Should You Post in Real Time on Social Media?

Is it better to post in real time on Instagram, or hold that post for later?

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You’re trying to up your company’s Instagram presence. You’ve snapped a great shot of your product or a behind-the-scenes glimpse of your employees. Should you throw it up on the social media platform immediately?

Believe it or not, there are quite a few benefits when it comes to waiting. If you’re hurrying to post an image on Instagram or to put out a Facebook status, you may be either distracted with what’s going on around you or not putting in the proper amount of time, effort, and strategy into the post. Instead of throwing on any old filter, whipping up a caption with no call to action, and posting a picture with no sense of when your followers are most likely to engage with it, you have more of a “quantity” mind-set than a “quality” mind-set. And due to the complicated nature of Instagram’s algorithm, your post may get lower interaction and therefore be seen by fewer eyes.

Instead of putting pressure on your company to post in “real time”, try to post at the right time. That might mean waiting until after a big event or photoshoot so that you have time to properly edit photos, put up clever, call-to-action infused captions, and post at strategic times. It’ll also help you stay present in the current moment—if you’ve grabbed a snapshot of customers, for instance. It’s more important to be interacting with them than it is to be on your phone.

What if there’s a big trend you’re hoping to jump on? No one can forget the timeliness of Oreo’s Super Bowl tweet or Arby’s jab at Pharrell after he wore a hat similar to their logo. If you have a great idea for a social media post that plays off a current event, that may be the exception—but excuse yourself from whatever situation you’re currently in so that you can still take the time to make the post high-quality. Again, due to social media algorithms, if you just whip off a post with little thought or care, very few followers will see it anyway.

When it comes to posting in real time, try and hold off. By posting at the right time instead of real time, you’ll create social media posts that are higher in quality, gain more interactions, and boost your social media presence overall. Your photos or witty statuses aren’t going anywhere—just put the phone down and tend to your platforms at a more strategic time.