A Winning Instagram Strategy is Both Art AND Science

By Adam Turner

As of late 2018, Instagram had surpassed the 1 billion active users per month mark. Companies that take the time to discover the right blend of the art and strategy of a gorgeous, captivating, engaging Instagram feed that aligns with their brand and service goals, a whole new universe potential customers opens.

Design, branding, and IG expert (and frequent DS speaker) Quinn Tempest has been spreading the IG gospel on many Digital Summit stages and says the juggernaut growth trajectory that Insta has been on makes it the “perfect place to create a relationship with your target audience.” The data has shown this to be true. The 25 million-plus businesses that have profiles will often see 80 percent of their audiences engage with new content.

Check out one of Quinn’s previous DS sessions on the Art & Strategy of an Effective Instagram Account

To share in the success of Instagram, it’s important to build a sense of brand loyalty and to understand the content viewers want to see. 

In today’s technological landscape, companies should strive to build trust with their customers, and the best way to do that is by engaging with them on Instagram. Some ways Tempest recommends building that trust is by responding to all the comments on your posts and by following and interacting with the members’ profiles. It’s also important to keep up on posting new content.

“Every single piece of content — every blog, every Instagram post, every Insta story — can be the start of a relationship with your target audience,” Tempest said.

Content shapes the Instagram experience for users, and the more frequently you post, the more likely members are to engage with content. By strategically planning a variety of content viewers will enjoy, which may include lifestyle photos, member-made content and brand photos, social media managers can drive the fascination surrounding their accounts.

“Instagram is a curated visual experience of your brand that is creatively presented and strategically planned in order to build a relationship with your audience,” Tempest said.

Another way to increase engagement is through the strategic use of hashtags. Tempest reminds people not to use hashtags that just state what is happening in the photo. After all, those tend to be common tags that have millions of posts all competing against each other for attention. There are three categories of hashtags Tempest recommends focusing on when writing a post:

1. Niche hashtag: These are hashtags focused on your target audience that may be less common. It shouldn’t be so obscure that no one finds it, but it shouldn’t have too many posts.

2. Community hashtag: These are hashtags that are related to your audience’s field. Tempest gives the example of #Womanpreneur, a tag created by female entrepreneurs, as one that would apply to her consulting business.

3. Branded hashtag: This category of hashtags circles around a company’s brand. Branded hashtags create an air of consistency and familiarity when engaging with users on Instagram.

Tempest said it’s also vital to manage content to play to the site’s algorithm. Instagram no longer uses a chronological timeline, so posts that get the most likes within the first 24 hours of their lives will be more heavily promoted. To get more likes on your posts, use insights to find out where most of your viewers live and post when they are most likely to check Instagram. By doing so, members will see the posts as soon as they log in for the first time.

There are number of tools that can help you achieve this mastery of the algorithm from a strategic Instagram calendar to a hashtag library and visual grid planner.

After building a company’s following on social media, Tempest recommends building their following off-site by encouraging viewers to sign up for email lists and visit the group’s website. This way you can directly reach members instead of relying on the algorithm working in your favor.

Instagram’s visual setup makes it a powerful tool for customer recruitment and engagement, and companies are uniquely situated to take advantage of its networking qualities.

If you’re wanting more up-to-the-moment IG training, it’s a topic we’re including in most of our Digital Summit programs. Find the nearest DS event to where you live and come join us!

Adam Turner is a member of the Digital Summit content team