With so many social media platforms, and the exponential rise of TikTok, many thought Instagram would take a hit in 2020. But these predictions don’t add up — Instagram recently topped a billion users and even after 10 years its popularity is still growing among personal users, content creators and businesses of all sizes. With new and not so unique features, like IGTV, Highlights and Stories, and the recent launch of Reels (IG trying to chase the success of TikTok), Instagram keeps renewing its formula to keep adapting to the challenges of the industry.
In the early days of COVID-19, Instagram also launched “Donation” and “Stay Home” stickers, video chats and Instagram Co-Watch, a content share tool that allows people browsing on Instagram with friends, and Instagram Shop, helping small businesses to promote their products. The platform has even helped to save some small businesses, including this one in Co. Wicklow.
The platform is a must for most retailers, business owners and creators, but how can you benefit from all that Instagram has to offer? Let’s get down to business with some winning tips on how to shake up your company with Instagram.
A content calendar is a handy way to quickly organise dates, events, and ideas, so you can plan your social media posts for the weeks and months ahead. A content calendar will help keep your posts consistent and keep your brand present on people’s timelines and in their memories. An organised schedule will also give you a forward plan, and this will free your mind to work on daily ideas for your Instagram Stories updates.
Try to have at least two weeks’ worth of content ready to go, and always revise previously scheduled posts, in case they refer to major events or hot topics. This will free your mind to work on other priorities, and you’ll also have a flexible schedule for alterations.
The most obvious advantage of Instagram is having a window to share inspirational messages through high-quality images and video. Of course you don’t need to hire a photographer every time you want to post on Instagram, but you should occasionally use professional photos. For your daily activities, try to share images with good lighting, creative angles and a unique way to present your product or service.
Each of your posts should make a great first impression, with a feature unique to your brand in every photo or video on your feed. How you organise images and videos on your timeline is also vital. If you have a defined colour scheme, and organise your timeline with images, videos, inspirational phrases or customer testimonials, your page will be eye-catching and attract new followers or people drawn to your promoted post.
A ‘big picture’ visualisation is also vital — so pay close attention to the “Instagram Grid” organisation. There are many online tools to help you achieve the best results online — we recommend Later and Preview to get you started.
If you send a message or comment on a friend’s post, you want them to answer, right? Apply the same logic to your company! Answering comments and messages is not only a great way to boost engagement, it’s also a meaningful way to keep your followers returning to ask questions and to build rapport.
You can also keep people engaged by using Instagram Stories to post about your routine. You can share back-stage information about you and your brand. Engaging captions are also essential. Research from Forh found that caption length has more than doubled since 2016, with an average of 405 characters per post. But just filling your caption with random text won’t get your numbers flying! Share your story, share your knowledge, share curiosities about your brand or give your followers the story behind the photo or video on your feed. If your audience is interested in your content, they’ll spend more time reading it on your page and… well, the Instagram algorithm loves it!
The Instagram algorithm also loves when you engage with your audience. With features like the General and Primary inbox, you can separate messages from your fans and answer them correctly, and the “Stories About You” tab gives you a chance to reshare content you’ve been tagged in by your fans and brand ambassadors. Reusing part of this content will help you establish good relationships with your audience, and reassure Instagram that you’re creating meaningful connections.
Instagram offers three types of accounts: Personal, Business and Creator. If you are selling products or services, you need a business account. You can ‘upgrade’ in settings if you have a Personal or Creator Account. You’ll start receiving valuable information about your audience demographics, times when they are most often online, figures for content interaction and reach, and many other details.
Use all this data in your favour. Schedule posts when the biggest chunk of your audience is online. If your audience is within a specific age range or gender, try to produce content that will appeal to them, or even develop a product or solution that meets their expectations. This has a double advantage — you’ll satisfy both your current audience and attract new followers and customers who resonate with your content.
Instagram is always finding new ways to include features and innovative ideas. The network also rewards people using its new features, boosting their content to a bigger audience. It works in both ways — the platform reaffirms its success, and you get free promotion from its algorithm.
Give it a try: plan some videos for IGTV — maybe introduce new employees, walk people through your store, hotel, restaurant or office. Organise a Q&A section and use Instagram Live to chat with your audience in real time, or create fun and short videos with transitions and special effects using Instagram Reels. For a more bold approach, create your own AR filters and share them on your Stories, and encourage your followers to use them. Use Highlights to save impactful content you’ve shared before.
Each of these features can really boost your content strategy. If you’re smart you can plan in advance and reuse these tools until the results come flying in.
All good on the organic side of things? It’s time to invest in some Ads to boost your content to more people and reach new audiences. To have access to Instagram Ads, you’ll need a Facebook page connected to your Instagram account. After this configuration, you can choose the type of ad to start — photo and video ads, Stories ads, carousel ads and many others. If you want to reach a broader audience and get more followers, clients and conversions, Instagram Ads are an essential part of your strategy. Instagram has an extensive official guide that answers common questions and breaks down the details of all tools — a great start if you’re a beginner in the paid social universe.
We have a team of savvy Digital Marketers that can help you develop a winning Content Strategy, not only for Instagram but to enhance your whole digital presence. Join us and change your social media filters — we’ll always find your best angle!
By Rakky Curvelo
By Poulomi Choudhury