The Ins and Outs of Instagram Marketing

March 31, 2021

Is your brand utilizing Instagram as part of your marketing strategy? If not, you should be! Instagram is one of the main social media platforms H2 Marketing Consultants recommends to our clients to help strengthen their business. Instagram provides a platform for businesses to grow organically and spread brand awareness.

With over one billion monthly users, Instagram has the ability to reach a variety of audience demographics across the world. The application offers a wonderful opportunity for businesses to increase sales, with over 90% of users following at least one business. More importantly, over 80% of users have purchased a product they found through Instagram. Businesses can also use Instagram to form a community of like-minded people who are able to spread the word about your business through sharing, saving, and liking content. This ultimately makes Instagram an invaluable asset when it comes to spreading brand awareness and forming authentic connections.

Understanding the Algorithm in 2021

Ever since Instagram moved away from a chronological feed, many people were left wondering how the algorithm now works. In order to receive the best possible results for exposure, it is important to understand the algorithm behind the social media platform. The algorithm often evolves, so it is smart to do some research to learn when to tailor content strategies to work alongside it. There are many different ways to hack the Instagram algorithm to ultimately receive more engagement for your brand or business. Users should pay attention to the six key factors that influence the Instagram algorithm for feed posts:
  1. Interest 
  2. Relationship 
  3. Timeliness 
  4. Frequency 
  5. Following
  6. Usage 
Be mindful that the algorithm now looks at your account as a whole, including what features you are using. Your account’s visibility and engagement ratings will be higher if you are consistently using all the platform’s available features. Reels are currently the top engagement metric, so posting multiple reels a week will result in the algorithm favoring your content over those who are not.

Post Strategically

Strategically planning your posts, during both the creation and posting phase, will ensure that your content reaches its highest potential. When creating content, it is essential to consider what will resonate with your intended audience demographic. Before posting, make sure to do research to determine what time of day your audience is most active. This ensures that you are posting at a time when your content will be highly viewed by users. Also, be aware that you need to switch to a business account to take full advantage of the free analytics Instagram offers. This strategy will help provide insight into your followers’ location and age range. Instagram insights can also determine when your followers are most active, which posts receive the highest reach, and information regarding engagement metrics. By monitoring analytics, you will have a better understanding of what content is most effective when marketing your business and, more importantly, what changes are ideal to make in the future.

Features to Utilize

Utilizing every feature Instagram offers will not only increase your visibility and engagement ratings, but will also create compelling work. Here are some features to keep in mind and try out for your business:
  • Feed Posts: These are beneficial in establishing brand awarenessfeed posts are the ideal place to post any visual content. 
  • Stories: One of the most commonly checked aspects on Instagram. Stories give daily updates and increase engagement through the use of questions, quizzes, and other engaging features. 
  • Highlights: Showcase your past Instagram Stories using the Highlights feature to pin to the main grid. Highlights provide new and current followers the opportunity to learn about your brand, read commonly asked questions, and catch up on news they might have missed. 
  • Reels: The newest Instagram feature! Utilize Reels to post short video clips to better connect with your TikTok loving audience members. 
  • Instagram LiveThis tool has been essential throughout the last year. This tool provides brands with the ability to communicate with their followers in a live stream format. These can also be saved and shared to the grid for anyone to watch at any time. 
  • Instagram Shops: This feature allows shoppers to discover and purchase products from their favorite businesses directly through Instagram. Instagram Shops is a great tool for brands to grow their business. 

Creating Visual Content

Creating pleasing visuals that are aligned with your brand’s vision and aesthetic is essential to spread brand awareness. It also helps ensure your content is something people are eager to view. Any user should be able to instantly recognize your brand with every post. Working with a graphic designer can help you create original content that makes people want to follow you. In addition to posting aesthetically pleasing graphics, make sure your brand is also including photos of people. Real life photos of people help humanize your business and make your brand more relatable. A studyhas shown that visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared on Instagram. This is especially beneficial in 2021 because shares and saves are now weighted more heavily than likes or comments. Because of this change, it is more important than ever for your brand to create worthy content in hopes of being saved and shared with friends.

Write Compelling Captions

Captions can make or break your posts on Instagram. The photo or graphic is often what makes people stop scrolling, but captions can make people stay and give you a follow. An eye-catching caption has the ability to lure people in and quickly grab one’s attention. Consumers are more likely to make a purchase or spread the word about your brand if they feel connected and part of a community. Here are a few tips and strategies you can try out when writing captions:
  • Start with an Engaging Opening LineAccording to Planoly, the average human attention span is eight secondsit is even shorter when browsing social media. An opening line that captivates one’s attention is crucial so your entire caption is read every post.  
  • Tell a Story: Telling a story can help give your brand a voice. It can also help form an authentic relationship with your audience. These can be useful for breaking up your regularly planned content every once in a while. 
  • Ask a Question: Asking a question in caption encourages followers to leave a comment with an answer. This helps start a conversation and increases your account’s engagement rating. 
  • Add Emojis: Emojis are a great way to portray your brand’s personality and break up the textstudy showed that posts that use emojis have almost a 50% higher engagement ratingBe careful to not to overdo it.  An excessive amount of emojis can come off as cheesy and unprofessional.  
  • Use Hashtags: Hashtags are a must for increasing brand exposure. Hashtags allow you to target your intended audience, and be in the same pool of relatable conversation and topics. 

Partner with Influencers

Partnering with influencers is a major opportunity for your business to become successful through Instagram Marketing. Influencers have a large following which spreads brand awareness to reach a significant amount of people who might be interested in your product. When an influencer shares their thoughts about your product, their audience has now been exposed to your brand, which could lead to potential customers. This also helps boost brand reliability since followers are more likely to trust their favorite influencers’ recommendations. To encourage people to make a purchase, try providing the influencer with a small discount or promo code to give out to people who buy within a specific time frame.

Quality Over Quantity

At the end of the day, it can be easy to get caught up with the numbers and analytics behind Instagram. Creating content in an attempt to get more likes and followers might be tempting, but it is smarter to think long term. Instead of focusing on how many likes a post gets or your follower count, focus on organic growth and creating an authentic community. Having fewer followers that continuously support and spread the word about your business are more valuable than a large following who does not.
If you’re interested in optimizing your business’s Instagram marketing strategy, contact H2 Marketing Consultants. Our Social Media Specialists have extensive experience with social media optimization, content creation, and social media management. Let us run your social media—allowing you to focus solely on running your business. To receive a free consultation, contact H2 Marketing Consultants at (314) 257-0055, or email us at info@h2marketingconsultants.com.
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