- In 2018, 60% of Instagram users used the platform daily, including 55% of young adults who visited several times a day.
- Approximately 80% of all Instagram users follow a business on Instagram.
- Many posts continue to receive low-level engagement for days and weeks after posting.
So you know the ‘gram is a great channel for your brand, but how do you make the most of it? So happy you asked…
- Know your customer. If you’ve been around for awhile, you probably knew we were going to kick this off with a note on knowing your audience, right? We’re pretty obsessed with buyer personas + brand consistency planning in general because we’ve seen first-hand what a game changer they can be for brands. No matter what you sell, or where you’re selling it, if you don’t know + market to your target audiences, you’re missing out. This is especially true on Instagram where authenticity + trust are valuable currencies.Planning your Instagram strategy around your customer (not your products) is key. You’re not going attract your target audience if you don’t know who they are, what they like + what they’re looking for from brands on Instagram.
- Be consistent. How often are you currently posting on Instagram? Do you go through spurts of activity with some real downtime between posts? A commitment to consistency is key in taking your Instagram channel to the next level. Between your Instagram Feed, Stories + IGTV, your brand needs to show up every day. If you’re not consistent in posting, you’re not going to see growth. The more you post, the more often you have the chance to show up on your audience’s feed + that visibility can make all the difference. Get a great photo up on your feed at least once a day, post some quality, engaging Stories every day. Watch the engagement + data to do more of what’s working but never be afraid to try new things! The more you put out, the better chance you have of really resonating with your audience + going viral for all the right reasons.
- Understand the algorithm. When Instagram transitioned from a reverse-chronological feed in 2016, the Instagram algorithm became a hot topic. While the ranking signals + complexity of the algorithm itself have been debated, it really comes down to Instagram’s main goal of keeping users on the platform for as long as possible. The longer someone’s on Instagram, the more ads they are going to see, which is key to Instagram’s bottom line. So how does the algorithm work to keep people on the site? By rewarding the content and accounts that help Instagram achieve that goal. Individual’s feeds are made up of content from accounts that:
- They interact with a lot (that includes comments + likes, but also looks at the accounts you have specific notification settings for, the ones you DM + tag, etc.)
- Post frequently. the timeliness + recency of your posts make a difference, so pay attention to your audience’s behavior + post often!
- Are of interest to them. The algorithm is always looking to predict which posts a user will engage with, based on their past behavior. Review your content + post more of what people are actually engaging with.
- Be authentic. Your Instagram content is going to show up more often for the users who have a relationship with you. You’re never going to generate real engagement or relationships without being authentic + earning their trust. So what does it mean to be authentic? First of all, knowing your brand + your target audiences. When we’re working through our brand tone + voice exercises with clients, one of the questions we ask is “If your brand was a person, what kind of relationship would they have with your audiences? Parental figure? Coach? Best friend?” Decide how your brand is going to engage with your audience + stick with it. Share the content that showcases your brand in that light. It’s all about finding your voice + sharing your journey. Respond to comments + stick to honest, thoughtful content that adds value to your audiences’ feeds.
- Use the tools Instagram gives you. When a company like Instagram devotes the time + money to develop a new tool for the platform, it’s silly to think they aren’t going to promote the heck out of it + reward early adapters. What do we mean when we say tools for the platform? Let’s look beyond the Feed…
- Feed – When you upload a photo to your feed,
- Hashtags – You can use up to 30 + they can make a real difference in terms of both reach + engagement! Spend some time researching hashtags that make sense to you as a brand + use them liberally. You’ll always have the opportunity to add more content-specific hashtags every time you post, but having a database of hashtags that are always relevant to your brand will make your life a lot easier.
- Direct Messaging – Instagram Direct lets you send messages to one or more people + lets your audiences share messages with your brand directly. Don’t ignore the icon in the top right of your Feed! Engage with anyone + everyone who reaches out, you’ll be boosting their engagement with your account, making it more likely they’ll see your content on their Feed.
- Stories – I was listening to a podcast recently that compared your Instagram Feed to a storefront + your Instagram Stories to the inside of a shop. Your Instagram Story live on your Feed, your profile and Direct for 24 hours, unless you add it as a highlight. Stories appear in a row at the top of your followers’ Feeds. Use your stories to showcase the human side of your brand, post often + have fun with them! Show your audiences everything there is to love about your brand + how your products could help them achieve the lifestyle they’re looking for.
- IGTV – Instagram TV lets creators upload longer form videos (between 15 seconds – 10 minutes), so you can share more compelling content with your audiences. Longer-form videos makes sense for an app looking to keep audiences active longer, right? IGTV has a standalone app, but you can use the Instagram app to access + upload your content as well. This is one of the newest features Instagram has rolled out + worth exploring for your brand!
- Instagram Checkout – Earlier this year, Instagram introduced this social shopping feature, in partnership with select ecommerce platforms, where users can buy from brands without ever leaving the app! The program is still in beta but stay tuned for more info on this shopping feature!
Ready to make the most of Instagram for your brand? Good! Start by establishing some ground rules when it comes to your brand, get effective buyer personas developed + start crafting better content! Post often, engage frequently + use all the resources Instagram has to offer to really make the most of the channel for your brand! Looking for a little help? We’re here for you! Learn more about our brand consistency plans or set up a time to talk with a free catch up consult focused on your social strategy!