Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social networks worldwide.
With so many options and variety in how to showcase your service or product, it is natural you may find it a little daunting.
With a good organic Instagram marketing strategy, you can increase brand awareness, gain new followers, grow engagement, support customer service with useful information, and make sales by highlighting a product or service.
So you must be wondering how you can achieve all this.
Creating a consistent style, planning content, and knowing when to post is key, but here we are presenting Instagram best practices for 2021, which may help your brand easily rise above the rest in 2022.
1. The first and the most important thing is to know your audience.
Instagram has over 1 billion users, making it an ideal platform for your brand to get the recognition it deserves.
So, who is your ideal customer?
Think about breaking down your audience into age, gender, location, and interests.
Once you’ve found who your target audience is, ask yourself what else they may be interested in. Then, make sure your content matches your audience’s interests.
To gain traffic, relevant audience, and brand recognition on Instagram, it’s important to set your main, and most importantly, realistic goals.
We all want thousands of followers, but let’s start with your first thousand and grow from there. The key to gaining a new audience lies in keeping consistent content that is attractive, starts a conversation, and makes your followers want to share it with others.
Keeping dedicated followers is equally as important as gaining new ones. Keeping content fresh, attractive, and tailored to the audience keeps the existing audience engaged, while like-minded people are attracted to join in the conversation.
2. Create a style guide
Instagram is a visual app, so when it comes to it, visuals are everything. Find your style and make it consistent. Ideally, you should stick to colour combinations and visual styles that fit your brand persona.
Having a consistent style keeps your grid neat and your brand recognisable when it pops up on someone’s feed.
3. Make sure you interact with your community.
An organic Instagram marketing strategy doesn’t just mean broadcasting to the world. It has to be interactive.
Interaction is what turns your Instagram profile into a community. Followers will pick up on the fact that you’re present, interested, and engaged.
Make sure you respond to comments and direct messages daily and comment or react to posts that tag your brand. You can also comment on posts relevant to your brand and industry.
Instagram is the perfect platform to create intriguing and captivating visual stories about your brand. So start creating visuals to tell engaging stories about your brand history, your customer stories, your employee experiences, or your brand impact.
High-quality content that encourages your audience to like, comment, or share, is always a win.
4. Get your community involved
Inviting your community to help share your brand’s story on their accounts is a great way to help reach new fans and customers. Start driving user-generated content by following these three strategies:
1. Start a hashtag for your brand and encourage your followers to use it
2. Celebrate your community by showcasing their content in your feed and stories
3. Include a strong CTA
Think about what action you want your audience to take after seeing your post. For example, do you want them to like, comment, share your post in their stories? This can help you with creating the right copy for your post to make your community members engage with your content.
Building a solid relationship with your customer base is really important. You can also create special moments that your customers can be part of via Instagram feed, Stories, and more.
5. Measure performance and find the best time to post
Using Instagram’s insights, you can see how your audience engages with your content. The better you understand how and when your audience engages, the easier it is to know what to post.
Click on ‘View insights’ on the bottom left of any post. From here, you can see the number of likes, comments, shares, and more. Insights offer an in-depth look with reach and impressions.
Compare these insights on each of your posts to see what kind of content your audience is looking for.
Once you identify the posts that resonate with your community most, take inspiration from those posts for future ones.
Take note of the time posted as well, since this can give you a good idea of when your audience is most active. Once you’re on the insights page, tap the ‘your audience’ section to gain insight into your followers and audience. This covers location, age, gender, and most active times. Under most active times, you can see when the best time to post on Instagram is. From what day of the week to what hour works best.
Timing posts to when the audience is most likely to be online increases the reach of your content.
6. Use a content calendar
Consistency is key, so the ability to pre-plan and schedule your posts ahead of time ensures that you can keep up.
Using a content calendar will help you organise your content in one place and keep your style consistent. In addition, having your content and captions ready ahead of time saves you the trouble of scrambling for a new post.
When planning content, think about how often you want new content on your page. You don’t have to post every day to be successful, but post often enough that people don’t forget about you. Make sure you’re not posting too often that people’s timelines are flooded with your posts. This could lead to an unfollow, or Instagram’s algorithm will simply lower your posts’ reach by not showing your posts in the newsfeed.
Planning your content can set you up for a whole month of consistent, on-brand, and engaging posts.
8. Use hashtags to boost content discovery
Hashtags are your best friends on Instagram. They help your content show up in the search results of said hashtags and in the Explore pages of people who’ve viewed or interacted with similar content. So hashtags on Instagram are a great way to boost content discovery and overall brand visibility.
Make the most of niche hashtags and industry-related hashtags that can help you reach the right audience. And don’t forget to share branded hashtags to encourage user-generated content.
9. Partner with influencers to reach new audiences
With the ability to reach hundreds of thousands of people through their posts, influencers can add fuel to your Instagram promotion efforts. Influencer marketing is another way to get your brand in front of new audiences, and the trust that audiences have in influencers’ recommendations can be a huge boost to your customer base.
When partnering with influencers, it’s crucial that you work with people whose audience base overlaps with yours. In other words, make sure you only partner with influencers who can reach your target audience.
10. Stay on top of Instagram changes and updates
The platform has added on to popular content options like Stories and IGTV to introduce features like Reels and Instagram Shopping. Moreover, it has even enhanced existing features to introduce trends such as augmented reality filters to Instagram Stories. Brands can even create custom AR filters to promote audience engagement and gain better visibility.
When it comes to Instagram stories, they allow for great engagement with your audience.
Use these best practices to make your brand stories a bit more creative:
– Use interactive features: Think about using the vote button, quiz button, and question/answer buttons. These interactive elements not only allow you to get to know your audience but this gives great insight into what your followers like. Lay these elements over brand photos or videos.
– Try the create feature: a great way to share new content without having to take photos or video. Use fun GIPHY’s, create lists, and other fun content that engages with your audience.
Think about what your audience may have in common with you and start a conversation. Great engagement can come from fun, interactive content.
– Highlight your most important stories: Instagram highlights showcase important information in a convenient spot. When users first find a new Instagram page, they usually head to their profile to see what they have to offer.
By adding important information such as weekly specials or special services, company achievements, or job postings, users can easily interact with the page and become quickly informed.
Another great novelty on Instagram is the Instagram Reels – quick, fun videos that allow a bit more personality over a traditional post or story.
If you are planning to use reels, make them unique by following these best practices:
– Add Text: The Instagram Reels subtitle feature gives an excellent opportunity to allow accessibility. Plus, more information that can’t always fit in your video can pop up in the form of text bubbles.
– Tag Products: Showcasing a product in your Reel. Tag so that once your audience can see how great it is, they can buy it immediately!
– Make it Entertaining: Like Instagram stories, Reels are a great opportunity to showcase your brand’s personality, whether it’s through fun videos of your products, behind the scenes with employees, or other creative trends.
– Use Fun Effects: Add music and voiceover to your reels to express your brand’s unique personality.
– Engage and Inform: The great thing about reels is that they become a permanent part of your feed. So, once you have created fun, informative reels, continue to share them to show off what your brand has to offer.
Finally, besides following the above-mentioned best practices, make sure you make the most of your Instagram bio.
With 150 characters or less and a profile photo, this leaves little space for large-scale information, so keep it simple and add your website or a featured link to get users exploring more about you.
Think of a quick, witty, and clear message to get your brand voice across. This is the place to let everyone know who you are, what you do, and what makes you stand out.
Don’t be afraid to change it up by announcing sales, news, or other features at an appropriate time.