5 Instagram Strategies for 2019
Part way through last year, my relationship with Instagram lost it's spark. After posting almost daily for several years, Instagram fatigue started to set in. I kept posting but I didn't have the same energy for it as before. It wasn't an altogether bad thing. I overhauled my website and poured my heart into creating online classes. In fact, many wonderful things happened.
The problem was, when I wanted to rekindle my relationship with Instagram, it almost felt like the platform didn't love me back. My Instagram growth had come to a standstill.
I went from gaining about 100 new followers per day to having days when I was only just holding on. Like many, I started cursing the algorithm and googling frantically to find out if I had fallen victim to this so called shadow ban? Was Instagram keeping me at arms-length?
While I wanted to blame Instagram, the truth was, I was behind with the times. Instagram had moved on and I hadn't kept up. Not one to give up, while I was on holidays last week (and not meant to be working) I attempted to woo the platform back. And while it is early days I am already seeing a change.
Want to know what I am focusing on? Read on to find out the 5 strategies I am using to grow my Instagram account in 2019.
1. Have a purpose
Do you know why you are on Instagram? Is it a place to relax and de-stress at the end of the day, is it a motivator for a goal that you are working on or is it a marketing and sales tool for your creative business? A good Instagram strategy starts with knowing your purpose and creating posts with that in mind. For me, Instagram …
1) generates traffic to my website and;
2) helps me to get to know my audience.
2. Create more video content
If you are not using video on Instagram, you are missing out. When I looked back over the history of my Instagram account growth, one thing stood out. My account grew much faster when I was regularly posting video. Instagram is becoming more and more like YouTube. People are coming to the platform looking for tips, techniques & implementable ideas and the easiest way to deliver that is via video. Video provides a more intimate experience. Your audience can get up close, see techniques and get a feel for who you are as a person and what you have to offer.
3. Focus on engagement
It can be easy to get preoccupied with how many likes you receive on a post but is this really the number to be looking at? Instagram is a social platform. What you want is engagement. Comments, profile views and website clicks are far more powerful than likes alone. So how do you encourage this type of activity? You need to start thinking of your posts as conversations. Two-way conversations. Ask questions, run a poll, tell a story, share a tip and get people involved. And when you do post, plan to stick around for at least 15 minutes to chat with your community and to give your post an early engagement boost. This will help your post gain traction and increase its lifespan.
4. Explore Instagram’s ECommerce capabilities
Remember the good old days of Instagram when there were no adverts and the feed was chronological? Before you get all nostalgic, think about this. If you are running a creative business, there has never been a better time to be on Instagram. The ECommerce side of Instagram is here to stay and growing.
You can add clickable links to your stories using the swipe up feature (note, this feature is only available to accounts with 10,000 or more followers). If you have a Business profile, you can also apply for shoppable posts. And don’t forget that valuable piece of real estate that is the link in your bio. Recently I gave my link in bio a makeover using a wonderful tutorial by Big Cat Creative. Head over to my Instagram and click on the bio to see it in action.
All of these features are wonderful tools for driving your audience to the products and services you offer. If you are anything like me, you probably worry about being too salesy. Chances are though that you are not being salesy enough. If you don’t tell people about what you do, how will they know?
5. Use analytics to optimise your posts
Finally, if you are creating engaging content, you want to make sure that you are getting that content in front of as many people as possible. This is where having a look at your analytics can help. If you have a Business profile, you can check out your insights on Instagram to get an idea of which posts are performing better than others.
See if you can identify trends such as the times of day when posting works better for you or specific hashtags that consistently features in your best performing posts. If you use a scheduling application such as Later or Tailwind, they often make recommendations that you can experiment with. Over time you might start to notice a sweet spot. Lately, I have been having success with posting at around 2-3 pm in the afternoon. While this isn’t the time when most of my followers are online, it is a time when there isn’t as much competition and I tend to experience higher levels of engagement. It’s also a time when I am ready to take a break from my other work and check in on Instagram.
So that's it, these are the 5 strategies that I am using to grow my Instagram account in 2019. I’ll revisit this post in a couple of months to give you an update with some numbers now that I am getting all analytical! What about you, do you have any strategies to add to the list?