Content. We hear about it all the time. Content strategy, social content, website content — the list goes on. While it’s important to be forward-thinking with all aspects of your brand’s content, there’s one platform that stands out among the rest: Instagram. If you’re looking to optimize your content this year (captions, stories, hashtags and all), keep reading for some pointers.
Use a Scheduling ToolThere are tons of social media scheduling tools out there to make your life easier (and your posts better). A few noteworthy ones are Later, Hootsuite and Buffer. That being said, there are plenty of others. When you’re looking around for one, make sure you choose one that allows you to schedule a month’s worth of posts — some only let you schedule one week at a time.
Hand it over to the ExpertsNot to toot our own horns here, but this is kinda what we live for. We help brands jumpstart their presence on Instagram, which is helpful when A) you don’t have the time B) you don’t have the experience or C) you want to hit the ground running with your social accounts.
Create a Content CalendarThis is another thing we can help you out with. If you’re trying to establish your brand on social profiles, a content calendar is a must. Your content calendar should map out your objectives, your overall strategy, your colors and of course, your post schedule month by month.
Hire a CopywriterIn the world of Instagram, captions are everything. But let’s face it — not everyone is a brilliant short-form copywriter. You’ll want to always try to make your captions on-brand and punchy, but you don’t have a ton of room to do so. Try hiring a copywriter on an as-needed or part-time basis so they can whip out clever captions without breaking the bank.
Invest in DesignGone are the days of the photo-only grids. Now, more and more brands are finding success with carefully crafted designs and meme-style posts. There’s no need to invest in design strategy for every single post, but a smattering of well-designed posts will make a big impact on your content strategy.
Vary the length of your CaptionsNo one wants to read paragraphs for captions every time you post; at the same time, you can’t smack an emoji on the caption and call it a day. Instead, try varying the length of your captions. We recommend one short caption, one long caption and two mid-length captions every week!
Make a Color PaletteWhen you’re setting up your grid, go through and pick the main color of each photo. Then, go to a fake grid and place each color in a post slot. If the colors are all over the place, you may want to reconsider the images you’re using. This gives you a good birds-eye view of the main color aesthetic your profile produces.
Mix it upSometimes we get too caught up in establishing brand consistency that we forget the evils of monotony. Take a step back and look at your grid. Is it easy to distinguish one post from another? Do any posts stand out? If not, a change may be in order!
Add MovementOne of the biggest social trends in 2021 has been the use of movement on Instagram posts. To mix up the aesthetic of your grid, add a few images that have motion to them. It could be a candid, a moving shot or a short video clip!
Draw Inspiration from othersWho said you have to take it all on by yourself? Ideas circulate so that we can learn from them, so go ahead and get inspired by other Instagram accounts out there! We recommend coming up with an inspiration doc or a mood board that you can reference as you continue your content journey.
Run Engagement TestsMonitoring engagement: when numbers meet words. In case you missed it, 2021 is the year that numbers become sexy again. Track the engagement of your posts to see which ones perform better. You may notice a theme. Say your image-based posts perform better than your meme posts. Well, that says something about your brand, doesn’t it? So make sure you’re tracking it!
Add a Little Wiggle RoomWe’re all for planning out your content, but make sure you always have some wiggle room for timely posts. No matter what your industry is, timely pieces are important on social media. After all, about 62% of adults get their news from social media platforms!
Pair Words with DesignCaptions aren’t the only things that need copywriting. Lots of brands find success with word-based posts. It may not be a ton of words or the greatest design, but when you can successfully intersect design and copy, you’re really speaking to your brand.
Add Pizzaz to your StoriesOn the social media creativity spectrum, stories rank as the most creative. When you’re working on stories for your company’s Instagram handle, have fun with it. Add some stickers, slap on a geotag or type out a corny joke.
Browse other Instagram profiles before writingWhether you have an in-house writer or you’re outsourcing someone, make sure your writing is relevant. As you probably know, trendy phrases come and go. You’ll want to be on top of this. Captioning a photo with something that is outdated or phased out is a big no-no.
If all else fails, keep it short and sweetWe all have times when we’re struggling for a good caption. Hours (and money) is wasted on something that may or may not be read by others. And even if a ton of people read it, will they realize how much effort you put into it? If you hit writer’s block or you’re not getting agreement from the team, go with a short and sweet caption — an emoji or a quote will do the trick!
Avoid “Stocky” stockThere are stock photos and then there are stocky stock photos. We’ve all used our fair share of stock photos (it’s hard not to!), but we want you to draw the line when they’re cheap-looking, unoriginal stock photos. It doesn’t take a marketing genius to spot an overly generic photo!
Hire a PhotographerWhile we’re talking about stock photos, let’s talk about photographers. Anyone can use their iPhones these days, but to get a really great set of photos? Yep, that still calls for a photographer. We recommend you hire or outsource a trustworthy photographer who knows your brand and your overall objectives.
Make a Schedule
Posting at random times is another big no-no. There’s a strategy behind posting schedules. Most social post scheduling platforms will help you out on this one, but if not, you can take a look at global engagement or engagement by industry to figure out the best time to post.
Get an Outsider’s OpinionLast but not least, no content strategy is complete without a million stakeholders. Okay, we’re kidding — but really, it’s important to get at least one outsider’s opinion on your content. There’s always one or two extraneous things we’re missing that an outsider may be able to easily spot, so it’s worth the 10-minute review.