Looking for ways to improve your Instagram game? You’re not alone. Instagram boasts over 1 billion monthly active users. Its engagement rate has been measured at an impressive 70% higher than Facebook’s. So to say it’s the number one social platform for brands would be an understatement.
But dominating Instagram is no longer as easy as scheduling in a couple of posts per day. There’s now a whole suite of features to get clued in on.
That means that when it comes to how to step up your Instagram game, there’s a lot to know. Let’s get started.
Find out how to step up your Instagram game with easy key tips
First up: regular Instagram posts. While it may seem audiences have moved on to more fleeting formats like Instagram Stories, regular posts shouldn’t be neglected. Often it’s your profile page that people look at when deciding whether to follow your account, and posting regularly ensures you keep popping up in people’s feeds.
Ways to up your Instagram post game:
- Theme it: Make sure you have a curated and cohesive Instagram aesthetic that fits your brand message. Think of every post as a tile in the larger mosaic of your profile feed: it needs to look appealing in isolation and as part of the whole. Choose how to theme your account (e.g. retro, vibrant, minimal, etc) and stick to it — that way you’ll appeal instantly to your chosen audience, and they’ll get a sense of what to expect from you.
- Branch out: Not every post has to be product-related. Consider interspersing your posts with lifestyle content that compliments your brand and broadens the appeal of your account.
- Be regular: Post regularly, frequently, and at times when followers are most likely to spot your content. You may need to experiment to track which times are best.
Instagram Stories appeal to users for their urgency and immediacy. Because Stories are only available for 24 hours, followers feel the need to check in regularly, or FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) sets in. Use this to your advantage by posting captivating content frequently.
Tips on how to step up your Instagram game with Stories:
- Leverage user generated content (UGC) by re-posting follower images and videos to your stories. This is a double-win: it encourages followers to post about your brand and tag you, and it increases your content output for minimal production effort.
- Use polls and questions: Polls and questions are a great way to generate additional UGC. If you can get your Instagram poll game and Instagram question game nailed you’ll not only encourage engagement with users, you’ll generate valuable data collection points. Example: you could poll which colour followers prefer, or ask them questions about what could be improved in products.
- Have fun with it: Gifs, stickers, emojis, drawings… the freedom to be creative and have fun is part of what’s made Instagram Stories such a success. Don’t be afraid to embrace these. Aside from using them in your own content, one out-of-the-box idea is to create templates (branded, of course) for followers to play with and repost.
- Use Highlights: Instagram Stories Highlights let you keep collections of Instagram Stories available for longer. They live front and centre of your profile, so they’re perfect for showcasing what your brand is all about. Be creative with how you use them: you might draw attention to particular campaigns, highlight products, collate user generated content, or promote collaborations with influencers. You can set a cover image for your Highlights: keep these in line with the aesthetic of your brand.
Instagram Live Stories
Going live lets you share video content with followers in real-time. Why use it? Instagram gives some priority to this feature: followers who haven’t turned off Instagram Live notifications will get a message telling them when you go live, and live stories bump to the top of people’s feeds so that they show up before other Instagram Stories.
Here are some tips on how to step up your Instagram game using Instagram Live Stories:
- Have a content plan: Having some idea beforehand of what your live video will entail will prevent it from going off track or becoming boring for users to watch. Remember, this is live so there’s no deleting and starting again.
- Use it for the right things: Live is ideal for letting followers join you on some journey — for example, you could give them real-time access to exclusive events like runway shows or parties. Big reveals and launches are another great use of Live; as are behind-the-scenes peeks into events or photoshoots. Lastly, try running live Q&A sessions: this works particularly well with brand ambassadors and influencers you may be collaborating with.
- Pre-promote it: Get more people to tune in to your live video by promoting it beforehand.
- Save it: Saving your live video to Stories will keep it available for another 24 hours, meaning you can give more followers the opportunity to see it.
IGTV lets you post videos up to an hour long. Because you can post lengthy content, IGTV is great for things like tutorials, documentaries, show coverage, and behind-the-scenes videos.
Keen to up your IGTV Instagram game? Try these tips:
- Be wise with time: Having an hour of video time is great, but that doesn’t mean you have to use it. Keep follower attention spans in mind and keep videos as long or as short as is necessary to get the content across.
- Leverage existing content: IGTV can be used to repost existing video content from platforms, letting you bring that content to a new audience.
- Optimize for mobile: Unlike, say, YouTube, IGTV is made for mobile. Wherever possible, optimize your videos for mobile by making them vertically oriented.
General tips for upping your Instagram game
Regardless of whether it’s a post, Story, photo or video, these tips apply to all areas of your Instagram strategy:
- Utilize hashtags and locations: These make your content more discoverable. Have a look at competing brands for ideas of hashtags.
- Add subtitles to videos: Capture audiences immediately, even when the sound is off. On Facebook, captions were found to increase video view time by an average of 12%; YouTube found a 4% increase in views from adding captions. They add value to any video.
- Align with your company values: Keep your brand’s core values in mind when creating content. Instagram is a great platform for showing your alignment with these values. For example: if one of your values is positive body image, promote this through your content in a genuine way.
- Work creatively with influencers: No need to stick to static campaign imagery, incorporate influencer collaborations into your Instagram Stories, Live Stories and IGTV as well. Some ideas: influencer takeovers of your stories, live interviews, and lifestyle content like travel guides or tutorials.
Tracking and measuring your Instagram engagement
Even if you implement all of the tips above, there’s still one key thing missing in the quest to really crush your Instagram marketing: tracking and measuring. Because if you don’t know what’s working and what’s not, how can you optimize your strategy?
There are various ways to do this, from tracking the most effective hashtags and post times, to monitoring engagement with posts, questions, and polls. Perhaps one of the most crucial for brands is monitoring the Media Impact Value™ (MIV®) generated by collaborations with influencers. This helps to build effective influencer marketing campaigns and calculate how much investment is worth the spend.
And hint: influencer collaborations can most certainly be worth it. Our reports have shown that mega influencer Chiara Ferragni generated $2.5 million in MIV during a single season of Milan Fashion Week, while a single post by fashion blogger Xenia Adonts can easily generate over $50,000 in MIV.
There's plenty more to be said about working with influencers - so do get in touch with us to find out more about we can help your brand win the Instagram game.