Just as I was about to publish this post to help you improve content marketing on Instagram, a mailer popped into my inbox. It was the new tips that struck me and the importance of passing on my proven experience with marketing on this platform.
“After a year that challenged everything, we thought was normal and possible, a new campaign from Instagram denounces “going back to normal” because normal was never good enough.
It’s a rallying cry of progress, optimism, and reinvention as we look back on this past year, empowering people with the message that “Who We Become is Yours to Make”.INSTAGRAM
We have experienced remarkable success with Instagram content marketing in the past month, and here are a few tips to help you put some fuel on your content marketing fire.
Our new client has both brick-and-mortar shops and an online store.
The arts and crafts businesses are well suited to Instagram with content that lends itself to colour and creativity – the kind of stuff the visual Instagram audience loves.
So right up front, a Disclaimer. For example, I cannot claim the same results on my own business Instagram account. I try to make marketing sexy, but it’s not as easy as art and craft.
Instagram Content Marketing Case Study
The Profile I featured in this Instagram Content Marketing Case Study was created in November 2018; thus, I expected to see a significantly bigger following, given they ran monthly growth Ads for the past 12 months.
By complete contrast, the results we have recorded in the past month are Organic, and not one single cent was spent on Ads.
This was a LEARNING month – learning about the company, the product, their ideal audience, and what content works. We still have a way to go but let’s dive in.
Attracting Your Ideal Instagram Audience
We ALWAYS start with Ideal Customers – the lifeblood of every business.
Every business must know who wants what, who can and wants to pay, and likely to convert in loyal advocates and repeat buyers.
We assume that you have done your Buyer Persona or Ideal Customer research and where they hang out. If your audience is not spending time on Instagram, this is the wrong place to reach them. Secondly, if they are there, you must create content that Instagrammers like to consume, which is not exactly the same as Facebook or LinkedIn.
My personal recommendation, which I learned the hard way, is to avoid running Ads to get LIKES unless you have done all the work to identify your Ideal Customer.
If you miss important criteria, you will attract the wrong audience. Those who are not ideal but click on the Like Button (your objective and what you pay for) tell the Algorithm who to serve your Ad to, so you get more of the same and not the best followers.
The wrong audiences are fickle Followers and display as the Unengaged who unfollow at the drop of a hat and send confusing signals to the Algorithm.
My advice is to save your Ad budget from promoting irresistible offers with a clear call to action. You pay for measurable clicks and leads, assuming your track visits to your sales or product page, enabling retargeting.
Every platform and then the posts should have a clear Marketing Objective to take the right people on a buying journey with you.
Profile Activity Insights tell you how effectively your content is taking them from ‘social posts’ to:
- visit your brick and mortar (click on address),
- call or email, and
- Go to your website link. If you are tracking visits to your website and acting on this date, then you have a profitable outcome!
Tips to Improve your Instagram Content Marketing
Ideal Customer Engagement (AKA Popularity) converts to Lead Generation!Suze Bouwer | Redmatchstick
Hook them in with your Bio
You only have 150 characters, so make your point about who you are, why they should hang around and why they should click on your website link.
Page breaks with emoji are helpful to attract attention, display your personality and stand out.
The website link is your one link opportunity to take people to the next step, so change it up to support and enable your posting strategy. For example, an Opt-in link, your most recent blog post, a landing page, a survey, or a contest.
Add Instagram Story Highlights and Branded Covers
Instagram Story Highlights are a clever way to add ‘menu’ tabs to your Instagram business profile. Save and organise stories in collections.
Consistency is Key for Instagram Content Marketing
The more regularly an individual user engages with your content, the higher you’ll rank higher in their Instagram feed. Then it makes sense that you have to post regularly and reply to your audience to keep conversations going.
Popping erratically in and out of a Follower’s newsfeed will not build trust and, worse, could be irritating and lead to Unfollows.
The content you publish on Instagram tends to last much longer than Facebook posts.
The average Instagram content lifespan is 48 hours, during which time most posts receive 75 % of their total comments. Engagement slows down after six hours-ish, after which posts reportedly receive half of their total comments.
If an Instagram post’s engagement declines after around 6 hours, then it figures that you should post daily to keep appearing in your audience’s newsfeed.
Create a Content Calendar
When you have a well-defined audience and goals, you will want to publish with a purpose in mind.
A well-planned CONTENT CALENDAR ensures you don’t miss important dates. It is the ONLY way to ensure you post quality content consistently that meets marketing objectives, at the best time, using the platforms preferred content tools.
SIGN UP to be Advised when next month’s RedMatchstick content calendar is released!
Try an Instagram Contest to Get Popular
We ran a Contest on both Instagram and Facebook, asking for posts on personal timelines using brand hashtags. We got 157 entries, and 80% were collected on Instagram.
Commit to Engaging with Your Audience
“Build it, and they will come” only works in the movies. Social Media is a “build it, nurture it, engage them, and they may come and stay.”– Seth Godin
Comments are a vital engagement indicator, and all comments are considered by the Instagram algorithm, even if they are the only emojis. It’s important to reply to your comments promptly and consistently. This will keep conversations active on your posts, and it also shows your audience that you are listening — which can be great for promoting more interactions.
Instead of chasing Profile Likes and Follows, these metrics are more meaningful:
- Likes & Reactions per Post, i.e. Applause Rate
- Comments per Post, i.e. Conversation Rate
- How many Shares, i.e. Amplification rate
Quality Posts that get these rates are the ones that you can then use to promote your Profile and gain popularity with your ideal customers. Organic engagement is a sign of approval by your audience before you spend money and serves as data for the Algorithm to use when ‘learning’ and gets your Ad performing better sooner.
This blog post is not about Ideal Customers, so here we will assume you know who they are. You must grasp how the Algorithm reads signs, after which you will be better informed to create the right content for the right people and distribute it in the right place at the right time.
Instagram Content Marketing Tools
The Right content that adds value
*** Entertains | Educates | Enriches ***
will attract your ideal audience AND Convert to Leads.
You will need to test what content your audience prefers to engage with AND use the platform’s tools to optimise content quality.
Instagram users want to be inspired and discover things that they care about. You make this happen; you should use the whole toolbox.
Let’s make them simple here:
Despite what you might be told, Instagram’s feed algorithm is not keener on video than photo content. The thing is that video content is typically MORE engaging and thus gets more “time spent” per Post. These are two signs the Algorithm uses to rank content and why video outperforms photos.
Instagram allows you to upload up to ten photos and videos in a single post. So, spend a little more time adding more than just the one!
Add a Filter to enhance the appeal of your images and video.
Adding Location to your Post is vital if your business is brick and mortar.
Your captions must support and be congruent with the image.
Conversation starters are recommended to get engagement, and t is your responsibility to keep these conversations going.
Instagram’s equivalent of ‘Snapchat, Stories are casual and ideal for showing behind the scenes goings-on.
These posts disappear after 24 hours but are super engaging if you use the Stickers and additional text.
Remember to save in your Highlights before they disappear.
This is my personal favourite of all social media content and is Instagram’s alternative to TikTok.
Create video 15-second video clips, upload, add post text and the best – your favourite background tune to make the content rock and entertain like no other. (My opinion!)
Read this Social Media Examiner Blog to learn more about how the Reels Algorithm works.
What will resonate on Reels, as with all social platforms and posting options, is content that’s entertaining, and which encourages audience response. Consistently creating quality, engaging content is hard, and there’s no number of hacks and insights that can simply make this happen.Social Media Examiner
Instagram Live is similar to Facebook Live, but it also disappears after 24 hours. It is a great tool to share in the moment content like events, flash sales and authentic connections by showing the real you and having real-time conversations
… remember it is not forever content unless you choose to save to IGTV.
You cannot edit, so practice a bit before going this route.
Ensure you hold your device in portrait, not landscape.
Treat this as a YouTube Wanna-Be baby brother. Upload prerecorded, branded and edited video.
This is where you post ‘How To’, training and demo video.
Nothing stops you from featuring products and services and asking for DM enquiries. Still, Shopping is enabled possible if you have a Shopify or WooCommerce store, which is magic for taking your followers on a visual shopping journey!
You need a Facebook page and catalogue for your business to connect the dots.
Captions on Instagram are not searchable, but hashtags are. Hashtags are a discoverability search tool that helps make your Instagram content easier to find.
When someone clicks on or searches for a hashtag, they see all the associated content. It’s a fantastic way to get your content in front of people who don’t know about you yet.
You might want to consider creating your own branded hashtag. A branded hashtag embodies your brand and encourages followers to share photos and videos that fit that image. It can be a reliable source of user-generated content and encourage community among your fans. (This is an effective way to collect contest entries without making it cumbersome for your audience).
Type of Account
You can have a personal, business, or creator account and although it doesn’t make any difference to how your content performs, with a business account, your view insights, when your audience is active and post engagement data.
Use Insights to Succeed with Content Marketing on Instagram
View Professional Dashboard at the top of your Profile is only available on mobile, and it gives you a snapshot view of the past 30 days performance. You can navigate to Insights from there or click through to Insights from your Profile.
Note that your Insights are only available for the past two months. You must make sure you grab screenshots of your past two months’ Insights every month so that you can track your performance over time and compare month on month.
You really do need to check your insight a minimum of once weekly.
THERE YOU HAVE IT – INSTAGRAM MARKETING MADE SIMPLE!
The Meaning of Metrics:
ACCOUNT REACHED translates to people who have seen our content, and this could be anyone.
CONTENT INTERACTIONS are what we aim for because that metric measures what the audience values and their ‘action’ signals the Algorithm to rank the value of the content.
Like Facebook, the Algorithm’s ‘rating’ of the Reaction or Engagement is higher depending on the amount of effort the “user” is putting In.
The Instagram algorithm considers:
- Information about the type of Post and content
- Information about the poster’s Profile and account
- The User’s activity on Instagram, what and how they engage with
- How likely they are to engage with ‘this’ particular Post based on their past behaviour.
If the Algorithm calculates that someone is unlikely to interact, the Post will be deprioritised in their feed. It, therefore, figures that you should STRIVE FOR QUALITY and monitor the posts that result in much higher rated engagement.
Best Time to Get Seen
It is crucial to invigorating your posts by sharing WHEN you can get your audience’s attention, and they are most likely to engage.
According to Later’s analysis of 35 million global Instagram posts, the best time to post on Instagram (in local time) is 6 am.
The study revealed that the best days to post on Instagram are Saturday and Sunday – with the highest average engagement occurring for posts published on Sunday at 6 am.
And, just to reiterate the importance of checking your Profile Insights – ours looks like this:
We would miss a vital optimisation opportunity if we took everything we read as the Holy Grail. Instead, because we consult insights, we vary posting time from early morning to early afternoon and the 6 pm peak.
The WORST TIME to post according to the Later report (and it would be interesting to know how your content fares by comparison) is that posts published on Wednesday between 10 am – 4 pm, and Thursday 9 pm – 11 pm receive the lowest engagement rates, making them the worst days to post on Instagram. Instead, stick with checking your peak time and avoid trying to disprove this theory!
I’m willing to bet you have Content Marketing on Instagram tips and exceptions and would love to hear more from you in the comments below.
Suze Bouwer is a Marketing Enabler and Content Creator who helps business owners implement best marketing practices by making marketing simple and Showing HOW. Unlike online courses and Google, you spend less time learning and testing and more time GENERATING LEADS & GROWING YOUR BUSINESS.