Is Instagram still relevant or is it on its way to the graveyard of formerly-effective-now-over-saturated marketing platforms? If you do any kind of social media marketing, you’re probably aware that Instagram’s feed structure switched from chronological to algorithmic a few years ago. This didn’t just effect the order that posts appear in but whether they even appear at all. Many business owners who had been relying heavily on Instagram for their sales and marketing efforts freaked out after watching their average number of post likes drop from, say, 600 to 120 or less after the algorithm went into place. Additionally, it’s become a very saturated platform with a lot of competition. Instagram marketers have frantically been trying to “crack the code” ever since.
But as it turns out, it’s not all about hacking algorithms. As someone who does a heavy amount of Instagramming, I say this: Even with the implementation of the almighty, mysterious algorithm gods, Instagram can still be a wonderful tool for marketing your business, BUT you need to know how to provide quality content and how to best use it to promote your products/services.
Here are 4 tips to get results from Instagram, even in 2020:
1. Ride the Wave of Quality: You may not really be able to “get around” the algorithm, but you can make an effort to provide valuable, original, quality content! You should experiment and take note of what types of content get the most traction for your business. Just because someone else gets success posting a certain type of content, doesn’t mean it’s best for you. When you do get great results from a post, make sure to ride that wave out! I’ve noticed that if I post something that gets a lot of traction (a heartfelt message that really resonated with people or a photograph they loved), then the next post I publish starts off strong thanks to the previous post’s traction. With Instagram, a post that gets a lot of likes relative to its number of impressions will get a boost in exposure and more followers will see it in their feeds. If it’s doing very well, it will even appear in the explore page of users who follow accounts that Instagram determines are similar to yours. If a post gets exceptionally high traction, then the next item you post will also have a higher-than-usual number of likes due to more exposure in your timeline (kind of like a reward from the man behind the Instagram curtain for posting quality content). That is… as long as you aren’t spam posting a bunch of posts back to back OR waiting too long in between.
2. Building Cred and Slingin’ Content: Another topic to consider is how you are using Instagram for marketing. For example, Instagram is great for bringing awareness to your lead magnet (a free eBook, a checklist or guide, etc.) If your followers see that you have great Instagram content, they will be interested in learning more from you and when they see that you offer a valuable freebie, they’ll be happy to download it. People want to learn more from people that have proved to them that they have valuable information to share and will be happy to provide their email addresses in exchange for more value. I’ve personally found many great teachers that I respect via Instagram. I’ve also had great success building my email list through various content downloads I’ve offered on IG.
3. Slingin’ Products: Do you have an online store? Instagram is also useful for driving followers to a specific item in your shop… i.e. A new release or an item that is on special in your online store through. Put up some quality posts about said item and put a direct link to it right in your bio (and be sure to tell them they can find the link there when you post). Provided they already have some kind of bond with your brand (hopefully you’ve been cultivating this bond through your IG profile over time), this can do wonders for sales.
4. Get Feedback: Once you gain a decently sized following, Instagram is a great tool to communicate with your audience / market / readers / followers. I often take polls and ask questions through my IG posts and stories and get some fantastic responses from followers that I can learn from. Not only is it nice to communicate with your followers, but interaction also helps increase your reach. If you’ve been actively interacting with users throughout the day, you will have better exposure in your followers’ feeds. And, it probably goes without saying, it’s always important to get an inside view on what your audience wants, doesn’t want, etc. It’s the best way to create new content and new products that they’re sure to love.
I encourage you to test these tips out yourself and have your own experience. You never know what will come out of putting a little more effort into the content you’re providing your audience with. It’s absolutely worth your time!
How are you using Instagram for marketing? What are some factors you’ve noticed seem to affect your reach, for better or worse? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments.