: Posts from friends, family members and users with higher overall past interactions will show up closer to the top of the feed

Recency is one of the main factors you want to consider when experimenting with the Instagram algorithm. Images and videos are more likely to get shown to your followers based on how much engagement they generate and how quickly this engagement is generated following your upload.

In other words, the more likes and comments your post gets in the short time after it’s shared, the more popular it’s likely to become, because Instagram would consider higher engagement levels as a signal for quality content. Sort of like a self-fulfilling social media prophecy.

Finding out what the peak times for your audience are and posting in these time slots is most likely to generate the surge of engagement Instagram needs to see to then keep your post at the top of your followers feed where it is most visible.

Which leads us to…

What’s generally the best time to post on Instagram in 2019?

One of the main questions that brands want to know is ‘when is the best time to post on Instagram’. Global research figures point towards a few time slots which are likely to generate the most engagement across the board, based on universal daily routines. Social media managers have found that the best times to post on Instagram (especially if they are targeting local audiences) are around the time people usually take their lunch break (between 11am and 2pm), during their commute home (5pm) or the evening wind-down slot (7pm-11pm).

Analysis of a wide range of Instagram accounts also points to 2am as another universally popular time to share content, likely as a result of the fact that with less people posting at that time, your content is more likely to be seen organically by users who are online.

Spindogs%20blog%20image%201 – Spindogs

Data suggests that Wednesday is the peak day to post to Instagram as most people are looking for their mid-week fix of beautiful images to get them through the week. Use hashtags such as #humpday and #happyhumpday, which have over 15 million tagged posts, to get your content in front of a much bigger audience.

All other days except Tuesdays tend to have good levels of engagement too, but it’s important to avoid posting on Sundays as research suggests that you’re unlikely to generate many likes and comments.

Slightly more limited are the peak time slots for sharing videos on your Instagram profile. Unlike images, videos often require users to turn on their sound in order to fully engage with the content, which could often be inconvenient in a work or school environment. Therefore, you should aim to post any videos in the evenings and later in the night to optimise views.

While these points are a great starting point for you to test your profile, the truth of the matter is that the best time to post on Instagram depends on the nature of your industry, the profiles of your target audience and the time zones you are targeting. The best course of action is to determine what the optimum time for your brand based on performance analytics.  

How to find the best time to post on Instagram for your audience?

Mean business: If you are running a company or brand account make sure your profile is set up as a business account as it will allow you access to the Instagram analytics tool (aptly names Instagram Insights) to find out performance stats for your posts, as well as useful information about the demographic of your followers (handy, right?).

Know your audience: Instagram Insights is a great tool to get you started, however it currently only offers 7 days’ worth of analytics. Using a third-party tool such as Sprout Social is a great way to truly understand what makes your audience tick. Sprout Social gives you access to some great features including hashtag usage, Instagram trends, audience engagement and competitor data.

sprout%20social – Spindogs

Instagram top trends for 2019

Now that you know who your audience are, the next step is how best to reach them. Instagram has over 1 billion active users worldwide. With a platform that’s constantly changing its important to keep up with the latest trends so we’re suggest some of the best ways to engage with your audience:

Instagram Stories

There are over 400 million daily active users of Instagram stories alone, so it’s no surprise that this way of sharing content is going to take off massively this year, with brands and businesses sharing more content than ever before. Engaging with your followers through Instagram stories is a great way of beating the Instagram algorithm to achieve maximum levels of engagement.

Instead of focusing on how to get more likes and comments on your feed, use Instagram Stickers as a way of getting your followers invested in your brand, content and products. Experiment with stickers such as ‘countdown’ to notify your followers of an event or launch of a new product, you can also create your own branded stickers to keep them on brand.

Start planning and scheduling

Having a content strategy plan is one of the best ways to ensure you are posting creative and engaging content to your audience. Check out an example of our own content calendar to plan your content effectively.

Regularly producing content on your online channels is key to communicating your offering and staying relevant. Producing unique and relevant content can be a challenge for companies who don’t have a team of in-house marketing specialists looking after their content creation. One of the best ways to do this is to outsource your content marketing to an outside agency. If you need help with your content then check out our content strategy services.

Influencer marketing

Another trend you won’t be able to miss in 2019 is sponsored content from influencers, both micro and mega. More and more businesses are turning to micro influencers (less than 5000 followers) to promote their product or service. Micro influencers have been shown to have a much higher engagement rate, as well as a more trusted audience. Choosing the right influencers to work with can help brands reach new audiences, generate high quality leads and dramatically increase ROI.

Instagram TV

Launched as Instagram’s first standalone video platform showcasing vertical video, IG TV is predicted to be the next YouTube. With Instagram investing heavily in additional features to make it more popular, such as moving the search bar to the explore page and optimising for content creators, now is the perfect time to start experimenting with IG TV.

To sum up…

Instagram in 2019 presents a number of incredible opportunities for businesses to extend their marketing on social media platforms, if they are savvy with their posting. It’s important to remember that despite the Instagram algorithm is no longer being chronological, the time you post still affects the what’s most visible on your followers feed.

To optimise the engagement and therefore the visibility of your content, use Instagram’s analytics tool to get a better insight into your audience’s behaviour. As a result you’d be able to boost engagement, drive traffic and gain new followers! If you need help with your social media strategy, building successful online campaigns and maximising your ROI check out our social media services or contact our team for expert advice.

How can we help?