How To Implement An Effective Instagram Strategy For Your Brand

instagram-strategy.jpg

Whenever I chat to fellow business owners about social media, I hear the same thing over and over again - it's so freaking HARD to gain (and keep!!) followers on Instagram these days.

And it’s true.

Gaining followers on the ‘Gram can feel like swimming while tethered - you can give it all you’ve got, but you still can’t seem to move forward!

While the constant algorithm changes certainly play a big role in this, the simple fact is there are so many people, brands and businesses on Instagram now, which makes it increasing difficult to break through the barrage of noise and reach the right people.

Peppermint Studio is (relatively) new to Instagram. And while we admittedly don't have a massive following (yet!), we have managed to more than double our number of followers and dramatically increase our engagement rate with the help of a few tried and true Instagram strategies. 

Read on to discover my top six recommendations…

Strategy 1: Carefully Curate Your Grid

Your Instagram profile is a bit like your website’s landing page. It should be eye-catching and engaging, and it should make people want to get to know you and your business.

Think of your Insta profile as your elevator pitch made visual - it has to win people over quickly, so first impressions count.

There are lots of different ways you can curate your grid, and it can be worthwhile to experiment with different layouts until you find the one that resonates the best with your audience.

For me personally I like to use a recurring pattern - the content of each square is predetermined to fit in with the other squares, and I consistently use Peppermint Studio’s colour palette to keep my Insta feed looking on-brand. 

Below I’ve included an example of my Instagram feed, followed by the repeating grid formula I use.  

insta-grid-1.jpg
insta-grid-2.jpg

Strategy 2: Use Beautiful Imagery

Great photography and beautiful imagery ties in closely with the first strategy, but it deserves its very own shoutout.

You might make make products or have incredible services on offer, but if your Instagram feed is littered with amateur photography and daggy, outdated designs, you’re not only sabotaging your Insta feed, but your entire brand as well.   

If you’re selling physical products, you really must invest in a professional photoshoots if you want to convert followers to customers.

If you run a service-based business or are simply looking for additional imagery to support your own Instagram feed, there are amazing stock photo resources out there that can help support and elevate your branding.

You can read my recommendations on this blog post

Strategy 3: Write Captivating, Meaty Captions

Just posting an emoticon or lazily typing out a cliché motivational quote doesn’t cut it anymore on Instagram. You need to tell a story with your caption - one your followers can relate to.

I advise you to treat your Instagram captions as mini blog posts. 

They should to have a ‘hook’ to draw people in (like an intriguing question or honest and interesting statement), followed by two or three useful body points, and rounded off with a question or a call-to action - something that entices people to engage with you by either commenting on your post or visiting your website.

Here’s an example:

insta-caption-example.jpg

Strategy 4: Up Your Hashtag Game

When it comes to hashtags, there’s a lot of conflicting opinions out there.

At the moment Instagram allows you to use a maximum of 30 hashtags per post, and I recommend you go right ahead and use all 30 because that helps maximise your chances of being seen.

I post my hashtags as a separate comment underneath my caption, and to make the process easier I have a note saved on my phone that has five full stops (I press return after each one so they’re on separate lines) followed by my 30 hashtags, like this:

.
.
.
.
.
#hashtag #hashtag #hashtag

Posting my hashtags this way means the hashtags themselves are hidden (the five dots means the hashtags won’t appear in the comment preview) and it also means my caption doesn’t look spammy and full of hashtags. Quick, clean and clever!    

As for selecting which hashtags to use? I’m not going to lie, it’s tricky.

You need to make sure each hashtag is relevant to your content and your brand, and at the same time you also need to ensure that it’s the kind of hashtag your ideal clients or customers would be looking at or aligning themselves with.

For example, my ideal customer is a female entrepreneur running (or thinking about launching) her own business, so hashtags like #bosslady and #fempreneur work well for me.

I recommend researching what hashtags your (social media savvy) competitors are using and seeing what tags appear to be getting the most engagement and traction for them. 

Strategy 5: Engage, Engage, Engage

It’s called ‘social’ media for a reason, so don’t think you can simply post great pics and clever captions and call it a day. You have to engage with your followers (and people you’d like to follow you) regularly, and you have to make those interactions meaningful.

The Instagram algorithm prefers posts with lots of engagement, so make sure when someone comments on your post, you respond with a thoughtful and relevant comment ASAP.

I also recommend scrolling through relevant hashtags and adding a few comments on posts that resonate with you. This way you’re more likely to be seen, and people are more likely to engage with you. 

But don’t just post a thumbs up emoji as your comment - it’s all about meaningful engagement, so post something that adds to the conversation and get’s people talking.

I personally spend 15 - 30 minutes a day actively engaging with accounts that use hashtags relevant to me and my ideal clients, and I find this strategy has greatly increased my following and engagement rate.

Strategy 6: Be Consistent - And Persistent

Last but not least, make sure you keep at it. If you employ all of these strategies on a daily basis, you will start to see Insta growth.

Don’t be deterred if it doesn’t happen for you straight away - it won’t happen overnight, but if you’re consistent AND persistent you can rest assured your numbers will start to climb over the coming weeks. 

Lauren x