[This is part one of a three-part series on Instagram for business.]
Creating a content strategy is vital for Instagram success. By being strategic about what, when, and how you post, you can increase the reach and effectiveness of your posts.
Hashtags are a great way to increase how many people see your individual posts. However, be sure to use hashtags effectively. Use hashtags that are popular so you know people are looking at them, but don’t use a hashtag that’s too common because your post will likely get lost.
Another great way to use hashtags is by coming up with one that’s simple and refers specifically to your business or brand. This makes it easy to find posts associated with you, which is useful both for you and for other users who are searching for your business.
Goals are an important part of determining whether your content strategic is a success. Clearly defining your goals makes it more likely that you’ll achieve them. By making goals measurable, it’s easier to see how well they’re doing and what’s working best.
Although it may seem obvious, it’s important to be sure that your goals are achievable. If you’re a small local business, it’s unrealistic to aim for millions of followers. Set a more practical goal by looking at the area your business is in, how many followers your competitors have, etc. Setting specific and attainable goals makes you more likely to reach them.
Don’t make your goals too vague. If your goal is something like “get more likes,” it can be hard to know when you’ve achieved it. Instead you could say, “I want to get at least 50 likes on each post.” By doing this, it’s much easier to tell when you’ve accomplished your goal.
Perhaps the most important part of having a successful Instagram account is posting consistently. If you only post occasionally, it’s possible that other users may become less interested in your posts or forget about your account. If you post too frequently, followers may become overwhelmed or annoyed, causing them to stop paying attention or even unfollow you.
When deciding how often you want to post on Instagram, be sure to find the balance between not posting enough and posting too often. A good rule of thumb is to try to post every day, but if this isn’t possible for your business, just remember to post consistently.
When determining when you want to post, consider using an analytics program to track your account. Try posting at different times and compare how the posts do in terms of likes and engagements. This will help you to determine the prime time for your business to put up posts on Instagram.
Use Analytics Tools
One great analytics tool for Instagram is Instagram Insights. To use Instagram Insights, your profile must be set as a business profile. (Note: In order to have a business profile, you must also have a Facebook page for your business.) Instagram Insights gives you information about both your account as a whole and individual posts and stories, with information about impressions, engagements, reach, profile views, followers, saves, and website clicks.
Another great feature of Instagram Insights is the ability to give you information about your audience. It can provide you with demographic information such as gender, age range, and location to help you see who and where your audience is.
Iconosquare, another analytics tool, allows you to track your profile, your individual posts and Stories, hashtags, followers, and competitors. It collects data to tell you your ideal time to post by collecting data from your posts, such as the time of day, when you received likes, how quickly you received likes, etc. You can track a hashtag’s growth, what the most influential posts are that have used the hashtag, and the location where the hashtag is being used. When it comes to your competitors, Iconosquare compares your engagements, likes, followers, and comments.
Finally, Iconosquare allows users to export data as documents and schedule reports to be automatically emailed to you. To have access to all features, you need the advanced package, which is $79 a month. The pro package is $39 a month and includes everything except the influencer search. The starter package is $9 a month, and includes everything except follower analytics, Stories analytics, data exports, and advanced search.
Create a Style
Creating a recognizable style is critical for establishing a successful Instagram account. A distinct style should help followers immediately recognize when a post is yours while scrolling through their timeline.
First, find a voice or tone for your post captions. By using consistent language, users will get a better feel for your company’s personality.
Next, remember that Instagram is a photo-sharing platform, so your image is what catches users’ attention. Strategic marketing is important when it comes to Instagram; every image you share needs to be carefully chosen to help reach your brand’s goals.
Decide what kind of images you want to post, selecting five to eight different types of images. Will you post images of people, images excluding people, or a combination of the two? For example, a restaurant could include photos of their food (obviously), images of the restaurant itself, close-ups of specific ingredients, the area where the restaurant is located, and so on.
Many users stick to a specific color palette to create an aesthetic and make their account more visually appealing for users. If you use Instagram’s filters, use only one or two to help keep your images consistent.
Set Engagement Guidelines
Decide how you will engage with other accounts. Will you comment on others’ posts? Reply to or like comments on your posts and others’ posts? Figure out a plan for engagement and stick to it. Liking or replying to comments may help you seem friendlier and more accessible to followers.
Consistency is a vital part of creating a successful profile using a content strategy. Being consistent helps users recognize your brand and perhaps be more aware of what’s going on with products or services.
In part two of this series about Instagram for business, we’ll look at how Instagram Stories and Instagram Live can help you to express your brand’s personality and better engage with your audience.
Creative Spot is a full-service marketing and advertising agency in Columbus, Ohio. If you would like to learn more about how we can help your organization with strategic marketing, please contact us.