Creating A Social Media Strategy That’s Right For YOU – Part 3 (Instagram)
Congratulations on reaching Part 3 of our social media marketing deep dive! Now that you’re a Facebook whiz, we’re going to jump into all things Instagram. If you missed Part 2, you can catch up here.
Instagram is a social network made for sharing photos and videos. Although it attracts a wide audience of all ages, the users are primarily millennials, so you can approach it in a slightly different way than you would approach Facebook. It’s also image focused with an emphasis on aesthetics, so this is not the place for wordy, long-form content. Because it is such a creative space, you might consider publishing lighter content with a casual tone. An emoji or two is a-ok for Instagram. It’s also mainly for mobile use, meaning you will want to download the app, whereas Facebook can be easily accessed on a desktop.
In this space, the photo is the star. Think about what you can visually showcase. Obviously, a clothing company may publish photos of the clothing, or a restaurant may post images of their favorite dishes. But this is also a chance to interact with your audience and give a behind-the-scenes look at your daily operations. Show photos of a company outing, a happy customer, your employees at work, a peek into office life, etc. The possibilities are endless. On Instagram, your presence is more about the big picture, your brand, than your products.
As with most social media platforms, you want to make meaningful connections. Follow and interact with other accounts. After all, you don’t live in a bubble. How can you expect anyone to be interested in what you have to offer when you’re not interacting with anyone else? However, make sure you stay exclusive in who you follow, and only follow accounts that make sense. If your followers/following ratio is way off, the algorithm may dock you and view your account as spam.
Speaking of the algorithm, there are a few tips you can follow to expand your reach. At one point, Instagram showed posts in a purely chronological order, but that is no longer the case. Like other platforms, it now ranks posts based on various factors. Again, the more engagement a post gets, the more likely it is that the reach will increase, consequently getting pushed out to more people. Average engagement for Instagram is between 5 and 8%. You can check yours for free at Triberr.com.
To drive engagement, you can follow a few guidelines. For one, you should refrain from adding links to your photos because it may lessen the photo’s reach. This is because Instagram, like Facebook, does not want people to leave their platform. It is acceptable, however, to use comment and tag-baiting, which involves encouraging your followers to take a certain action, like comment an emoji, tag a friend, etc. Facebook hates this and will lessen your reach, but Instagram lets this fly. So feel free to ask your followers what their favorite taco joint is on #TacoTuesday or tag a friend who would like your image.
Another feature you can take advantage of to increase engagement is the filter feature. Instagram offers multiple filters you can put over your photos that will slightly change the look, and it has been shown that filtered photos perform better than non-filtered photos. Also make sure you are including relevant hashtags in your captions! You don’t need to go overboard, but 6-10 is okay. Hashtags make it easy for users to find you. If you want, you can even put a hashtag in your bio.
Instagram Stories have also blown up as of late. These are images you post that expire after 24 hours, and it’s a great way to engage with your audience. You can add a poll or vote stickers, gifs, hashtags, ask questions, mention other accounts, tag locations, and more. You can also see each person who views your story, giving insight into your audience.
Lastly, timing is everything. You want to post when your audience is online so you can check your insights on Instagram to tailor it to your own business. But if you’re looking for a general guideline, recent research suggests that 11-1pm and 5pm are the best times to post while Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays have proven to be best days to post. 2 am is also a great time to catch those late-night scrollers. Think about it- people check their social during lunch hours and when they get off work. Makes sense, right?
Don’t be afraid to experiment! Instagram is playful, refreshing, and creative- that’s what people love about it! This is your opportunity to show all your colors and have some fun. After all, isn’t that what social media is really for?