Instagram Content Strategy for Small Business Marketing

Take Advantage of 1 Billion Monthly Active Users

Instagram continues to give Facebook a run for its money going into 2021 with over 1 billion monthly active users, over half of which watch Stories every day.

Regardless of how the other social media platforms are doing, you can’t afford to miss this mega opportunity, but you can’t afford to waste your time on it either. Give your brand’s Instagram a strong start with a social media content strategy that works.

Research your IG Audience Interests

There are several different content formats within the Instagram platform, and each format offers virtually infinite different types of content. Before you begin to plan your content, you have to know what works for your specific audience, unless you enjoy wasting your time, energy, and marketing budget. There is plenty of market research already done for Instagram. Find out where your audience spends its time and what type of content they respond to. Check out your own previous content to see what performed well and what didn’t. Check out your competitors to see what works for them.

What gets the followers to click and comment and share? Are they watching Stories or Reels or both? When should you try to engage with them? Once you know everything there is to know about your audience’s behavior on Instagram, you can start developing the content they’ll respond to.

Instagram KPIs

Achieving measurable growth has two parts: growth and measurement. Choosing the right key performance indicators (KPIs) allows you to track your growth accurately with data that will show you where you’re thriving and where you need to adjust your strategy. KPIs are data points that reflect your progress towards your goal. Examples of KPIs include conversion rates, site traffic, shopping cart abandonment, return visitors, and social shares.

For an Instagram content strategy, KPIs are typically related to loyalty rather than instant gratification. Think about the specific goal or goals that you have set for this content strategy and extricate KPIs that will help track your progress and define your success.

Find Your Space on Instagram

When it comes to content, you’re not just competing against your usual competitors. You’re competing against organizations that specialize in producing content for your audience. For example, a real estate agent would suddenly find him or herself competing against magazines and interior designers who published the same kind of content.

This level of competition can totally squash your content marketing from day one. To fight back, you can run a comparison between what your audience wants and what they’re already getting. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a less competitive space where your brand can excel. Keep your marketing funnel in mind and avoid venturing outside your target audience.

Buyer’s Journey

The buyer’s journey is an outline of the process your buyers go through to get from not knowing who you are to making a purchase. There are many different journeys that lead to your revenue stream, which is why marketing is such a diverse industry.

It starts with the consumer becoming aware of a problem. Sometimes that happens organically and sometimes it happens because of a well-placed marketing campaign. The next step is consideration of practical solutions (what are the options, how quickly do I need it, how much can I spend, etc.).

Then the journey ends with a decision to purchase or not purchase. By mapping the journey, you can tailor your content strategy to address the pain points that will guide your readers to become customers. Ideally, the goal of your content will be to build a relationship and solve their problems, not sell your product, because your content isn’t at that stage of their journey.

And, you can always try to peel off some of your IG audience via links or email signups.

Develop Content Ideas for Instagram

Before you start gathering your images, creating videos, and writing posts, you should have a plan for what you’ll be posting and how your content will develop and continue to engage followers over the next month or however long your IG content strategy duration is. Start with general topics that interest your audience and then narrow down your content ideas until you have a list of specific topics for posts. Make sure you choose the right Instagram business category.

From that list, determine the best way to communicate each post to your audience. Your focus should be audience engagement. Maintain a healthy mix of image and video, but remember video performed the best in 2020. Instagram Stories is continuing to grow in popularity and will be a solid platform for your brand content. You can up your IG content game by upgrading to a free business account. It’s free, offers content insights, enables swipe-up links on Stories, and enables contact links in your profile. Check out these popular content categories if you get stuck:

  • Well-known and lesser-known holidays
  • Weekday hashtags
  • Deals and promotions
  • Periodic live streaming
  • Blog content
  • Tutorials/product demos
  • Customer testimonials
  • User-generated content
  • Contests and giveaways
  • Inspirational or funny quotes
  • AMA/behind the scenes
  • Brand updates/news

Create an Instagram Content Calendar

Take your list of well-developed content ideas and start inserting them into your calendar. Make it easier on yourself by using a digital content planning tool like Google Sheets or a physical content planner. Make your posts frequent, but not so frequent that you’re sacrificing content quality.

Once you have dates, topics, and formats chosen, schedule a block of time to create “batches” of Instagram content in one sitting. You can upload the content into a content scheduling tool that will automatically publish each post according to your schedule.

Don’t forget to follow up on your IG content to respond to comments and reactions. Interaction is an essential part of keeping your audience engaged with your brand. Watch your IG analytics to see what performs well and alter your future content strangely accordingly.

And for those of you managing multiple brand accounts, then this video is for you:

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