How do you keep your content meaningful and premium when Instagram has such an insatiable appetite, and you're short on time and assets?
Here’s my guide to building a library of high-performing images that reflect your brand pillars to attract, retain and engage your target customers.
Includes one of my all-time favourite Instagram functions...a gem that nobody else seems to know, let alone use.
Meaningful content gives a deeper and more sincere dive into your brand whilst generating shares and reach that don't have to rely on traditional advertising techniques and paid media alone.
In less than a year, my technique organically grew my client's Instagram account from zero to 10k because its content was shareable and engaging and earned their follower's loyalty.
Followers trusted the account to introduce them to something new that they found to be of value.
Learn more about my Content Strategy service here:
But most brands, especially start-ups, don’t have the luxury of a team of content creators, a community manager or the help of a specialist agency.
This isn't such a bad thing, though. While you're launching your brand, I’d recommend retaining social media as an in-house function for a while, even if you are planning to work with an agency in the long term.
Social media is an excellent way to get to know your fans —what they respond to, what they do and don’t like, and their viewing habits.
You can learn in real-time which of your key messages land best and which are greeted by tumbleweed.
With these insights, your plans and strategies can better evolve to communicate the essence of your brand and its values and expressions in a way that better resonate with your fans.
As part of the briefing process, this holistic, hands-on best practice can help agencies and service providers deliver more effective campaigns that are bespoke to your brand and in tune with your audience.
Ensure your budget and assets are working hard with my ongoing guide.
Part 1: Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories are a great way to boost your engagement and call to action (CTA) strategy via live links added as a sticker to the post.
Stories can help drive sales and boost traffic to websites.
They're also great for visibility; keeping your profile photo in your follower's Story feed is a constant reminder of your brand and shows that it is active and engaged.
Tip #1 - Sharing is caring
To ensure your Instagram profile photo is always present, make sure Stories are replaced as the older ones expire.
The most efficient way to do this is to follow like-minded accounts; those who regularly post great content you know your followers would also enjoy and then re-share their feed posts to your stories.
Tip #2 - Create a content-sharing strategy
This is the fun bit.
Create topics and themes based on your brand’s key expressions.
If you don't already have these, my brand workshop can help with that.
What does your brand talk about?
What are its interests?
What does it enjoy?
Consider all content clusters, seasonal trends and contextual dates too.
Keep the topics and themes broad yet focused to appeal to the whole spectrum of your brand’s fans.
If it helps, create a mood board for each theme or topic. (Who doesn’t love creating a mood board).
Once you’ve decided on 3 or 4 key themes, use relevant hashtags to discover accounts that create content based on what you’re looking for.
Follow these accounts and then share their content to build and curate Stories around each theme.
Re-sharing an account's feed post is to the owner's benefit, so there’s no need to feel like you’re stealing their work.
You’re introducing their account to your followers, who may go on to follow them, so you’re helping them grow.
Your sharing of their post extends their reach beyond their followers to yours.
Encourage people to share your feed posts with their stories. When you get the notification they’ve done so, re-share their story with your stories.
This will help people understand that if they mention you, you’ll mention them.
This technique cross-pollinates followers.
Sharing strategy comes into its own when Instagram followers start creating posts about your brand.
This is called user-generated content (UGC) and is the best kind of word-of-mouth recommendation a brand can receive.
Don’t feel obliged to share all of it, though…if it doesn’t quite fit your brand, give it a like and thanks and move on.
"UGC is 35% more memorable than other media, and 50% more trusted."
Jay Leonard. | Author at Business 2 Community
Not sure what your Brand Pillars are or how to choose high-value themes, seasonal trends or contextual dates relevant to your brand?
I have a workshop on that too. Learn more here:
Tip #3 - Customise your re-share
All re-shares should be customised specifically to your brand.
This ensures brand assets and posting habits are recognisable.
This helps fans understand they have landed on or are seeing a brand-owned channel or post and helps navigate them around further interactions.
Note: Instagram favours content that has been created within its App, so prioritise its customising tools over third-party ones wherever possible.
Here’s a tip for one of my favourite ways to customise re-shared feed posts.
A little-known gem that Instagram offers.
You can customise re-shares by changing the colour of the background before posting.
By default, Instagram selects the colour for the background when you re-share it to your Stories.
But you can customise this to suit your account, reflect your brand’s colour palette, or make the post look even more appealing/beautiful.
You can even choose a specific colour that’s already in the picture you’re about to re-share.
Don’t have a brand colour palette? This is an important part of your brand identity and one to decide on when creating your Brand Book/Style Guide. (I can help with that too).
Here’s how to customise the colour of the background:
Add the post to your story by hitting the paper plane icon below the picture.
Hit "Add post to your story"
(Occasionally, the account owner has opted not to allow feed re-shares. In this instance, choose a picture from another account instead.)
Before hitting "Your stories", press the squiggle icon, that last button on the right in the below image:
(3) Then press the Pipette icon. The first icon in the row at the bottom of the screen, seen here with a white background:
Instagram will then randomly select a colour which it will display over the photo within a teardrop shape and with a tick in the Pipette button.
If you'd prefer to use a different colour in the photo, tap on that colour.
The Pipette will change colour to reflect your choice.
You can also choose one of the pre-sets if you prefer; these are displayed at the bottom of the screen. Just tap on the colour you want to use.
In the example below, you'll see that I've selected the pre-set Black. The Pipette icon is now black to reflect that choice.
This step is where the magic happens.
Press your thumb on any part of the screen and hold it down until the colour changes to the one you have selected. When the colour changes hit done! Tada!
As a final step, customise the share further by adding your brand’s CTA’s, stickers, Gifs and Hashtags in the usual way.
When you're done, share this customised image with either “your stories” or “close friends” if you have a customised list activated.
You now have a fully customised image in your Story feed.
Tip #4 - Re-share posts whenever you have a spare moment
It’s easy to maintain this Story feed to ensure it’s always live.
Just scroll through your feed a couple of times a day when you have a spare moment. When you see something in your feed that fits your brand universe and themes, customise it and re-share it!
This will keep your Instagram stories live around the clock —even when you’ve no new content of your own.
Ensure your account is synched to Facebook, and it will automatically keep stories alive there, too.
Tip #5 – Make good use of the collections icon
To add longevity to your re-share strategy, add the picture to your internal Collections by hitting the ribbon icon. Far-right, just under the "Boost post" button in the picture below.
That way, you can always find the post whenever you want to use it again.
You can create and name individual Collections according to your themes and topics and build albums accordingly.
Collections make it easy to reboot a theme when it's not had any new posts recently.
For example, one of your key ingredients is out of season, but you still want to regularly post about it.
Tip # 6– Don’t forget to interact!
And don’t forget to like the post you’re about to share!
If you want to maximise this scroll moment, add a comment. This will give you good visibility on their page and, again, helps build awareness for your profile photo and account and grow fans because they may go on to follow you after exploring the account that left the comment.
Tip #5 - Don't forget your SEO plan
Key to high-performing content is an SEO plan, ensuring that all your content and copy is supported by keyword hashtags and what’s trending —I can help with that too.
Get in touch if you’re interested in seeing some content strategy templates and examples
Learn more about my CONTENT STRATEGY services.
More tips again soon, but in the meantime, do get in touch if you’re interested in finding out what I might be able to do for your brand.
If you’ve got a question about this post, go ahead and ask!