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Almost every single restaurant and café these days is on Instagram. And if they’re not, they should be. Instagram is a critical marketing tool for businesses in the hospitality industry, particularly with younger audiences. In fact, studies show that Instagram users from
Almost every single restaurant and café these days is on Instagram. And if they’re not, they should be. Instagram is a critical marketing tool for businesses in the hospitality industry, particularly with younger audiences. In fact, studies show that Instagram users from 18 to 35 years old spend an average of five days per year looking at food images on Instagram.
But it can be difficult to make headway with Instagram, especially if you’re just starting on the platform. The key to posting high-performing content is to create unique posts and upload them at the right times. Instagram isn’t like SEO, or even LinkedIn and other digital marketing channels. Timing matters. After all, the original premise of Instagram was that it was instant, remember?
If your initial posts are successful, you should be able to get a strong ranking in Instagram’s algorithm. This means that you’ll continue getting high engagement as a result. But how do you know which is the best time to post on Instagram in the first place?
The easy answer is that there is no easy answer. The best time of day to post on Instagram for your restaurant may be completely different from a restaurant in another part of the city or a restaurant that caters to a different audience. There are so many factors that determine the success of your posts on Instagram with your particular type of audience. For instance, a late-night dive bar would have a different optimal posting time than a casual family restaurant.
So, how can you figure out which is the best posting time for your restaurant and optimize your content accordingly? Keep scrolling to find out.
The time and day of the week that you post on Instagram aren’t the only factor to take into consideration when it comes to your content’s performance. Above all, your content needs to be unique, interesting, and relevant to your audience. No matter what time you post it, if your content doesn’t fall under any of these categories it will never perform well.
That said, posting at the optimal time in the right format with the right hashtags can boost your content performance and help you hit new audiences. Over time, if you’re still creating interesting and relevant content, you should start to see strong and consistent engagement rates.
Relevancy is key on social media, and your posting times definitely feed into this. Why? Well, most social media algorithms will start to favor your content if it performs well initially. This means that timing is crucial, especially when it comes to the hospitality industry. After all, there’s no point posting a breakfast croissant in the evening. If no one engages with your Instagram post until the morning, Instagram will stop showing your post to your followers and your overall engagement on that post will suffer.
A well-timed post can also help you to hit the right audience. If you are consistently posting at times when your target audience isn’t active, you might be getting some engagement but you may not be reaching your intended audience. If these customers are never going to book a seat at your restaurant, this is a pointless exercise.
The first question you should be asking yourself is; is there even a “best time” to post on Instagram? Of course, there are several factors that Instagram takes into account when it comes time to rank posts on Instagram and position them within the feed. Instagram does not show every single one of your posts to all of your followers.
Think about it; this would mean that the average person would be seeing hundreds or even thousands of posts per day, according to how many people they follow. There simply isn’t room in each user’s Instagram feed. Therefore, Instagram needs to come up with a smarter way to figure out which posts are relevant to which users and display them accordingly. Enter the Instagram algorithm.
The Instagram algorithm combines several different factors when calculating the relevancy of any given post in relation to its audience. Despite this, the timing of your post is a crucial factor. What’s more; you can’t change the time of year or the number of posts your competitors are posting, but you can control the time you post. Our point is, timing is not the only factor when it comes to ranking well in the algorithm. But it definitely helps!
Are you ready to find out the optimal time to post on Instagram? We’ve done all the hard research for you to find out the optimal posting times for Instagram. Keep in mind that this may vary depending on your different social channels. For instance, Twitter often has very different optimal posting times than Instagram.
Sources also differ according to the best posting times on Instagram. That said, it is typically agreed that the best day of the week to post is during the week. According to ExpertVoice, posting between 9 am and 6 pm on weekdays produces the best results. The best day of the week to gain maximum Instagram engagement is on a Wednesday. Of course, there are subtle variations in performance based on industry. We’ll dive into that next.
The best time to post on Instagram for hospitality businesses might be vastly different to those working in, say, healthcare, travel, beauty, or any other industry. For brands in the hospitality industry, however, the best time to post is said to be 10 am to 12 pm, according to NapoleanCat. That said, other studies show the best day to post on Instagram is on a Monday from 9 am till 1 pm.
In a way, it makes sense not to post at peak times through the week, like Saturday night around dinner time. Even though this logically would make the most sense, this may actually be the worst time to post. During these peak times, competition is high and you may be less likely to achieve high engagement. Therefore, for hospitality businesses, posting on workdays might be a better idea.
Keep in mind that your posting time should also vary depending on what you are posting and what your intention is with each post. For instance, are you trying to boost bookings for the upcoming weekend? In that case, you need to give your audience time to make a booking and give them a compelling offer to book, such as a special event or happy hour. However, you need to post close enough to the weekend to ensure people are ready to book. In these scenarios, it might not make sense to post on a Monday at 9 am. Instead, you might want to review your website data and see when people are making bookings for the upcoming weekend.
The best time for you to post on Instagram depends on a whole variety of different factors. And besides, what works for another business may not work for yours. Take these best posting times with a grain of salt and be sure to take into consideration the following factors.
First of all, think about your business. Even in the hospitality industry, there might be slight differences in posting times based on the kind of establishment you run. For instance, the best posting time for an ice cream parlor might be on a weekend or even late at night. On the other hand, the best posting time for a café that specializes in breakfast is likely to be the early morning or on people’s lunch breaks.
You also want to think about your audience. Perhaps your audience is more active on Instagram at certain times. Often, new mums are scrolling on their phones very early in the morning. If this group makes up a part of your key target demographic it might be worth testing some posts around these times.
Review Your Past Performance
Next, review your post performance. To do this, you need to have an Instagram Business profile. If you don’t yet have a business account you won’t be able to access any in-depth historical information regarding post performance, so you’ll have to review each post manually and see what’s working and what’s not.
If you do have a Business account, simply follow these steps to access your post data:
Check your most recent posts and have a look at which posts perform well. Take note of which post type you are using, what the content is about, and when the content was posted.
The time that you’ll be posting will be highly dependent on what kind of content you’re posting. Common sense can go a long way here but there are still a few things to keep in mind. Obviously, if you’re posting video content about breakfast, you want to aim to post this at some point in the morning. That said, if your café requires bookings and tends to book up fast on weekends, you might want to consider posting much earlier in the week, before bookings fill up.
You also need to consider the landscape in which you’re posting. For example, if you’re posting your breakfast video at the same time as thousands of other cafes, it’s not likely to get much traction.
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Understanding your audience is the key to posting content that will perform well with that group. One way you can do this is to review your audience personas.
If your audience spans multiple time zones, you’ll want to ensure that you are posting at the relevant times for each audience. This might mean adjusting your posting times to be able to hit multiple time zones simultaneously, or posting different posts to cater to different audiences.
There’s another really important section within Instagram Insights that can offer some perspective into your audience. To find it, simply head to your Insights tab the same way as you did above. This time, click “Total Followers” once you’re in the insights tab. This will take you to a page with in-depth information about your followers. Scroll down and review the active Times that your followers are online.
If we look at the example below, we can see that most active time for this follower group is in the evenings and specifically at around 9 pm.
As we’ve already touched on, there are many factors that go into how the Instagram algorithm defines which content to show its audience.
How your brand’s posts get ranked within the Instagram algorithm will depend on several factors, such as the:
On top of this, how well your post performs will also depend on how many other posts are going live at the same time. At any given time, your competitor could have a huge campaign running, or there might be an influx of influencer activity. The time of year, season, and any events running at the time like the Superbowl, Met Gala, Coachella, or a big news story can also impact your post performance. These are all factors to consider when assessing your results or planning your social media strategy for the following year.
Global events and social issues also affect posting times around the world. For example, the pandemic impacted Instagram users in a multitude of ways. Their daily habits changed, which means that their online behaviors also changed.
During the pandemic, instead of scrolling on Instagram during their daily commute, users were probably scrolling at different times throughout the day, maybe even while they were supposed to be working from home!
Finally, the most important aspect of your posting strategy is to test, review, and refine your digital marketing strategy according to your audience. Regardless of the top-performing posting times, you need to ensure that you are nurturing your current follower base and posting content according to your top-performing posting times.
You can do this using Instagram Insights, as described above. Or, for an easier way to check post performance, use a social media reporting tool. Social media reporting tools can help you to generate social media reports quickly and easily throughout the month. Whether you’re doing a full social media audit of the last year or just assessing your most recent posts, social media reporting tools will be your best friend when it comes to managing your social channels.
Sked Social is a comprehensive social media marketing tool that can help you identify the top-performing posting times for your profile and structure your posting strategy accordingly. And it doesn’t just work on Instagram, it also works on all the other major social media platforms. With Sked Social, instead of painstakingly checking the stats for each post, you can see your post performance at a glance. On top of this, you can also review your competitor’s posts and see which were the top-performing posts. Assuming that your audiences are relatively similar, you could then work out the best days and times to post. All this data can help inform and improve your strategy.
Now that you have an idea of the optimal posting times for Instagram, you can start to schedule posts and boost your social media performance. But you can only do that with a comprehensive scheduling tool.
Sked Social is an advanced social media management tool that allows you to schedule your Instagram posts, Reels, and Instagram Stories in advance for set times during the week. It even allows you to add location tags, hashtags, and tags for products and people in your posts.
When you’re running a busy restaurant or café, it can be impossible to post at set times during the week. A scheduling tool is imperative if you want to improve your social media performance. Not only that, but creating a posting schedule also ensures that your posts all work together to achieve a variety of objectives. For instance, one of your posts might be driving bookings, whereas another might be generating high engagement. Another one of your posts might be promoting a special deal or discount. Regardless, you want to ensure that you have an even spread of posts throughout each week or month.
Our recommendation? Test posting at different time frames on different days throughout the week. Then, record your performance throughout the month, making note of which days and times perform the best. Check your reporting tools as well as Instagram Insights to analyze the results. To take into account any seasonal factors, you may even want to do this for a couple of months for more solid results. Eventually, you’ll be able to come up with a few different time slots on different days throughout the week that will enable you to get the highest engagement. And remember, only post high-quality content that is relevant to your audience group.
If you really want to get the most engagement possible and take your Instagram marketing to the next level, you need the right tools for the job. In case you hadn’t noticed already, social media management can take up an enormous amount of time. For busy restauranteurs and their staff, this can pose a huge challenge.
Advanced social media marketing tools allow restaurant owners and their staff to create batches of content for the month and schedule it all together. Not only is this far more efficient, but it also minimizes the risk of any mistakes on your social networks and ensures your social content is actually working towards set objectives.
Sked Social’s powerful scheduling capabilities and advanced reporting functionality make social media management much easier and helps you to focus on hitting your social media goals.
Having intuitive social media management platforms like Sked Social will cut hours out of your workload. Sked Social’s social media scheduler allows you to automatically schedule Instagram Reels, Stories, and posts (no posting after notifications!) for every major social media platform from Instagram to TikTok, and pretty much every platform in between. You’ll never have to post on a weekend again! Don’t believe us? Try it yourself by signing up for a free trial. Try Sked’s 7-day trial today.