If your business' cross-platform social media strategy involves simply re-sizing and re-purposing your Facebook content for Instagram, consider this article an "Insta-vention".
More and more businesses are starting to recognize the marketing potential of Instagram. The platform is the fastest-growing social media network and currently has 600 million active monthly users. Instagram's engagement rate is also around 2.261%, on average, which is a full 2% higher than Facebook, and 2.2% higher than Twitter.
So how can your business ensure it's getting the best results from Instagram?
You can start by recognizing that, even though Instagram is owned by Facebook, it's an entirely different animal. With 55% of its users under the age of 30, Instagram's audience is much younger than most other platforms - it's actually the preferred social network for younger millennials (ages 18-24). It's also important to keep in mind that Instagram is a mobile-based, visual-focused app. By nature, it lends itself to more spontaneous, just-snapped content which encourages brands and their followers to interact in a less formal manner.
This spontaneity sometimes leaves businesses scratching their heads as they assess Instagram's role in their overall social publishing strategy. But the secret to sharing truly standout in-the-moment posts is actually having the freedom, and time, to create them.
Take it from the pros:
"Some of the best content for Instagram occurs spontaneously. Preparing content and setting a post schedule in advance allows the flexibility and foresight to take advantage of these real-time opportunities."
It's important to maintain an active presence on Instagram, so while real-time moments make for great content, you can't count on them to build your brand. That's where more evergreen content can be really effective. These types of posts can be planned ahead as part of a larger strategy and can help you define your brand voice and aesthetic.
So how can you create and share consistent, branded content, while simultaneously allowing for those more personal, behind-the-scenes posts that connect your business to your followers?
Tools for planning content and scheduling on Instagram enable your brand to execute your social media strategy more effectively and efficiently.
If you've invested time into developing key brand pillars or messaging buckets, scheduling can help identify and fill any gaps in content for the month ahead, and make sure your posts are diversified and speak to key messages.
Having this foresight also provides insight into how your Instagram content is working alongside content on your other social platforms, providing a 360 view that enables better social planning and organization.
Optimal Posting Times and Frequency
Knowing the best times to post enables you to schedule content for optimal impact and reach, increasing your chances for organic engagement.
Establishing a consistent frequency is also important, but the actual number of posts will vary greatly from brand to brand.
It's important to monitor engagement and follower metrics to determine whether your audience is looking for more, less or are happy with what and how often you're sharing.
Quality & Consistency
Instagram is a visual network, and it deserves more than ill-fitting hand-me-downs from your brand's Facebook Page.
Developing a consistent aesthetic and photo editing best practices can prevent inconsistencies in the quality of visual content.
Using a social media management platform with built-in photo editing and image asset library features can help you streamline management of Instagram content, along with content for your other networks, in one place.
Tracking hashtags and brand mentions enables you to identify conversations and topics that are relevant to your brand. The right type of content + the right people + the right time is the equation for a successful engagement rate.
Depending on the size of your social media operation, a tool that delivers an organized workflow and streamlined approval process may prove beneficial.
Publishing duties can be delegated to various team members, and finished posts can then be sent to designated managers for approval and/or scheduling.
This ensures no duplicate or missed posts and provides an added level of quality control.
Scheduling your Instagram content helps you look at the big picture, literally and figuratively. Making sure the month ahead includes posts that cover the full spectrum of your content strategy allows you the freedom and flexibility to post those spontaneous, real-time moments your audience loves. It also gives you the time to pay special attention to the visual quality, timing and relevancy of all your posts.
If you nail these fundamentals, you'll be able to take your brand's Instagram content, and, in turn, your business, to the next level.