5 simple ways to nail it on Instagram

From its humble beginnings as an image sharing app, Instagram has become a huge marketing platform that’s almost as essential as having a website to businesses of all sizes. It’s been instrumental in driving influencer marketing but in doing so, has created as many haters as lovers. For every impassioned fan, you’ll find another person who just doesn’t really see what all the fuss is about or just can’t get the traction they see others getting.

If you fall into the latter category, let me assure you the main moans about insta are understandable but not insurmountable. Let me share my 5 easy wins…

Instagram Scheduling with Planoly Photo

Instagroan – It’s too time-consuming
Instant solution – use a scheduling tool

While it’s true that decent created content takes time and effort, there are a few shortcuts to getting a grid you can be proud of. This is one way that scheduling tools can help – something like Planoly or Later allows you to plan your posts in advance, as well as play around with your grid so you are happy with the way everything fits together. These tools get rid of all the last-minute posting panic by saving you time and effort.

Batch write your captions and quickly add your hashtags to free up more time for engaging with customers. With scheduled content ready to go, you know you will always have that consistency of posting however busy you get. You can then be reactive – following up on to industry news, for example, and put in more timely posts as and when you need to. Read my blog here on choosing which scheduling tool to use.

Instagroan – There’s so much pressure to look good
Instant solution – find your look and stick to it!

This one isn’t so much about always having your make-up done and tidy house to show off (unless those things are part of your business and brand story). I’m talking more about the pressures of the grid. We all love to look at those perfectly curated feeds that stop you scrolling and push you down a rabbit hole of beautiful images. The flip side to enjoying them can be the pang of jealousy that yours doesn’t match up, or you feel like you just don’t have time to give everything the same aesthetic.

Actually, this might be easier than you think. Use your brand colours and fonts to create Story highlight covers in Canva. This makes for a more uniform look and is a simple way to make your profile page look polished. You can even get an Etsy icon in Canva (search in Elements), which is really useful for shops and sellers that use this platform and want to use highlights to showcase things in your shop.

Then for that uniform look across your images, you need to go outside of Instagram filters. The big two apps are VSCO and A Color Story. You do need to spend some time playing around with these, adjusting the settings to find a look you like. But once you are happy with brightness, saturation etc, lock them down as a preset and you can apply that to all your images to achieve the cohesion that gives some grids the edge. Your images don’t have to look heavily filtered – that’s all a bit old hat these days – but similar settings will definitely help it all hang together.

Instagroan – I don’t know what to post
Instant solution – know your market

As a social platform, IG has the highest ratio of created content (around 80 per cent) and if you’re not a natural photographer and/or writer this can be really off-putting. This analysis paralysis could be holding you back, making you feel stuck for content ideas succumbing to the comparison demons and feeling like you just have nothing to say.

We’ve all been there and the easiest way to get over this is to go back to your user personas. This is a great opportunity to really get inside the minds of your customers. Think about what they want to see. Look at what your competitors are posting and what their followers are enjoying. Does that inspire you to create something new and different? Are there some similar themes that might work for your audience?

This is a good chance to try new things – video content or more Stories posts perhaps. These tend to do really well. Make a list of all things you can make content from your business from product launches, how-tos, behind-the-scenes footage, staff profiles, cult products, invite customer feedback or try to include user-generated content if you can. The test measure and refine method is really useful here too. Deep dive into your analytics and give your audience more of the content they like.

Download my free guide to help you define your user personas here.

User Persona

Instagroan – no one engages with me
Instant solution – be intentional with your engagement

Maybe you are posting regularly and really working at it, but no one’s noticing. Or if they are, they aren’t saying anything. That tumbleweed moment when you’re reaching out… and no one replies. Not even your best ‘guaranteed like’ buddy taps out a comment. It’s cringey and it can put you off doing it again. Don’t take it personally, maybe you just need a change of strategy.

When you post it’s good practice to be online to like and comment on other people’s posts. Spend 15-20 minutes engaging with others. This helps with the algorithm and you’re more likely to get people reciprocating and engaging back on your posts. You should make sure that you are around whenever scheduled posts go out as you want to be responding to comments and questions as quickly as you can. Again for the algorithm to pick up the engagement and make sure your posts get seen, but it’s also important for your customers to know that you are helpful and present. Make sure you stick to short bursts of time, though – it’s so easy to lose hours doing this!

Instagroan – I’m not gaining followers/leads/sale
Instant fix – harness the power of hashtags

Love ‘em or hate ‘em you need to be using hashtags to get your content in front of more people. Posts with at least one hashtag get over 12 per cent more engagement. The right hashtags will make you more discoverable and you want to be choosing ones that are relevant, not so huge you get lost among millions, and that really drive interested customers your way. But how do you know which ones to use and doesn’t sticking 30 tags on the end of a post go back to that thing about insta being horribly time-consuming? Not if you pre-group them and use my recommended monthly hashtags!

My April 2019 hashtags are here.

The best way to add multiple hashtags to your posts is to save them in your notes and cut and paste, maybe adding or taking away a couple to make them super relevant to your post and to avoid Instagram’s spam filters mistakenly picking up your activity. Planoly users can take advantage of the Hashtag Manager feature to create groups that you can then use on posts. It’s simple to do and has to be one of the biggest time savers, as well as an effective way to boost your reach.

If you like what you’ve read and are interested in an online course specifically for growing a business on Instagram, check out my ‘Beyond The Grid’ online course.

Learn more about the course here >>>> Beyond The Grid <<<<