A great Instagram strategy is key to making the most of your marketing efforts on this platform. However, like all digital media and technology, Instagram is ever-evolving, which means your strategy needs to be flexible and adaptable as well.
If you’ve mastered the art of creating an interesting and sophisticated Instagram profile, but notice a plateau or decline in engagement, it may be time to revive your Instagram strategy. Take a closer look at what you’re doing and use these tips to create a winning Instagram strategy again.
Re-Think Your Instagram Bio
First impressions are everything. This statement is as applicable in the virtual world as it is IRL. It’s like putting on the appropriate outfit for a job interview: first impressions are one-time opportunities to win someone over. When a user sees your post for the first time, they should simply (and eagerly) want to know more—and when they do, they will "click" on your profile pic.
If your Instagram profile, specifically, your Instagram bio, doesn’t grab attention, you won’t have much luck gaining new followers.
|Source Image: @idafrosk
As you rethink your bio, keep one simple rule of thumb in mind: it’s best to keep everything short, recognizable and to the point. Don’t forget to strike the same tone you express in your posts I.E. professional or fun or sassy or serious. Here are a few ways to tighten up your bio:
To edit your profile: go to your profile page and click the "Edit Profile" button to the right of your profile photo.
- Make sure your username is easy to read and say. It should also be recognizable and searchable.
- Choose a profile picture that accurately represents you and the tone you’re trying to portray but also makes people curious to know more about you. Unless you’re a well-known brand, don’t use a logo.
- Finish off by updating your bio description.Later include: "Use keywords, include emojis to space out your text, change the font, make use of line breaks and include a CTA if applicable, I.E. Check out the products in my store ⬇️"
Go Live! on Instagram Stories
Instagram has reported 500 million active Instagram Stories users as of January 2019 - so if you’re already using stories, you’re moving in the right direction. But don’t stop there. Now is the time to add Instagram Live to your strategy. This gives you the opportunity to connect with your followers in real time.
Followers love it because it allows them to be a part of the action and catch idiosyncratic IRL things like word stumbles, funny face moments, exciting settings/places/events or unpredictable weather adventures. While streaming, your followers can also comment, giving you a chance to respond back in real time.
|Source Images: @garancedore and @inesdelafressangeofficial|
There are many possibilities to explore with Instagram live streams. You could show off your new purchases, give a tour of your favorite restaurant, or even introduce some of your friends/colleagues. The more fun you have behind the camera, the more fun your followers will have and the more likely it is that your profile gets a share! Here’s a few pro-tips:
- Determine your purpose for the video. Is it to announce or explain a product? Host a Q&A or interview? Or take your audience behind the scenes? You decide.
- Practice and Prepare: create a loose script and run through what you want to say. Take test videos and look for areas to improve the audience’s experience. Is the scene well lit? Is the background distracting?
- Promote your livestream in advance. Your followers can set the time aside and make sure to tune in. Instagram Stories is an excellent platform to use for pre-live promotion but remember to promote across your other social media platforms as well.
- Pin your title to the video. This gives those tuning in late some context about the theme or purpose. To do this, start your IG Live feed, then navigate to the ‘pin comment’ feature and type in the ‘title’ of your video in the comments section of the Live Feed. Tap the comment to pin it.
Use Relevant Hashtags Only!
Instagram allows you up to thirty hashtags per post. But, do you need that many? Hashtags make your content more discoverable and puts your profile in front of users you may not have been able to target. So, it’s important to ensure you’re choosing the right amount of the best ones because… it can get #irrelevant.
|Source Image: @pipa_muroleccese|
First, look at how many hashtags successful people in your industry use and track engagement when you use different amounts of hashtags. If you notice that brands with the most engagement are using for example, four hashtags that will give you a clue as to where to start. Hubspot says that the most successful IG posts use an average of 2.5 hashtags per post.
Trying posting with a slightly higher or lower amount to find what works best for you. There are lots of other ways of boosting your hashtag skills including pairing with the right photos, joining hashtag trends or conversely, using rarely used tags.
Get Your Caption Right
Instagram was created as a visual platform for sharing photos. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore adding text to your pics. The caption that accompanies your photos is a great opportunity to introduce or reinforce your unique voice, describe your photo in an intriguing way while revealing your ideas. Don’t stress about writing engaging captions, there are lots of blog posts that offer easy to follow tips and tutorials. Here’s 8 to get you going:
- Practice, practice, practice. Write several drafts first.
- Front-load the important stuff. Make sure people see what you want them to read first.
- Include a call-to-action. What do you want your audience to do?
- Limit your hashtags. See above for more tips on hashtag use.
- Meld your brand’s voice with Instagram's lighthearted tone. Keep it fun.
- Use emojis. The red heart is the most frequently shared emoji on Instagram, shared 79% more than the next most popular symbol, a smiling face with heart eyes.
- Cross-promote your other social channels. Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or email to promote your IG account.
|Source Image: @nataliemyers|
Make Timing Part of Your Strategy
Even though Instagram uses an algorithmic timeline, optimal posting times are still relevant because timing is a factor in the algorithm. If you can decipher and post at the time when most of your followers might be online, it can help generate an initial boost of user engagement, which provokes the Instagram algorithm to push your post higher in your follower’s feed. This means your post will be more likely to be seen, liked and shared!
Check out the most popular times according to your time zone. On average, the best time to post on Instagram is between 2 PM and 3 PM CDT. However, the level of engagement you get can change dramatically depending on the day of the week. You’ll get a high return if you post on Thursday, not just at 3 PM, but at 5 AM, 11 AM, and 4 PM as well. Set your clocks!
If you’re noticing that same set of followers like your posts, it may be time to give your Instagram a little shake up. Exploring these five methods will help ensure that your profile gets the attention it deserves.
Source Image: @syndeyleroux