1. Use Social Listening
If you don’t have a social listening strategy in place, then you’re missing out on some key insights into your audience. Social listening can help you track, analyze, and respond to conversations about your brand or industry. Some other key benefits include:
- Determine how people view your brand
- Monitor your competition and see what results they’re getting
- Identify potential customers and influencer partnerships
- Discover industry trends
So how do you conduct social listening on Instagram? How about using Instagram Stories to ask your audience their opinion?
Instagram Stories include features like polls, questions, and emoji sliders. You can use these to survey your audience and get their reaction to potential products and discover new trends.
Wedding dress designer, Hayley Paige, calls this a “Poll Party” and asks her audience to choose from two options to determine what they want to see in her dresses.
2. Use Instagram Stories
More people watch Instagram Stories every day and so you should use this feature to your advantage. Here are some quick tips to make your Stories engaging for your audience:
Use GIFs, stickers, and filters
Animation makes your Stories more visually appealing. You can use animated arrows that point to the “Swipe up” feature to emphasize clicking on it, or if you have a fun brand, use GIFs to share your excitement about something.
Add captions to your videos
Most people watch without sound so adding captions helps engage users. Otherwise, they may skip your video. You don’t have to write word-for-word what the speaker is saying, but you should add the highlights in a caption.
Show “Behind the Scenes” content
Your audience wants to engage with you on a deeper level than just knowing what your products or services are. They want to know the team, the work process, and even the activities you do as a company. So don’t be afraid to post your Christmas work party on Instagram Stories. Your audience will be happy to get to know you.
3. Change your Instagram aesthetic
Your current feed probably falls into either of these two categories; mismatched or cohesive.
If you have an inconsistent feed with images that change from light and fun to dark colors, then it’s time to reconsider your branding. There are a few quick tips to improve your Instagram feed:
- Use the same filter or editing technique to promote consistency in photos. There are apps like Instasize that offer a wide variety of filters and editing tools to help you.
- Consider the grid and how the photos will complement each other (For example, put a busy photo next to a minimalist photo for balance)
- Use templates for a cohesive look every time you use them
- Schedule your content to plan a consistent aesthetic
Plantsome is a great example of a consistent aesthetic on their Instagram feed
4. Experiment with different content
It’s time to mix up your content.
With the rise of GenX on Instagram, there has been a difference in the content they like compared to millennials. They prefer candid photos with less editing and less curation. Consider putting more organic-looking photos into your feed. Switch it up with lifestyle photos and different product shots to see what your audience engages with more.
User-generated content can generate 7x more likes and comments on your posts. Encourage your audience to tag you in photos and use your branded hashtags for a chance to get featured on your account. It makes them feel recognized and gives you material to use on your feed. People also like seeing their peers using a product because it increases their trust in your brand.
Avoid the biggest mistake companies make on Instagram: promoting yourself too much. Hard-selling doesn’t work, and it’s a turn-off for the majority of people who use Instagram. Of course, you should promote your services or products occasionally, but the focus should be on providing your audience with material they enjoy interacting with online.
Instagram’s algorithm is constantly changing. What worked last year may not work this year. It’s important to embrace the uncertainty and be willing to experiment a little to figure out how to grow. You should start with social listening and ask your audience what they want to see. Once you analyze the answers, start posting content they want on your feed and Instagram Stories. You may also want to experiment with different styles of content that your audience are interested in seeing more of. The key is to connect with your audience and give them what they want to see.