Instagram is the fourth most active social media platform for publishers to grow their business. Approximately 1.318 billion users were on Instagram as of January 2023, meaning about 16.5% of the world’s population actively uses the app!
Instagram has changed its tone over the years regarding which accounts it pushes, which makes it difficult to determine where to start with a marketing strategy. In this blog, we’ll explore the most effective ways publishers can use this powerhouse app and the most important things to know to improve your strategy.
Understanding Instagram’s demographics and features
Understanding your online user base is the first step to leveraging Instagram. Who is your audience? What users are you targeting? What is the age distribution you’re shooting for? If you’re on Instagram already, you can look at how your current content performs using Instagram Insights. But we’ll talk about that later.
Once your audience is established, knowing which key Instagram features will help increase engagement and reach on the platform is crucial. Trends can change quickly as Instagram competes with major platforms like Facebook and TikTok for online space. However, experts can provide reasonably accurate predictions on what features businesses should keep at the forefront of their strategy to stay relevant. As 2023 continues, here’s what businesses can look out for and prioritize:
1. Posts, stories, and reels
2. Instagram Live
3. Shopping features
4. Analytics tools
Instagram’s algorithm exists to push more curated content in front of users to create loyal accounts and heavy engagement, but it’s not always straightforward. Algorithms on any social media platform can feel like a revolving puzzle. Many businesses can get caught up in trying to please the algorithm instead of creating quality content and end up losing engagement rather than gaining. Don’t let the algorithm be your enemy. Comments, likes, reshares, and views will likely remain key to getting the algorithm’s notice. On top of that, staying true to your audience in collaboration with using key Instagram features is the consistency the platform seeks to push your content.
Creating a visually appealing and engaging feed
Curating content that resonates with your target audience is crucial for publishers leveraging Instagram as a platform. Take the time to understand your audience’s interests, preferences, and expectations, and create content that aligns with these factors. Whether you share sneak peeks of upcoming releases, behind-the-scenes glimpses, or author interviews, ensure your content is visually appealing and informative to attract and maintain your audience’s attention.
Balancing promotional and non-promotional content is essential for fostering a genuine connection with your audience. While keeping followers updated on new releases is necessary, providing value through other forms of content is equally important. Share industry news, reading recommendations, or thought-provoking quotes to create a diverse and engaging feed that keeps your audience interested and invested in your brand.
Consistency in branding plays a significant role in making your Instagram feed visually appealing. Publishers should establish a cohesive visual identity, incorporating a consistent color scheme, typography, and image style. Invest time developing a consistent and professional look for your Instagram feed to ensure it aligns with your brand’s values and identity.
Utilizing Instagram’s features to showcase your publications can further boost engagement and reach. Use posts, stories, and reels to present your content in diverse and creative ways, keeping your audience entertained and informed. For example, you can create an Instagram Reel featuring a captivating book trailer or use Instagram Stories to share daily reading recommendations with your followers. Additionally, consider Instagram Live to host virtual book launches or author interviews. By embracing Instagram’s various features, publishers can create a dynamic and engaging feed that elevates their content and captures their audience’s interest.
Expanding your reach with hashtags, collaborations, and partnerships
Using targeted hashtags continues to be one of the best ways to improve discoverability on Instagram. You can use up to 30 hashtags (but closer to 8-10) to help users find your posts, but use them wisely. Keep your hashtags clear and relevant to your content and brand. Well-crafted hashtags can drive engagement and capitalize on the opportunity to reach more accounts with little effort and zero financial risk. For those looking for more on how to use Instagram hashtags, True Anthem has you covered.
Collaborating with influencers and other publishers can help you boost your following without building a massive following of your own. Accounts with small followings can sometimes find themselves pigeonholed into a limited audience. Collaborations help publishers expand their reach into different pools and increase brand awareness. Find collaborators excited about your brand and content and whose audience would also be interested in your products and services.
Leveraging Instagram’s advertising platform is another way for publishers to expand brand awareness to their existing audience. Instagram Ads help you target new users in hopes of converting them into your current audience. You can use a mix of photos, videos, story ads, and reels. Ads are also the perfect way to remind your loyal audience what you provide, what you can offer, and where they can access your goods and services.
Engaging with your audience
Responding to comments and direct messages promotes continued engagement on your Instagram posts. Implementing a system for responding timely is essential–Instagram is always watching. Not only will your respondents appreciate it, but Instagram takes notice of accounts with a response time of less than 15 minutes and a rate of 90% or more. You can use features like automated responses or set a schedule for daily responses.
User-generated content is some of the best original content to help support your brand and encourage engagement. This content can be in the form of videos, reviews, testimonials, images, and podcasts. It can come from customers, collaborators, employees, or anyone who authentically can promote your brand. Encourage your followers to engage, share, and discuss your products on their platforms. You want to avoid unauthentic user-generated content, which can hurt your account more than help.
Hosting giveaways, contests, and events is a fun way to engage your users and grow your network. These types of posts can be a huge money saver compared to traditional advertising and help you gain valuable product exposure. Plus, your followers are more likely to help spread the word about your brand if you include rules such as sharing posts in stories, reels, or other methods of creating user-generated content.
Analyzing and optimizing your Instagram strategy
Utilizing Instagram Insights helps publishers measure the performance of their current content and dive deep into the audience they desire. This tool provides the raw numbers businesses can analyze to gauge a post’s success, including likes/shares/follow count. In addition, Insights will analyze your audience and track useful data such as user behaviors, interests, and trends. This feature helps publishers adapt their content strategy based on data-driven insights more likely to attract users interested in their brand.
Always identify trends and areas for improvement when optimizing your Instagram strategy. This could mean researching trending hashtags by looking at other accounts in your niche and researching words associated with your brand. You can also look into more popular accounts in your niche and see what posts they publish. Which posts get the most engagement? What type of content do their users seem to be attracted most to?
Content is important, but don’t forget to optimize your profile! All publishers should have high-quality photos, custom-designed story highlight covers, a call to action link, and an interesting bio defining your brand. True Anthem has some of the best Instagram bio ideas to help you get noticed and maintain a loyal audience.
Maximize your content strategy with Content Discovery and True Anthem
CTV News has successfully utilized True Anthem’s Content Discovery feature to find content for their Instagram accounts. They have found this platform to be an invaluable resource for sourcing engaging and relevant content tailored to their target audience.
These clients have been able to schedule content on their True Anthem dashboard using optimal social language, which ensures that their posts resonate with their followers and attract the right kind of engagement. This practice has been instrumental in enhancing the overall effectiveness of their Instagram marketing strategies.
In addition to Content Discovery, many clients have turned to True Anthem for guidance on optimal times to post on Instagram. By relying on True Anthem’s expertise, they have maximized their reach and engagement, as the platform handles posting for them at the most effective times.
By incorporating these tools and strategies into your Instagram marketing efforts, you can optimize your content strategy and see even better results on the platform.
Instagram can be an extremely beneficial platform for publishers with a well-executed strategy in place. While Instagram remains a visual platform, aesthetics are not the most important. Creating quality content, understanding and engaging with your audience, and staying relevant within trending features will take a business beyond a pretty post. Try some of these tips for revamping or creating your business Instagram account to see how your audience responds.