The 5 things you must do to step up your game on Instagram in 2020.
Over four billion people use Instagram each month and as we enter 2021, it is the priority social media network for most businesses. We are all watching TikToc, Snapchat and other rising stars that might be the next big thing, but for most businesses, those are not there yet. Instagram, however, has a large and engaged audience, so let’s focus on giving you some specific ideas on how you can enjoy more success there now.
1. Perfect Your Profile
With Instagram in 2021, your profile is critical to both explain who you are and to drive traffic to your website. When someone visits your profile on Instagram do they quickly understand who you are, what you do and why they should follow you there? That should be your goal, so pause for a second and go look at your profile. Try to see it through the eyes of a potential future customer. If they know nothing about you will they get it?
The name field should include your business name, exactly as you would normally write it (spaces, etc.). This is how it will show in Instagram’s search results, so this is critical.
Pro Tip: Your “name” and “username” are the only two fields on Instagram that are searchable, so consider enhancing your name. Are you an expert at something? Maybe add that after your name. For instance, if Wile E. Coyote was a client of ours we might make his Instagram name “Wile E. Coyote 💡Super Genius”. You have 30 characters, so once you have your name, try to add to it to create clarity and give you an edge in Instagram’s search.
The bio gives you 150 characters to tell people who you are and why they should follow you. Get creative and be clear. Work to encourage people to follow you or visit your website.
Pro Tip: Use emojis and list styling to expand your options. You can see our profile for an example.
Make sure to include a link in your profile and be thoughtful about that. This is one of your only ways to get people from Instagram to your site. There are a number of tools that you can use to bring people to a page with multiple links, we typically recommend that to businesses that are active on Instagram. Find a way to best connect people reading your Instagram posts with more information. Make it easy and get better results!
Pro Tip: Remember a majority of users on Instagram are on mobile devices, so be sure to send people to a mobile-optimized web page.
Be sure to take these basic steps to perfect your Instagram profile. As you take other actions like we list below you will have more people visiting your profile and increased opportunities.
Educate, motivate or inspire – those are the three types of content that do best in formats like IGTV and YouTube. Don’t create commercials, instead deliver value that connects you and your potential customers.
2. It is IGTV Time
Thanks to recent changes made by Instagram, the IGTV platform suddenly has greatly increased relevance to businesses and marketers. While Instagram’s original concept of developing this as a separate app never gained traction, their decision to more closely tie it into their primary app has dramatically increased its impact. IGTV is Instagram’s long-form video section, allowing you to post videos up to 60 minutes long.
Why IGTV Now?
Instagram has been adding an increasing number of ways for your IGTV to be discovered. The biggest one is that they show the first 60 seconds of your video within the feed, which includes a prompt to watch the full video. That feed inclusion along with a noticeable preference by the Instagram algorithm to show IGTV videos has lead to great results for many of our clients. We hear people complaining that it is harder to get organic views on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram due to the crowd and algorithm. This is a case where the bots will work for you instead of against you and fewer of your competitors are there to crowd you out.
Pro Tips: Here are a few quick notes about doing IGTV well on Instagram in 2020.
- Use vertical videos (9:16) for IGTV. You can use horizontal videos, but vertical is still working better.
- Make the first 10 seconds count, since you want people to see your IGTV preview in the feed and want to see more, you need to make sure the first 10 seconds are not just your branding. Deliver something that makes them want more.
- Educate, motivate or inspire – those are the three types of content that do best in formats like IGTV and YouTube. Don’t create commercials, instead deliver value that connects you and your potential customers.
- Spend some time on your video title and description. These help more people discover you and be sure to use some hashtags in the description.
3. 500 Million People Want to See Your Stories
On Instagram in 2020, the Stories feature within the app is really hitting its stride. Instagram recently shared that over 500 million people watch Stories every day. The user-experience that allows for someone to just start this alternative feed and get photo and video posts from their friends and favorite brands is sticky. If you are like most businesses you need to get more active in Stories as a key marketing commitment for 2020.
Pro Tips: Here are a few key ideas for you to maximize Instagram Stories
- A Tall Story – Create content that is optimized for the vertical (9:16) aspect ratio of Stories
- Tell a Story – Think in 15 second chapters, create a narrative that will engage your viewers
- Go Native – Use the stickers, text, and other tools Instagram offers in Stories so that you fit the native look.
- Tag It – You can add a hashtag to each section of your Stories, please do. This helps new people find your content.
4. Leverage Instagram Ads
Of course, we all love that we can post to Instagram and its various sections for free, but have you tried Instagram ads yet? Depending on what you offer for sale and your marketing goals, IG ads could be a powerful and efficient option for you. We have found a vital place for these ads in the overall digital marketing strategies for most clients’ brands.
You only want to run ads if you can match the native look and feel of Instagram. If you can create ads with pretty pictures or — better yet — compelling video content then this might be a good place for you. The targeting capabilities are fed by the insights that they gain from the entire Facebook empire, so you can easily pinpoint the right people using their interests, age, location, and other key factors. We are enjoying getting great-looking content in front of the right people at reasonable prices and Instagram in 2020 is looking to be even better.
Hot Tips – Here are some of the things that we are seeing work well for Instagram Ads.
- To Boost or not to Boost – You have the option of creating an ad to deliver as an ad only or boosting one of your posts. Using a boost only when you have a post that is a priority for you and is a great fit in your feed strategy. A boost should only run for a few days, so typically it is more timely. If you have a general business message that you want to deliver, create it as an ad.
- Be Format-Specific – You can run ads on Instagram in the feed or in Stories, so make sure your creative matches that. You can create an ad in a traditional square (1:1) and run it in the feed and Stories, but in most cases that does not optimize your results in Stories. Test running ads specifically for the feed with your image or video formatted for that and another ad for Stories in the vertical (9:16) aspect ratio.
- Video FTW- If you can develop some of your ads as video ads you should lean that way. We are seeing very high engagement and conversion with video ads in the Feed and Stories. Video is especially effective if you are trying to build awareness and interest. It is also a great way to tell your product story.
5. Leverage Creator Studio
For most businesses, the management of Instagram was a little challenging due to IG’s mobile-centric DNA. Maybe you had several members of your team logging in on their phones to post and manage comments. Some brands turned to various social media management SaaS to manage their account, but in many cases that was hit or miss. Gradually, Instagram has been integrated with Facebook Business allowing you to do more and more from this more business-friendly and team-oriented option.
Facebook has added more Instagram-specific capabilities to Creator Studio, which includes the ability to post to the Instagram Feed and IGTV, you can even schedule those posts. When used along with Facebook Business, you now have desktop access to almost all of your posting, comment management and analytics for both Instagram and Facebook. We want to encourage you to take a fresh look at how you and your team are managing all of this and make sure that you are leveraging the newest tools that can save you money and give you an edge.
What is your resolution on Instagram in 2020? We hope that you will dig deeper into IGTV, Instagram Stories, and the IG advertising options. We also encourage you to make sure your Instagram bio is working for you and that you are using the best tools to manage Instagram. Go ahead and win with the ‘Gram!
Ready to make Instagram a priority?