Updated: Sep 7, 2021
The answer to this question depends entirely upon your goals, and if you're a small account (under 1K followers) looking to boost your reach and engagement - the answer might shock you. Later recently completed a study of 81 million Instagram posts (not including Reels and IGTV), and the data they've uncovered is challenging tried and true practices the social media world used to swear by. But one thing remains consistent, the amount you post per week should be targeted at a specific goal. There is no one size fits all amount of feed posts per week. Let's get into it.
How Often To Post When You Have Less Than 1K Followers
If your goal is to up your engagement and reach (P.S. if you're trying to grow your account, you want both of those factors to rise), Later discovered that you should be posting 14 times a week. In our opinion, this is ... a LOT. But Later's numbers don't lie. The data really does show, that when you have less than 1K followers, the more you post - the better your reach and engagement will be. For accounts under 1K, the average engagement rate went from 3.1% at one post a week to 4.9% at 20 posts a week. That's a huge jump! Similarly, the reach went from 41.9% with one post a week to 55.2% with 20 posts a week. The message is clear - if you want to get past 1K followers quick, you need to start upping your post numbers.
Do you need a reminder on what engagement and reach rates are? Check out this great infographic from Later.
How Often to Post When You Have 1K to 250K Followers
When you break 1K followers, the rules begin to change. As you up your posts, your reach will grow but your engagement rate will drop. Later found that when these accounts posted once a week, their reach was 21.8%, and when they posted 20 times a week, their reach was 26.6%. This growth isn't as large as the <1K accounts, but it's still undeniable growth. The opposite happened to engagement rates for the 1K - 250K followers accounts. When they posted once a week their engagement rate was 2.1%, and when they posted 20 times a week their engagement rate dropped to 1.7%.
That engagement drop is pretty jarring. It goes from low to lower real quick. This drop is probably because the Instagram algorithm typically only promotes your most recent post to followers. Also, let's be honest - we all follow someone that posts way too much, and it's easier to scroll by than stopping to engage. This same factor might also be affecting these accounts.
How Does Posting More Often Affect Accounts With 250K+ Followers
While we don't work with accounts of this size, we still found the data affecting this range fascinating. The best engagement and reach rates for accounts with 250K+ followers occurred when the account posted merely once a week. When they shared more than once a week, both their engagement and reach rates went down. At 1 post a week their engagement rate was 1.6% (yes, this is very low - but it's well known that the more followers you have, the lower your engagement rate goes) and when they posted 20 times a week their engagement rate plummeted to .8%. A similar drop happened to their reach. At 1 post a week their reach was 18.4% and at 20 posts a week their reach was only 15.5%. These massive accounts clearly don't have to worry about content creation as much as smaller accounts.
So what does this mean for your account? Like we said at the beginning - it's all dependent on your goals and size of your account. But remember this - a ton of poor quality posts is not going to help your account. Quality is so important in creating brand loyalty and a consistent community of engagement around your content. If 14 posts a week means that your posts aren't going to be good, do not up your posts to 14 simply to see your reach and engagement grow. It will hurt you in the long run. Set posting goals and then create a plan to achieve them. If you want a step - by - step guide of how to grow on Instagram, check out our guide below.