A few months ago, the MeetEdgar team challenged ourselves to improve our strategy for using Instagram for business. We knew that when we released Instagram scheduling for Edgar, we would want to give our users the latest strategies and tactics that really work.
1. Have fun with your brand
Every platform has its own unique style and Instagram is more of a playful place than other platforms.
You can’t just strictly sell or post product photos. Your brand’s personality is essential on Instagram. Discover what’s fun and interesting about your brand. Here are a few ideas you can make playful:
- Very cute and interesting mascot (Hi, Edgar!)
- Your funny and goofy messaging tone
- Your fun office culture
- Your bright and colorful brand colors
Whatever it is, find something that gives your brand a little something extra! If you’re a solopreneur or you work for yourself, then you can pull from your own personal life. Everyone loves an adorable pet office-mate or seeing your nomadic lifestyle photos.
No matter how you choose to share your brand, try to have some fun with it! As a bonus, you’ll end up having more fun creating this content.
2. The more you encourage, the more people will share
Think you are the only ones that hear crickets when you ask for responses on social media? Think again!
You probably know by now that engagement is king on Instagram. Posts with higher engagement tend to rank higher in the algorithm and are seen by more of your fans. So your goal should be to increase likes and comments on all of your posts.
But if you’ve ever asked for a response to your Instagram post and received a big, fat empty response of nothing, then you might be hesitant to try again.
We know the feeling because it happened to us! The first few times that we asked for responses in the comments, we received maybe one or two responses.
But we kept asking because we knew that comments are one of Instagram’s three keys to algorithm success and we wanted to beat the algorithm!
And like with many things in life, the more you persevere, the more likely you are to see success. Little by little, other users began to engage with our posts. Every time, they responded, we responded back and we tried to share some love on their page. That engagement helped us to build a better relationship with them (and show up in their feed more often)!
We also learned a few things about asking questions on Instagram:
- Ask simple questions that only require short answers.
- Ask poll-like questions that only require one word, such as “Favorite time to post: Morning or Evening?”
- Ask for emoji answers.
If you feel like you hear crickets on your first few posts – don’t sweat it. Continue to measure what content your audience loves and what they do respond to and keep asking for responses.
3. Stories drive engagement
Speaking of engagement, another huge lesson we learned on Instagram is that stories are excellent for increasing responses and driving engagement.
The trick is – you need to have a call to action in your story. Ask your followers to do something, whether it is participate in a poll, ask a question or ask your followers to DM you for more info.
This can be a very valuable practice if you share your content like your blog or your podcast or if you share new offers or promotions. Ask your follower to DM you for the link and you’ll open up a direct connection to the follower.
4. Stories need a strategy
While we’re on the topic of Instagram stories, we also learned that just like your feed, you need a strategy to make the most of your stories.
Like almost everything on social media, there’s power in being able to measure your efforts and track what’s working and what’s not.
And that is really hard to do if you don’t have a strategy!
When we first started posting stories, we were randomly sharing stories when the idea came to us. While it was fun and we certainly saw engagement, we didn’t necessarily have a method of tracking if stories were working to grow our Instagram following.
Setting a strategy for Instagram stories doesn’t have to be particularly time-consuming. The last thing you want is to create a long, complicated strategy that takes even more time for you to execute!
Instead, we recommend following these steps:
- Choose a few reasons why you share stories. Do you use it to make announcements, share behind the scenes or share expertise?
- Determine how you will measure the success of your stories. What metrics will you track from your story insights?
- Figure out how often you want to share your stories. Stories last for 24 hours so you don’t have to be constantly sharing them to see results. Instead, choose some regular intervals to share stories. This trains your audience to open your story and keeps them engaged with you.
There are some major predictions that stories are going to become even more popular than the Instagram feed. If you haven’t started using stories, now is the time to start.
5. Not all hashtags are created equal
Hashtags are practically mandatory if you want to see success on Instagram. But guess what? Randomly throwing hashtags into a post is so 2014.
Now you need to be strategic with your hashtags. We stopped arbitrarily using hashtags we liked and instead took the time to research, measure and used different hashtags on different posts.
We went from our hashtags having zero contribution to our impressions to hashtags being one of the top contributors to our reach.
When you use hashtags, make sure you always check your post insights. It’s also helpful to split your hashtags up into several different groups so you can vary the audiences you reach with your posts and measure which hashtags work best.
6. Posting is only one part of the equation
We gave you a clue that this was important a little earlier but Instagram is about so much more than just posting pretty photos every day.
If you want to see success using Instagram for business, engaging with your followers and other Instagram users is non-negotiable.
Taking 15-20 minutes a day to engage with other Instagrammers skyrocketed our impressions, reach, followers and engagement.
And if you feel like you’re just “too busy” to engage, try saving some time creating posts by scheduling them in advance with a tool like Edgar!
7. Question everything
Curiosity can make or break your success. Don’t worry about being a beginner or feeling like you should be “further ahead” because you’ll only end up beating yourself up and slowing down your growth.
Instead, allow your curiosity to lead the way and always question what’s happening without judgment.
For example, when we were first testing stories, we could have said: “We’re spending a lot of time on these and they’re not driving engagement or traffic, let’s stop doing them.”
But instead, we curiously asked, “Why isn’t this having an impact?” which led us to realize that we needed goals and structure around our stories.
Or instead of saying “Ugh X account is doing SO MUCH BETTER than us!” we looked at high performing accounts and asked “What are they doing that seems to be working?” and we learned.
Asking questions without judgment can lead to experimenting with your content, strategy, and schedule, which will lead to more data, which can lead to even better results.
We’re always learning something new at MeetEdgar and we hope you are too!
If you’ve learned a lesson or two about Instagram for business, let us know in the comments below!