As anyone who uses Instagram to market their business knows, it can be a mysterious platform. With algorithm changes, new features, an expansion into video, and new shopping options, Instagram certainly keeps marketers on their toes!
Instagram audiences are also ever-evolving, so as marketers we need to keep our strategy fresh in order to align with audience preferences, behaviours, and habits in 2022.
With many marketers facing challenges with Instagram, here we put together a run down of the top 5 most common issues, and how we can overcome them.
1. Knowing the best times to post
Timing may seem like a small thing, but it could actually be a crucial part of your social media marketing strategy. With social media algorithms favouring recent content, it’s more important than ever to target the right people at the right time so you don’t miss the moment.
The HubSpot’s Instagram Engagement Report is a useful guide to the best times to post:
– Content posted between 6 PM and 9 PM generate the most engagement
– Mornings from 5 AM to 12 PM offer the lowest engagement rate
– From Monday to Friday, the engagement rate stays about the same, but the weekend holds a slight edge.
While these stats give a general picture of when to post, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t guarantee that these times will work for your audience. You should continue to test different days and times and see which posts perform the best with your audience.
It might also be that your particular type of content lends itself to a certain time of day: for example, a coffee shop might prefer to post in the morning with photos of coffees and fresh pastries, whereas beer brands might post in the evening.
2. Knowing the best way to use hashtags
Hashtags play a huge role on Instagram, but they can be tricky to master — how many should you use? Should you stick with the popular hashtags or target more niche ones?
It might seem an obvious choice to use popular, broad hashtags (like #travel), but actually, it may be better to lean into more niche communities. Even though niche hashtags have fewer posts, they typically have a more dedicated community following them: it’s the classic ‘quality over quantity’ approach.
However, it seems that it’s all about quantity when it comes to the number of hashtags to use: the more the better. Using a lot of hashtags certainly doesn’t seem to harm post performance, but be aware that hashtags should always be genuinely relevant to your offering.
3. Creating a successful Influencer strategy
Working with influencers is always a big challenge for Instagram marketers.
For many marketers, influencer marketing seems out-of-reach, as at a glance it can look like a costly pursuit, with some of the biggest influencers charging substantial sums.
However, whilst it might seem that the best strategy is to work with the influencers with the biggest numbers of followers, this may not necessarily reap the biggest rewards. Instead, a savvy social media marketing strategy is to partner with influencers have fewer followers but a more engaged community (known as micro influencers). These micro influencers tend to be seen as more authentic, more accessible and more trusted, meaning that their engagement rates actually tend to be better than those with larger followings.
Better still, micro influencers don’t come with the hefty price tag, making this route a lot more accessible to a variety of brands.
4. Knowing how to create compelling captions
Captions on your Instagram posts are really important, not least for SEO purposes. Captions are also key to engagement: including a caption can give you a significant boost in engagement, from just under 4% to over 6%.
With this in mind, you want to create compelling captions that capture the reader’s attention, without being too ‘salesy’. Always remember to write in your ‘brand voice’, and keep in mind the main purpose and values of your brand whenever you create a caption. Keep the purpose of your business in mind and talk authentically in the caption about what and why you’ve posted.
5. Knowing what content your audience wants
Instagram is a visual social media platform, so it’s easy to assume that images are the most engaging type of content for this platform. However, in recent times video is ruling when it comes to Instagram and certainly shouldn’t be ignored.
Following on the heels of video content is carousel posts- the posts that contain multiple types of media (image or video) that users can scroll through. Users have to scroll through the content which means they engage more than they would with just a static image.
A successful social media strategy now goes beyond just photos along. Marketers need to look at opportunities to incorporate Reels, carousels, and Instagram Stories as well as static images.
The world of social media marketing is fast moving, and it can be difficult to stay on top of the latest updates and trends. If you need some support with your Instagram marketing strategy, get in touch to see how our social media team can help.