Stuck in an Instagram rut?
Not getting the results you used to from your Instagram posts?
Maybe it’s time to try something new. Here are five ways to improve your Instagram marketing across the board.
1. Improve Your Instagram Content
Creating good content on Instagram is everything. With millions of people using social media daily, Instagram is a competitive place to be. If your content isn’t quite resonating with your audience the way it used to, it may be time for a rethink of your content strategy.
Your strategy should answer key questions about your content such as:
- What does your brand look like on Instagram?
- What type of content should you post?
- How often should you post?
- Who is responsible for creating and posting your content?
… and more. Here are some tips on how to start working on content improvements:
Rethink your brand aesthetic
When was the last time your Instagram business account had a makeover? If you can’t remember, now’s the time to rethink your brand’s aesthetic.
Instagram is a visual-first platform so if you want to get noticed, you must make sure your brand has a strong visual identity. Do you want to be seen as sleek and minimalistic? Bright and colorful? Driven and adventurous? Coming up with those adjectives will naturally lead you to some different visual elements that you could incorporate into your visual aesthetic.
A clear, consistent visual identity is what will help your brand remain top-of-mind with users and potential customers on Instagram. That means you need to craft brand guidelines for Instagram that explain your brand colors, fonts, and other graphical elements.
Plus, whether you’ve invested in bespoke photography or are curating stock imagery, set parameters around what types of imagery is on or off-brand.
Coming up with a content strategy for how you’ll create those crisp photos and that cohesive look is crucial if you want to grow your following and engage your audience.
Create more video
In case you hadn’t noticed, Instagram is now a video platform. Instagram Stories, Reels, Live video, IGTV, and more—video is everywhere on the Instagram app. If you’re not already creating video, you’re getting left behind.
While every video format is different and requires a different video content strategy, some basic principles apply to all your video content. The most obvious one is to create your videos for mobiles, which means shoot vertically.
Don’t forget to start your videos with a great hook. This means, the beginning of your video (the first few seconds!) must grab your Instagram followers’ attention straightaway or they will scroll on by.
Last but not the least, create video content that provides value. Don’t just make videos for the sake of it but have a clear purpose behind it. Whether you want to entertain with jokes or educate with tutorials, just make sure you deliver on your promise if you want to keep your audience engaged.
When using Sked Social to post your videos, it’s important that they are formatted correctly. Learn more here.
Experiment with different types of content
Single image posts on the Instagram feed are only the beginning. The best Instagram profiles post a variety of content formats to keep their audience engaged.
From multi-image carousels to Instagram Reels, give everything a try. Create and post memes if that resonates with your target audience. Repost user-generated content to get your community involved with your content efforts as well.
Write compelling captions
Attention is scarce on social media platforms, so your Instagram captions must be well written and formatted if you want to hold your target audience’ attention.
Use active, and interesting language. Always include a compelling hook, an intriguing phrase, or a question to grab your followers’ attention. Feel free to include emoji and make your Instagram captions easier to read by spacing them out with plenty of line breaks.
End with a strong call to action that drives Instagrammers to engage with your post, share it with their friends or even head to your bio so you can drive traffic to a website or landing page.
Learn more about how to write compelling Instagram captions here.
Partner with influencers
Influencers can help you create new content for your brand that can be useful for reaching new audiences and also for filling up your content pipeline.
This can be especially useful if you’re a small business with limited time. Instead of spending time creating content, leave it to influencers to do what they do best. More on how to best work with influencers in the influencer marketing section below.
2. Improve Your Management
If you’re creating and posting great Instagram content but your processes are a mess, you could be missing out.
Streamlining your Instagram management could be hugely beneficial — for your account and for your own sanity. This includes bulk creating your content, using a scheduling tool like Sked Social to schedule your content, learning from your analytics and basically, streamlining the entire process.
Plan your content
If you’re always creating content on-the-fly, you’re going to run out of steam and eventually burn out.
Once you have your content strategy in place, plan out your editorial calendar so you can have an idea of what you plan to post when. To start with, you can do this weekly but as you get better at it, you can plan out content weeks or even months in advance.
With this plan in mind, set aside time to batch-create your content. This includes taking photos, making videos, editing, creating graphics and also writing captions. Content creation takes time but if you batch it and try to do it all in one go, it will be a much smoother process.
Bulk schedule posts
Like your content creation, it’s a good idea to schedule your content in bulk for sharing as well. With the help of a scheduling tool, schedule posts in advance for automatic publishing.
This will take away the hassle of having to manually post at the right time each day and free up your time to do other more important things like content creation or strategy.
Learn from your analytics tool
Your data can tell you a lot about your Instagram marketing efforts. Dive into your Instagram analytics tool for a look at what is working with your content and what’s failing.
Knowing what resonates with your audience will help you create more of the same kind of success. Make it a habit to regularly check into your data to learn from it and optimize your content, posting times, and more for better engagement rates.
3. Improve Your Engagement
Content, check. Better management, check. Now it’s time to review your Instagram engagement. Engagement is the metric that tracks how much your followers interact with your Instagram content and plays a huge part in the Instagram algorithm.
Often, poor engagement is a result of poor quality content. If your content doesn’t resonate with your audience and they don’t get any value from it, it’s only obvious that your engagement levels will drop.
So, if you start implementing some of the content improvement tips mentioned earlier, your engagement will also benefit from it. Plus, you can also try some of these tips to help increase engagement on your Instagram profile:
Hashtags are an essential part of almost every social network. Make use of the right Instagram hashtags on your content to reach your target audience and invite more engagement on your content.
If you need more help, Sked Social’s AI hashtag recommendation engine can also recommend the best combination of hashtags to improve engagement. Plus you can use the template manager to keep all your hashtag sets organized and in one place.
Post shareable and saveable content
Content shares and saves are key engagement metrics that define how engaging your Instagram content is for your followers. This means, when creating content think about how you can make your content more easily shareable and/or saveable.
When a piece of content is so relatable for your audience that they can’t help but share it with their own followers, you’ve achieved your shareability goals. Saves are also a good measure of the quality of your content, as they indicate that what you posted is worth coming back to.
The more your audience shares and saves your content, the more Instagram shows your content to users. Shareable/saveable content = better engagement = increased reach.
Post at the right time
Your posting times could make a huge difference to whether or not your content receives good engagement. Instagram’s algorithm hugely favors posts that create a lot of engagement soon after they’ve been posted. It’s a signal that your content is interesting and valuable.
So when is the best time to post? It comes down to your target audience and when they are most active. Dig into your ‘Best time to post’ data on Sked Social to understand when your Instagram followers are online. Post at these times to maximize the opportunity to increase the Instagram engagement rate on your content.
Instagram success is a continuous effort. How frequently you post on Instagram can have an impact on your average engagement rate as Instagram’s algorithm favors active users.
You don’t have to post multiple times a day if you’re a small business. However, it’s important to stick to a consistent posting schedule so your followers (and Instagram) don’t forget about you.
Study your data
The best way to find the right, most engaging content for your audience is to test and learn. You can start with as many assumptions as you want but you still need to test them to confirm what’s working for your brand.
Dive into your analytics tool (e.g. Sked) and look at the data to measure your success and keep the winning strategies for your future campaigns.
4. Improve Your Influencer Marketing
If you’re not investing in influencer marketing yet, or not doing it enough, now is a good time to rethink that.
Instagram influencer marketing provides you with the opportunity to organically reach potential customers that would have otherwise been totally untouchable. It’s an opportunity to get in front of your target audience in a more natural and conversational way. Pushy and salesy rarely have a place in the world of Instagram marketing.
Of course, influencer marketing doesn’t just enable you to reach those people—it also helps you convert them into customers. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations, and 40% had purchased something after seeing it on social media.
You don’t just have to take our word for it. There are plenty more stats that prove that influencer marketing does, ahem, have influence and should figure strongly in your Instagram strategy for continuous growth, improvement, and of course, sales.
The State of Influencer Marketing 2020 found that 66% of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budgets, as this area of marketing is becoming the fastest-growing channel for brands, beating organic search, paid search, and email marketing. In addition, businesses earn $5.78 for each dollar spent on influencers, with some seeing as much as $18.
In addition, 89% of marketers deem Instagram to be the most important social media channel for their influencer marketing strategy and 51% of marketers say influencer marketing helps them acquire better customers.
With evidence like that, it’s hardly surprising that more brands are connecting with influential Instagrammers and incorporating it into their marketing strategy. Here are some tips for getting started:
Find the right influencers
Not every influencer will be a fit for your company. Some won’t post the type of content that you need, others may be too expensive. Identify the Instagrammers that are right for your business.
At the very least, they should:
- Have a good engagement rate. A good like and comment ratio is ideal.
- Interact with their followers in an authentic manner.
- Post content that aligns with your brand.
Build authentic relationships
The best influencer-brand relationships are based on authenticity. To start with this means, getting to know the people you want to engage in promoting your company.
Don’t just send out generic invitations. Instead, take the time to do your research and get to know them. Follow them, and like and comment on any new posts. That way, when you finally do reach out after some time, you’ll already have established some name recognition.
Encourage them to be themselves
Influencers are great at what they do. They’re creative and have their own distinct styles and tone of voice for creating their Instagram content. If you want to work with a particular influencer, encourage them to be themselves.
It’s smart to arm them with information and appropriate expectations. But, don’t take that to mean that you can limit their creativity. Give them the breathing room and flexibility to create new content that serves your brand but also fits their own aesthetic.
Follow the rules
Did you know that a study found that while the top 50 celebrities on Instagram post an average of 58 sponsored posts per year, only 7% of those posts follow FTC guidelines?
Yes, The FTC monitors social media to ensure posts are complying with guidelines and regulations so make sure your partnerships are compliant. Make sure you’re up to speed on all the regulations and rules that apply to your local market.
Most importantly, the influencers you work with it need to be transparent and disclose their relationship with your brand.
5. Improve Your Advertising
Beyond influencers, paid advertising should also be an essential part of your social media marketing strategy. Having access to ads is one of the perks of having an Instagram business profile and they can help you drive traffic, generate sales or simply create brand awareness
To advertise to Instagram users you can choose from:
- Photo Ads: Share your message with a simple, beautiful photo.
- Video Ads: Include sound and motion, as opposed to just a still photo.
- Carousel Ads: Users can swipe through a series of photos or videos.
- Story Ads: Advertisements that appear in the “Instagram Stories” section of the platform.
Additionally, you can also create Instagram Shopping ads with product mentions or Branded content ads, where you partner with an influencer.
Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your Instagram advertising budget:
Make ads that don’t look like ads
Ads that look ads don’t work on Instagram. This is probably not surprising at all. If you want to boost engagement and drive traffic to your website through ads, make ads that look like regular Instagram posts.
Create an organic experience if you want better advertising results. Your audience is far more likely to click through and engage with your content if your ad looks natural rather than a blatant product promo.
Refine your targeting
Make use of the extensive data available inside the Facebook advertising platform to refine the targeting for ads on your Instagram page. You can really zero in on your audience with interest and demographic targeting.
To go even further, you could make use of your existing audience data to find new followers with features such as lookalike audiences. You can also make use of pixels to remarket to your audience with better tracking and targeting.
Mix up your formats
If you’re only running photo ads, you’re missing out. Use Instagram Stories, video content, carousel ads and everything in between.
Video captures attention in a way photos alone can’t. Similarly, carousels allow you to tell a whole, engaging story that’s impossible with one photo alone. Make the most of different ad formats to capture your audience’s attention in different ways.
Get Better at Instagram Marketing with Sked Social
Instagram improvement is a constant work in progress for most of us. You learn, you implement, you learn again and so the cycle continues.
Don’t take a set-and-forget approach to your Instagram page. Constant innovation is the name of the Instagram marketing game. You must continuously be creative, analyze the data and make improvements if you want to continue to see results from Instagram.
Using the right tool can help you go a long way. It can not only streamline your Instagram marketing efforts and free up several hours in the day, but also help you find out the best times to post, suggest hashtags and give you insights into your Instagram metrics to make better decisions about your marketing.
Sked Social can help you do alll of the above and more. Start your 7 day trial here.