If you're a retailer gearing up for 2020, you're feeling the pressure of developing your updated strategy for the new year and with Instagram's plan to remove likes finally moving into action (you may have seen this on your feed and if you haven't, it's coming), there are some big waves of change coming to the algorithm. At Oh Hello, we're monitoring the algorithm on the daily and learning from some of the best Instagram gurus about what we can do to help our clients (and our own account) grow. Here are 3 things you should be doing right NOW to roll with the changes as they happen.
- When Instagram rolls out new features, use them as quickly as you can. We're going to give credit where credit is due here and suggest you watch The Futur's latest YouTube video about how to grow on Instagram. He’s one of the resourecs we love to watch at Oh Hello to learn about changes to the algorith. He breaks down the fact that most of the time, Instagram is rewarding the "early adopters" or those people who learn the new features and use them right away. For example, recently Instagram extended its carousel feature, allowing users to upload TEN photos so that people can swipe to the right and see a collage of photos. According to The Futur, this is all part of Instagram's smart but not hard to figure out the master plan of keeping us on the platforms longer, so those people who use this new feature will see a bump in their engagement. You should also consider utilizing Instagram TV and putting 1-minute preview clips on the feed, as that feature is also a newer offering that Instagram wants users to promote. Use the new features = growth.
- Stop creating content for customers and start creating content for an audience. While this may seem obvious, almost every company is making the crucial mistake of showing their product, talking about their value propositions and thinking people care or will engage with content that has nothing to do with them. Let me give you an example: this local diamond company puts out two types of posts: one that shows just the diamond ring and one that shows a couple's interaction after they've gotten engaged.
There's a huge difference in the amount of engagement on posts and that's because the answer is simple: an audience cares about seeing an emotional happy story about how a diamond ring serves as a symbol of love and they want to support a brand that creates positive experiences. A story engages an audience emotionally and people buy on emotions. A product shot doesn't entertain or bring any real emotional value to an audience, so, therefore, it doesn't do well on Instagram's platform.
If I were this company, I'd 100% focus my entire Instagram strategy on telling the happy stories of people who purchase the rings and propose to someone. I'd even position my company as the one who still tells love stories because LOVE still exists (look at what's going on culturally right now: 50% divorce rates, etc. people are losing hope in love because of dating apps etc.) and I'd incentivize my customers to send me the stories that support this narrative. I'd ask for photos and stories after they've bought the ring and reward them with a Starbucks gift card in return for those photos and stories. I'd do ALMOST anything I could to make sure all of the stories on the feed were about the experiences my product gave people, rather than the product itself. Because truth told: no one cares about my product, they care about how it makes life better. And I'd CONTINUE doing what works because with engagement metrics to show for it, why would you do anything else? When you know exactly what's working, DO MORE of it and you'll gain traffic online and get the word-of-mouth referral you want because you'll have an audience sharing your stories for you. Think about your ratio: out of 10 posts, about 8 of them should be focused on serving your audience with value and entertainment, and only 2 of them should try to hard-sell them. An audience gives you leverage so you're talked about, heard of and actually see a return on your IG story.
Dig into your hashtag strategy and think again, about where your audience is so they find you through your hashtags that you use. Hashtags can really be incredible tools if you use them correctly. While The Futur dives into this pretty well in his video, consider this: you can only use about 30 hashtags, and they allow other users to find your content. One great way to approach this? Do a competitive analysis and look at who your audience is and look at their profiles and see what they're hashtagging. You want to use hashtags they're using, so that the target audience you want to buy what you're selling, can find you! If they're using those hashtags, they're likely interacting with other people who are too. You also want to make sure if you're a smaller brand, that you're not using hashtags that are overly popular. If you're using hashtags that have over 2 million uses a day, chances are you'll get lost in the hashtag feed because you'll disappear quickly. Shoot for using hashtags that have about 20k to 700k users a day. For example, instead of using “#ootd” I’d likely use “#ootdsubmit” instead so that I stay in the hashtag feed longer. You can find this ideal number by searching the hashtag and looking at the number that pops up. And if you still have questions on this, I encourage you to take a look at The Futur's video and watch his tips for saving them in your phone and thinking through this strategy.
Like what you've read? I'd love to offer a free 30-minute consultation to dig into your Instagram strategy deeper and share how we can help. Book it now: https://calendly.com/natalie-letstalkbrandsandthings.