Updated: Apr 13
Gather round all you: brands, influencers; all concerned using Instagram as a marketing platform. Just posting photos and clever captions were never going to cut it as a strategy.
Algorithm changes will happen and certain elements of engagement will always be sharpened. Such is the marketing landscape and Instagram is no different.
Now that you are up to speed with the playing field, let’s discuss the way forward. Your goal: Building a strong strategy that will withstand the onslaught of any algorithm change.
TIPS TO TIGHTEN YOUR STRATEGY
Instagram values its high standing in the social media app sphere. Their strategy will always be to keep users scrolling for longer because they make money from ads shown in the feed. This is good news because no algorithm out there will truly be able to outsmart a focused marketer. They need you too.
Beating the Instagram algorithm in 2020 and beyond is not as difficult as some feared. Let’s look at some key strategy points.
Sending out random messages to those who would fall into your target audience is a sure way to get nowhere. You read that right! Who likes receiving a random message from a brand? First off, you don’t know this person, so your message runs the risk of coming across as a template. Engagement killer!
So what would work? Look at their stories. Respond by asking a sincere question. Comment on something you found interesting on their page. Now you are giving this person time of day, making them feel relevant. If they respond, or even just follow you now, there you will be - bumped up in their feed, your story visible, and you have engagement.
PLAN WHEN TO POST
It's crucial to figure out when your target audience is most active on Instagram. This means fresh content at the top of their feed every time. Don’t worry, it’s not rocket science, but it may take some time and intuition. Based on your persona profiles, you should know a bit about your audience.
Use that information in your insights to try and gauge when they would most likely be on Instagram. Is it while commuting, or after the kids have gone to bed? Try those times, as well as random times. Keep an eye on analytics, and you should soon figure out the best time to post. We mentioned you need to be top of mind for every user, so stories are the next relevant step.
¡STORIES ARE A MUST!
For a while, Instagram seemed to have lost the “instant” part of it, where we would post a photo/video and it would be served to our audience immediately. However, after the implementation of stories, the essence of the platform was recovered!
Our golden rule for our clients is: post a story in the morning, lunch and afternoon/night. Why? Think about it, as soon as you enter the app and look at your feed, you will see the latest stories posted by the account you follow. Therefore, if you post stories at every moment of the day, it does not matter when the user is active, you will be top of their list to watch. Then, it is all about how you use these stories to engage with them.
Not your problem? Think again. Your content needs to be the kind that draws followers back, making them the frequent ones. So by all means, go live frequently with compelling issues. Post videos and make full use of stories. These strategies directly impact the algorithm, but by bringing your followers back for more, keeping them on the platform for longer, Instagram will reward you by showing your posts in highlight reels, even to infrequent visitors.
These are sure-fire, yet stock standard approaches. This alone won’t grow your follower base by much.
LET’S TWIST THE RULES
If you are trying to play the algorithm it will be obvious. No matter how much you follow the advice above, if your content is not authentic and relatable, you will fail. If your brand has no personality, then you will blend in and fade away.
Need some inspiration? Keep on reading.
BRAND YOUR PAGE
Many people will argue that the looks don’t matter on your profile. But, the outlook of the platform tells us those aesthetics are going to be a key factor in differentiating yourself from the competition. Color palettes, shapes, typography, and image style are crucial to making your content unique. Here are some examples:
Ayr plays a subtly different game. Instead of normal square images, they format their images alternating portrait with landscape layouts. They also add white frames, so the image is always differently sized to the eye. The result: In a normal feed, their images will pop out from the standard without necessarily being different.
Onolulu Venezuela pops out by using beach/earthy colors and focusing images on the lifestyle their users get wearing their apparel.
Carles Calero brightens your day with his amazing, over the top light painting images. This makes him stand out from other photographers and allows him to sell photography courses around the world. These accounts prove that branding your page can be done in many different ways, how minimal or over the top it is will depend on you.
DON’T BE FREQUENT
It does not matter if your posts are completely over the top with lights and effects or as simple as a minimal architecture photo. The frequency of your posts will depend on how fast you can produce content and how much your audience is expecting that content. But, it ultimately should not affect the reactions you get. Let us explain…
Since there are so many ways to interact with the app, you can create a strategy that mixes up all these different tools to engage with your daily viewers. For example, you can post on certain days of the week, redirect people to these posts with stories throughout the week, and do a live video every month. This way you can take a breath and create content in a way that is inspirational and authentic!
Whatever you do, there is no algorithm that can beat personality, authenticity, and creativity. The bottom line is this: your strategy should include these elements, seamlessly woven in to create meaningful relationships with your viewers.