1. Goal Setting
Any social media (but especially Instagram) is one of those business tools that can quite easily become a source of procrastination and distraction. So it’s important to set yourself regular attainable goals either each month or quarter.
Instagram has changed since it first started and is already starting to lessen the importance of the so called ‘vanity metrics’ such as likes and followers and placing more focus on engagement through meaningful comments, saves and shares.
As with any platform, they like to see people using all of their tools, so that’s stories, lives and IGTV.
Just because there’s less focus on followers and likes, that doesn’t mean that you can’t set yourself these types of quantifiable goals, as a rough rule of thumb of still exists. i/e more genuine followers = more audience to sell to.
Your goals can be figures or even just aesthetics. The best place to start is with your over all business objectives and ask yourself, how can Instagram help me achieve those?
Some examples may be:
- Increase engagement on my feed to 50%
- Increase followers by 1,000 genuine accounts each month
- Do 1 IGTV per month
- Generate 20% of online sales to Instagram
I’ll let you think about this and write down in the FREE Instagram Audit Swipe File.
2. Looking Good!
Now I’m not saying your feed needs to be ultra-polished, but it is a marketing channel for your business and therefore there are certain ways you can carry your company branding through your account.
First up… Profile picture. It’s a good idea to use the same profile picture across all your social channels so that your audience recognise you visually, but the same applies for the name.
If you have a Twitter account, it’s even more important your account handle is the same, so that it also tags you on Twitter. i.e @contentclarity on both. It just means you have maximum discoverability.
How does your feed look?
When it comes to other aesthetics of your profile, it’s worth assessing if the photos your post are in keeping with any brand guidelines you may have.
Font is probably the most common one that every business will have. So any ‘quote’ posts where you’ve used text on the image… If you use your brand font, it’s more consistent for your audience. I’ll get back onto the feed further on.
This is another great place to apply some rather pleasing consistency. You can easily make or pick up icon highlight images that match your brand colours.
Make sure you save any important stories here for easy access.
3. Boost your Bio
Space is limited here, so you want to make it as simple and obvious as possible. You want clarity, so that anyone visiting your profile for the first time can easily understand what you do and what your purpose is.
To make the most of the character restriction, use keywords and even hashtags, broken up with emojis, so that it’s obvious and ultra-discoverable.
Even use the space available for your name (not username) to get across what it is that you do.
You can also toggle on/off your account category, which may be beneficial to you in helping get across what it is your do.
There’s also call to action buttons you can add to your bio (where available) You can find out more about action buttons here.
So we all know of the frustrations when it comes to link sharing on Instragram. You must have +10K on stories to be able to swipe up (although you can use swipe up in ads and for IGTV videos) Putting a link in a feed caption is useless, because it’s not hyperlinked. Which leaves a lot of people with the good old ‘link in bio’ option.
Now you can regularly update your link of course, but to make the most out of it I recommend you create a Linktree link. There is a free option, as well as paid. What this does is direct people to a landing page effectively whereby you can add links to various different places. i.e Read the blog, watch YouTube, View my courses etc.
If your quite tech savvy, you can make your own Instagram landing page and have full creative control over colours and layout. If you’re on WordPress, here is a really good tutorial.
4. The Content
Now it’s time to get stuck into the meaty bit.. The content.
You’ll want to look at the first 9-12 images on your feed and vet that visually they tie in, not just with your brand, but what you do. Tap into them and read the captions… Would a first time visitor understand what you do, what you’re all about from tapping on just a couple of those first images?
Now there’s certainly 2 sides of the fence when it comes to whether your feed should be curated or not. So first ask yourself whether it’s relevant to your audience or not (I would say for my own business feed, it is. As I’m educating businesses on content creation). But as long as you’re confident your images have the scroll stopping factor for your audience and they’re not pixelated or blurry… That’s the main factor.
It’s also worth looking to see of you have a good mix of content type, from image, quote, video. As well as promotional captions, personal captions, story telling captions, so that it’s not all sell, sell, sell.
Don’t forget, you can use 30 hashtags on each feed post, so use them! Keep a track of which ones work best for you and mix it up a bit to get the best reach. Hashtag strategy is a whole other blog post, but it’s worth remembering that hashtags and even locations have their own Stories and can be followed. So is it worth the effort…. YES!!
Are you using this feature? If not, get on it… It’s great for growing engagement, awareness and reach (which is great for sales!)
Again you can carry branding across into these. But make sure you are using the tools available to grow reach through polls & questions.
Did you know you can use up to 11 hashtags on each story? Again use these and hide them behind a gif, or colour them the same as a bit of background so it doesn’t distract… Same with location.
Live is a great way to engage with your audience. People can join your live, which makes it a great option for doing an interview. There are some great executions using Live, so if you haven’t already jumped on that train and it look useful to your goals, dive in!
Now IGTV is really under-utilised, but rumor has it, those who use it are more likely to end up on the explore page and therefore opens up the potential to increase reach. You can ‘Swipe up’ in stories to IGTV videos, regardless of follower count, which makes it easy to sign post to those longer video edits.
If video is in your strategy and you already have some excellent YT videos, why not upload the most popular ones here over time to make the most of the platforms exposure.
5. The Shop
Say what?! Yes, if you sell products or services, you can add these to both feed posts and stories so people can tap to shop what you’re talking about.
This is great for so many small businesses. So if selling more is on your goal list (and I’m pretty sure it will be) then this has to be something you want to implement, ASAP.
You can find out more about Instagram catalogues and product (and how to set this up) here.
Now, this section is a blog post all of it’s own, so I’ll keep it brief here. But I wanted to cover it off, so that you could measure those all important goals that you set at the start.
Now you’ll want to ensure you have a business account to get the full benefits of insights.
This is where you can measure your quantifiable goals and even some of your qualifiable ones too!
Here you can see follower increase, top cities, demographics like gender & age. So if you want to expand audience in a certain country or a certain age group, here is where you can keep track of that.
It’s also really helpful to give you an indication of where your followers are online, which is great to help you identify the best days and times for your account.
Here you can keep track of interactions, such as profile visits, web clicks & emails. This is where you can measure conversions of these, should this be one of your goals.
Then it goes into discovery to see reach and impressions, which again will help you monitor your exposure. When you compare this with follower growth, you can tell if your content is converting to follows over a period of time.
This is extremely indepth! And it allows you to really dial down the activity to each piece of content on your feed, stories and IGTV. This is a great place to look to help you identify what type of content is the best performing for you. i.e quote posts, videos, stories etc So you can do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
Now if engagement rate is something in your goals, you simply need to calculate your likes and comments and divide your number of followers.
I really recommend sticking to just a couple of metrics overall here, otherwise you’ll get overwhelmed and get ‘statistic glare’.
Another important factor on Instagram is how you are communicating and engaging with your following. You’ll want to ask yourself the following questions:
Are you responding to DM’s (even the hidden ones)?
Are you liking and replies to comments on your feed? Especially when you put a post live. Hang around and make sure you’re replying straight away.
It’s important to regularly check your followers for fakes or bot accounts, as this will impact on your engagement rate. So I recommend checking and clearing these out regularly.
It’s worth keeping an eye on these as accounts follow you day to day, by vetting their accounts and blocking any who look a bit spammy, with no photos, no followers etc.
So that’s it… I really recommend doing this at least every quarter to keep your Instagram strategy and account in check.
Make sure you download the FREE Instagram Audit Swipe File to keep your account in check.