Instagram has become the platform of choice for some brands, who see far greater engagement there than on Facebook. But when should they post, and how often?
Thinking outside the 9 to 5 can help drive engagement among commuters, says Hayes Davis, CEO of social analytics firm Union Metrics, which released a report on Instagram data Wednesday. "Anecdotally, we see evenings and mornings as more active," he told Fast Company. "In our white paper, we have a brand that we look at specifically that posts pretty much every day around 6 p.m. to capture that late-in-the-day crowd. They get a tremendous amount of engagement from the time they post through some of the early morning hours."
Davis said one of the most surprising findings from the report is that Instagram posts have staying power. "A lot of people consider Instagram to be somewhat Twitter-like in the way people interact. You post and get immediate interaction," he said. "We found it's a little more evergreen than that." Analyzing data pulled from Instagram's API, the firm found the median brand post receives 90% of its activity—likes and comments—within 10 hours of its posting, and the last 10% stretches "over a fairly long period of time."
Posting frequently to the social photo app hasn't deterred consumers from following and engaging with brands. "Frequency of posting doesn't seem to have much, if any, engagement on posts," Davis said. Brands on average post 1.5 times a day, though he said some share up to 20 photos a day during special events.
"Actually not posting does seem to have a bit of detrimental impact on follower counts," he continued, pointing to the inactive accounts of TV shows during the off season. "It does seem that on Instagram, users are actively pruning the people they follow. A continued cadence of posts seems to be a good idea in terms of follower growth."