Social currency is an exceedingly important metric when it comes to promoting your brand. Your likes, followers, pins, and posts all say a lot about your success, and the more engagement on your social platforms, the more likely you are to pull in clients. But how do you maximize engagement and get the most people to see your content? While there is no perfect answer, there are a few things you can do to optimize your social media strategy.
Timing Is Everything
Understanding when to utilize each of your social channels is vital to propelling you and your business to the next level. People use different social platforms at different times of the day and are more active during different parts of the week. Making sure your content gets in front of the most eyes relies on making sure you post when the most people are checking each different social site.
Instagram was built around photography, and if you are on just one social media platform, make it Instagram. People go on Instagram to look at photos and when they find a good photograph, they are likely to like or comment on them. You don’t have to fight with competing content like articles, quizzes, and games like on other social platforms. The simple way to get more likes is to post good content when the most users are scrolling through.
While there is no statistically optimal day for posting on Instagram, digital marketing company TrackMaven suggests posting at the tail ends of the workday when users are most likely on their phones. Their report showed more users interacting with content during off-work hours during the regular work week.
Each user is different, and drilling into your own analytics can help you learn even more about when to post. Use tools like IconoSquare, Smmpoint, and Latergramme to know more about when your account is most active and help shape your Instagram strategy.
Think of how you use Facebook. Unless you’re blocking invites from Farmville, you’re probably on Facebook to kill time. The closer it is to the end of the workday, the more people are on Facebook. This is your chance to strike.
Whether you have a Page for your photography business or are just posting to your own personal timeline, the best times to post is between 1–4 p.m., spiking around 3 p.m. Additionally, the closer you are to Saturday the better, with more engagement happening during the second half of the week as people daydream about the weekend.
Facebook has an algorithm and not every one of your friends or followers will see all of your content. While very few people actually know what goes into Facebook’s algorithm, it’s a safe bet that the more engaging your content and the more people engage with your page, the more likely your posts will show up on their timeline. Lucky for you, photos also help generate higher engagement with 53 percent more likes and 104 percent more comments. So make sure your photography looks good.
Twitter might not be your first thought when it comes to promoting your photography, but your content has some of the highest potential to grab the most eyes due to how open Twitter is. One retweet and your photos can show up on hundreds of new users’ feeds. It’s harder to get people to share on Facebook, and Instagram doesn’t even support a share feature. So posting to Twitter in addition to your other social platforms could be beneficial.
People check up on Twitter during their down time throughout the day with users 181 percent more likely to be on Twitter during their commute and scrolling at lunchtime. The optimal times to post are 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. during the week, with 5 p.m. being the optimal time for potential retweets.
Be careful with Twitter. Instagram and Facebook do not always play nice when pushing content from their own respective apps. As is true with almost all social media sites, photos drive more engagement and Twitter currently only posts a link to a photo when you post from Instagram. It’s better to post a photo separately to Twitter so your work shows up in your followers' feed.
Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google+
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are not the only games in town. Photographers also post content on many other social networks including Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google+, and each come with a different set of optimal posting times.
Pinterest is for weekenders. Most people scrolling through Pinterest’s seemingly endless supply of recipes, DIY projects, and wedding dresses do so Saturday morning. The worst time to post: during the work week. Make sure your pins include your information so people who repin your photos can find you.
Tumblr is for all-nighters. Many photographers use Tumblr’s more open platform for portfolios of their work. The best time to upload new content is between 7–10 p.m. Users spend, on average, more time on Tumblr than they do on Facebook!
Finally, Google+. There are some diehard users out there so don’t cast it aside. Google uses Google+ in their SEO so posting some of your photos to your Google+ account could be advantageous. But unlike Tumblr, Google+ is most active in the mornings around 9 a.m.
Get Organized and Simplify Your Life
With all these different times to post photos to the internet, it can easily become a full-time job. If you’re going to take your social media presence seriously, it’s important to have a plan. Use tools like HootSuite and Buffer to schedule your posts to different sites. Dig into the analytical data on your followers with information from the platforms themselves like with Facebook Page Insights. Understanding your followers only helps you engage with them more and share content with them that you know they will like.
Having a clear workflow can save you a lot of time. Know what social platforms you want to be on and keep it consistent. Users like when people they follow post and share at a relatively similar time each day. That doesn’t mean you need to post something new each day, but you don’t want to surprise them with erratic behavior. We like to know what to expect. We are creatures of habit after all.
Do you have a social media strategy? How do you plan when to post your photos online? What are some of your best practices when it comes to posting?
[via Buffer, Fast Company, and QuickSprout]
FYI - if you post a photo to tumblr and share the link on twitter(use tinyurl.com!) it will show up in twitter feeds without having to follow the link.
Thanks for the tip! Still trying to wrangle my understanding of Tumblr but it's proving to be a fun adventure.
you can also use the IFTTT app and set up automation so that anytime you post to instgram it will auto post that image to twitter. the actual image and not a link to intagram so it will show up in the feed. it also post the instagram text and hashtags up to the 160 limit.
Wow thanks for doing all this work!
Really wish there was a simple method to upload to Instagram from your computer.
Don't we all. I don't understand why they choose to keep their API so closed off. Hoping some day it will be a lot easier. For now, I schedule my posts with TakeOff and I get a push notification when it's time to post. It's helpful but not a perfect solution.
I have been considering opening an Instagram account but not being able to load photos from my PC is the main reason why I haven't. It seems to me that the decision to keep their API proprietary and focused on mobile devices would have to have been made early in the development of their app so could it be that they envisioned it being used to capture photos that are more spontaneous with less post-processing?
That may be true. But what you can do is load images form your computer onto your mobile device and then load that into Instagram. It's an extra step we don't always like to take but with tools like Dropbox and Lightroom's Mobile app, it's not too much extra work.
Its really easy if you're editing in LR and use a Dropbox export plug in. If I'm editing and see a photo that I want to put up on Instagram, I hit the shortcut R and crop 1:1 then I right click and select the export preset that points to my Dropbox folder where I hold my Instagram images. I open IG on my phone and pick it up from there. Very easy.
Thanks! Will give this a try but do have one question. I do edit in LR and export to folders in Dropbox but not with the export plug in. What is the benefit of using the plug in over not using it?
I think it was part of a plug-in I got does other exports (I have a bad memory and can't check what it is right now). There is no advantage, it just saved me a minute or two of making my own preset, you'll do just as well to make your own Instagram Export preset, set it to 640 x 640px.
Saving time is a very good reason! You can always get more money but not more time.
It's not a full solutions, but to post to instagram on your computer use http://www.latergram.me/ it connects to your IG account you can upload, type in description and schedule your posts. You will get a notice when the post is scheduled to be uploaded to IG, in which you have to open up IG (tag the photo if you need to) and publish.
Thanks David. Will give this a try as well.
Hi Stefan. Thank you for raising this issue.
There is! Use ARC Welder from Google to run Android apps in Chrome https://developer.chrome.com/apps/getstarted_arc
You'll also need the Instagram APK, you can use the APK Downloader to pull it directly from the Google Play Store http://apps.evozi.com/apk-downloader/?id=com.instagram.android
I would suggest running the app in portrait/phone mode to access all the controls, but once you get it running it's the absolute easiest thing in the world to post directly from your computer.
Hmm will need to do some investigating! Can you schedule posts?
Unfortunately not :( All you're doing is running the Android instagram app in your browser (emulating the phone). What I do is set aside 10 minutes during peak traffic hours to throw a post up, I have an Evernote notebook with post ideas that I pull from. not perfect, but I'm no longer dependent on my phone for IG.
I downloaded the APK and it does not work on my network at work...but how does the app work with uploading? Are you able to pull files from your desktop to upload right from the app running in Chrome?
Yup! I'm attaching a series of screenshots to demonstrate.
Rad! What an awesome workaround.
Yeah man, I basically leave it open all the time on my laptop so I can check in on the people I follow or post whenever I want.
Yeah there are great tools for browsing Instagram but this is the first I've heard of for actually helping post! Thanks for the tip.
i normally post to my instagram right around 8am and get pretty go results from that but will have to try and few at 5pm and see if its better...
Are we talking USA time or what? What about those of us in europe?
This is a great question. The best way to answer this is to think about your followers and your market. Local time is the best time, unless you're an international commercial photographer.
Well, local clients are more likely to hire me but then again american clients pay so much better than those in europe. On my last us job for an ad campaign I made 9000 whereas local clients here will never pay more than 1500-2000 for the same job here unless you are super famous.
Hi Casey. Thank you for posting this article. It started a conversation that led to my learning of two ways to incorporate Instagram into my social media plan.
Glad to hear! Our boy Dani Diamond did a great article back in January about uploading to Instagram but maybe we need to do a more in depth look at some of the other services out there. Here is a link to that article: https://fstoppers.com/education/how-upload-photos-pc-instagram-53722
Great info man. Thanks dude.
Thanks for this research! It's very helpful. I'm always finding that I post something which I find very exciting or engaging, only to have it dwindle, having been viewed less than 100 times on FB.
I understand completely. Sometimes is hard to understand why one thing takes off and another doesn't. It's not an exact science but the tips above can help for sure.
Thanks for taking the time to do all this for us!
Thank you for the insight. This will really help me set and schedule my post using Mass Planner. I will definitely focus on instagram. Thanks.
Great post. Maybe a part two could go into more detail about analyzing your analytics and posting at a time that suits the majority of your viewers.
For exanple, I'm in Australia but according to Google Analytics the majority of my views are from the U.S.
Good idea! One thing that wasn't covered in this article was timezones. For the most part, you should take the times suggested as local times, but if most of your views are from the US, you might want to think about posting on their time and not yours. Also depends on your product...are you a local wedding photographer or a international commercial photographer.
Man I cannot tell you how many times I've looked up articles like this. I use iconosquare to check when my posts are getting the most feedback. So far its Wednesdays at around 5-7. But sometimes when I post at 8 pm I get tons of likes. anyway this article is crazy helpful
Nice article man...hopefully it can find its way on to the first page on Google....this is a commonly searched topic