How To Create an Instagram Content Strategy

There are a few things you need to consider prior to developing an Instagram content strategy. Do you know what Instagram is all about? It is not enough to know that Instagram is a huge platform with millions of active users to be successful.

To have a successful Instagram account, you must post consistently. If you haven’t seen Instagram before creating an account, you might not know this.

If you only post occasionally, your posts will become less interesting to other users or they may even forget about your account. Posting too frequently can annoy or overwhelm your followers. If they unfollow you as a result.

You will be able to determine your weak points once you’ve looked into Instagram. Your Instagram content strategy will be able to help you with this.

If you create an Instagram content strategy, you will ensure that your posts are as successful as possible.

Create an Instagram Content Strategy

Your content strategy is the most important element of your plan for marketing on Instagram. Without content, social media marketing on Instagram is impossible.

You will have no audience since an audience only exists if there is content for them to consume. Without an audience, engagement is an impossibility.

Lastly, without an audience, your brand does not have a pool of individuals that it can convert to become paying customers for what you offer.

In order to find Instagram Brand success, you will need to create a marketing plan tailored specifically for Instagram. To build an engaging community and see real results for your brand, you will have to do this.

Your strategy should include these four things.

1. Identify Goals for Instagram Marketing

Before you can venture out and create content for Instagram, you must first determine your goal for marketing on the platform. There are different goals you can set in social media marketing. All of these should be for the benefit of your business. But there are goals that would be more suitable in certain situations for your business. Keep this in mind and see how the following social media objective would benefit your overall business goals.

Increase Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is how many of your target market and/or audience knows your brand. This goal also considers how well these people know your brand. This knowledge can range from simple recognition of the brand name to an extensive knowledge of your brand and what you offer to the market.

Brand awareness in social media is measured in follower count, reach of social media posts, impressions on the profile and posts, and the degree of engagement of social media users concerning your brand. These same metrics can also measure goals concerning awareness on your brand’s product, promotion, content, or campaign.

Common strategies used to increase brand awareness is usually through long- term content creation, boosting posts, encouraging content sharing by followers, contests, and paid advertisement.

Drive follower traffic to a link

This is a common objective in social media marketing strategies in brands using other digital channels. These links often lead to landing and sign-up pages in their websites or blogs. The premise behind this is they use social media as a gateway to their sales or subscription funnel. Businesses and blogs that implement this in their strategy experience the highest growth in terms of website traffic.

This increase in traffic might not seem much in the short-term for profits.

However, the individuals’ part of this traffic is absorbing everything what the brand wants their audience to learn about their industry, competitors, products, and brand through content marketing. If they were able to get this traffic to sign- up, they are retaining this traffic since updates for new content are sent directly to the subscriber. As a result, they have a greater chance of becoming a customer in the long run.

Metrics used to measure traffic driven to a link include profile visitors, social media contribution for overall digital traffic, bounce rate to measure quality, and clicks made on social media links. Since Instagram does not allow links on posts, profiles are limited to placing links only on the bio. There are third party tools available that let users direct link traffic to a menu with multiple links. These tools also include analytics to measure the destination and quality of traffic gained from Instagram.

Generate leads

Lead generation is a prerequisite for brands selling a product or service with a long sales process. The price of these items is often at the higher range and, therefore, potential customers require a longer time for making a decision. Generating a lead requires the business to obtain an individual’s contact information, usually a name and an e-mail. There are some that make do with gaining the information from a person’s social media account. But this approach is dependent on the person’s access on the platform and how long the platform will last. On the other hand, a person’s e-mail generally stays in use regardless of how many social media accounts its owner terminates.

Metrics used to measure this goal include the personal information collected from traffic coming from social media. It also measures the number of downloads from traffic coming from the same channel or those that signed up from social media. It also checks the click-through rates of links in organic posts, boosted posts, and paid ads that lead to the landing page or gated content. Lastly, it measures the quality of leads taken from social media by comparing the number of conversions from the number of leads generated. 

Increase conversions

Conversions are followers that sign-up for blog subscriptions or become paying customers. Social media usually only gets involved with creating conversions when a brand does not have a sales funnel set in its digital marketing strategy. The traffic is a mix of organic from a brand’s followers in a platform and of paid from targeted ads on the same platform.

However, some brands also use social media as a source of traffic for their sales funnel. These brands are often those that have high-ticket products that require leads to stay in the funnel for a longer time to convert. Because this greater time requirement, these sales funnels take all the traffic it can get in the internet.

The metrics considered for this objective are similar to those considered for driving traffic to links. The only difference is the heavy emphasis on profit or sign-ups made per day or per volume of traffic. The cost per conversion is also considered for ad campaigns implemented in social media platforms.

2. Identify Your Audience on Instagram

As a business, you already know your target market. You know their persona and their characteristics as an individual. However, this persona is a different one from the one that you would target on social media. The characteristics of your customer could have similarities to the persona of your social media audience. However, unlike the persona of your ideal customer, your audience would have a wider variety in character personas.

This difference between the customer and audience persona arises from the fact that your social media audience does not have to become your customers to like your brand. This is due to social media content providing a different experience from what your product offers. Although the content is created to directly or indirectly promote the brand, the audience is free to choose on how they view your content.

Start at the macro level

This freedom in how people use content on social media leads to the diversity of personas present in a brand’s audience. It is best to start a more general view of your audience by identifying the basic information of these personas: age, gender, and lifestyle.

In determining the lifestyle of your audience personas, you would only have to consider the lifestyle of an individual in relation to your brand and industry. For example, if your brand is in the sportswear industry, the lifestyle of the persona would be in relation to their level of daily physical activity.

Your customer persona (or personas) would hint as to what these are. You can use their age, gender, and lifestyles as a starting point in creating your audience personas

Research your industry, competitors, and target content topics on Instagram

The best way to get started in building up these personas you started is by looking at the conversations present on Instagram. If you have an existing presence in another platform, you can use what you know about the conversations on that platform as a starting point. However, it is best to start fresh since there is a greater chance that the conversation occurring in Instagram is different from the one in the other platform.

You would want to look at the conversations users are making about your industry. You can start researching the posts and comments present at a broad level such as your industry. You would then narrow down to the following level by looking at the brands in this industry (including yours). Then, you will narrow it further by looking at the different propositions you offer to your customers.

To illustrate, use the past example of a brand in sportswear. Let us say that this brand exclusively caters to women. This makes the first level of topics as female sportswear. The second level would be your brand or your competitor’s. The third level would be the different value propositions offered by these brands like breathable, unique graphics, gym, outdoors, yoga, running, sustainable materials, fashionable, or cooling.

Summarize what you have researched under each persona

After you have done your research, summarize what you collected under each audience persona you have. This will let you see what the individuals qualifying for the personas have in common. You should have information on what each persona talks about, loves, or hates (do not love or care about).

Knowing each persona’s interests, likes, and dislikes would give you different ideas for topics that you can use for your posts. Most of these would have little to no in relation to your industry or brand. But these topics are exactly what you need to create a relationship with your audience and make your brand feel human.

Create a List Content Ideas. In researching your brand’s audience personas, you took a look at the conversations going on about your industry. You would have likely found personal, influencer, and business accounts that post content effective in creating engagement with your target audience. These accounts are your competition in the platform, and they would give you a good idea to which posts work well for your audience.

To create your list, look for posts that have a good number of views and comments in their feed. Evaluate the subjects they use on their video and images. Take a smart guess on the possible objectives behind these posts and look at how well these posts work in achieving those goals. Read the captions and evaluate how it affects the engagement of the audience. The information you gain from this will give you several ideas for posts and on how you can implement it for your brand.

Look for behind-the-scenes, employee content, user or customer content, educational content, quotes, memes, statistics, funny content, newsjacking, illustrations, content promotion, products, contests, giveaways, takeovers, mosaics, tag requests, cross-promotion, and hiring announcements in their feed and stories. Which of these do they frequently use? How do they use these? What is the reaction of their audience for these posts? What do they write in their captions for these posts? How do they encourage their users or employees to create content for them?

Do not restrict your assessment on what works well for these profiles. In order to make your brand stand out from the rest, you have to bring something new to your target audience. You can do this by also looking at what these profiles and their content lack. Look at gaps in their content that could add value to the audience and areas that you can improve the quality of the content.

Also, take a look at what they post on their stories. Although you will have to rely on what they have posted for the past 24 hours, this can still give you a hint on how you can use stories for marketing your brand. You can also check their featured stories to see their best posts in this channel.

It will also help if you start following these profiles and frequently monitor their activity. This will give you a better hint on their content for their stories and live videos.

3. Plan Your Hashtags

As a user of the app, the best hashtags to follow in Instagram are those used more often. These would give you more videos and images on your feed. However, as a business, using popular ones would not improve your chances of being discovered or getting more likes and comments.

The better way in choosing hashtags is by using those that have a smaller audience or niche relevant to your post, brand, or industry. This would give you a greater chance of being discovered by someone unaware of your brand and getting engagements on your posts.

But this does not mean that you would use a hashtag that no one or very few profiles use. These hashtags with only a few posts have a very small audience so it would not have any impact on your account getting new followers or engagement. The ideal post volume at a minimum would be at around 1,000 to 10,000 posts per week.

This is why it is recommended to use five to ten hashtags per post. These should be a combination of hashtags with high volume and low volume of posts. It is best to choose up to three hashtags with high post volume relevant to your brand. The rest of the hashtags should each have a hyper-focused niche audience.

Here are some ways on how you can research hashtags for your posts and brand: Use What Your Audience Uses. If your audience uses a hashtag, chances are they are following it. Take a note of these hashtags and use it when it fits your content. Taking this approach is often the best way to get your posts on the screen of your target audience.

Use What Your Competitor Uses. A competitor with good engagement in Instagram shows that they have done their homework. You can benefit from their efforts by finding out the hashtags they are using. You can then determine if these hashtags can fit your content and your audience. If it does, feel free to use it when appropriate.

Look for Related Hashtags. Use the hashtags you currently use as starting points to learn new hashtags. For example, if you are using #sailinglifestyle as a hashtag, you can search Instagram for the keyword sailing to see related hashtags. From there, you can see the hashtags that target a wide audience like #sailinglife and that target a small niche like #sailingfamily.

4. Set Visual Rules for Your Content

It might seem odd to plan how your posts appear on social media, especially if your business does not have anything to do with the creative, interior design, advertising, or fashion industry. But this is the reality of marketing for businesses using social media, especially Instagram. Instagram having an emphasis on visual content would naturally have users looking for pictures and videos with good aesthetics. It also gives your posts uniformity so your audience can easily associate its appearance with your brand. Ultimately, you want your audience to know that your brand posted it without them having to look at the identity of who posted it.

Create a consistent “look”

The first consideration you must take in this is deciding how you want your brand’s feed to look like. You will see from browsing popular Instagram business accounts that their posts have a consistent pattern. You can achieve the same thing by taking photos and videos with similar colors, patterns, lighting, textures, and mood.

If your brand has a logo, you can keep it consistent by using the same colors on the digital art and background you will use for overlaying texts. You can also insert the logo itself to stamp your ownership for the image or video.

If your brand is centered around your identity, you can use your image as the constant element for your content. This is what personal coaches, thought leaders, and authors usually implement on their feed.

Keep a consistent editing style

This is the easiest way to make your feed have a cohesive look. You just have to use the same filter for every photo you post. This also applies to the editing style you will apply when touching up your photos. Keep the levels on your contrast, brightness, and temperature consistent. You can write these settings on a document file to have a guide in your future edits.

If you are using graphics on your photos (logos and text), keep the typography, style, and color theme consistent for other illustrations you would add to your images. You can also make the placing of these graphics to improve the uniformity on your posts.

Videos are just as important for Instagram. So, the rules you use for photos should apply for videos as well. You can use the Instagram app to apply the same filter that you use for your photos.

If you are applying changes on the color values of your photos using an app like VSCO, you will have to use the same app for editing your videos. Therefore, it is best to use a photo editing app that can edit videos as well. Doing so will keep your feed consistent and your editing process easier.

For photos and videos taken with a camera, the editing process would be easier on a computer with iMovie or the Adobe software suite. Although it might take some time, these editing programs can replicate the same editing settings from the editing app on your smartphone.

Maintain balance on your feed

Photos with “busy” or “noisy” looks beside each other give out a cluttered feel. It will make your feed look heavy and compressed since there is too much going on. You can break this aesthetic feel by placing clean or minimal photos beside the heavy and cluttered images.

This also applies to the screenshots you use for your videos. You have to consider how it affects the overall look of your feed.

Implementing the Strategy Once you have accomplished the strategy, you are now ready to implement it through your brand’s Instagram content. You can start creating the content that you will post for Instagram. These constant adjustments and implementations should be expected for any marketing effort done on social media platforms. This is why you have to make regular checks on the analytics to see if your current strategy is working for your existing objectives on Instagram.

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