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The Art + Strategy Behind an Effective Instagram Account (Webinar Recap)

Robinson Meyer Quote

Quinn Tempest, freelance graphic designer and digital marketing strategist, started out her webinar about Instagram with this simple quote. It’s a simple quote for a simple social media platform. While the platform is simple, your Instagram content strategy should be anything but. According to Quinn, there has to be a balance between the art of content creation and content strategy for your business Instagram account. Instagram for business isn’t just about pretty pictures.

Quinn started with some stats about the current growth and success of the Instagram platform:

  • At the end of 2017, Instagram was at 800 million active users.
  • Growing at 100 million users per four months, Instagram has 500 million daily active users. 
  • 300 million of the daily active users are daily active Instagram story users.
  • At the end of November 2017, 25 million businesses were on Instagram
  • 200 million people actively visit a brand’s profile daily.

If these numbers aren’t enough to convince you to get an Instagram account for your business and get serious about your strategy, I don’t know what will!

 

Quinn emphasized the importance of each Instagram post. She believes that every piece of content you produce can be the start of a relationship with a future customer.

 

 

 

 

 

“The Art of Instagram”

  • Visual strategy is an extension of your content marketing strategy with a visual voice.

– 3 questions to think about:

∗ What does your brand stand for?

∗ What does your audience care about?

∗ What makes you unique?

  • Visual strategy should include more of a lifestyle feel than a strong focus on products.

– But if the content is fun, then it’s okay to include products in the images (example: @YesTo).

  • Content Diversity

– Product/brand photos

– Lifestyle shots

– User-generated content

– Behind-the-scenes

– Graphic art

  • Make an impression – 67% of profile visits to businesses come from people who aren’t currently following them.
  • Perfect your look

– Color palette

– Feel

– Editing style

– Depth/white space

Grid placement

  • Try Instagram Stories

Stories bring your business to life, providing a glimpse into the broader universe of your brand.

– They are a little more loose, transparent, and have an organic feeling.

– Example: give a tour of your business space on a story or series of stories

– Also, you can repurpose your post content in your Instagram Stories.

She also reminded the audience that the Instagram algorithm is very fickle. It seems to change from day to do. To beat the algorithm, you need to know how it works and then reverse engineer it to your benefit:

  • Timeliness is key. Posting at the perfect time for your audience is important.
  • The currency of Instagram is engagement (likes and comments).
  • Relevancy is the best way to get the highest bang for your buck.

TIMELINESS

If you don’t already have one, make sure your Instagram account is a business account. This gives you account analytics to help you determine the best times to post. While there is no magic formula to determine the best time to post, Quinn did mention a few tips and tricks to determine the best time for your business:

  • Find out your historical best posting times in your analytics and see what time zone has the most followers.

– Schedule posts using these two data points as your reference.

  • Weekdays are usually better for engagement, but that’s not a hard and fast rule so you need to…
  • Test, test, test

ENGAGEMENT

The more engagement you get quickly will determine how well your post does in the long-run so timing matters. She recommends that you respond to regularly to comments on your posts, but she also recommends regularly commenting on and liking posts from other accounts. She also recommends engaging with other profiles right after you post something new to help whip up engagement on your most recent post.

RELEVANCY

The hashtags you use on Instagram are a great way to be discovered. Quinn recommends researching your hashtags thoroughly and using them strategically. Use popular hashtags but avoid those that are too saturated, especially if you’re still in the process of building your followers. You want people to discover you but you don’t want to get lost in a hashtag that everybody is using. She also recommends using all 30 available hashtags (Instagram allows 30 hashtags per post and Quinn’s philosophy is, “They give you a limit of 30, so why not use all 30?”)

She also recommends that you figure out the main “buckets” for your post and base your caption and hashtags on those buckets. She gave us an example from one of her posts.

Quinn discussed the importance of using your Instagram as part of a larger marketing strategy. She recommends that you regularly create opportunities to draw your audience off of the platform and into your own channels. Instagram could change at any time and that change could have a negative impact on your strategy and your business. In case this happens, capture email addresses in order to nurture the relationships you’ve built. To incorporate this into your strategy, she recommends:

  • Including calls-to-action within your posts to visit the link in your bio.
  • Using the “swipe up” or other linking options on Instagram Stories (available to accounts with 10,000+ followers)
  • Offering giveaways, freebies, or useful gated content in order to capture emails

Quinn also offered some strategic planning tips and various tools to help you with your strategy.

Strategic Planning Tips

  • Bring art and strategy together with an Instagram editorial calendar.
  • Create a target list based on hashtags, accounts followed, and engagement.

Instagram Toolbox

  • Editing Apps

– Snapseed

– A Color Story

– VSCO

– Afterlight

– A Design Kit

  • Dedicated Instagram Planning

– Later

– Planoly

– UNUM

– Preview

– PLANN

  • Content Creation

– Hyperlapse

– Boomerang

– Layout

  • Deep Analytics + Engagement

– Iconosquare

– PeopleMap

Finally, Quinn outlined an action plan that any business can start with, whether you’re just starting out on Instagram or you’re more experienced with Instagram for business. She recommends your action plan include the following:

  • Test and pick your Instagram tool(s) of choice
  • Collect and curate content
  • Schedule your best time blocks
  • Create a hashtag library
  • Write strategic captions
  • Batch your planning sessions
  • Follow some of the tools listed above (on social media or their blog) to keep up with algorithm changes.

Remember that the simplicity of the Instagram platform doesn’t mean that your business approach to Instagram should be simple. Quinn’s great advice from this webinar will help you get on the right path to an effective Instagram account for your business!

Why do I work at AWG? “I like working for a company that supports local, often times family-owned, businesses in everything they do in order to help them succeed and stay competitive. It’s great to interact with the stores on a daily basis and learn about their story and the communities they serve.” -Melanie

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