The New Year is a time for looking back and planning ahead. We asses our progress and set future goals for ourselves. When it comes to your Instagram marketing strategy, have you been hitting the numbers you aimed for? Well, if your engagement levels this past year could use some improvement, it’s time to rethink and update your Instagram content strategy for 2019. Let’s take a look at what you can do to increase not only your engagement rates, but your follower count as well.
Crafting an Instagram Content Strategy
It comes as no surprise that the most effective methods to increase your brand engagement are visual in nature. A well-crafted, striking image just grabs the eye. We tend to focus on pictures over text. But which images are most appealing to your audience? According to research from L2 and Olapic, product photos are the number one way to increase brand engagement on Instagram. They found that 65% of the best-performing brand posts on the platform feature product shots, compared to 43% which feature lifestyle images.
Companies as diverse as timepiece maker Daniel Wellington, clothing company J.Crew, furniture design firm IKEA, and car manufacturer Ferrari all show increased engagement on posts featuring product photos. For example, Daniel Wellington shares posts featuring new products and gift boxes, as well as providing a helpful link to their online store. J.Crew, on the other hand, features a handy gift guide that makes it a breeze to pick out the perfect gift for that special someone (or yourself!). Naturally, beautiful shots that provide useful information are far more effective in boosting any given post. Instagram is a marketing tool, after all. But it’s worthwhile to note that not all of your images need to look professionally shot, some users appreciate good “behind the scenes” photos.
Sharing candid, behind the scenes photos is another good way of elevating your engagement. In addition to giving people a glimpse of your brand that otherwise wouldn’t be seen, these types of images serve to humanize your company. They show a willingness to have fun with your brand, and to laugh when and if you make mistakes. Using behind the scenes photos as part of your Instagram content strategy also makes the marketing of your brand appear more authentic and casual. Don’t be afraid to show the people behind your brand, either. If you’ve picked the right people for your team, they can make great brand ambassadors. Seen often enough, these key employees can come to feel like friends to your consumers.
Another great way to boost engagement is with lifestyle shots. These types of photos work best as part of a unified theme that ties back to a specific campaign. For example, Daniel Wellington is promoting their Christmas gift boxes, so their Instagram gallery is filled with snowy landscapes, gingerbread men, and decorated trees. Using more generic lifestyle shots in between campaign is perfectly fine. But remember that a consistent, focused theme can work wonders for your brand. Keep in mind that although, as I mentioned previously, 65% of the highest engaged posts on Instagram are product shots, using both product and lifestyle images together, as well as picking the right hashtag strategy can be even more effective than using just one kind of photo.
While photos of your products and employees are well and good; what if you could show them in action? With videos you can do just that! How-to’s, tutorials, DIYs, and all other types of videos provide value for your followers and make great Instagram content. In a study by Socialinsider, the fashion industry alone accounted for 19.7% of all videos posted on Instagram in 2018. Beauty brands posted 15% of the video content, while the automotive industry made up 14.7% of all videos on the platform. One thing to keep in mind, however, if you do decide to make use of videos is that most people won’t be able to view them while at work. Because of that, videos posted after 9pm tend to do better than those posted earlier in the day.
Now that you have a better feel for the best content to maximize engagement, it’s time to put those ideas into practice. Remember that communities differ, so your followers may respond more to certain types of content over others. Don’t be afraid to experiment! Just remember to keep an eye on your engagement levels to accurately gauge which particular types work best for you. There are no hard and fast rules, so don’t worry too much about which types of posts you need to use. If you find that one type isn’t getting the engagement you want, feel free to discard it in favor of others. I hope this guide helps you hit your targets and reach your engagement goals this 2019. Good luck!