Checklist: Is your brand getting the most out of Instagram

August 11, 2021
Kyra Goodman

Whether Insta is a tool you're toying with or a pillar of your marketing strategy, it's important to stop and ask 'could I be getting more out of the platform?'

With 1+billion users, no matter your industry, no matter what you're selling or who you're trying to reach...Your ideal audience is on Instagram.But now you've got to do something about it.And whether you're just stepping foot into the game of the 'gram, OR you're sprinting past 100k followers, you can always check to see if there's something else you should be looking at.Here's what's covered in our checklist:

Is Instagram a good channel for your brand?

Again, with so many users, it's as close to guaranteed as possible that your ideal audience is on there.What's left to figure out is how much investment you should be paying to Insta over your other channels.

Instagram is 'ok' for you if...

  • You have absolutely no connection to visual content (and we mean none!)
  • Your ideal audience is 50+ years old
  • You don't sell any products
  • You don't offer any services
  • You don’t have an advertising budget

Instagram is 'good' for you if...

  • You're trying to reach an audience in their 20's-40's
  • You’ve got some budget to spend on advertising
  • You have basic visual content for your product or service

Instagram is awesome for you if...

  • Your service or brand has high visual appeal
  • You sell products or services
  • You have knowledge to share
  • You want to take advantage of short-form video
  • You’re a community or movement

Even if it only seems 'ok'...It might actually be awesome - you may not have found the best way to tell your story on Insta yet.

Is experimenting with Instagram a pain in the butt?

Note: This is the most important part of the checklist!Because if your answer is 'yes!', no matter how patient, curious, or excited you are, eventually you'll hit a brick wall.And there's no reason to.Rather than spend your time squinting at your phone, then crawling back to a spreadsheet to organise your calendar, and opening a tab to track your results, and checking your emails to get content approvals...Get an Instagram focused scheduler like Sked Social.With a scheduler taking care of the annoying, fiddly, jumping-back-and-forth things, you can focus on getting more from your Insta.Then you have to see if you can get noticed on a feed.

Can you be identified in the clutter of a feed?

Eyes are quick.In less than a heartbeat, Insta users can tell whose content they’re looking at, whether it's their friends or one of your competitors.So when someone's scrolling, you want to be sure you're instantly recognisable. Here's how to do it:

Establish strong visual brand guidelines

Your visual brand guidelines should outline:

  • Brand colors. Include a palette, color codes and determine which are primary and secondary colors. Are there any colors that shouldn’t be mixed together?
  • Fonts. Usually one main one and one supporting one to mix and match.
  • Logos. Distinguish between website logo, app logo, and colors, sizing and placement. When should wordmark logos be used vs pictorial logos?
  • Presets. If you’re a highly visual brand, establish a cohesive aesthetic by using presets on your imagery (Lightroom, PhotoShop, Canva, etc).
  • thing

When used consistently, you start creating a pattern of familiarity with your user.So whenever followers see your particular shades or the star of your Reels, they'll know it's you and start to gravitate towards your content more.

Establish a strong brand voice

How you talk to your audience and how you want them to respond back to you is another facet to consider.To maintain a consistent brand voice across your Instagram content, you might set specific guidelines like:

  • Tone of voice. Are you going for casual, professional, academic etc?
  • Common phrases used in your industry. i.e we might call it Instagram, IG or the ‘gram. Do you write TV, T.V., or tv?
  • Particular spellings (US vs. UK spellings)

Content Pillars

All of your content should fall under predetermined content pillars. A content pillar is a specific theme or topic that each piece of your content will fit under.For our Instagram, our pillars might look like:

  • Social Media Tips
  • Brand Awareness/Education
  • Entertainment/Relatable for Social Media Managers
  • Visual Marketing

So our audience knows what they are going to get. They know they can follow us and never see TikTok dancing videos.When determining your content pillars, consider these things:

  • Who is my target audience? What are their personas?
  • What does my target audience need help with?
  • What are my strengths/expertise?
  • What kind of content am I good at creating?

Are you able to create regularly and reliably?

For your audience, Instagram is entertainment, while for you, Instagram is a canvas.Which means creation, creation, creation!And if Instagram hasn't been a big focus until now (and even if it already is), creating is hard.You need ideas, you need tools, and you need to know you've got it sorted for now and the future.A few things to keep in mind:

Get a visual design tool

You don't need to be a graphic designer to create engaging posts.Canva, for instance, has post and story templates, as well as effects, drag and drop elements, and icons, so no matter how blind to aesthetics you might be, you can create something beautiful.Sked Social has in-app access to Canva, so you can create, edit, and export without having to leave your dashboard.If animated video is more your style, you might try out a tool like Visme.

Make sure you have a stock library

They may have earned a basic reputation over the years (and rocked plenty of memes), but stock photography can be a lifesaver.Whether it's for a client who supplies you with no imagery, or it's Friday afternoon and you can't be bothered finding something better, or all you really need is a woman smiling while eating's good to have stock photos as a back up.If your wallet and/or budget is already quivering in fear, you don't have to pay big bucks for decent, royalty-free stock images.Pexels (another integrated library in Sked Social) has some of the best stock photography in the game, but you'll also be able to find good imagery at places like Unsplash and Common Creatives.

Are you getting hits back to your website or generating leads?

Let's get something straight: social doesn't need a strict ROI. There's no way to measure someone who thought your feed looked funky, and then a week later stumbled across your website, and then decided to try your product because they remembered that post you did.But if you wanted to prove your case...It doesn't hurt to be able to show that, yes, you are not only softening up you ideal audience for conversion, you're also an instrumental part of that conversion path.Here's a few things you should be looking at:

Your link in bio

This is the stepping stone between 'yeah you post interesting stuff' to 'I want to know you'.Whatever your link in bio tool of choice (obviously, we'd recommend Sked Link), you'll want to make sure your:

  • CTA is compelling (have you given followers a good reason to click through the link?)
  • Your link in bio page is on-brand (does it still look and feel like you?)
  • Your link in bio page is pointing to relevant pages (are you directing to your services? to a booking page? to a product page?)

And why is it so important to have all these elements taken care of?It reduces the friction between platforms.Because any pause, any stutter, any distraction in between your follower trying to get to your website could be the difference between starting a relationship and remaining strangers.

Swipe up in stories

They may only live for 24 hours, but in that time, Stories can drive visitors to your site like bees to honey.Here's an excellent example of one in use:

Shopify Swipe up lead generation story

According to Databox research, 45.45% of pages with less than 1k followers and 80% of pages with more than 10k followers have the link in their IG bio, which leads to their homepage.If you're thinking 'hmmm are people really interested in seeing any brands Stories?' the answer is absolutely yes.A full third of the highest viewed Stories on Instagram are from businesses.And unlike your link in bio, going from story to your website is just a swipe away. No friction.They see it. They like it. They come straight for it.

Are you making any sales from Instagram?

If you're selling a physical product - and you're not making any sales from Instagram - you're missing out on a huge opportunity.Your posts can be made shoppable (learn all about it here).It doesn't take much, and itturns your follower's feed into your store.They see a pair of sun glasses they like? Or lipstick, jacket, shoes? Boom, they can go straight to the register.But even if you're already making sales from Insta...How much effort does it take?Because the goal is to spend as little energy making the most amount of return.So if you're thinking 'ugh it's a great channel but it's so annoying to get working', well, Sked Social can take care of that - check out how to get more from your eComm store with Sked here.

Instagram checklist

And finally - does Insta feel like a time-sink or an investment?

Instagram is a great platform.Undeniably so.But - if it’s the worst part of your job, or you dread throwing any of your precious time into effort for the platform…Then something is wrong.It’s not the platform.It’s definitely not you.The problem is the connection between you and the platform.When it’s easy to create content, when it’s simple to know what’s working, when you can do everything you need to quickly and easily - well, that’s what turns a drag into an investment.And when it feels like an investment, that’s when you’ll start to see change.

The real, non-marketing reasons people use Sked Social

It’s not because we’re #1 (we’re actually #2 or #3 in size), or because our UX is light years better than the competition (even though it clearly is, some of those other platforms look like space shuttle controls).The real, what-they-tell-their-friends-over-drinks reasons are this:

  • It frees up time so they can focus on important projects or just enjoy my free time
  • It’s good for mental health - they schedule everything and just walk away
  • They can safely experiment with new ideas without fear of breaking their previous success
  • They love the support, and know at least one Sked Social team member on a first name basis
  • It gives them a way to enjoy social without getting bogged down in it

Basically, all the little things that mean they can actually focus on Insta without it weighing them down.If you’d like to see if Sked Social is right for you, here’s the deal:Start a free trial. Use coupon code SKED100 at checkout. And you get your trial week free, plus a free month after that.That’s 5 weeks to see if the platform is right for you.And hey - it might not be.But if it is, well, that’s a game-changer for you and your brand.Try it for yourself right now.

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