Effective use of social media is more than just getting users to see your content. Instagram has over 95 million photos and videos shared daily - placing our content in that environment without seeing how it performs is wasted effort. To maintain user interest, you want them to follow you, respond to polls, save your posts, or comment on photos. You want them to engage. To get users to engage, you need to get to know them, learn what they like. What interests them? Who are they? Where do they live? When are they most likely to engage? How do we get on their radar? Unless you understand your current users, you’ll be unsure of how to improve their engagement.
Engaging users on Instagram is made significantly easier through the use of analytics, the tools that help you learn what, where, when, with whom, and how your content strategy is performing. Learning the tools Instagram provides will help you target the right audiences, assess content that appeals to your viewers, optimize views on stories, and calibrate your posting times to get the best responses. There are three other main pieces we look at to determine what the best content to post for any given channel.
WHO IS THE AUDIENCE?
Most content won’t capture the interests of all demographics, nor is the same content effective on different platforms. So understanding who, what, why, when, and under what conditions allows you to focus your efforts. Audiences have limited time and attention, Instagram is saturated with content, and social media platforms are always shifting, so getting users to spend time with your content requires planning and analysis. But the impact on your content strategy can ensure that the time you and your users invest is well spent! Check out your social engagement metrics to find out who is responding to what. We also deep dive into competitors and look at who might be engaging with them to help mold our client's strategy.
WHAT DOES THE AUDIENCE RESPOND TO?
Instagram is driven primarily by visuals, so photos are an important factor in engagement. For e-commerce, you will want to see how different photos of the same product perform against each other. You may notice that photos shot against a dark background, light background, city, nature, nighttime, daytime, office, or beach perform best. You gauge performance by viewing engagement data, which includes: likes, comments, clicks, shares, or saves. This tells you if your audience is interested in learning more about your product, independent of their decision to purchase it. Significant engagement means that your photos are working. On a platform filled with photos, people are interacting with yours!
Once you know which photos are performing best, you can assess which content is drawing the most interest and invest in additional product photos and expand product in the popular categories, while reducing the less popular options. If you use videos to engage your audience, you’ll find that videos need to be short, impactful, relevant, and entertaining - users aren’t going to spend several minutes watching a video clip on Instagram as they do on YouTube. Your goal is impressionistic - pique curiosity.
HOW ENGAGED IS THE AUDIENCE?
As you work to build an audience through community management, your goal is to target an audience that engages with your content - right? So what if that's not the case? There's a few reasons that this may be happening to you:
- You're content isn't consistent or isn't on pair with your audience's expectations or interests
- You're targeting the wrong audience - I've known plenty of clients who think their audience is one target when really there's a different audience that's better fit for the brand.
- You're not engaging back. This leads to the benefit of community management, which will be left to a different blog post, but you need to engage back with your audience to build a lasting affinity.
When we engage our users via social media, we are accomplishing the goal of relationship building, which is the first step in accomplishing any other goals we may have. To cut through the “noise” of social media, you should always seek to refine and calibrate your techniques, seeking novel and impactful ways to connect with users in ways they find valuable. It’s not enough to post cool things or tell interesting stories. Your users engage with you to improve their lives in various ways, so always seek to give them what they want and need. If you do, they will do the same!