It seems like almost every other day there’s a new change on Instagram that makes everyone wonder whether they will still be able to effectively reach their audience. It’s even worse for new players who are trying to create an Instagram strategy from scratch. Regardless of whether you’ve got an established account or just created a new one, it’s important to periodically reconsider your approach, and whether or not it’s working.
Here’s how to create an Instagram strategy that kills it.
One of the most important yet least respected tenets of a solid Instagram strategy is the concept of consistency. In this case, it refers to two specific factors.
One is consistency in posting. Timing is important, but varies by individual account and industry. More important is that you post at least once a day and stay active for your followers. If you post more than that, make sure to spread out posts by several hours. Posting right after another post is tacky.
My goal for client Joriki was to make the feed more visually interesting and create a pattern of white and color.
The other is visual consistency. What this refers to is an Instagram feed with individual posts that use more or less the same colors, same patterns, or same filters. If there’s too much going on, your potential followers may be turned off. Try to think logically about the accounts you follow and what first attracted you to them. Likely, it has something to do with a visually consistent feed and branding.
Knowing that you need at least one post a day to satisfy followers, it becomes necessary to create an Instagram strategy that takes various daily themes into account. By creating themes, it takes some mental effort out of coming up with content and helps you stay consistent overall. Themes are basically big buckets to use for content ideas.
For example, my Instagram account has a personal edge, but also complements my lifestyle blog, Chicago Cheap Ass. Themes include: food deals, event deals, pictures of my dog, graffiti, and other Chicago-related imagery.
Other content you could purpose into a theme:
If your bio isn’t properly optimized, you’re losing out on followers, partnership opportunities, and the chance to convert followers for your specific goals.
Here’s my current bio, and what I’m trying to accomplish with each line:
Digital Marketing help: ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org
Use#chicagocheapass to share Chicago deals
Subscribe to the blog for lifestyle articles!
The first line makes it incredibly easy for someone to reach out if they’d like digital marketing help. My Instagram acts as a portfolio for social media success. I’m happy to say that this line has resulted in numerous leads and new business. I make my email easy to find on all of my active social networks, also including LinkedIn and Twitter.
The second line is a specific hashtag I’d like people to use. By creating a branded hashtag, you expand your reach if it catches on. It’s important that the characters are not arbitrary, but recognizable in relation to your brand. Currently, several Chicago restaurants are using my hashtag on their posts – not bad for something I’ve never talked about besides in my bio! If you’re curious about how to create an excellent branded hashtag, check out my article for the Sales & Marketing Daily Advisor.
The third and final line is a call to action to get people to check out my blog and subscribe. I use emojis to break up the text on each line (also because people really respond to them), but in this case, the pointing fingers literally draw people’s eyes down to my link.
Ask yourself: What do you want your followers to do? How can you use emojis to illustrate that point?
The final two elements of a great Instagram bio:
Going deep into the in’s and out’s of hashtag strategy should really be it’s own post, but let me leave you with some basics to get you started.
I like to start with a website called Hashtagify.Me.
Take a super general hashtag, and type it in. Hashtagify.Me will show you related hashtags, and you can keep going deeper and deeper until you find the most specific hashtags on Instagram. A successful hashtag strategy takes advantage of these more obscure, but higher engagement terms. Relying on too broad of a hashtag is a great way to melt into obscurity. Another excellent way to find these specific hashtags is by looking through posts from other people in your industry, and clicking through the hashtags on their pictures.
How many hashtags should you use? I tend to max out the 30 limit. If you’re trying to grow an account, it’s the most effective way to do it. Hide it in a comment separate from the caption so it doesn’t look as tacky.
You could spend hours liking posts in hopes of growing followers… or you could automate that task.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I use a bot to like content. Archie is my tool of choice. You feed it a number of relevant hashtags and it likes them on your behalf in real time. It might seem a little shady, but I think it’s way better than:
These tools behind these activities are fraught with problems and are easy to see through. Liking posts is not. If you create an Instagram strategy that kills it, people will check out your feed and be interested enough to follow you. Besides, auto-liking content does not work to grow an account and increase engagement without a solid foundation.
Auto-liking is no replacement for engagement that happens on your own content. If someone leaves a comment – answer them! Even if just to say thanks for leaving the content. By reinforcing engagement, it’s much more likely to continue happening. Great fans are worth their weight in gold, as they’re likely to help you reach a new audience and provide positive social proof for others checking out your feed. It’s a good practice to also return the favor – like and comment a few of their photos if they’ve invested some time in you.
There are many different strategies you can use with regards to influencers, but I’m going to suggest one that doesn’t require shelling out money.
Create a list of people in your industry that you have connections to. Ideally, these people have at least 1,000 followers, if not more. Approach this person with the proposal that you both post about each other in an effort to reach new audiences. Make it easy for the other person by giving them a pre-written message and image to use. This also allows you to control the conversation and implement a call to action.
Wait to take this step until you have at least 1000 followers. The idea is to create a mutually-beneficial situation that grows both accounts.
Another way to take advantage of an influencer’s following? Tag them in your picture. Now their followers looking through the influencer’s tagged photos may see your photo and investigate your account. Just don’t overdo it or the influencer might block you.
You can’t create an Instagram strategy that kills it without tools that help you be effective. Here are some Instagram tools that will make your life a little easier:
Final Thoughts: How to Create an Instagram Strategy that Kills It
Who knows what Instagram will come up with next? The best defense is a good offense, which is exactly what I’m suggesting here. There are a number of Instagram approach you can use to grow your business. Are you ready to create an Instagram strategy that kills it?
Anything you’d do differently? I’d love to hear your thoughts and expertise in the comments!