Like most businesses at the start of a new year, the team here at Content Savvy are in full goal planning and strategising mode! Coming off a holiday break is the perfect time to look ahead and set some important milestones for your business in the coming year, don’t you agree?
If 2020 showed us anything, it’s that small businesses need to use every avenue available to stay connected and engaged with their community. Obviously, a platform like Instagram is a fantastic way to do that. So if you’ve been wanting to amp up your Instagram strategy and create a social media presence that you can be proud of, now is the time!
These 8 steps are the real life things we do each day for our clients. We know what it takes to create an effective and engaging Instagram presence that truly helps boost brand awareness and create authentic growth for small businesses, and we want to share that with you.
Ready to take your Instagram to another level? Let’s get started!
Words: Adriana Thani
Step 1: Define your content pillars and brand values
If you don’t know who you are, how are you going to communicate your personality to your audience? Defining your content pillars and brand values are an important step in developing a compelling Instagram presence.
Depending on your brand values, story, and identity, there will be unique things that you can highlight about your brand to make your content more memorable. You just need to find the special something that sets you apart from everyone else!
These overarching topics or themes will help guide your content strategy so you’re sharing a variety of content to keep people interested while also staying relevant to your brand. It’s the best way to share who you are (and what you’re selling!), one square at a time.
Step 2: Plan your content in advance
We cannot overstate the importance of this. The biggest industry secret among influencers and social media managers is that we schedule content weeks and sometimes months in advance!
There are so many benefits to planning your content ahead of time, but the main one is that it allows you to really see your Instagram strategy as a whole before you publish content and share it with the world. This keeps all your content cohesive and consistent, which in turn creates an appealing Instagram presence with a clear brand identity.
It’s also a great way to make your Instagram content creation process more streamlined and efficient, because you can do an entire month’s worth of posts in half a day instead of spending half an hour every day to create, edit, and share posts!
Our scheduling software of choice is PLANN – an Aussie owned start up with a beautiful interface on both mobile and desktop. It has all the tools you need to curate a visually consistent grid, store your hashtags, write your captions, view your analytics and more!
Note: Instagram Savvy Course students receive 25% off their first PLANN subscription. Get in touch to find out more!
Step 3: Create a visually appealing grid
In many ways, this step does boil down to taste, and not all of us have an eye for colour and design! But believe us when we say that you can develop an eye for what looks great on digital platforms, and more importantly, you’ll learn more about what your audience prefers over time.
Colour palettes, font choices, white space, and type of content – these are some of the key things you have to focus on when you’re creating content and planning your grid.
Not sure where to start? We recommend taking a look at your competitors’ Instagram accounts to see what appeals to your target market, while also still using your own branding as inspiration.
Step 4: Write engaging captions
Our copywriters write thousands of words each day for Instagram captions, so they’ve got the process down pat! Every business is different, so your captions are going to look different from other brands, but there are still a few fundamental rules to create engaging captions.
The key things to remember are:
- Know your content pillars
- Use a clear and consistent brand voice
- Add value to your audience’s lives
Obviously, you also need to be mindful of grammar and spelling. This isn’t hard to do – tools like Grammarly are really useful for editing your captions! You should also play around with the length of your captions to see what your audience responds to the most. If they seem to like short and long captions, then mix it up!
Step 5: Make full use of hashtags
Hashtags are the best way to ensure your Instagram content can be discovered by people who aren’t yet following you. Having a good hashtag strategy can do wonders for your reach and engagement, so it’s something you should take the time to develop to boost your Instagram growth!
Whether you’ve never used hashtags or you’re just wanting to optimise your hashtag strategy, there is always room to improve here. We recommend that you start with 3 hashtag sets related to your most frequently shared content, but there really is no limit to how many hashtags sets you can have.
For example, we have an interior design client who has over a dozen hashtags, including ones specific to furniture pieces, aesthetics, and even colours. Have a think about the type of content you share, and use that to find appropriate hashtags for your brand.
Step 6: Engage with your community
Time for some harsh truths: there is no point to doing any of the above if you aren’t engaging with your audience on Instagram every day. Contrary to some people’s belief, Instagram is not a digital catalog or photo gallery. So you need to stop thinking about it that way!
Instagram is a powerful way for you to directly communicate with your audience. There’s no replacing that kind of connection, especially when consumers now expect brands to be actively engaged with their online community.
There are many ways you can spark engagement on Instagram. You can create engaging posts, reply to comments on your page and other users’ pages, respond to their Stories and Reels, reach out via DMs, and even hop onto their Lives. Just show up every day and spark those connections!
Step 7: Create more video content
Video content outperforms all other types of content on Instagram, so if you’re not sharing videos, you are missing out on some sweet engagement and growth! We understand that creating video content can be a little daunting, so we recommend starting small and building more content from there.
Instagram makes it really easy for brands to create video content right on the app itself, so there’s really no excuse not to try it out. There are a few different ways you can create and share video content on Instagram, including:
- Video posts
For different video content ideas and strategies to inspire you, you can check out our handy guide on how to use video content to enhance your Instagram.
Step 8: Keep an eye on the analytics
We know, we know – Instagram is all about creativity and fun, so why should I be concerned with numbers?? Unfortunately, you’ll learn pretty quickly as a small business owner that numbers, data, and analytics can make a huge impact on your business strategy and growth.
If you haven’t checked your Insights recently, you could be missing out on some crucial data about your Instagram account that is keeping you from really maximising what you’re getting out of it.
Tracking analytics allows you to see which content is performing well, and which ones aren’t. It shows you which hashtags are working, and which captions your audience responds to the most. It shows you exactly what’s resonating with your audience, which is content you should be sharing more often.
So take a few minutes each week to check your analytics – we assure you, the insights you’ll gain are empowering!
Want to learn more about each step?
We could create a whole course about the exact steps you need to take to create a magical Instagram presence – so that’s exactly what we did!
When you sign up for our Instagram Savvy online course, you’ll be given all the details for each step above. These include all the insider tips and tricks that we use every day to help clients organically and authentically grow their accounts, and increase brand awareness. We dive into Instagram’s best practices for growing your business, helping you build trust and a sense of community surrounding your brand.
You’ll be equipped with detailed course notes, video lessons, practical homework, and one-on-one time each week with our founder, Cat Falalis, to discuss the weekly topics. No matter what your learning style is, there’s a method there that’ll for you!
Want to know exactly what kind of extra content you can expect in the course? Well, among other things, you’ll have access to:
- The content pillars and brand values that will help you sell your brand lifestyle on Instagram
- How to efficiently plan your Instagram content, including the exact tools we use as a social media management agency
- Pre-made colour palettes and font pairings to help you easily create a stunning visual identity
- Our go-to recipe for crafting captions that are valuable and engaging
- A step-by-step guide on discovering hashtags and creating hashtag sets that suit your brand and content
- How to grow your Instagram through a detailed engagement strategy and community management processes
- The types of video content you need to start creating and sharing on Instagram
- Which insights actually matter when it comes to Instagram analytics
Our waitlist is now open for the next intake! Be sure to contact us now to book your spot!