Alright, alright… who’s ready to up their Instagram game this year? 🙋🏼 I can hear the simultaneous cheers and grumbles. Yes, you want to up your game but ugh, Instagram’s killing engagement and you’re just so frustrated. It’s time to start looking at Instagram a little differently and utilizing all the features to make the most of the platform.
First things first, it’s time to flip the script when it comes to Instagram. Instagram’s algorithm updates have been nothing short of frustrating. Your feeds are a hot mess with posts from days ago. Nothing is timely and you just want to pull all your hair out.
Before you do any of that, let’s change our perspective real quick. Instead of the likes and comments rolling in quickly when you first post, you’re now seeing a slower trickle. That’s because your content is staying in people’s feeds longer. So instead of getting upset about seeing posts from days ago, think of it this way. Your posts are now lasting longer and are no longer necessarily getting buried in people’s feeds. Likes may still be down but hey, gotta look on the bright side!
Now we got that cleared up, let’s get to the good stuff on how to get more eyes on your content! I'm breaking down 3 different features on Instagram that you need to start using to help grow your account.
Did you know 300+ million Instagram users use Instagram Stories every single day? Yes, you read that right… 300+ MILLION. One thing this shows is that users are consuming content differently. Along with your usual posts they are also really into your Instagram Stories!
So remember when I said that your posts are lasting in people’s feeds longer? Well that’s not exactly great for timely content butttttt Instagram Stories is exactly where you can share that information! These only stay up for 24 hours (unless you now add them to your Story Highlights on your profile!) so they are perfect for sharing timely updates along with your other content.
While more people are curating their Instagram Stories like they do their profile, the best way you can use stories is by connecting with your audience on a more personal level. This means you don’t need to have those perfectly styled photos or videos. They only stay up for 24 hours so all those "imperfections" will disappear (well, go into your archives that only you can see!) but you’ll have connected with your audience and shared valuable content with them.
So you’re ready to hop onto the Stories train but what the heck do you share you ask?
Alerts for new blog posts
Share exciting news
Ask for opinions & feedback (Use the poll feature for this!)
Anything that let's you connect with your audience on a personal, human level
Another thing you can do with Instagram stories is create a content loop. What does that mean??? Have you seen a post that says something like “see more in my latest story” or a story that says something like “check out why we love X in our latest post”? That’s a content loop! This is a great way to keep your audience on your profile and helps them learn more about you and your brand.
This new feature has numerous benefits for your account but the biggest one is it can help save you some time! One thing we always do for ourselves and our clients is spend time bouncing in and out of our accounts to network with people we not only follow but people in our target audience as well. The way we find people in our target audience is by monitoring key hashtags. See where I’m going with this?
Now that we can follow hashtags some of these posts will actually pop up in our feed so while we’re engaging with people we already follow, we can engage with people using key hashtags as well. Killing two birds with one stone and saving some time!
Another way you can use this new feature is if your brand has a specific hashtag that your followers use in their posts about your brand. This is a great way to find user-generated content to repost as well as make sure you’re engaging with those talking about your brand. By following this hashtag, those posts will pop up in your feed even if you’re not following those users!
Okkkk, we’re with you guys on this one… Live video scares the bejesus out of us which means we have yet to do Instagram Live ourselves. 🙈 But here’s the thing, it’s here, it’s not going away, and it can actually be a really great tool for your brand.
So just like Instagram Stories this is a great way to humanize your brand and really connect with your audience. Think about any of the live videos you’ve watched… They are showing their process with their work (we worked with an artist that did live paintings and they were amazing to watch while she also answered questions!). People do Q&As to answer their audience’s questions. Anything to really connect and form a stronger relationship! You can really make these as personal and unique to your brand as you want.
A few things to keep in mind if you do decide to go live this year:
Give your audience a head’s up! Don’t just go live on a whim or you risk the chance that no one will join you. Tell your followers a few days in advance you'll be going live on this day at this time then remind them on the day that you’ll be going live with the set time. This way they can make sure to tune in!
Give people a little time to join. Don’t just jump right into whatever it is that you want to show. Give people a little time to join in. Have an intro where you introduce yourself, talk about what you’ll be sharing, etc. This gives you a chance to let people not only join but know what to expect!
Answer and respond to people’s comments. Make sure you’re keeping an eye on the comments and answer any questions that arise. This connects you further with your audience and shows them you are there for THEM.
Save the video to replay. Make sure you add the video to replay in your Stories so people that weren’t able to make it to the live stream can watch it later
And there you have it, some of the key features on Instagram you can no longer ignore. They are rapidly growing their platform and making adjustments all the time which means you need to be able to adapt and grow with the platform. We know it’s daunting and adds at least 10 other things to your already full plate but trust us, if you want a strong Instagram presence, you need to use these features. You don’t need to commit to them all at once. Start with Instagram Stories (this is where it’s at y’all!) and work on mastering that. Then add in Live videos later once you’re more comfortable in front of the camera. You got this!
What Instagram features are you most excited for this year? Tell us in the comments!