ABC's of Posting on Instagram, Always Be Crafting
Content Craft for Instagram 102
(10 minute read)
Knowing what to post on Instagram can be difficult, especially for businesses and brands or entrepreneurs and influencers with growth goals.
The first step in learning what to post for your brand or business is getting the right mindset and focus. We're going to help you focus on the right mindset. Then, we'll explore the specifics of posting for businesses and brands.
Content is a craft. It takes practice and experience to learn what works for your brand on Instagram. The process of finding your voice will take time. But, we have key insights for you built from our experience working with clients on IG (Instagram), consulting for premier ad agencies, and growing businesses outside of IG.
In this chapter of Content Craft for Instagram, we are going to outline the right mindset and strategy basics for posting on Instagram.
At our next level, we are going to jump right into what to post and schedule out those posts with tangible tips and strategies you can use to post the best content for your Instagram business or brand. Skip ahead to Content Craft 200.
Remember this key principle.
Instagram, at its best, is about making authentic connections with real people.
Instagram for business is about attaching those connections to the pillars of your brand.
In a business function, this connection starts the process of branding. IG is the most effective tool in branding today. Instagram effortlessly provides a simple, elegant way to connect with your brand. The recent addition of IGTV for longer form content is huge for those goals. You just need a good strategy and a focus for your posts as a foundation for your success. It's time to really get started growing on IG.
We'll help you build a strategy that works for you and your business.
Before we get into mindset. Let's frame how we use Instagram to win so you understand the different way our clients operate on Instagram.
At Sollevarsi SOCIAL, we are all about the power of active, targeted organic growth. Our content posting schedule fits seamlessly with our growth strategy and grows your business in the most effective and cost efficient way on Instagram.
Flip the Instagram algorithm in your favor.
Post less. That's right. Post less.
It's not a negative to post regularly and often, but posting as a growth strategy is passive and it doesn't always work. Posting activates the Instagram algorithm, but with active organic growth, you're working with a different engine - faster for businesses and brands.
We like to say that the passive posting strategy for growth, posting and hashtagging, is like running your Instagram on junk food.
Active, organic growth done effectively sends a steady stream of targeted Instagram traffic to your Instagram profile. This is running your Instagram on jet fuel. It's lean, fast, and effective.
This flips the Instagram algorithm in your favor. Instead of posting to get traffic, targeted traffic is organically sent to you through our active organic strategy.
This simple flip of the IG algorithm opens up Instagram in a new way for businesses, regardless of Instagram size.
This is the democratization of Instagram you've been looking for.
You don't have to rely on the Instagram engine to provide traffic from posting content, liking and commenting on other posts. That passive approach doesn't work. Your content could be great, and the standard approach for passive growth won't get you the results you're looking for. The Instagram engine isn't built for your benefit, especially when your IG is starting off (before you get to 10,000+ followers). The larger IG's will always win, unless you get active with organic growth.
Based on our client's results, active organic growth reaches roughly 10,000-20,000 targeted Instagrams every month and converts around 4,000-8,000 of those into profile visits. This allows our clients [you] to focus on content and use scarcity to your advantage. You're no longer posting to get traffic and grow your IG. Your posting goal now is to earn long term followers, brand your business through authentic connections, and convert on various business goals like leads, sales, email lists, webinar attendance, downloads, or whatever your business is built around.
Understanding this difference in strategy is crucial to winning on Instagram. Even the "experts" aren't telling you this secret. Elite content isn't a winning proposition for your business. Steady growth by being active with organic traffic is a recipe for success for most any business on Instagram.
Once a week.
(2.5 min. read)
We recommend you start with posting once a week.
Really? Once a week.
But, the experts tell me to post everyday.
Remember, we're not posting for traffic. They are. We're posting to grow your business, not build traffic.
Focus on making good posts, but you don't need to overproduce them. Stay lean and focus on the other parts of your business that need attention to grow. Your posts will become more polished as your IG grows and that is when you up your content strategy, as you scale up so you can fire up both IG engines. Remember, no one is looking back at what @GaryVee posted when he had 1,500 or even 150,000 followers. Your voice will mature. Start with "good" as a baseline for your content goals.
Social media is a great way of branding, developing community, selling, and offering value. It should not take up all of your time and be your only tool to expand your business. You still need to focus on what makes your business special or you'll just blend in with all the noise.
This doesn't mean that posting more often, daily for instance, won't grow your Instagram and your business faster while you're actively using organic traffic with our service. It will combine with organic traffic for a potent mix. Save this upgrade to your strategy for later as you can put more resources into posting and build a team or outsource some of the production to post really good content daily.
If you're an outlier and can post daily or more while still growing your business, go for it and you'll grow even faster. We have many clients who do this well in mediums like photography, exercise, business influence, and the they grow even faster.
The point is that you don't have to post to get traffic when you get active with targeted, organic traffic. For young businesses, daily is a time drain away from crucial pathways forward. Some of craftsman/woman clients can't afford to post daily and still deliver beautiful handcrafted products to their customers until they scale up a little more.
Organic traffic unlocks Instagram for our clients. We often hear how much of a breath of fresh air our strategy provides to their business and brand goals. It's freeing to know you can use social media with Instagram and not have to post daily.
This is why we recommend once a week to start. Some of our clients have been on a once a week for over a year and the results are incredible.
@billbuster95 passed 10,000 followers in late 2018. They posted ONLY 48 times before they reached 10,000 followers on IG, and received over 28,000 likes on those 48 posts. Those are staggering numbers and they really make you question the strategy of posting content daily for more traffic.
They also represent a very good Engagement Rate which is the primary metric for influencer marketing. More on that below.
On our own IG, we've posted under 20 times and we recently topped 5k followers and we're a B2B brand (which grows slower and receives less engagement typically than others). All of our clients experience the great effects of active organic growth.
Follow our Instagram to see some of the client milestone's we share and follow their growth stories.
🔥 Rise Up Tip 🔥
Find an Instagram account that is further along in your space, your niche, or parallel market and follow them.
Turn on Post Notifications for these accounts so you see all of what they post.
Post notifications (for just the account you want to view) is located at their profile page by tapping the three dots in the top right, then tap Turn on Post Notifications. This is different from Push Notifications which appear outside of the IG app. Tap dismiss on the IG pop-up window if you don't want push notifications. You don't have to enable push notifications to get post notifications.
For our clients, Whitelist them in the Audience Targeting section of your Social Growth dashboard.
Then, learn from them.
Observe what kinds of posts they make.
Breakdown their content by type, focus, the value proposition of each post, and the call to action.
Track their content in a spreadsheet noting their engagement and following size. Note when they post, what kind of copy they write, what kind of images or videos they post, and try those types out with your brand.
Be sure to give your content the same time between posts to your primary variable is the post, not the traffic.
Make it your own and see what works for you. Testing is the best mindset.
Organic + Weekly Posting
(2 min. read)
This is the basic recipe for success on Instagram for small to large accounts (roughly under a 100k followers). Before we move on to mindset, let's touch on some benefits you get from this recipe.
Organic is lean
Spend more time on your business and less on posting constantly. Start to push forward all of the areas you need to be successful or step back and enjoy your journey. A successful business requires much more than just a great Instagram. This recipe allows you and your team time to work on everything else to really make your business sky rocket. If you're a craftsman of craftswoman, you depend on being able to lean on a managed service like ours.
This recipe is lean to save you tons of time, your most valuable resource.
Posting weekly with an organic traffic engine like ours allows your content more time in the spotlight. Simply posting only gives your IG a very small window of visibility.
From an engagement standpoint, an individual IG post will last far less than a day. Highlights help keep stories visible, but IG is no longer sending your posts out after only a short time. For new Instagram's under 10k followers, your posts get minutes in the spotlight to attract new followers and they compete heavily with other larger, more algorithm friendly accounts. Instagram accounts for this and so you'll see some smaller accounts make Top Posts or be featured in bigger hashtags, but this is very rare and being featured once won't do much for your IG growth.
This recipe gives your posts more time to cook and accumulate more engagement. This increases your future visibility in an individuals IG feed and on hashtags, places, and top posts.
Better Engagement Rate
Engagement rate is how influencers are compared, in large part. This rate is calculated by the number of posts you have against the number of likes and comments.
If you want to get paid to post or tag, then you need to focus heavily on engagement rate. Luckily, our active organic growth is engagement rate fire! 🔥
(Likes + Comments)/# of Followers is fairly common. Some divide likes and comments by the number of posts to get an average. Here is a handy engagement calculator to see your score.
Our client's consistently post great engagement scores.
Some put a good engagement rate north of 6%. The majority of our clients are north of this number in large part because of their steady level of organic traffic. This will vary for B2B Instagrams. A good engagement rate for B2B is more in the 2-4% range.
A post on Instagram quickly loses "juice" or visibility with IG's basic algorithm. It's a steady decline in engagement from shortly after you post. Try and find one of your posts the next day anywhere but your profile. It's tough to do. You may have to scroll for days on bigger hashtags to reach your post. This means no one sees it anymore. This disappearance happens faster the smaller your account is and the visibility given to your post (how many likes and comments you get initially based on the ranking algorithm).
Our client's posts receive much longer life cycles because our IG clients have a steady stream of targeted profile visits. We have some clients topping 20% engagement with many others above the excellence milestone of 10% and all above 6% average. Is this because they all have great content? Some may say yes. The "experts" will tell you its all about how good your content is, but that is less than half the truth. In reality it is a combination of good content and a great strategy for traffic to your posts. Good content + active organic. That's the winning recipe.
Always Be Crafting
The craft mindset has two pillars.
Consistency and a testing mindset.
Don't search to find an endpoint where you are done learning. Get better at posting to Instagram as your IG grows. There are levels to content craft that you wouldn't imagine. These layers continue to peel back as we get deeper and deeper into the onion. Each new tip, strategy, tool, or practice is just a stepping off point to learning the next evolution. Instagram is constantly evolving and your craft needs to be consistently getting sharper. Keep learning.
With each of your posts, pay close attention to craft strategy. Simply knowing what to post and when is only the most basic strategy. Converting followers to clients and customers is the ultimate goal.
Your content is the best tool you have on IG for starting your sales process and getting those critical early touch points to create good first impressions. Think of it as a craft you improve with each post.
When posting what you do, it is important to craft a value proposition and a call to action into every post. This doesn't have to be delivered with a heavy hand, but it should be woven into your post while being clearly visible.
What value does this bring to your customer? Think unique value in two layers.
First, get them to your niche. For our client @bamboobikesusa, it's clear from their name to their bio and into their content that they offer a unique kind of bicycle. They have a clear and relatable niche and it's been a large part of their Instagram success rising from zero to just under 5,000 followers in a very short time frame.
Second, define your brand within your niche. For an e-commerce store like our client @hrdwre_design, why choose an ordinary door pull or coat rack when you're setting the style and ambience for an architectural gem? Whether the design compliments your custom home, a new restaurant, or boutique hotel, Hrdwre Design offers beautiful, handcrafted architectural elements. You can clearly see the defined niche that this Austin based craftsman achieves with their work. It's all about style and design. Their Instagram beautifully captures the workmanship that goes into every handcrafted design, and that is a big reason they are one of our fastest growing clients.
What action do I want those who engage to take? Your action should lead into your tripwire (free value offer) and/or your initial offer (free trial or free sample). Think about ways of getting more engagement to lead into a Direct Message conversation or phone call where you can speak to an individual's needs and wants or how you can get them to take an action on your website which puts them into your sales funnel.
As a start, try to create actions that further your brand. These don't have to be on Instagram either. Give tips people can easily use in your niche. If they put something you do into their lives and it works for them, they'll come back for more.
Don't make the mistake of expecting your followers and visitors to connect the dots. Tell them what you want them to do. Go home today or try this at work. Do this one thing and come back to let me know how it worked for you. Then, follow up in future posts.
Business brand Mixology
Let's continue our e-commerce product focused example. One of our first e-commerce clients has an online store that sells bamboo bikes in the USA. Their Instagram is bamboobikesusa. They offer a unique type of bike in their e-commerce store. Within their first two layers of value, they can craft great value propositions. Think about your product's components and capabilities first.
Focus on your customer's needs-based states or identity an emotional connection to your brand. Perhaps, it is eco-friendly, lighter, advanced in technology or anything else that would make it special to an individual. Next, maybe it is used to experience a better lifestyle, a ride with your family in your neighborhood, or to bomb down some trails or go on a trekking adventure with friends.
Tap into these primary sales states to connect your IG post with your business objectives.
Now you can start to see. The product post you've seen of someone using and enjoying a product wasn't just about branding.
If you can tie your posts into these more powerful sales pillars, your message will be what we content marketers like to call "sticky" and resonate with potential customers.
Remember, content is a craft and learning that craft takes time. But, once you have tested, tested, tested, and tested...you will hit your stride and these powerful strategies will help you turn followers into customers.
🔥 Rise Up Tip 🔥
Action is activated by reward.
Connect your value proposition (what your product(s) offers to your customer) with the action you ask them to take and you have a powerful recipe for converting your followers into brand warriors. Brand warriors are much more likely to become customers and repeat customers.
For example (sticking with our e-com bike example), you could ask your customers to comment what type of ride they are most looking forward to doing this summer...outdoor, trail, casual city, neighborhood with family, or name your favorite trail and you will direct message them a coupon code to your store or a free giveaway.
Action is activated by reward.
If you are new or don't have ideas for free offers, partner with another Instagram or e-commerce store and make a deal to offer their free giveaway. If you partner up, choose a parallel store not directly in competition with your products and services. For example, a bike store might partner with a bike clothing line or a skateboard shop.
We hope this helps you set your content craft mindset and focus for your strategy. It's a lot to take in but if you are out there trying new things with these goals in mind, you'll improve and your Instagram will push your business forward.
Next up...what to Post?
Congratulations! You've progressed to the 200 level of Content Craft. Now that we have the basics for content strategy formed. Let's get hands-on with some tangible tips.