How to Build a Killer Instagram Strategy

Have you noticed your Instagram posts are no longer getting the engagement they used to in terms of likes, comments, and follows? If so, you’re not alone. Everyone–from small influencers to large businesses–is feeling the effects. 

So, how can you conquer the changes presented by the algorithm? 

The blatant truth is that the best way to beat the Instagram algorithm is to:

a) take the time to analyze performance specific to your Instagram 

b) drive more engagement towards your posts. 

 

Yes, we’ll be one of the first to admit that the current algorithm is driving us crazy, but here’s a positive tidbit: 

 

 Understanding Instagram’s algorithm enhances brands’ opportunities to make deeper connections with their audiences.

 

And once you make deeper connections with a consistent strategy, you’ll be back on the ground running. In this post, we’ll dive into exactly how you can overcome the challenges you may be facing with the new algorithm. 

 

 

Presentation: 

By now, you’ve probably noticed that your feed is presented to you based on the accounts you engage with most. Why? The algorithm takes into account the amount of times you like a user’s post, message them, view their story, and visit their page. 

 

The algorithm predicts similar content that you are likely to engage with and puts those posts near the top of your feed.

 

For example, if you follow a flower market and engage frequently with that account, Instagram will likely put floral images from similar accounts at the top of your feed and on your explore page. (See Later’s article called ‘How the Instagram Algorithm Works in the Explore Page). In essence, the notable amount of likes, comments, and shares signals to Instagram that the post is worthy of being seen by multiple users. 

 

So, do you need thousands of likes to get the algorithm on your side? Thankfully, no. Simply post consistent, quality content your audience will likely engage with. 

 

The algorithm for Instagram Stories works in the same manner in that they’re typically categorized in ascending order of accounts you engage with the most. Whether you view a particular account’s stories or posts regularly, you can expect their stories to be one of the first you see. An influencer can get his or her stories to the top of the ‘stories timeline’ is by posting frequently and consistently, just as with page posts. 

(Photo credit: matchsticksocial from Instagram)

Consistency: 

Post consistent, quality content. Yes, it really is as simple as that! If you go from posting once a day to only posting once a week, the algorithm will quickly pick up on this lack of consistency and you’ll see a decrease in engagement across the board. So get in a posting routine based on your goals and ideal time you can spend on Instagram, utilize a scheduling platform, and stay consistent. Whether your routine is once a day or three times a day, map out a plan and stick to it. 

 

Show Your Love:

Allow for a little extra time in your schedule to respond to comments on your posts, reply to messages, or simply ‘like’ comments on your post. All of these methods are ways to engage with your followers, which puts the algorithm in your favor. 

 

Pro tip: To make your social media life easier, manage your notifications by choosing to only view comments so users comments don’t get lost amongst the ‘likes’ notifications. 

 

(photo credit: matchsticksocial from Instagram)

 

Aesthetic:

Never lose sight of the fact that your followers have followed your account for a reason: because they like your content! While continuing to post content that is similar in aesthetic may seem trite to you, it’s clearly working for you if you’re getting the engagement you hoped for.

 

On the other hand, if you’re not seeing the high engagement you’ve been longing for, create a new aesthetic that matches your brand and appeals to your audience. It might take some trial and error, but once you’ve found your sweet spot, you’ll be golden. 

 

Pro tip: use a planner to visually map out what you feed can look like using a design platform

 

Timing: 

All brands differ in terms of when they notice the highest engagement. This is all centered around their audience. For example, a restaurant may likely post in the afternoon around 3-6pm when people are starting to think about where they want to dine for supper. On the contrary, a local coffee shop is likely to post mainly in the early mornings from 5-7am when their audience is waking up and looking to grab a cup of coffee on their morning commute. 

 

If you have a business account, Instagram Analytics will show you the amount of profile visits, website clicks, and times/days when your followers are most active.  Take a look at the example analytics below: 

 

   

Use your specific analytics to learn about when your followers are most active, what age group and gender you are primarily releasing content to, what types of posts bring the most engagement. With this insight, you’ll have a new perspective and a solid game plan of what type of content you should be posting and when to schedule your Instagram posts to go live. 

 

(photo credit: explore page on Instagram)

 

Now that you have a spark of creativity to amp up your Instagram performance, go implement it! Let us know what you plan to do to increase engagement. On the other hand, if you’ve found a strategy that’s working well for you, let us know some of your tricks! 

 

 

 

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Matchstick Social is a social marketing + advertising firm headquartered in Charleston, SC with a satellite office in Oklahoma City, OK. Matchstick specializes in social media marketing, optimized social advertising, effective measurement of social initiatives and helping start-ups gain social currency by establishing their digital brands.