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Ambika Sharma

Ninety per cent Instagram users follow at least one business. And it’s not just B2C. 36%+ B2B decision-makers use Instagram when researching new products or services. If you are not being noticed, it’s not the algorithm, it’s your content.

If your Instagram effort is not paying off, then blaming the complex algorithm for leaving your brand out is counterproductive. Perhaps it's time for bringing a shift in your content marketing strategy. 

Shortcuts such as followers-for-money and Chatbots that interact on behalf of brands have become obsolete. These would result in a temporary spike in followers but may not help brands in the long run. 

Here are some tips to build a valuable community on Instagram, who genuinely care about and engage with your brand by creating rich and mobile-first content.

Clearly define goals

This is where everything you do and the success of your effort will be decided. Answer the question – why is your brand on Instagram? It could be brand awareness, lead generation, establishing your brand as an industry leader, etc. You may have a combination of goals, which is great. Unless you have a goal in mind, you are unlikely to get there.

Your custom audience

Instagram audiences are more urban and younger in nature. It is important that your audience for Instagram be defined and set as a custom audience. These are the people you want to reach out to, engage and eventually influence into becoming customers.

Compelling content

Instagram is a visual medium, and so your posts have simply got to look great. If you’re using images other than photos, such as infographics or animations, make sure they’re crisp, clear, easy-to-read, and visually delightful. Eventually, your brand is competing for mind share against all that cutthroat competition and rehashed content, stock imagery or other visual killers that drag your brand value and your ROI down. Your visual content needs to be compelling. Great photos are nice, but if they don’t tell a story, or get viewers excited, they’re not going to engage followers.

Establish your brand’s ‘look’ on Instagram

Once you decide what type of content to publish, you need to decide how it’s going to look. As we explain in our post on creating an Instagram aesthetic, colour influences buying decisions and brand recognition. Your Instagram look should be consistent across your posts, helping followers easily recognise your content in their feeds.

In either case, you’ll need to use a partner provider to sell the gift cards. The options pop up when you try to add the gift card sticker or button.

Use all content formats wisely

Stories, reels, IGTV, posts and more. Instagram has a variety of content formats, which should be used well and not ignored. Instagram story feed is a great way to draw your audience's attention as it is short-lived nature and has a distinct placement in the area above the newsfeed. Stories that depict consistent brand messages such as lucrative offers, wordplays, witty, relatable content are bound to appeal to the audience. In addition, compelling brand stories that gel with business-oriented goals help improve visit rates from new users and help build a loyal following. Reels, on the other hand, promote snackable video content. In addition to these formats, opportunities to use Instagram trends in reels are a great way to be discovered.

AR filters 

Remember those posts with national flags painted across faces or filters that enable you to try on a piece of new jewellery or tie. That's the work of Augmented Reality (AR) filters. These are photos that are often instantly modified with effects while taking pictures with front or back cameras. Within a short period, they have earned appreciation as well as obsession from Instagram users. Some drive higher levels of consumer engagement by encouraging answers, opinions and reactions. This is a golden chance for brands to get closer to the audience that matters because such filters are clickable, redirecting consumers to brand pages.

Branded and non-brand hashtags 

A relevant hashtag is to your content what nectar is to bees. While non-branded hashtags work across varied demographics and help people find products and services they've been looking for, branded content allows brands to establish their authenticity. Hashtags can help consumers trace their needs back to brands that cater to those needs. Moreover, hash-tagged content appears in the feeds that may or may not be following brand accounts. So including relevant experimental or novel hashtags is essential. What better way to get followers on Instagram for free! 

Use geotags on Instagram for local discoverability

Apart from hash tags, using geo tags is a great way to get discovered locally. Locations not only have their own Instagram feed but also their own story just like hashtags that you can contribute to when you use the location sticker in your own Stories.

Influencer-generated content 

With their entertaining personas and already established audience bases, influencers are well adept at becoming brand ambassadors. Partnering with the right industry influencer can help brands boost their online presence while improving their connection and brand revenue. Try different things such as an Instagram takeover. It's a cool way to market and create buzz.

Track Engagement Rates

Engagement is the most important matrix you can track. Every piece of content should be tracked for engagement, comments and conversation value. An account that has 50K followers but gets 100 likes on a post has spiralled into the dark abyss of anonymity. 

Instagram's algorithm gives preference to posts that have a high engagement rate. But often, we see brands focusing only on metrics such as likes or going completely extreme on the other end of the spectrum and looking at sales only. While that's not wrong, engagement is the top matrix that needs to be tracked; then progress to your lead and conversion goals.