In 2014, Nathan Chan launched his Instagram account to promote his digital magazine, Foundr. At the time, Instagram was only four years old, and Chan’s magazine was only a year old. Within 10 months, he had 300,000 followers. His formula was pretty simple – post engaging content that others will want to share, post as many times a day as possible, make the best use of hashtags, and engage in partnership sharing. Here’s 7 writing tips you need to build your killer Instagram strategy.
Obviously, Instagram has evolved incredibly since its launch, and businesses have far more flexibility for content than Chan had in 2014. At that time, he posted beautiful images with inspirational quotes imbedded onto those images.
Today, businesses have lots of options for content delivery on Instagram, but Chan’s early tactics still hold true.
So, let’s talk about writing tips to create that killer Instagram strategy and fill it with amazing content, the options you have, and what has proven to be effective in growing a powerful Instagram following:
Create Instagram Videos
Instagram now allows videos, and, in fact, is promoting the use of those that last for more than 60 seconds, with its IGTV option. If you have the creative skill or the resources that do, craft a great script that focuses on the value of your product or service – remember, social media is NOT the place for selling directly.
It’s more about connections, relationships, and providing value.
And you are providing a solution to a problem or pain point, not a product or service. When you focus on that solution, and you do it in a highly creative, even humorous way, you will get those shares you want.
According to Neil Patel, Instagram is actually pushing its account holders to use IGTV and reels and will favor those longer videos more.
Be an Active Participant in Other Content and in Discussions
You must consider part of your content includes comments you make on the posts of others, especially related niches and, absolutely, in the comments and discussions that occur with your posts.
The “social” aspect of social media, Instagram included, is the fact that people like, share, comment, and participate in discussions with one another.
For you not to do the same means that you miss opportunities to establish connections that will bring a larger following to your account.
And if you do not respond to a comment made on your post, you do look a bit rude and uncaring. So make sure you have your notifications turned on so as to not miss a comment. Or hire a dedicated Social Media freelancer to help you out.
Make Any Text You Craft Count
While Instagram is primarily a visual platform, there will be text – perhaps a headline, a caption, a description, hashtags, and certainly ways for you to get more reasons from viewers to like, share, love, comment, etc. The keys are to keep that text short, simple, grammatically perfect, and attention-grabbing.
You can always check out GetGoodGrade, a writing service with great customer reviews from business clients. Apps like Grammarly and Hemingway are perfect for that as well.
You can hire a freelance writer to craft your killer Instagram strategy and create captivating text or even to run a grammar check for you.
And remember this: your captions are also a key part of your content.
Tell Stories with Your Visuals
One of the great features that Instagram launched in 2017 we the carousel. This allowed account holders to post a series of pictures, and this allowed businesses to tell stories through those series.
This is still a highly popular feature for brands, and research shows that carousels get about 1.4x more reach and about 3.1x more engagement than regular posts with just a single photo.
Instagram is constantly adding and/or changing its algorithms and features. It will be important to keep current on these and how they affect your content.
For example, you may have always used the “swipe up” feature to drive viewers to your website or a landing page. That is to be replaced with stickers now (as of Aug. 30, 2021).
Use Surveys and Contests for a Killer Instagram Strategy
These always engage viewers, and they are happy to participate, if not too much time is involved. In terms of surveys, here is one that relates to donut preferences:
Note the author also tabulates the vote count, and this will keep the curious coming back.
Contests are also super popular. Nathan Chan ran a lot of contests in the beginning and still runs them today. He also offers rewards for viewers who fulfill certain activities, such as a free issue if they like and share his post with a certain number in their communities.
Surveys and contests grow followings!
Post Multiple Times a Day
One of the strategies Nathan Chan used was to post several times a day. This is still what research shows is effective in growing a following. Posting several times each day will do the following:
- It will increase engagement. People will begin to notice that you post a number of times each day, and they will continue to return to see what’s new. And as they continue to return, if they find something engaging, they are likely to share it.
- It will ensure that you reach your audience, for even the same demographic that you have identified will be on Instagram at different times, depending upon their individual schedules.
- If you discover that some posts gain lots of views and shares, then you can re-post them at a future time.
- You can alternate images and videos, and you may find that videos get more “play” than images. This should drive what you do in the future.
For a Killer Instagram Strategy…Test!
You can do this by simply using Instagram analytics. It will provide you with a wealth of information about how your posts are doing, what times of the day and week get the most play, and a host of other things:
- Relative percentages of genders, ages, etc. are viewing your posts
- How many viewers are returning and how often
- Which types of images are getting the most play – bright colors, more muted tones, etc.?
- How much are your hashtags are helping to bring in viewers. Some find that using fewer, more targeted hashtags work better for them; others may find that, in their niche, the more hashtags, the better.
Growing a following on Instagram is a process. And it will probably take more time than it did in 2014 when Nathan Chan began his efforts. Instagram is becoming more crowded and competitive all the time. but if you take these seven content tips to heart, stay consistent in using them, your following will grow over time.
Author’s bio. Jessica Fender is a copywriter and blogger at Paperspout with a background in marketing and sales. She enjoys sharing her experience with like-minded professionals who aim to provide customers with high-quality services.
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