Should you have an Instagram strategy?
Someone asked me this the other day and I wanted to write about it here. So many artists, creatives, solopreneurs, etc. struggle with their strategy on this platform. I’ve been there! In the early days, I’d post when I felt like it, talked about what I thought my audience would enjoy, and there was no tracking performance and really seeing what was resonating with my followers.
Did I grow my audience? Sure! The thing is though, the algorithm wasn’t around those days, and it was much easier to be seen on the platform because 8-9 years ago, there wasn’t many people posting their creative work on Instagram. The fight for viewers attention was much less intense.
Now, we all know that showing up consistently every day or multiple times a week is HUGE for “beating the algorithm” and growing your community.
So now, more than ever, it’s IMPERATIVE that you have a sound Instagram strategy, and know how to measure performance. Along with this, having an Instagram strategy doesn’t just mean I’m talking about posting on the app. Instagram should be the handshake or the greeting to your products, services, or offers and should not be the only way your audience is hearing from you. In this post, I explained a bit about why this is, but let’s talk about the importance of strategy for a second.
Creativity and strategy CAN coexist. In fact, strategy allows you to focus on honing and strengthening your creative skills. It helps you measure what’s resonating, so you can focus more energy on what’s going to move the needle in your business.
There’s been so many times in the past where I’ve spent countless hours on something that ended up being a total flop. Listing prints in my shop, a semi-custom invitation line, etc. But if I had actually looked at my metrics and listened to my audience, I would’ve known they weren’t looking for that from me! What they wanted was education. Strategy and listening to my audience has allowed me to pivot countless times with my business and has impacted my business and income in HUGE ways.
Steps to develop an Instagram Strategy that Works
1. Ask Questions
Asking your audience questions can make a huge difference when it comes time to launch a new product, or promote an offer. Had I talked about my prints more, shared the process, and asked my audience what they wanted, my efforts would’ve been validated! Not only that, but when it came time to promote the new shop items, my followers would’ve been warmed up to the idea of purchasing my prints! Never underestimate the power of using your platform as your own focus group! If you don’t have an audience beyond your mom and grandma, hop on your competitor’s posts! What questions are they getting asked? Turn this into content on YOUR profile, blog, etc. that could attract and direct new followers to your offers!
Every week, hop on the explore page and do some keyword and hashtag research. I talk ALL about hashtags in a live video I did on Facebook: watch the replay HERE. It’s SO important that you’re monitoring what your ideal customer is searching, what posts they’re commenting on, and the hashtags that are performing well.
Beyond Instagram, open up Pinterest, and type in some key searches within your industry and what you offer. Let’s say you have an online shop with watercolor prints. Type in “Watercolor prints” in the search bar on Pinterest, and see what other keyword searches pop up! Pinterest is where people are looking for inspiration and new products to fill their home, etc. so this will provide you with awesome insights on what your ideal customer is searching for!
3. Engage more than you post
Engagement dips and stagnant growth got you bummin’? Join the club! Everyone’s engagement has been taking huge hits lately because of the algorithm. But sitting around and complaining about it isn’t going to help you beat it, right? Along with that, if you’re spending time engaging with the community you already have, your followers will turn into raving fans of your content and work. I want to challenge you to never post and ghost, but to only post on your feed when you know you can spend at least 15 minutes engaging with every comment and DM. If you aren’t getting any comments or messages, hop over to other people’s feeds and comment! Don’t just like a bunch of their photos. Liking is the least heartfelt way to engage with a person’s profile.
If your competitor’s audience regularly sees you commenting, guess what? A few may think “I wonder who this person is,” and click on your profile! If they like what they see, you’re likely to get yourself a new follower!
Get scrappy. Build community. Send messages that are thoughtful and treat every comment like a conversation.
Adding these three steps into your weekly and daily Instagram strategy will help you drive real results in your business and help you beat the algorithm!