If your company (or your client’s company) isn’t on social media, you may need to rethink your entire marketing strategy! Social media has proven time and time again to be one of the most powerful marketing tools for businesses since the early 2000’s when MySpace, LinkedIn, and Facebook disrupted life as we knew it. Closely followed by Instagram in 2010.
Paid ads have boomed since Facebook first tested them in 2006, and if you have the budget for it, we highly recommend you take a look at what they could do for your business. However, if you don’t have the budget, or want to find your way organically first (though it’s important to note that even while doing paid ads, an organic strategy is also imperative to the success of your social channels), there are plenty of ways to get yourself seen.
We’re going to focus on Instagram in this blog, but a similar strategy can be applied across most social media channels, so get your notebooks at the ready!
WHAT COUNTS AS AN ‘ORGANIC’ POST?
An organic post is something that hasn’t had any budget behind it, it’s not pumped with GMO’s (or money!) to reach a larger audience… think of it as a seed that you would plant with no assistance other than ensuring the environment you plant it in will help it thrive.
SO, WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO HELP ORGANIC POSTS THRIVE?
You’ll need good quality soil! And by that, I mean a well-considered and professional looking Instagram page.
Here are our top tips:
- Make sure your page is on-brand
- Make sure you clearly and concisely explain who you are and what you do in your bio
- Include the link to your website in your bio
- Use clear, professional imagery (but avoid stock photos where possible)
- Exclude any dodgy graphics! If it doesn’t look good, DON’T post it
- Be present- reply to comments and messages
- Be active- posting regularly throughout the week
- Have a strategy and plan your posts
WHERE SHOULD I START WITH MY INSTAGRAM STRATEGY?
It’s important to look at your business objectives when writing your social media strategy for the year. Were there any areas of the business that you wanted to push? Has a certain product or service been falling behind? Are you hoping to target new sectors? Identifying these targets will help inform the base of your strategy.
But it shouldn’t be all work and no play… Instagram is an app that’s designed to be fun for users, and some of your content should reflect this, but there needs to be a balance. Instagram is the perfect place to show off a bit of your personality and it can also be great for recruitment so keep this in mind when planning your posts.
HOW DO I FIND THE BALANCE IN MY CONTENT?
At Spindogs, we like to look at the whole picture when it comes to our Instagram content. We know that our followers are a mix of clients, potential clients, staff and people who would like to work for us, and we keep this in mind when planning what content we put out.
We like to split our content evenly between the following topics
Work - To show what we’ve been up to and what we’re capable of
Knowledge and thought-led content - To set us apart as subject experts
Team - To show the size of the company and help our followers get to know who does what
Fun - To show what it’s like to work for us and what our company culture is like
Updates - To cover any news within the business and upcoming events
It’s really important to consider who’s following you when planning your content, this information will help you work the route you need to be on, and the type of content you should be putting out.
SHOULD I EXPERIMENT?
YES! Instagram is constantly changing and evolving and creators who make the most of new features often have their content pushed to the top.
Posting on Instagram shouldn’t just be constrained to posting a square image on the grid (although that’s important too!). Get creative with your content, experiment with Stories, Highlights, IGTV, Instagram Live and Reels to see what your audience responds to… you might even have some fun along the way!
DO HASHTAGS REALLY WORK?
Yes, hashtags are a brilliant way of getting your work seen outside of your current following and growing your page.
But make sure you keep some key things in mind:
Only use hashtags that are relevant to your post
Don’t use too many or you’ll look spammy (Instagram will let you use 30, but this doesn’t mean you should! Aim between 2-10 on each post)
Don’t only go for the biggest hashtags - there might be 12million people using a certain hashtag, which might mean it’s popular, but it also means your content is likely to get lost in a sea of other posts. Having said that, don’t go for things that no one else is using either! We think around 100k is the sweet spot.
Add your hashtags straight away. If you prefer to add your hashtags into the comments of your pics, make sure you do them straight away, posting them later won’t push the post to the top of that hashtag timeline, so it likely they won’t be seen.
HOW DO I BEAT THE ALGORITHM?
In short, you can’t beat it, but you can learn how to work with it!
“What shows up in your feed is determined by what posts and accounts you engage with the most, as well as other contributing factors such as the timeliness of posts, how often you use Instagram, how many people you follow etc”- Instagram 2018
So, what they’re saying is that your feed is tailored to individuals and the accounts they interact with the most, whether that be by DM, comments, likes, watch time, sends or saves. They want to bring you closer to the things you love.
You can work this to your advantage by making sure you’re creating content that’s worthy of interaction! Ask questions, encourage conversation, reply to comments and create good-looking, helpful content that makes people feel something. All in all, be social!
And finally, we’d like to remind you of the importance of monitoring your performance. Switch your Instagram profile to a business account to have full access to insights and create yourself weekly reports on what went down well and what didn’t. Over time, you’ll be able to fine-tune your content to meet your business objectives that also resonates across your social channels.
If you’d like help with your paid ads on Instagram, get in touch with one of our digital marketing experts below!