fbpx

If you think Instagram is not an essential part of your marketing strategy, you’re not the only one. At first glance, it seems like it’s a platform where you’re putting some fancy pics, videos, GIFs, and selfies. Partially, this is true.

Let’s be real now. Currently, ‘gram is a gold mine, even for B2B (I’ll talk about this in the near future). You can literally use it for anything: to sell, to build communities and even educate people. If you don’t believe, here are some interesting facts:

      • The number of users following a brand on Instagram sees between 6% and 8% growth month-over-month;
      • 83% of users visited a business profile after seeing a post from a friend on the ‘gram;
      • 60% of users discovered a product via Instagram;
      • 30% of users bought the product after the discovery.

Look… you can’t afford to gamble on Instagram. You need to have a clear, killer strategy if you want to attract new customers and dominate!

That’s why I decided to share with you the process I use to create a neat strategy and help you rule this magical platform.

Before we start, it’s important that you understand how Instagram works!

 

 

 

I don’t know about you, but whenever I talk about Instagram strategy with my clients, in 83% of cases I received the same answer: “Instagram is the future. Everyone is active there and it’ll be easy.”

It’s true that we can easily get new customers, but it’s important to understand the technical aspect.

Here’s an example:

You’re hangin’ out with your buddy who is a financial assistant. You’re sitting next to each other, scrolling down the ‘gram and checking out what’s happening there. The first 5 posts you see are a 100% match because these posts are from your friends. But the following are completely different. This happens because Instagram does not consider marketing content as relevant to your partner as it considers it to you. This means that your business profile won’t be visible to everyone because Instagram wants it to be visible to people who are really interested in the content you’re creating.

There are three main signals that affect the visibility of your content: interests, recency, and relationship.

 

 

 

Interests – At the top of the feed you can find the content that Instagram considers relevant. For the ‘gram, relevance means how many times the user engaged with the content (liked, commented, shared, saved, reacted to story and how long he stayed at the content), how many times did the user send a message and how many times did the user search the profile. Based on this, Instagram displays content that is relevant for the user but also provides the ability to see similar profiles and content through Explore Feed.

Recency – We had a chronological feed before and this is something that we all want back. However, Instagram now displays content that is more relevant, but also takes into account when the content was published. For example, a user won’t see a post that was published 5 minutes ago but will see a post from 15 minutes ago first. This happens because Instagram prioritizes content that is a perfect match for the user. Sometimes, it bugs… shit happens.

Relationship – Instagram doesn’t want you to miss important events from your “Instagram buddies”. Instagram buddies are the users with who you engage the most via interactions, messaging, reacting to stories and similar. Based on the relationship, Instagram decides which content goes first.

So, Instagram wants the person to see the most relevant content first, based on his previous activity on Instagram. The best example of the relevant content is the picture of your friends’ engagement/anniversary. I strongly believe that by now you’ve seen this picture 100 times at the top of your feed. This happens because it has a lot of interactions and because of that Instagram doesn’t want you to miss it. 

Trust me, 83% of my previous clients didn’t realize how Instagram works. That’s why I’ve included this as an integral part of the strategy under the category “Explain Like I’m 5”.

 

 

The first step in creating a successful Instagram strategy is to understand who do you want to reach out to with your content. That’s why you need to create a buyer persona.

Process of creating a buyer persona can be found here

However, my previous experience has shown that creating an ideal user for Instagram looks a bit different. Before I start explaining my process, you need to be aware of the following stats:

      • 64% of users are younger population, more precisely users between 18 and 34 years;
      • 80% of users follow at least one brand;
      • 66% of profile visits come from users that are not following your profile;
      • 52% of users are female;
      • On average, people use Instagram for 53 minutes daily.

Users want personalized content and therefore my approach to crafting an ideal persona begins by answering the following questions:

      • Age
      • Gender
      • Country
      • Which hashtags does he/she follow and search?
      • Which events does he/she hang out?
      • Which competitors does he/she follow?
      • Which influencers does he/she follow?

Although this may seem tedious, you need to remember that users want to see what interests them the most. Adapting content to your ideal user is the key to grow and increase the visibility of your brand.

 

 

The main question that you need to ask yourself is: What do I want to achieve by positioning on Instagram?

Instagram isn’t for you to goof around. It requires a lot of investment. I’m not just talking about the money. The only resource we can’t get back is time. It is important to set targets that will make you sweat each day, but that they are realistic – achievable. Depending on business and industry, goals can vary: from creating an engaged community, through brand awareness to increased conversion and sales.

Before deciding which goals are the most important, we need to go through two types of metrics: vanity metrics and business metrics.

Vanity metrics – number of likes, comments, followers, etc…

Business metrics – reach, impressions, engagement rate, website traffic, ROI, ROAS, etc…

Both vanity and business metrics have an impact on your goals. The most important thing is to decide which metrics are best suited to your goal and make an effective performance assessment system – tracking targets on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual level. My recommendation is to study OKR System.

 

.

 

As important as mapping out your ideal person, it is also important to map out your competitors.

Here’s how I do it: before I start thinking about the type of content I want to create, I analyze local, national and global competitors. Competitors aren’t just businesses that are in direct competition. There are also indirect competitors – communities and businesses that do not offer the same product, service or content, but they satisfy the same need.

So, I’m not only analyzing high-performing businesses that are in direct competition with me, but I’m also analyzing magazines, influencers, educational pages in the niche and so on.

My approach to analyzing and mapping out the competition is the following:

      • What’s their engagement rate?
      • What’s their community management strategy?
      • How does their call to action look like?
      • Which hashtags do they use?
      • What type of content do they create?
      • What type of content is dominant?
      • How often do they post?
      • What’s the average amount of likes and comments per post?
      • How many website visits do they achieve?

Why am I analyzing all of this? It gives me the opportunity to learn about the competition, to find out which content generates the greatest engagement, the smallest engagement, how to compete with the competition and what type of content does the audience expect from them.

 

 

Before you start brainstorming and get 10 mental breakdowns, you need to pay attention to the look of your profile, known as Instagram Aesthetics.

Let’s debunk a myth… Instagram Aesthetics is not one picture divided into 9 squares. Instagram Aesthetics include:

      • Creative – aligning the content design and brand guidelines with the goal of engaging a person while scrolling through your profile;
      • Theme – every row in a grid should represent a specific topic you want to cover.

You should keep in mind this: Instagram is your website. You want every person who visits you to have a kickass experience and dope first impression.

Benefits of having Instagram Aesthetic strategy in place are the following:

      • The awesome content design leaves a positive impression on the user. Remember what I said earlier: 66% of the profile visits come from users that do not follow your brand.
      • If each row in the grid has a theme that is dedicated to a specific topic, users will have a crystal clear expectation – what are you going to post the next day. For example, if they follow you for educational video content, they will know that every 2nd day they will get a piece of content they’re interested in.
      • When you have a planned feed, it will be much easier for you to integrate a content calendar. You’ll adapt your content to the planned topics and the whole team will have crystal clear roles and planned activities at least for a month in advance.

Now that we’ve clarified this, it’s time to talk about content creation. The logic behind my approach is based on this interesting quote:

“Content build relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.” – Andrew Davis

72% of people will not connect with the brand if the content is promotional. Users are running away from ads and gated content because they want to enjoy the content that refreshes them, inspire them and put a smile on their face. Users want to be part of the community, feel comfortable and have a close and friendly connection with their favorite brand. Therefore, your content strategy should be based on creating friendly relationships with your audience.

The model that brought me massive results is the 95/5 principle – 95% of the content is focused on community building, while 5% of the content is promotional and pitchy. Now that you have a cornerstone, it’s easier for you to decide which formats you’ll use.

If you’ve analyzed the competition and created your buyer persona, you already know what type of content your audience needs. I can’t tell you exactly what will work for you, but I’m gonna tell you what worked for me.

Before I started working for Hashnode, I had the opportunity to work for one US-based marketing agency as an Instagram Marketing Specialist. While I was creating a strategy, we discussed aesthetics and content creation. The plan was to follow brand guidelines and content to cover three major topics:

      • Interesting facts about the services we provide;
      • Motivational quotes and sayings for business owners and c-level executives;
      • Tips and tricks for business owners and c-level executives.

In the first two months, just across Instagram, we had 8 warm leads, from startups to e-commerce business owners with $0 invested. Yes, B2B via Instagram WORKS! 🎉🎉

We aimed to show a friendly approach and to provide quality pieces of content in order to build trust and confidence. On average, it takes up to 7 touchpoints through content with the potential customer in order for him to submit a quote, in case content is not promotional!

 

 

Hashtags have a tremendous influence on the organic growth of your profile. How do you know which hashtags are right for your profile? This is the easiest way for me to explain it to you:

Imagine yourself running an e-commerce business for selling sunglasses. If you use generic hashtag #sunglasses, your content is unlikely to be seen due to the huge competition – over 31.6 million posts. However, if you use #sunglasseson, the more likely it is for you to reach more people.

Why #sunglasseson? Competition is almost non-existent – only 47.1k posts and top 10 posts have between 98 and 1183 likes, which is a solid interaction.

The unwritten rule is that with a larger engagement rate you can compete with big players and you can use hashtags where the competition is stronger. The principle that I use for choosing the right hashtags is the following:

      • Up to 50 average likes per post, use hashtags with up to 10.000 posts;
      • Up to 100 average likes per post, use hashtags with up to 50.000 posts;
      • Up to 200 average likes per post, use hashtags with up to 100.000 posts;
      • Up to 500 average likes per post, use hashtags with up to 500.000 posts;
      • Up to 1.000 average likes per post, use hashtags with up to 1.000.000 posts;
      • Above 1.000 average likes per post, use hashtags with over 1.000.000 posts.

You can place up to 30 hashtags per post. My advice is to be as specific as you can be because this way you narrow down the number of people who will see your posts, meanwhile you’re precisely targeting the audience which will surely interact with your content.

Use specific hashtags to describe your caption and picture. Instagram Algorithm hates when you use irrelevant hashtags. If you use irrelevant hashtags, you’re reaching out to the audience which isn’t connected to your business at all. A lose-lose situation.

Here’s example of how hashtags affected one of my posts.

Specifically, for this picture, I used specific hashtags related to the tech industry, which generated solid interactions and have a lower number of posts per hashtag (up to 100.000 posts). This is how the hashtag structure looks like:

      • One branded hashtag;
      • Up to 10 specific hashtags that describe copy and the picture;
      • At least one synonym hashtag.

 

 

As I told you at the very beginning of this article, Instagram wants to show you only relevant content – content that you think is relevant to you based on your previous activity. It is crystal clear here that CTA must be focused on motivating the user to like, share or comment on the post.

Comments have the BIGGEST impact on the visibility of your posts. Whether it’s a long-form or short-form caption, depending on the goals, the tone and the way you communicate, the most crucial thing you need to have is an effective CTA that will empower users to comment.

To be honest, I can’t tell you whether you should use a long-form or short-form caption, but I can explain to you what I did and how both helped me achieve outstanding results.

Long-form Caption – Long-form content will only work if you have one goal – storytelling. To quote Seth Godin:

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make. It’s about the stories you tell.“

This was the principle I applied while I was running Instagram for the aforementioned marketing agency and where we managed to generate leads directly through Instagram. The approach was friendly, had American slang and everything was personalized – you could have an impression that we are drinking beer together and you’re getting cutting-edge tips for free. The concept was the following:

      • Intro – briefly explained what am I going to tell you today;
      • Story – awesome industry insights, why is this important and how it helped other companies grow;
      • Advice – Top 3 reasons why you need to implement this today;
      • Call to Action – How do you plan to apply this? Let us know in the comments below.

Not only that we were tearing the roof up with vanity metrics, but we made Instagram a lead generation machine.

Short-form Caption – A brief, educational and/or interesting caption with an effective CTA that motivates you to engage in the discussion. Check out my previous blog for more information.

What’s the right caption for you? You’ll know it once you analyze your competition and define your buyer persona.

Remember this: you’re not creating content for yourself. You’re making it for your audience.

 

 

Is it just enough to have good content nowadays? Sadly, no. And here’s why:

      • 500.000 users upload Instagram Story daily;
      • 22.140 photos are being posted each minute.

This is the reason why you need to find a way to position yourself to your targeted audience. There are various tools that will help you. I can tell you what I did and how it helped me position certain pages I was managing. 

Community Management – Taking into consideration that my focus is building an engaged community, what brought me consistent growth on Instagram was a friendly approach. I answered every comment with a question, where I inspired people to comment again and engage in meaningful discussion. Responding to messages can also have an enormous impact, but even better if you’re the one who will initiate a conversation.

Direct Message – At the bottom of the right corner, you’ll see a chat window. In there you’ll find a link to a document that you’ll be able to download completely free and without leaving any contact info. I made a conversational flow used to people who found us organically. The idea was to do SEO, PPC, SMM and other analyses completely free. The response rate was 38%! Interesting fact: every person who responded positively visited the website.

Automation – Before I start explaining automation, I need to debunk one myth. Automating Follow/Unfollow and likes don’t bring you fake followers. Automating is not buying. Automation helps you simplify certain activities and reach your laser-targeted audience. I won’t bother you with this. You can read my previous article on how I started a business profile from scratch and had over 46.62% engagement rate.

Advertising – This is a special topic and I won’t go into details. I’ll soon write a new article on how to use ads to gain organic exposure and engagement.

 

 

We’re at the very end. There are various tools for measuring results, such as Buffer, Later, Sprout Social, HootSuite, and so on. I’ve tested all of them and I can tell you that they are truly great. The problem is that some companies aren’t ready to invest yet and you have to rely on Instagram analytics, which, in my opinion, aren’t that much useful.

That’s why I built a semi-automated Google Sheet. It’s based on a simple logic: you’re typing results from Instagram and other sites (linked in the document) in the Metrics tab daily. You only have to track your results by selecting the date range and you’ll see a visual and numerical overview of results in the Dashboard and Visual Analytics tab.

The good thing about this is that I managed to simplify the entire reporting system for myself. All I have to do is to give the person in charge access to the sheet so he/she can track the results by selecting the date range.

You can download this tool for free. Just click on the link in the chat.

Conclusion

„An hour of planning can save you ten hours of doing.“ – Dale Carnegie

This happened to me 4 years ago. I was learning how to do Instagram marketing by creating and running my own profiles without any plan nor strategy while spending at least 10 hours a day. However, when I started planning, one hour a day of planning turned that 10 hours into 2 hours of effective work.

How will this strategy help you out?

If you start planning your Instagram positioning based on these steps, I guarantee you will:

      • look more professional and more serious to your clients;
      • be able to easily implement content calendar;
      • simplify the process of goal setting;
      • properly plan your Instagram marketing efforts;
      • gather a team around a mutual goal.

To make it easier for you, I made a checklist with steps you need to follow when creating an Instagram strategy. You can download it by clicking the link in the chat.

I sincerely hope that this will help you dominate on Instagram in the upcoming period. I’d love to hear how it worked out for ya.

Also, you can find an infographic I made below so you can save it and revisit it if you’re stuck at some point.

 

 

 

P.S. Did you like this article? Feel free to reach out to me if you need any help and throw some epic reaction beneath this text. Also, if you think this article would help someone, feel free to share it! 😊

Like
Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry
4

Privacy Preference Center