It’s common knowledge that in order to receive high engagement levels on Instagram, you have to post regularly.

A lesser-known fact is that there are better and worse days and times to post when looking to get more likes on Instagram.

Consistency is key, so don’t start off posting five times a day if you can’t post high-quality content five times a day every day.

Social analytics company Union Metrics looked at 55 brands over a few months.

These brands were averaging 1.5 posts a day.

They found the amount of content didn’t affect engagement levels, but consistency did.

Brands that abruptly stopped posting as much, as usual, saw a dramatic decline in engagement levels and many users stopped following them.

When you’re ready, you can look to Instagram Insights to help you decipher which days and times are the best specifically for you and your audience.

However, to get you started, here is the ultimate guide for when to post on Instagram.

East Coast Time

The Fortune 500 Instagram Report gives valuable insight into the best times of day to post on Instagram, in terms of getting more likes and followers.

Most of the Fortune 500 companies post during business hours on the East Coast of America, which explains why 9am-9pm EST is the most favored time to post (88% of Fortune 500 photos of posted on Instagram during this time), and the least popular times being between midnight and 8am EST (less than 1% posted during this time).

However, even though most of the Fortune 500 brands posted during East Coast business hours, it turns out that didn’t make it the best time for engagement.

The ideal time to post on Instagram turns out to be between 10pm-3am EST.

The brands that posted during these times saw the highest engagement levels out of all the Instagram posts.

These posts were likely to see 6%-8% higher levels of engagement.

It also turns out the lowest engagement levels were between 10am-4pm EST.

An even worse time to post however was 4am, which saw the lowest engagement levels.

Instagram Videos

Video posts are a slightly different story, as consumers are more likely to engage with a video post during non-work hours. It makes sense, as they are more likely to be able to watch a video outside of the office.

Most brands, however, are posting videos during work hours.

During work hours, 22.5 users for every 1,000 followers interacted with a video, compared with 33.4 outside of work hours and 25.7 at weekends.

Outside Working Hours

It seems that out of office hours posting sees a much higher engagement level.

Later analyzed 61,000 Instagram posts in a bid to shed light on ideal posting times.

It looked at how many likes and comments these posts got in order to determine when users were at their most active.

The conclusions were similar to the Fortune 500 companies, the worst times of day were 9am-5pm EST, while people were too busy working to interact on Instagram.

The two optimum times of day were at 5pm when people were leaving the office, and then at 2am.

Days of the Week

Even though Later concluded 5pm was an optimum time of day to post, it also discovered that this depended on the day.

Wednesdays at 5pm are the golden time, the absolute ideal time to post if you’re looking for high engagement.

Mondays at 5pm? Nope.

On Mondays, engagement levels peaked at 7pm and remained high until 10pm.

This could be because people generally have more to do on a Monday as they catch up from the weekend so they are working later.

Wednesday is hump day, the longest part of the week is over and people are already looking forward to the weekend and so leaving work promptly.

Thursday and Friday they are more likely to be frantically trying to finish everything off before the weekend.

1am and 8pm were the sweet spots on a Friday.

Locations

Keep in mind that not everyone runs on East Coast time.

Most of the time of day research has been conducted using EST, but it’s important to consider where your target audience is located.

If they are in Europe, go by GMT and post when they are finishing work (especially on Wednesday!), and give an extra couple of hours on a Monday.

Don’t be shy about posting in the early hours of the morning on a Friday.

If you have followers from a variety of locations, try and set up posts to cater for each of these locations in order to maximize engagement to get more likes on Instagram.

Audience Demographic/Occupations

The ideal time to post on Instagram can vary depending on the type of person you are targeting.

Not everyone keeps the same working hours.

If you’re a bartender, you’re going to be pretty available between 9am-5pm, and busy in the evenings.

On average, the hours above are great, but if you have a very specific demographic, think about the lifestyle and the hours they keep and the industry they work in.

Non-profits

Non-profit organizations see their engagement levels drop significantly on Saturdays, whereas the best time of day is Friday at 2pm.

After this time slot, Tuesday at 3pm and 9pm; Wednesday at 3pm-4pm; Thursday 2pm-3pm and Friday at 10am were also good times to post.

Overall, weekdays from noon to 5pm were good times to post on Instagram for non-profits.

Education

Monday at 8pm was the magic hour on Instagram for education; it had the most engagement in all education posts.

Likely due to things like weekly updates for students being posted on Mondays.

Aside from this, 11am-4pm during the week received the most engagement over other time slots and the weekend; with Sunday posts getting the lowest amount of likes and comments.

Healthcare

Hospitals such as the Los Angeles’ Children’s Hospital, use Instagram when they bring in celebrities to volunteer, boost fundraising efforts and awareness of their facilities, as well as sharing inspirational stories.

The prime time for healthcare facilities to post is Tuesday at 1pm, with Tuesday being the overall best day to post.

Tuesday to Friday between 9am-4pm are fine times to post, with the weekend being the least engaging days for healthcare on Instagram.

Consumer Goods

Contrasting with seemingly every other type of company, if you’re selling a product to consumers the best time to post on Instagram is Saturday between 11am-1pm, with Monday getting the least engagement.

Wednesdays still saw the most consistent engagement.

After Saturday’s prime time, every day between 10am-3pm were good times to post for consumer goods.

It can be hard to post on Instagram out of working hours without you yourself having to work outside of working hours.

If this is an issue for you, consider creating your content in advance and then schedule the posts to go live at designated times.

Whatever you do, be sure to post on Wednesdays, ideally at 5pm.

The main takeaway is that to maximize likes, comments and general engagement on your Instagram posts, you need to be posting at a time your followers are online and available to interact with your content.

This appears to be outside working hours, so take this knowledge, and use Instagram Insights to find the exact optimal posting times for your brand to get your audience fully engaging with you.