With an ever-changing Instagram algorithm it can be difficult to predict what move to make, and when to make it. And that’s just if you’re a product or service-based brand on social media. If you’re an influencer (or working on becoming one), there’s a whole other set of rules you need to follow.
This fourth part of our multi-part blog series on becoming an Instagram influencer is focusing on posting your content, and yes, it’s much more in-depth than it may sound! Here are some topics we’ll be covering:
How often to post
Understanding your analytics
Optimizing your captions
This part gets into the nitty gritty of backend data and analyzing your numbers, but we’ll try not to overwhelm you! You can definitely just start by having a basic understanding of what you’re seeing, then once you get the hang of it, it should be easy breezy to take it from there!
How Often to Post
This is a bit of a grey area. Here’s what we know for sure: you should definitely be posting 3-4 times per week. Some say post once a day, and some say you can post up to 3 times per DAY.
That last one doesn’t really make sense to us, and here’s why: While it’s getting more and more difficult to figure out what the Instagram algorithm is doing and calculating, we do know that if you post more than once a day (unless you’re ALREADY an Influencer and your content is SUPER engaging), your content will end up completing with itself.
Have you ever opened up Instagram, saw the cover of a swipe post, closed it, opened it up a few hours later and saw the second slide of that swipe post? Instagram essentially knows how you relate to that person and their content, so they may show it to you more than once to entice you to engage with it (oh yeah, big brother is watching LOL). If you don’t allow your followers time to engage with your 1st piece of content (at least 24 hours), they may never see it.
Now, as you grow and as the algorithm changes, you may find this to be less relevant if you have solid engagement no matter when or how many times you post. But we recommend allowing people to find you, see you, love you, and follow you before you start slamming them with multiple posts a day.
The best middle ground? Post every other day! You can always adjust as needed.
Understanding Your Analytics
You can use your analytics to determine when to post, your content direction, who to target, and so much more.
Instagram’s backend analytics are most likely going to be the most accurate, but external data programs might help read your data differently so you can use it in the most effective and efficient way.
This is the data you’ll see under Audience Analytics:
Follower Growth (Overall, Follows, and Unfollows)
Top Locations (Cities and Countries)
Age Range (All, Men, and Women)
Most Active Times (Hours and Days)
Here are a few ways each of these topics can be used for growth and increased engagement:
If you’re tracking your analytics manually, simply take a look at what your follower growth does after you post a piece of content. If it goes up, especially significantly, it probably means that content strategy is working well!
Take a look at where the majority of where your audience is from. If you’re based in the US and they are too, you can probably guess what times they’re most active on Instagram, therefore you’ll know what times to post!
Think about people’s days - they probably check the ‘gram before work, on a lunch break, after work, and before bed.
This will give you an idea of, obviously, the age range of the people who follow you. With this information, you can adjust your content accordingly:
If this is the range you were hoping to capture, awesome! You’re on a great path with your content
If you’re not quite there yet, take a look at what other Influencers are doing within the age range you’re looking to attract and adjust strategy
This one is fairly self explanatory. If you’re looking to target men in general, depending on your niche, you’ll want to post content that most men would enjoy seeing. If you’re looking to target women, depending on your niche, you’ll want to post content that most women would enjoy seeing.
Unless you’re a very specific Influencer (ex: you review products geared towards women, you are a mindfulness influencer geared towards women, etc), then this category may not matter as much in the beginning.
Most Active Times
While where your audience lives is calculated into this data, this section will give you a general overview of quick data to show YOUR best days and times to post.
Content You Shared
Under this section, you can see the following for Instagram Feed posts and Story posts (some of the metrics offered for filtering will be determined by the type of account and features you have):
Call button taps
Email button taps
Get Directions Taps
Text Button Taps
Call Button Taps
Email Button Taps
Get Direction Taps
Text Button Taps
Wow...thanks for sticking with us!
We won’t dive too much further into ALL the metrics that Instagram offers, but here’s some last pieces of information that can help indicate if you’re becoming “of influence:”
Likes, Comments, and Sends metrics are a great way to learn what posts encourage engagement from the community you’re building.
Saves often show what content resonates with your audience, provides inspiration, or has lasting value.
Website / link clicks can indicate that your followers are interested to learn more about you or the products/services, etc. that you proudly promote for brands. When you say, “head to the link in my bio to shop!” on a post, you’ll be able to see which posts lead them there effectively.
Impressions show how many accounts you reached and how many eyes you had on your posts. Take note of where your impressions came from, the time and day of posting, and whether there’s any content trends worth repeating.
Optimizing Your Captions
In this section, we’ll talk about some things we mentioned in a past blog post, Writing Enticing Captions. When beginning their Influencer career, many people don’t realize how important your copy is...but not you!
Here are some things you’re able to accomplish through excellent captions:
Create Community and Use Emojis
When you create a community via your account, you’ll probably see increased engagement & growth. It allows your audience to feel safe and expressive on your page. You can create community through your captions by talking to a specific group of people (ex: “If you wear glasses…;” “Do you spend hundreds at the salon every few months?”)
Whether you add them to the beginning, to the end, or book end your sentence or paragraph, emojis can hint to the tone or topic of your caption / content, and catch people's attention.
Use emojis to emphasize important information or make paragraphs look visually appealing. They can also give your audience insight into who you are if you have a consistent emoji you use!
Spark Interest or Curiosity
In this case, the first line of your caption should be attention-grabbing. Your first sentence could be as simple as:
“I’ve heard it all…”
“You heard it here first!”
“It’s time to get real…”
Include Tips and Advice
If this is what you’re going for in your caption, tell people what your caption is about right from the get-go!
Here’s an example of a caption you may want to stay away from:
“I’ve been so frustrated by hashtags lately. I haven’t been seeing engagement, my growth halted, and I just wasn’t sure if they were even working anymore...so I decided to do some research! Here’s everything I discovered through my own research and trial and error. Let me know if these tips work for you!”
Now, if you put “Tips for Instagram Hashtags!” in front of that whole thing, you’ve definitely leveled up. Your audience will understand where you’re going with your story and that you’ll be providing a solution at the end.
Ask a Question
This is the big kahuna and helps with creating your IG community! By asking a question to your community, you’re not just presenting them with quality content, you’re involving them in your brand. It’s so important for your followers to be involved. Relationships are a two-way street, even on Instagram.
For more information on how to write Instagram captions, check out our previous blog, Writing Enticing Captions.
Right off the bat, we’re letting you know that YES hashtags do work! You just need to use the right ones. That means using ones that are relevant to your brand, niche, and specific posts!
Finding YOUR Hashtags
Applying the “correct” hashtags can help attract your desired, niche audience. For example, if you are an Instagram book club blogger, you don’t want to use “#happy” because, while your book of the month may have been a happy read, that really won’t have anything to do with your post or your overall Instagram brand. However, you could use the hashtag “#happyreading.”
Since I brought up the hashtag “#happy,” let’s talk about why you should NOT use that hashtag!
You don’t want to use hashtags that have too little results or too many results. Find your sweet spot! What we mean is, if you search “#love” on Instagram, you’ll notice 2,082,773,645 results. WOW. That means 2,082,773,645 posts on Instagram contain “#love.”
What are the odds of your post being seen among those 2 billion+ photos with the same hashtag? Probably zero. On the other side of that, if you search “#lunchbreakbookclub,” you’ll notice there are only 13 results that come up.
TBH, it’s a little bit of trial and error. Keep a list of which hashtags are working for you and eliminate those that aren’t. By taking a look at your Instagram Insights you’ll be able to see which posts are receiving more engagement and from there you can have an idea which ones might be best for you.
Interested to learn more about hashtags and the power they can provide your post? Check out a past blog post of ours, “All About Instagram Hashtags.”