Grow your following and increase engagement

The Instagram landscape is oversaturated with tips and trends on how to get ahead, but if you want to build a successful brand on social media it’s important to nail the basics.

If you’ve spent countless hours trying to figure out how to crack the Instagram algorithm, you’re not alone. The truth? The key to a strong social media presence on Instagram starts with a solid strategy. 

Each brand has its own creative potential, and how you apply strategies and new features to authentically represent your brand will vary, but there are a few common traits that mark a strong Instagram account: Solid visuals, planned content, and authentic engagement. 

In honor of #WorldSocialMediaDay, here are some ways to level up your Instagram strategy and #StartYourStory. 

1. Map out your content 

If you find yourself scrambling to write content each day or facing a major creative block, it’s time to prep your spreadsheets or get an online planning tool to create a monthly Instagram content calendar

When you plan your content ahead of time, it will relieve the day-to-day stress of figuring out what to post, and you’ll have more time to spend on strengthening your strategy in other areas.

Another bonus of planning out your content is creating a strong visual presence, which is a key part of success on Instagram. 

Pro tip: Make sure you have a good mix of content. Tag holidays, company events, and any important social opportunities on your calendar. 

If you’d prefer a different way to visualize your content, try using apps like Sprout Social or A Color Story to see what your posts will look like on your profile.  

If you’re creating a spreadsheet (admittedly, everyone on #TeamMoonsail enjoys a well organized spreadsheet), try color coding your content to balance the content categories in your feed and better visualize the stages in your post schedule. 

2. Invest in graphic design 

Think of your Instagram feed as a visual representation of your brand. If you want your content to stand out, invest in a professional graphic designer to create a cohesive and visually appealing feed that speaks to your brand’s identity. If you’re on a budget, try free tools like Canva to spice up your content and create graphics people want to look at and share. 

A key part of #TeamMoonsail’s Instagram strategy is to create engaging and shareable graphics for our clients. (See the Michigan Brain Injury Provider Council’s Instagram account we helped launch this year for examples!) A strong visual presence will bring people back to your account, especially if your content has a clear purpose and aligns with your brand’s mission and messaging. 

A few things to keep in mind: 

  • Offer a mix of photographs, graphics, video, and content with writing (keep in mind visual accessibility)
  • Create a comfortable balance of photograph and text-based visuals 
  • Stick to a color palette so your audience can easily identify your content and unify your feed 
  • Add your logo to your graphics 

If you’re using a free program like Canva, try making templates to lock in a branded look so that anyone on your team can create content quickly, easily, and consistently. 

Check out our latest social media guide sharing Instagram tips to see how #TeamMoonsail’s using brand messaging and impactful design to reach our audience.

3. Invest in grammable backgrounds

Whether you’re promoting a product, posting about a new blog, or showing off your brand’s swag, Instagram-worthy backgrounds are a great way to make sure your content looks great. Spend less time trying to find new places to take photographs and fussing over Photoshop, and invest in a grammable background to level up your content.

A key part of your Instagram strategy should include engaging photos — attractive backgrounds in photos attracts more viewers and will separate your content from the others.

Another way to level up your photos is to use props that represent your brand’s identity to add levels and texture to your shots to make them more interesting.

Get started: We love using Replica Surfaces for mix-and-match backgrounds to keep things fresh. 

4. Optimize your profile and add a call to action

In order to grow your account, it’s important to optimize your profile with your brand’s content and website, so your audience can easily find your links. 

Add a link landing page to your profile to share your blog posts, website, products, or other social media accounts. In turn, your audience will engage with your brand outside of the app which means you will see more reward in your posting efforts.

Boost your strategy: Don’t forget to add a call to action to your posts directing readers to the link in your bio — viewers will likely click on more than one link and support your brand in multiple ways. 

Also, be sure to strategize on which link in bio tool will best fit your brand’s goals and needs.

5. Engage authentically 

Most importantly, your Instagram strategy should always include quality engagement. Not only that, you should engage authentically to develop a strong sense of community and support. 

Which type of engagement do you prefer to receive: A “thumbs up” emoji or a thoughtful response addressing you by name? The general rule of thumb: Give others the kind of engagement you’d like to receive, and people will keep coming back.

A few ways to get started:

  • Like your followers’ content, especially when they tag your account
  • Respond to all comments on your posts
  • Leave comments on your followers’ posts 
  • Respond quickly 
  • Reshare posts to Stories
  • Provide thoughtful responses (bonus: add fun emojis)

It’s also optimal to engage with your followers and other Instagram users via hashtags for at least 15 minutes before and after you post. This will boost your content, and during the process, you may bring in new followers. 

#TeamMoonsail loves talking about social media strategy. If you would like to chat about your Instagram strategy, design or tips, drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you!