How to use Instagram and Get the Results that Matter!


How to use Instagram and Get the Results that Matter!


It would be far too obvious for me to kick this blog off by saying that ‘everyone’ uses Instagram – that would be an absolute generalisation, and I’m sure a few of you would be shaking your head saying, “Not me!” indignantly. But the fact of the matter is that globally, this is one of the most popular social media platforms used daily, and so if we can get our heads around how to make this platform work from a business perspective firstly, those that do use it can accelerate results and secondly, those who don’t use Instagram can learn valuable lessons that could be applied across other social media platforms!

(All social media platforms work essentially the same, yes, there are nuances from platform to platform, but they’re all constantly evolving and developing to model what’s most successful on the social media landscape at any given time – and right now, Instagram and TikTok are the cool kids!)

Drive engagement on Instagram

Think about the captions you use and the text that appears on the creative elements of the posts you share on your grid. These are going to appear in the main feed and so they not only need to grab attention visually, but they also need to create an emotional shift that drives viewers to comment.

On the same point, think about how you can make your stories more interactive – using poll stickers and question stickers not only drive engagement… they also give you something else to post about!

Understand what Instagram wants to show in feed

Where Instagram is unique is that there are different areas to the platform, and each essentially has its own algorithm – helpful, right? If we just think about the main feed for now, there are four things Instagram is looking for in order for it to surface your post and show it to your followers:

  1. Instagram will try to understand the nature of the post itself – what media has been used, what’s the topic (based on copy and/or captions), and has anyone already engaged with it?
  2. Then it tries to understand the source of the post – are they someone there’s already a connection with, and is the source someone who is regularly contributing and therefore has earned the right to get the exposure?
  3. Before placing it in the feed of a user, Instagram is also deducing things about that user – what type of content do they usually engage with and when? What topics are they regularly interested in?
  4. Is there interaction between the author and user?

If the four elements above can all be satisfied, Instagram will place that post in the feed of the user.

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So, what can we learn from this that will allow us to drive Instagram results?

  • Specificity not only serves our audience; it also feeds Instagram with the keywords and phrases it needs to match our content with users looking for those topics.
  • Keywords go beyond the copy and hashtags we add to a post; we need to speak these words and phrases in our video content
  • Staying one-dimensional with our media options will likely destroy our ability to gain enough traction to get the results we need
  • Building your following is essential for success, but it needs to be an audience that engages – numbers don’t breed engagement and, therefore, will cancel out the chance of a result.
  • Give, don’t just wait to receive. Go out there and engage with the content of your followers so Instagram sees a two-way relationship building. This can be in stories, in feed and via your DMs. Get creative, so you can do this efficiently!
  • A lack of consistency is the death of your reach, so be clear on what you need to be specific with. Consistent posting? Consistent Stories? Consistent video? Consistent features of you? Consistent mention of a topic?…
  • Do your research! What are the topics that your ideal clients are talking about, thinking about, and searching for?
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Is that everything?

Unfortunately, no. There’s way more to the deceptive little Instagram algorithm, and the list above goes on much further! It would be overwhelming if I shared it all here in one article. (I’ll save it for the book I keep saying I’ll write one day!) However, if you can shift your approach to Instagram to cover everything I’ve shared here, you’ll then be ready for the next tranche of recommendations! The above gives you a solid foundation, and without this, all the many, many bells and whistles I can share with you would simply make no difference at all! So go implement – and let me know when you’re ready for the next level!

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