Some people might be saying that Instagram is the next social media platform to die — yet you’re still scrolling through it daily.
Instagram today is a digital playground for the creative and bold. To help you find your flair, this is what you need to take note of. Did you know that luxury brands have spent an estimated US$5.67 billion on influencer-based promotions on Instagram in 2018? Expected to reach about US$8 billion by 2020, it is undoubtedly a industry for creative and sale-smart minds to invest themselves in. But we’ve realized that when it comes to Instagram, change is a constant. The consistent shift in algorithm and newer tools coming into play regularly, it can be difficult for enthusiasts to find the right strategy and tools, especially for freshers. To help you get started, we’ve created the essential beginners guide to acing Instagram in 2021.
How to ace Instagram in 2021 –
Owning the right set of editing tools
They say a craftsmen is only as good as his tools and we most certainly concur. While smartphone photography may be your best bet, there are a handful of editing tools one can trust. Our favorites would be Mojo for effects, Lightroom for colour correction, Prequel for themes and Snapseed for fine-tuning. There are special apps out there that even help you with maintaining your grid’s aesthetic, like 9square.
Growing the right audience for the style and genre of your content
The art of building an audience on Instagram simply boils down to how engaging and invested your audience is in your content. While you might be an artist, you need to ensure that you attract like-minded audience. Start by targeting the right demographic and observe their behaviour.
Building a community, not an audience
Instagram, just like Facebook started off as as community platform before the hammer of e-marketing dropped and changed it into a consumer-based platform. Interestingly, they’re going back to their roots and prioritizing more organic content. Build an interactive community instead of looking for a big follower count. Focus more on getting comments on your content instead of just likes.
Being more than an influencer
One of the coolest trends right on are artists and skilled individuals turning into influencers. Skills like cooking, hairstyling, painting and even niches can help you define your uniqueness better. Take Jeff Wittek for instance, he’s a home-taught barber who turned into a Youtuber and then celebrity barber. Even apart from his Instagram, he also works as a Youtuber and of course, barber too.
Using boosting to attract not a wider, but the right audience
While many use booting to simply push their reach, they don’t realize how great a targeting tool it is. Focus on appropriate locations and demographics for the content you want to create. If for instance, you live in Delhi, and your top location is Mumbai, your content isn’t matching your local demographic’s needs. Usually, people have this misconception that the wider the reach the better the engagement which isn’t true – aim small, but aim for a more interactive audience.
Your analytics are much more important than you realize
In continuation of our second point, consider your analytics as weekly report cards or even a casual performance review. The things to look out for – Your weekly reach, the frequency of new and lost followers, the best performing posts and their type, profile views and bounce rate.
Maximising your reach
In a certain sense, Instagram is all about numbers. And by that we mean reaching out to as many people as you can with a single post. In order for this, you need to master the art of gaining reach and understanding what makes the algorithm tick. Use smarter hashtags, add locations, tag relevant profiles and people for a repost. These little things go a long way.
Creating an original aesthetic and signature feed
Building a social media brand all starts with something exclusive. Build an aesthetic for your grid, this could be a type of font, a colour palette, a layout or even a concept. Some of the best Instagram influencers often strive not only towards posting a great picture, but also aesthetically working it into their feed and grid.
Having a strong opinion about trends and social matters
Apart from the aesthetic, glamour and the numbers, an audience also follows an Instagram personality for their opinions and principles in life. Be it a catastrophe, a conspiracy, a debate or even a trend, a bold opinion is always respected.
Interconnecting your other platforms with Instagram
It’s important to build a social web when building a brand. Depending on your content, be sure to link or at least mention your corresponding social platforms on your Instagram and the same there too. This way you can gain followers collectively across platforms and build a better community.
Making the best out of the Instagram stories
Apart from the comments and DM section, a great way of receiving audience feedback is through Instagram stories. The Pool and Question feature are great for this purpose, to keep things more fun, do use more hashtags, location tags and music. There’s a lot of art that can be done on Instagram stories and it’s a great tool for quick communication.
Fundamentals of brand marketing
The entire motive of being an influencer is to monetize content at some point. When it comes to brands, these are the three figures you’ll need to worry about to get their attention – Engagement rate, conversions and website traffic. Which again circles back to building a genuine and interactive audience rather than bulking up on bot counts.
Building a mini studio for more professional content
Whenever you’re ready to expand, dedicate a small section of your room towards building a studio. It doesn’t have to be too spacious, even a desk and space for lighting is sufficient. This is great for 90-degree shots and creating original homemade content as well.
Investing in video content
As of 2019, it’s a known fact that views can outweigh likes. We’ve been seeing a content shift since the past few years now, and its getting more prominent every year. The trick here is to produce a one or two minute video that isn’t overpacked and easy to consume. All of this, while catering towards an aesthetic and integrating a brand as well.
Maintaining a long-term and professional relationship with brands and PR
One of the most important gateways to marketing and monetising is PR. It’s extremely important to interact and consistently grow your network of brands and their representatives. Sometimes, even if the content is right, give them a free feature and prove why your work is worth investing in.
All Images: Courtesy Getty and KylieJenner/Instagram – Caught in a Cuff.
This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India.