As Proof’s Content Strategist, it’s my job to manage social media presence and ongoing PPC advertising campaigns for ourselves and our clients. For us, and truly, for any company, social media is an excellent way to build awareness. For us, it’s the primary way we allow our community to “peek behind the curtain” into our process, our culture, and the work we’re taking on.
At the end of the day, social media is an arm of business development for ourselves – and likely, for you. When people are looking for a brand partner, being active and engaged online keeps us top of mind and in the conversation.
Since this is such a significant part of my role. I thought I’d share some wisdom and advice (specifically for Instagram) that I’ve picked up along the way and through my experience.
Use the Business Account Functions/Analytics
It’s important to distinguish yourself on Instagram as a business, rather than an individual. You can do this by changing your account to an Instagram Business Profile. Go to SETTINGS from your profile, select ACCOUNT, and choose to SWITCH TO BUSINESS ACCOUNT. This will allow you to link your Facebook business page as well as give you insights that a personal account doesn’t have access to.
Once you’ve converted your account, explore! The Insights tab will show you have many people visit your profile, which posts were the most successful, how many new accounts visited your page, as well as give you crucial information about your audience.
This is two-fold: you want to be consistent when it comes to frequency of posting, as well as the content you post. For the former, it’s important to test when your post performs the best. This is different for every industry and everyone’s follower base. Sometimes first thing in the morning is best, other times it’s after the workday. When you’re first building a strategy, allow for time to experiment and then use those analytics (see above) to make a data-driven decision as to when the best time to post really is.
Being consistent in what you post is also crucial. Overall aesthetic is important to many followers and developing a style or look for your brand helps to reinforce who you are and what you do. For Proof, this is tricky. No two projects are alike (on purpose) so showcasing our work can sometimes look like a jar of jellybeans. We’ve learned to group our work together, creating rows that have consistency, rather than one color, one style, one look.
Engage, Engage, Engage
A big issue that brands run into is not devoting time to engagement. The “post and drop” mentality of posting on Instagram and closing out the app is not an effective way to get eyes on your profile. Be sure to post during a time you are free to respond to comments, thank you followers, and entice new ones. Liking other profiles, following others, leaving relevant comments or DMs is a necessary evil when it comes to getting views. It also makes the Instagram algorithm very happy. See my next point.
Play the Game: Appease the Algorithm
Instagram’s algorithm is ever-changing, but there are a few things that we know help to boost your engagement and visibility. This information is accurate at the time of publishing.* Here’s a quick checklist to follow:
- Post on stories and use the “stickers” or tools Instagram offers.
- Save photos using the “ribbon” button on the bottom right of images. This saves them into a folder for you!
- Comment more than 3 words and avoid commenting just emojis.
- Do not mass unfollow or follow accounts.
- Use hashtags.
- Tag relevant accounts or people in your photos.
- Add a location to your post.
- Direct message with followers.
- Always respond to comments.
There’s no exact science to Instagram, and technology is constantly evolving (by the time you read this, they’ll probably be some new rule or algorithm), but these tips will help you to narrow your focus and grow your online community.