A few months ago Grace Scott (Meaningful Marketing) and I did a talk for the Lakeland Businesswomen’s Network. The topic ‘How to Create Engaging Instagram Content’.
Instagram is a passive Social Media platform, meaning many people scroll through, liking or not liking your posts, let alone write something to you. But there are ways of making your content more engaging and thereby increasing your profile and your customer base.
Below are 5 steps to take to help you grow your Instagram profile. At the end you will find an Instagram Health Check to download.
1. Your profile
You can optimise your profile for your audience. Instagram considers both your name and username in any search related queries. It is likely that your username will be your business name, so make sure your name has your title or industry in your name field.
Your bio should clearly describe your business and should contain your business, location, contact details and website. You can also use hashtags in your Instagram bio. You can use this in different strategic ways: by location, industry or even your own hashtag.
2. Ideal Customer
As with all marketing you must know and understand the audience you want to engage with. It is not about who has the most followers, but rather making sure you have high engagement with your audience. Engagement can be a cue to evaluating the successes of your launches and your audience’s perception of your brand and business. The more engaged your followers are, the more likely they are to buy – engagement is a sign of trust, enthusiasm for the brand, and a part of the journey to becoming a new customer or developing into a loyal one.
So work out who you want your ideal customer to be. Ask yourself:
- Who wants to buy your product / services? Create a mini profile of your ideal customer – are they old / young, male / female, what are their interests?
- Is your ideal customer willing to pay for your services? Do you sell a luxury but have followers with a limited budget?
- What does your ideal client need from you to know like and trust you?
To make your content planning easier and less overwhelming it is a good idea to break your content into 3-4 themes. Ask yourself – what do my clients want to know from me?
Instagram is primarily an image led platform. Instagram users are passive in their engagement as they scroll through liking and commenting on pictures that capture their attention. However, not all businesses are ‘image ready.’ We have included a list of free stock libraries that you can use (there are more out there!):
Whilst it is the image that stops your audience as they scroll through Instagram, it is the written content that will engage them. The purpose of Instagram is to engage with your audience so they get to know and trust you. One of the best ways to do this is to ask a question. Instagram don’t want you to move away from the platform so posts where you converse with your audience do better.
When you upload a photo to Instagram make sure you use all the features. Location and tagging are a good way to reach you relevant target market in your area.
It is also important to note that Instagram isn’t just the grid; IG Stories and IGTV need to be integrated into your content strategy. IG Stories have 500 million viewers each day and that is growing. Use hashtags to extend your audience reach on IG Stories. Similarly, IGTV is also a growing feature and allows you to post longer-form vertical videos up to an hour in-length.
Research has shown that people want to know who they’re buying from — something that’s always been important to those who shop from small businesses – and a good way to this is via stories and IGTV. So the grid is for your brand and professional look, stories is to play with, and IGTV is where you can delve deeper into letting your customers know what you stand for, your ethos, and more about the people in the business.
Did you know you can have uptown 30 hashtags per post? Use them all! That way your reach will go further. It is a good idea to use hashtags with a small number of followers and well as a large number.
- Remember hashtags have to be specific & relevant
- Do not use the same 30 hashtags for every post
- TOP TIP – have a hashtag sheet where you group hashtags by theme in 5s or 10s. It makes it easy to copy and paste the hashtags into your post. Update it a few times a year.
Interact and engage where your ideal customer does. The more places that you can be found commenting, liking, engaging with other posts, the more likely your ideal customer is to find you. The more engagement you put into Instagram, the more you’ll get back. You can find these places by engaging with hashtags that you’re ideal customer is searching for.
5. Ways to grow your audience
What to do:
- Start commenting on other posts!
- If you find a potential client follow them, like up to 3 posts and leave a comment or 2. That way they know you are a real person rather than a bot.
- Have your socials linked across each one.
- Have it on your website.
- If you have physical goods, have the symbols on there.
- Write meaningful comments.
- Do collaborations.
- Use all of Instagrams features.
- Interact like a human, “I” is always better than “We” as it shows it’s a person interacting and not a faceless company.
What not to do:
- Don’t buy followers – Instagram is cracking down on this, and it will end up being worthless.
- Don’t join Instagram “pods” – the algorithm works by showing content to people that are engaging with it, so if it’s the same people all the time you’ll get stuck within that same group.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment – everything in social media is an experiment and both failures and successes are teaching tools.
Remember do not be down hearted if it takes time. You are looking to create a quality audience who wish to interact with you and your service/product. It is better to have a few hundred followers who know who you are, and engage regularly, than thousands who rarely see you posts.
Wishing you all the best learning to Create Engaging Instagram Content and Happy posting!
Grace Scott (Meaningful Marketing) & Claire Steele (Lil’ Creative Studio)