At the start of the month, I like to chart the progress of each of my social media platforms, noting the results on a spreadsheet and then summarising on a post-it-note.
This process is something I adopted many years ago when learning HighScope Education for under 5’s. The children learnt how to plan-do-review with almost every activity. Such a simple idea but so effective even as an adult!
I note the number of followers, which posts were successful and how many clicked through to my website. Gathering this information helps me to review what worked well and plan for the next month.
Why I like Instagram 😁
Truthfully, I like all the platforms, but for different reasons. However, this month I wanted to mention Instagram as I noticed that there had been a significant increase in my followers and engagement.
Here are three possible reasons why this may have peaked in the last month:
- I post consistently on all platforms; however, this month I have been trying to add more stories on Instagram, including posting some of my shorter videos as stories as well.
- I am spending more time on Instagram by liking posts, commenting and swiping through all the stories (it is far too addictive).
- I re-posted someone else’s post and copied in all their original hashtags. Sometimes I get brain freeze and end up using the same old hashtags, so pasting their tags meant I reached a new audience and therefore gained new followers.
Instagram now has four arms; feed, stories, reels and IGTV, and it has taken me a while to get my head around them and, in particular, all the different size formats!
I like to post consistently, making sure what I am posting fits with my social media plan and is relevant to my business.
The beauty of Instagram is that you can go wild with hashtags as this is the main avenue for people to find you.
I follow the #gameofthrones and #vizslasofinstagram hashtags and if I like a post, I often take a look at the person’s profile and in some cases choose to follow them too.
As I said earlier, swiping through stories is addictive, but these only last a day and therefore can be spontaneous, personable, fun and can be a great way to document behind the scenes of your business. You can add links, hashtags, gifs, emojis and your location too. It’s also really easy to add a video, even if the length is over 15 seconds, as it will split up the video in chunks.
Just to say, I have a Facebook business page connected with my Instagram page and have found it super easy to share my stories and feed posts straight to my Facebook page.
It’s not possible to mention everything, but the story highlights give you the opportunity to showcase aspects of your business using your best stories (this is something I must work on).
Back in August 2020, Instagram launched Reels as a short-form video format that is similar to TikTok. They can be 15 or 30 seconds long and offer the opportunity to be super creative. You’d be surprised how much traction Reels can have for your business account. Give them a go!
Since the short-video format debuted on the platform last year, brands and creators alike have found that these posts reel in more than just views. Many have seen their follower counts and engagement rates increase, too. One Instagram creator says she gained 2,800+ followers by posting a Reel every day for a month. Hootsuite
Just when you think you have mastered a social platform, Instagram introduces IGTV! Believe me, it has taken me a few weeks to get to grips with video lengths and sizes!
In summary, you can post a video in your feed up to 60 seconds in length. On IGTV the videos can be longer but need to be over 60 seconds if you want to share a preview of the video in your feed.
When someone watches the video in your feed, they can then click through to IGTV to watch the rest of the video.
On IGTV all the videos originally had to be filmed in portrait mode, however, they now accept landscape mode, with the viewer being able to turn the phone and the video turning as well, filling the screen. (This is also true now for stories!) You also have the option to choose the cover image for the preview.
I have seen all sorts of creative ways that people have used this new platform, there are certainly lots of ideas to try.
For me, each platform has different benefits, Instagram has a really lively, relevant, current feel. Don’t be fooled though, these regular interactions do not always translate to more business or traffic to my website.
Having said that, it’s a good place to meet those who also like Instagram, plus, I want to be known far and wide, so this is a good place to start!
Next month I will be unpacking another one of my favourite platforms.
In case you missed last month’s blog, here are three social media musts.
x Clare x
*Disclaimer: This is a snapshot view of Instagram, there is plenty more to say, so if you have any other questions, please do ask!