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5 Key Steps to Creating an Instagram Strategy that Converts

Instagram can be a powerful channel for you to generate sales, leads and customers.

But in order to take full advantage of the platform, you need to devise a content strategy that actually works.

In this post, we'll look at five key steps you need to follow to build yourself an effective content strategy for Instagram.

1. Decide on your core topics

We all know that Instagram is a place to post your most eye-catching photos and graphics - however, just because Instagram requires you to share great photos doesn’t mean you can drift away from your core business mission or purpose. Instead, you need to come up with a creative way to capture what your company stands for and build upon your brand message.

Here's an example: Buffer's a social media management platform that helps marketers plan, schedule and share posts. Since one of the biggest benefits of using Buffer is increased work and personal life productivity, their Instagram feed is full of images that promote productivity, motivation and the digital nomad lifestyle.

5 Key Steps to Creating an Instagram Strategy that Converts | Social Media Today

Buffer’s Instagram captions are also crafted about the topics of productivity and motivation, which helps pull together their whole feed into one cohesive story:

5 Key Steps to Creating an Instagram Strategy that Converts | Social Media Today

Why is this important?

When people evaluate whether they want to follow your Instagram feed or not, they'll scroll through looking to see if the majority of posts are of interest to them. If you always post about the same topics, and those topics are a good fit for the person checking out your Instagram profile, you'll earn a follow.

Some great topics for a business Instagram account include:

  • Behind the scenes content
  • User-generated content
  • Culture focused
  • Customer stories
  • Industry focused

Most B2B companies will want to focus on culture or behind-the-scenes content to humanize the brand like Buffer does.

On the other hand, B2C companies might want to focus on products and customer stories. For example, Pottery Barn always features their products in inspirational settings, while also throwing in the occasional customer success story or tip from an interior designer.

5 Key Steps to Creating an Instagram Strategy that Converts | Social Media Today

If you’re still not sure what your Instagram topics should be, look through the Instagram profiles of some companies you really admire. What are they showcasing on their Instagram accounts?

Taking inspiration from your favorite brands can be a great way to get started.

2. Come up with a theme

Once you’ve decided on your topics, it’s time to come up with a theme.

Michelle Phan, digital trailblazer and founder of em Cosmetics, says, “the first step in creating an Insta theme is to decide on a color, or a few colors, that represent your style.”

When looking through the em Cosmetics Instagram feed you’ll see that the company uses a theme of contrasting colors - there’s always an element of dark and light in each photo.

5 Key Steps to Creating an Instagram Strategy that Converts | Social Media Today

Beauty influencer Amelia Liana takes a single color approach and tints each photo pink.

5 Key Steps to Creating an Instagram Strategy that Converts | Social Media Today

It doesn’t matter which color, or colors, you select for your theme, but you should aim to come up with something consistent that your Instagram feed can be remembered for.

Aim for something that really makes you stand out among your competitors. The whole goal of creating a theme is to make your Instagram feed memorable.

3. Plan a weekly photo shoot

5 Key Steps to Creating an Instagram Strategy that Converts | Social Media Today

The most successful Instagram accounts post at least once per day.

The problem with this is that trying to style, shoot, edit and publish a new, high-quality photo each day is not a great strategy. 

What’s that saying? The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

Even with the best intentions, there will be days that you don’t have time to shoot or edit a new photo, that’s why it’s best to pick one day out of the week in which you create a bunch of photos in advance.

Don’t worry about investing in expensive cameras or professional lighting when you’re just getting started. Good natural lighting and a smartphone camera will do the trick.

It’s common to photograph products against a plain white background so that the item stands out, however, don’t be afraid to get creative with colored and textured backgrounds like Alexandani does here:

5 Key Steps to Creating an Instagram Strategy that Converts | Social Media Today

The key is to choose a background that doesn’t distract the eye from your product and to shoot enough photos to last you all week long.

4. Schedule your posts

Since you’ll be shooting your pictures in advance you’ll also be able to schedule them in advance. That means no matter how busy your day gets your posts will go out on time.

Well, sort of.

Unlike other social networks, you can’t take a “set it and forget it” approach to scheduling your Instagram updates. You can use Buffer or Hootsuite to upload your photos, write your captions, add your hashtags and schedule your posts, however, Instagram still requires you to manually post the photo yourself.

5 Key Steps to Creating an Instagram Strategy that Converts | Social Media Today

So, when the time comes around for a post to go live, your favorite scheduling software will send a push notification to your phone reminding you that it’s time to post.

From there your scheduling software will push the photo to Instagram and you’ll be able to copy and paste the caption and hashtags. However, you’ll need to set any filters and hit publish in real time.

Even so, this process improves efficiency since you no longer need to rely on memory alone to post your updates, and you don’t have to drop what you’re doing to think of a caption and type out all of your hashtags.

5. Change the link in your bio frequently

Last but not least (definitely not least) is paying frequent attention to the link in your bio.

To create Instagram content that converts you need to send your Instagram followers back to your website - and unless you’re running Instagram ads the link in your bio is the only way to do that. 

A lot of brands will put their homepage URL in their bio and leave it like that forever, however brands that are on top of their Instagram game know they should update the link whenever they want to promote something specific.

For example, when Under Armour released their new customizable tank tops they went the “link in bio” route.

5 Key Steps to Creating an Instagram Strategy that Converts | Social Media Today
You can see in their caption they say “shop through link in bio,” which looks like this:
5 Key Steps to Creating an Instagram Strategy that Converts | Social Media Today
The link in bio enables you to quickly get to the product page for the tank instead of having to go to the UA homepage and hunt for this particular product yourself.
5 Key Steps to Creating an Instagram Strategy that Converts | Social Media Today
Curating a beautiful Instagram feed is important for growing your followers and maintaining high engagement levels - but none of that matters if you’re failing to encourage users to click-through to your site, or if the experience, once they get to your site, is poor.

Don’t neglect the link in your bio --  update it as often as needed.

Getting Started

Now that you have a step-by-step guide for creating an Instagram strategy for business that converts, it’s time to get started.

If you’ve had an Instagram account for a while and it looks a bit messy - don’t worry about it. As long as your new posts start building up consistent content with a great them around interesting topics you’ll still see results start to roll in.

As with anything, the key is consistency. Mega results won’t come overnight, but stick with it and you’ll be rewarded.

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