Wondering how often to post on Instagram?

Find your level of commitment before finding how often to post on Instagram.

Planning out how often to post on Instagram is a much simpler process than creating an optimized schedule, so keep that in mind before reading. I briefly went over this predicament in a previous article on creating a posting schedule for Instagram, but I thought it'd be a good idea to expand on my thoughts and bring a little insight from other sources.

Reading time: 5 minutes

Inspired by Jessica Howell's article simplistic take on how often to post to Instagram, I'll be giving a much more in-depth, analytical approach to post scheduling. And you won't just be analyzing data for this either - I'll be asking questions about how committed you are to growing your following!

Let's first look at how often top brands post on Instagram.

eClincher's social media posting frequency guide states that "There is an unspoken rule that you should not post multiple times per day on Instagram. Posting twice in a day is not forbidden, but one post a day seems to be the network norm." Bullshit. I know for a fact from working on my last fashion startup that top brands will post 2-3 times a day to hit multiple time zones and on the day of a big fashion event, they'll post as many as 8 times - leading up to the event, live coverage and the after party. That's a lot of content that most can't keep up with, so let's investigate further to see if it's ideal. What we need are the facts.

Simply Measured did a great study covering top brands on Instagram, though it is from 2014, so things may have changed since then. In particular, Instagram introduced an algorithmic feed may already be playing a big role in post frequency. Lets take a look at their findings anyway, there's lots to learn still.

Top brands push content mostly during office hours but that doesn't tell us how often to post on Instagram.
Since Instagram's API doesn't allow 3rd party services to publish, it makes sense that most top brands' content is pushed during office hours.
Average engagement indicates that top brands aren't using optimized schedules and might not know how often to post on Instagram either.
When comparing these two charts, we can assume one of two things: top brands aren't posting on optimized schedules or time of posting has little to no effect on their engagement.
Well, I guess that doesn't really help our case at all, does it? Good information but maybe the answer for the average user doesn't lie in habits of top brands. Go figure.

What's the most you can realistically post in a week?

And how long can you sustain that schedule?

Honestly, any analysis I do past this is just icing on the cake. Deciding on how often to post on Instagram really comes down to these 2 questions. What's your content backlog looking like and how long can you sustain it? For many brands, building out a slew of content to share on Instagram is resource-heavy - so it might not make sense for you to post daily or more frequently. Yet. It should be something to strive for, but without knowing you brand on a more personal level, I really wouldn't feel right giving a generalized, sweeping statement.

While I've been very behind on writing for my Thailand travel blog, my Instagram is really popping off. I take a lot of photos when I travel, back it all up to my laptop and when I get the chance, I'll do a 2 hour PhotoShop session. Nothing crazy since I'm not that good at PS nor do I care that much, but just quick lighting fixes, resizing and cropping. At the end of the day, my followers aren't going to notice those finer details and I'm not trying to be a photographer so it's good enough. For me, there's never a worry about running out of content, so I'm able to post 2-3 times a day. Right when I wake up, after lunch and in the evening. My followers are mostly backpackers and travel bloggers, so I need to be able to hit multiple time zones.

A photo posted by Chris Tweten (@ctwtn) on

Instagram got you overwhelmed? Let me help you out!