Written by Andie Towner, Content & Social Media Manager
- What’s the story morning glory
Social media is a marketing platform, with storytelling at its centre. People will sit for hours and watch seasons of GOT or SATC but they’ll scroll right past an Instagram post if they’re not into it.
We as beings or as brands now have to tell a story in a new and attention-grabbing way. In a world where there’s an enormous amount of social content, if you don’t make someone stop what they are doing and create a response, it’s game over. At the end of the day, it’s not really about whether someone has time for your content or not, its whether or not they find it thought-provoking.
Storytelling doesn’t always have to be about the business or about the why and how it was started. For example, The North Face doesn’t tell its “corporate story’, it shares its “customers story” through the voice of outdoor adventures – emotional videos that create a sense of belonging for their audience. An AMPR client, Specsavers connects to their consumers and staff through the #loveglasses hashtag. Their audience and staff members posts photos of themselves in Specsavers glasses using the hashtag #loveglasses not because they’re paid but because they genuinely love and are invested in the Specsavers brand. Specsavers repurposes and reposts these images of their customers and staff to their own social channels alas being authentic, raw and real.
What works in storytelling today:
- User-generated content
- Employee-generated content (not necessarily advocacy programs)
- Experts and authorities
- Treat your community how you’d like to be treated
Expand your Instagram engagement by asking questions. It’s a two-way street! Putting a question in your caption always creates interest and forces people to read and hopefully respond. Every post should have a strong call to action or CTA (call to action). Ask people to follow you or like the post in the caption.
Engage with other posts shortly before and after you post something to your own feed!
Instagram captions are there to start conversations with Instagram followers. A “like” did have the same value as somebody waving at you and like it or not the insta-apocolypse happened in Australia and our likes were shortly waved goodbye. The ‘like’ was a nice sign, but it didn’t mean the audience will buy something or be invested. It takes an unbelievable amount of work, but if you can establish an engaged community for a brand then you’ve hit the other side of the rainbow.
Setting some time each day to be social – that is, to connect and engage with people in an authentic, meaningful way – a meaningful following will start to grow. Create a spreadsheet to keep track of people you need to interact with daily, perhaps your top customers? Or brands alike? And spend 20 minutes a day engaging with your audience.
- A sneaky hack
Increasing Instagram engagement by sharing your own posts to your own Instagram Stories. Madness, I know.
The way that the Instagram algorithm works, only an insignificant percentage of your followers will see your Instagram posts in their feeds. Instagram Stories is another way for content to be seen. Every time a post is shared across the Instagram feed, it’s important to share an Instagram Story as well.
Click the little arrow and share to your own story!
- You don’t make friends with salad
Look at what type of content performs best. Review insights every day as a reminder of what’s working and more importantly, what’s not! Repost, repost and repost! Don’t reinvent the wheel.
- Make hashtags, not war
Hashtags might not seem like much of a priority on the surface, but they remain one of the most important aspects of promoting on Instagram. Hashtags are what make Instagram content discoverable. Including at least one hashtag gains more engagement than those that feature none. Usually, brands include between two to five, give or take. But don’t just slap anything on willy nilly, the hashtags used should be relevant to the photo posted.
Say you post a photo of a pair of heels. You could use the hashtag #heels, which has 29.1 million linked posts, or you could use #snakeskinheels, which has 2,451 linked posts. They are related tags, but the latter #snakeskinheels has less linked posts, which means your content is more likely to be discovered and liked or commented on.
More than 55% of internet users watch videos online everyday. Video drives a 157 percent increase in organic traffic from search engine results pages. Publish more video content. Remember the ‘hot tip’ earlier about storytelling and people scrolling past posts without engaging? Given that video auto plays in the feed, there’s no better way to grab someone’s attention when they’re sitting and scrolling, and scrolling, and scrolling etc. Instagram’s platform has been pushing video content recently through stories and IGTV. They want to see creators producing more video and therefore prioritise this on peoples feeds as a reward.
- Go head make my day
The best time to post on Instagram is fundamentally the posting time that results in the most engagement on average. Keep track of your engagement rate for every post, alongside the day and time of posting. You can do this by inputing it into a spreadsheet, using Instagram Insights, testing different posting times or using a social media analytics tool. After a while, you should start to notice patterns of engagement, and a ‘best time to post’ will materialise.
- Tag, you’re it!
If you’re looking to boost your exposure and improve your engagement, you need to start tagging locations in your posts! Thanks to the location sticker, Instagram Stories are searchable by location, meaning that anyone who searches for that location in Instagram will be able to see your Instagram Stories.
- It’s not you, it’s me
Include faces in your photos. Images with faces have been known to increase engagement, because our brains naturally want to interact with other people.
- Get real, ditch the highlights reel
As we all know, Instagram is often a highlight reel of our lives- the best moments scripted, enhanced, captioned, tagged and pinned. Glossier, a makeup retail chain who boasts a 2.1m social media presence never seems exclusive or unattainable. It is raw, real and down to earth. They’re a friend rather than a brand and most of their photos are unedited bathrooms, selfies and they are real. It feels friendly, relatable and authentic. This is where the new hiding of likes on IG may come into play. People are moving towards engaging with more real and authentic content rather than curated and glossy images.
Your point of difference is your unique self because there’s no one else like you. They’ll get to know you or your brand, like you for being you, and over time, they’ll grow to trust you. That connection can’t be replicated by a number of likes anyway.
Be you and your real community will follow!