All Posts by Brad

7

Your Instagram Organic Reach Will Soon Be Zero. Here are 4 Things You Should be Doing Now Before It’s Gone for Good

titleimage

 

60% of adults that spend time online have an Instagram account. And 500 million of the 800 million people on Instagram are active every single day.

Those statistics might convince you that your business needs to be on Instagram, posting regularly, and building an organic following.

But it shouldn’t.

Unfortunately, building an organic following on Instagram has only become more difficult over the past years.

And that trend isn’t slowing down.

Just consider what’s happening over on Facebook, where organic growth potential decreases year over year — from 16% in 2012 to 2.27% in 2015.

Since Facebook owns Instagram as well, it’s only a matter of time before your Instagram organic reach falls to zero.

Why is that happening?

Is Instagram just a bad place to grow your audience? Or are there ways to work around this sad fact?

No, Instagram is not a bad place to grow an audience. And yes, there are ways to work around the death of organic growth.

Why Instagram Organic Reach Is Dying

To understand how you can avoid the death of Instagram’s organic potential, you first need to understand why organic reach is suffering on the platform.

Is it because the overall quality of Instagram’s content is worse than ever before? Or is organic growth on Instagram low because businesses don’t know how to use the platform correctly?

In short, no. Why, then, will your organic reach soon be zero?

The answer is simple: The makers and owners of Instagram (and Facebook, for that matter) want your organic reach to be zero.

They don’t want you to be able to reach your target market without paying to reach it.

In reality, social media websites are in the business of advertising. And if you can easily grow an organic following, then you won’t pay them to advertise your business and products.

Because of that, Instagram is doing everything it can to kill your organic growth.

In 2016, for instance, Instagram updated its algorithm so that posts in users’ feeds don’t show up chronologically. Instead, posts appear “based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting, and the timeliness of the post.”

Commenting on this change, the CEO of Instagram — Kevin Systrom — said:

“On average, people miss about 70 percent of the posts in their Instagram feed. What this is about is making sure that the 30 percent you see is the best 30 percent possible.”

Sure. There might be some truth to that. But you’re smart enough to know that that’s mostly a bunch of bunk.

Instagram is doing it because they want you to pay money to reach your audience.

Here’s what AdWeek has to say on the matter:

“Maybe it’s dramatic to call it the death of organic social, but increasingly, we’re telling our clients, ‘If you’re not going to put money behind promoting your content, organic engagement is a real tough thing to produce sustainably.’”

Yeah. That sucks.

But it’s the reality of today’s social media environment.

Fortunately, it’s not all bad news. Instagram is still a remarkable place to grow your audience, build brand awareness, drive traffic, and promote products.

Here’s why.

Why Instagram Is Still Amazing For Building Your Brand

It’s reasonable to say that there’s never been a platform as good for business as Instagram is.

No other platform engages audiences and captivates attention spans quite like Instagram.

On Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, businesses consistently struggle to build meaningful relationships with their audiences. And the reason for that is simple.

Usually, when people are on social media, they don’t want to be marketed to. They want to be entertained. Period.

And when marketers post on other social platforms, they become a bit too… well, salesy.

On Instagram, though, something peculiar happens.

Maybe it’s because the platform is highly visual. Or maybe it’s because Instagram encourages fun, quirky, and engaging content.

Whatever the case, businesses exceed at building meaningful relationships with their target markets on Instagram.

Just consider that the percentage of business followers that engage with content on Instagram is around 2.2% (On Facebook, that number is .216%).

image11

(Image Source)

So even though Instagram organic growth is dying, it still outperforms every other massive social media platform… combined.

For that reason, lots of businesses succeed on the visual social media site.

Airbnb, as an example, sees 40,000 organic likes and over 1,500 comments on just one of their posts.

image9

(Image Source)

Tesla experiences similar success, sitting at over 350,000 views and 1,200 comments on one of their videos.

image4

(Image Source)

Here’s the good news. If those businesses can grow an organic following, so can you.

But it’s going to take some work.

And doing so is only going to become more difficult as Instagram’s efforts try to pull your hand from building an organic audience.

Fortunately, they can’t stop you completely.

Here are four things you should be doing now to prepare for the increasingly difficult future of organic growth.

1. Increase the Quality of Your Content

With better content comes a larger audience.

Yeah. Instagram really is that simple.

Instagram’s algorithm update now prioritizes content that people want to see. Which means that simply posting content on the platform doesn’t ensure that your audience is going to see it.

Ideally, you need to post content that engages your audience, receiving likes and comments.

Otherwise, Instagram won’t even show your post to your audience.

Although that’s sad, it’s true.

And the best way to prepare for that truth is by increasing your content expectations.

Panera Bread is a prime example of an Instagram brand that consistently posts engaging photos of food.

image13

(Image Source)

But you don’t always have to post your own remarkable photos. In fact, a great way to increase the quality of the content you produce is by leveraging user-generated content.

GoPro does this consistently on its Instagram account, asking its followers to send in photos and videos, which GoPro then shares with its audience.

Here’s an example of the kind of photos that this strategy produces.

image14

(Image Source)

That’s a gorgeous photo with lots of engagement.

But the best part is that GoPro didn’t even need to create the content themselves. The geniuses behind GoPro’s content marketing strategy simply needed to ask their audience to take photos and then they used the best of those photos to create content.

That’s a valuable strategy if you have an already-engaged audience willing to submit photos and videos.

You can also use Instagram Stories, for which usership has surpassed that of Snapchat.

image12

(Image Source)

Or live video, which people tend to watch three times longer than traditional video.

Post your own amazing and engaging content, leverage user-generated content, create Instagram Stories, or publish live video.

Those are just a few strategies for consistently producing remarkable content.

And in the end, that remarkable content will get seen more than mediocre content — simply because Instagram will show it to your followers more often.

2. Increase the Quantity of Your Content

As AdWeek reports, Instagram users only see about 30% of the posts that show up in their feed.

Which means that they miss 70% of the posts.

Clearly, your chances of getting seen are… well, they’re not good.

But, if you increase the amount of content you produce — so long as you don’t simultaneously decrease the quality of that content — you’ll also increase how many people see your content.

With more content comes more opportunity for people to see what you post.

The massively popular Gary Vaynerchuk posts every few hours on Instagram.

Here’s one of his posts.

image7

(Image Source)

And another one three hours earlier.

image6

(Image Source)

And still another 13 hours before that.

image10

(Image Source)

Gary Vaynerchuk does not do that accidentally.

He posts so often because he knows that Instagram is trying to kill organic growth.

And the fact is, the more he posts, the more people who will see and engage with his content.

The same is true for your Instagram strategy.

If you want to see more engagement from your Instagram notifications, then try increasing how much you post every day.

According to Buffer:

“Major brands post an average of 1.5 times per day to Instagram. There’s no drop-off in engagement for posting more, provided you can keep up the rate of posting.”

Maintain quality. Increase quantity.

Perhaps there’s no better way to build an organic following on Instagram than by doing those two simple things.

3. Post Your Content at the Best Time

Since reaching your audience is harder than ever, it’s key that you choose the best time of day to post.

Naturally, the best time for your audience is going to be different than the best time for another brand’s audience.

Every audience is different and so is the optimal time of day to share content.

That’s why it’s critical that you pay attention to your own engagement rate across various posts.

Ask yourself this question when examining past content: Is there a time of day that generally performs better and receives more engagement?

If you find that you’re posting at the same time of day often, then mix it up and try out a few different times.

Then, post more during the times that receive increased engagement.

To get you started, though, consider this study that found that the best times to post on Instagram were Monday and Thursday at 2 a.m., between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., and 5 p.m.

image1

(Image Source)

Another study found that the best times to post on Instagram were between Monday and Friday at 5 p.m.

image2

(Image Source)

Of course, don’t take their word for it.

Try out different days and times for yourself and see what works best.

Then, post like crazy during those times.

4. Encourage Social Shares of Your Content

The more that people share your content on their Instagram feed, the more people who will see your content and the greater your organic reach will be.

As Instagram tries to squash your organic growth, you can combat that by encouraging your existing audience to share your content.

The most obvious way of doing this is by using social media share buttons on your website. Like Neil Patel does.

image15

(Image Source)

On Instagram, however, sharing works a bit differently.

While share buttons like that work great for other social media platforms, you’ll want to use this “view on Instagram” button to drive website traffic to your Instagram account.

image8

(Image Source)

When people click on it, they will be taken straight to your Instagram account, where they can choose to follow you or browse through your content.

However they get to your account — follower or not — effective ways to get people to repost your content are far and few between.

On Instagram, there is no official share button. But users often repost a photo with their own commentary and then give credit to the account that originally posted it.

If that’s you, then you gain some extra publicity.

The first great way to do this is by using influencers that your audience already loves and connects with.

Daniel Wellington — a business that sells watches — does this with their Instagram account.

image3

(Image Source)

Then, if people see and like the content from the influencer, they’ll be likely to repost it on their own account, mentioning your brand name to their own followers.

The second — and perhaps best — way to generate reposts on Instagram is to run a competition or giveaway.

Not only do people love entering into competitions or giveaways themselves, but they love telling their friends about the opportunity to do the same.

Here’s a competition that OM NOM NOM ran.

image5

(Image Source)

Do that and people will share your content because they don’t want their friends to miss out on the opportunity to win a free gift.

And the fact is, more shares means more attention for your business and a greater organic following.

You can use the “view on Instagram” button, influencer marketing, and competitions or giveaways to make that happen.

Conclusion

Soon, your organic growth potential on Instagram will be completely gone.

Or, at least, mostly gone.

In fact, to a large degree, that’s already happened.

And in the years to come, growing an organic audience on Instagram will only be more difficult, not less.

This is because social media platforms want you to pay to reach your audience. They don’t want you to be able to reach them for free.

Still, though, Instagram is the best social media platform to build meaningful relationships with your audience.

And you can increase the quality and quantity of your content, post content at the ideal time, and encourage social shares to do so.

Because one thing’s for sure:

People have to see your content before they choose to follow you.

And if you get your content in front of your target audience with the above strategies, then you’ll still build organic relationships — despite the fact that C-level Instagram executives don’t want you to.

1

How to Use Instagram Stories to Generate $3,000 in Revenue in 30 days

 

You can gain a growth of up to 1,416% in traffic and 20% in revenue by marketing on Instagram.

And if you’re reading this, that means you’re interested in making some money on the platform.

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

I’m going to show you how you can generate up to $3,000 in revenue like Magnolia Boutique and Natori using Instagram Stories.

The best part is that you can do all of it in approximately 30 days.

Too good to be true?

Well, the businesses mentioned above have done it, and so can you. I’m going to show you the best practices that top Instagrammers use to generate revenue with Instagram Stories.

But what exactly is Instagram Stories?

This feature allows users to string together multiple photos to create… well, a story, or something of similar significance.

That might sound vague.

But the feature is open to interpretation with its diverse capabilities, making for a user base that is partly intrigued and partly confused.

That’s why we’re going to talk about how you can turn your stories into cold, hard cash. In particular, $3,000 in 30 days.

1. Build Brand Engagement

If social media is the king of brand engagement, Instagram is the god.

All social media platforms, from Facebook to YouTube, allow businesses to interact with their prospects and customers. But no platform is more effective at actually doing this than Instagram.

Businesses find it easiest to build a following and engage with them on Instagram than on any other social platform for various reasons. Mostly those reasons revolve around Instagram’s visual foundation and fun culture.

In fact, in a survey of 2,500 micro influencers, 60% said that Instagram was the best platform for engagement.

Something about Instagram creates an environment of engagement, even with business profiles that don’t have an individual person behind them.

But regardless of why Instagram is so successful at building customer-to-business relationships, we must also consider why that is so important.

To answer that question, let’s turn our attention to the value of existing customers. Influitive reports Ray Wang, CEO at Constellation Research, saying, “We see companies who have improved engagement increase cross-sell by 22%, drive up-sell revenue from 13% to 51%, and also increase order sizes from 5% to 85%.”

As it turns out, all of that engagement does more than just make for a good time. It generates revenue for your business.

When people engage with you, they trust you and are more likely to purchase from you.

One Instagram profile, Mvmt, uses their Instagram Story to build personality around the people behind the business.

image14

(Image Source)

You can do the same thing with your Instagram Story. Ask a question, play a game, or start a hashtag revolution.

The goal is to encourage engagement on your account. The more people who engage with your business, the more people who will trust you.

And one thing’s for sure: If people don’t trust you, they’ll never actually buy products you sell or recommend.

2. Feature New Products

It’s no secret that consistently updating your inventory helps sales.

It’s also no secret that consistently posting content helps customer engagement and brand awareness.

But here’s something that’s not so obvious.

You can combine those two strategies to become a money-making Instagram machine for your business.

By sharing featured products every now and again in your Instagram Story, you can prove to your audience that you’re committed to the consistent pursuit of awesome items, and you can leverage the selling potential of new and featured products.

And that claim isn’t just smoke and mirrors. It’s backed by scientific studies.

A jam merchant is the center of our focus. When the merchant allowed people to sample 24 different jams, 60% of people did so. When they allowed people to taste only six jams, 40% of people picked up a spoon.

But here’s what’s more important. Of the 60%, a measly 3% of people actually purchased jam. In the case of the 40% who tasted one of six jams, a whopping 30% purchased.

According to this study, when you provide fewer options, more people purchase.

In the words of Psychology Today,

“When we are presented with many options, we usually fear making the wrong decision. This can be translated into simple math – when there are only two options, we have a 50% chance of choosing the right one. But when there are five options, our chances suddenly decrease to 20%. Matters become even more complicated when there are twenty options or more. Human cognitive ability cannot efficiently compare more than five options, so most of us will start looking at the first few options and then stop.”

Featuring a new or seasonal product in your Instagram Story is an excellent way to narrow down the consumer’s options.

Here’s Juvia’s Place doing exactly that with their Instagram Story.

image1

(Image Source)

They even illustrate the smudge-free benefits of their eyeliner.

image13

(Image Source)

And here’s another example from Buffer of the Flora Dress.

image2

(Image Source)

Featuring just one or two products is a great way to draw customers to conversion before they get discouraged by too many options. And Instagram Stories offers the perfect place for that feature.

Since it’s always at the top of users’ screens, your audience can click on the featured item whenever they visit Instagram.

Meaning that you generate revenue for your business by simplifying your customer’s buying decision.

3. Add Transparency

You might be wondering, “What the heck does transparency have to do with generating revenue?”

I don’t blame you. Not everyone in business will tell you to be more honest.

But here’s the reality. The businesses that succeed aren’t the ones that hide behind a curtain of deception. They are the ones that have nothing to hide.

And the ones that do succeed through deception always get found out and fail at some point. The path of transparency is a far better one.

Transparency doesn’t just help you avoid an impending demise, though. It also helps you sell more merchandise.

Just consider that one of the top reasons people don’t buy is because of fear.

In particular, fear of buying from a shady and untrustworthy merchant.

And what’s the best natural antidote to fear?

Transparency.

94% of consumers will be loyal to a brand that they feel is completely transparent, and 73% would pay more for a product that includes all of the details.

You can use your Instagram Story to leverage those benefits.

Consider this example from Buffer that shows a business working behind the scenes.

image11

(Image Source)

Or this similar behind-the-scenes look at lornajaneactive.

image5

(Image Source)

Or this Instagram Story by construction2style that shows workers putting together a customer’s kitchen.

image8

(Image Source)

There are many ways to create transparency with your Instagram Stories.

Tell your audience what you do behind the scenes and show them a picture of you doing it. That simple feat will build trust and encourage conversions when you actually ask for a sale.

4. Give Away Free Content

Everyone loves free stuff.

But, if you’re like most people, you can’t afford to give away loads of free product.

After all, the price of free stuff can add up quickly, hurting your pocketbook and overall ROI.

However, you know what you can give away for free that won’t hurt your bank account?

Content.

You can offer advice, tips, or strategies to your audience and help them solve any problem they’re experiencing. Things like, “20 Smart Ways to Generate More Leads for your Business” or “The 5 Most Popular Instagram Post Ideas That Your Followers Will Love.”

Or you can create content that’s just for having fun with your audience. Things like Dollar Shave Club offers.

image3

(Image Source)

Then, you can advertise that content in your Instagram Story. Like this, for instance.

image10

(Image Source)

What’s the point of doing this, though?

Will this actually drive revenue for your business?

It sure can.

That’s why every content marketer’s top goals are to generate leads, improve customer engagement, and even increase sales revenue.

image12

(Image Source)

Because they know the power of content creation.

The primary reason for creating and sharing this content on your Instagram Story is to drive traffic to your website in hopes of generating leads and building brand awareness.

But if you’re in it for the engagement alone, you can consider posting the content directly in the Instagram Story itself.

image6

(Image Source)

As you can tell, there are many different ways to give free advice, tips, and strategies to your audience.

Above all else, though, make sure that the content is relevant to your audience’s pains and desires. Only then will people engage with your content, visit your website, and move further down your marketing and sales funnel.

5. Drive Traffic to Your Website

The ultimate goal of marketing on Instagram is to drive customers to convert.

You want them to buy your products, sign up for your service, or subscribe to your special offer.

But, of course, people can only do that if they first land on your website.

For that reason, driving traffic to your URL is one of the most important money-generating strategies you can possibly pursue.

And doing so in your Instagram Story is dead simple. If you don’t pay for an advertisement where you can include a hyperlink, simply include a link-in-bio CTA.

image9

(Image Source)

Then, when people go to your website, they’ll hopefully browse around a bit and maybe even buy.

The fact is simple: The more people who visit your website, the more overall conversions you’ll get.

If, for instance, your website sees a measly 1% conversion rate, that 1% will turn into a decent chunk of cash if you have 100,000 visitors. If you only have 100 visitors, however, then you make a single sale.

Regardless of your conversion rate, more traffic means more sales. And you can use your Instagram Story to drive people to your website.

[BONUS] Create a Lead Magnet

Before I depart, I figured I’d give you one more piece of advice to potentially generate even more than $3,000 in 30 days.

A lead magnet is a gated piece of content you use to generate leads. It works because visitors must opt in to receive the content.

They can’t simply click to your website. They usually have to enter their email and other relevant information to access it.

And that means the more compelling your lead magnet is, the more people who will enter their information to claim it.

How well does this work?

According to DigitalMarketer, this lead magnet generated 35,859 leads in just 60 days…

image4

(Image Source)

Once you’ve created a compelling lead magnet that appeals to your audience, you can share it on your Instagram Story, consistently driving leads and sales.

Foundr does this with their Instagram account.

image7

(Image Source)

And the more leads you drive, the bigger your email list and the more people you can market to in the future.

Conclusion

Hmm…

$3,000 in 30 days.

Sound like a dream?

To many of you, it might. But that’s only because you’ve never done it before. For those of you who are already generating that much money, the potential probably seems far more likely.

After all, $3,000 is just $100 per day.

And you can generate that cash by using Instagram Stories to build brand engagement, feature new and upcoming products, add transparency, give away free content, drive traffic to your website, and — as a bonus — create a lead magnet.

Follow these best practices, and you’ll be among the smartest Instagram marketers around, building trust with your audience, generating leads, and landing sales simultaneously.

In no time, that $3,000 will only be the beginning of your Instagram Story.

1

The 4 Most Important Instagram Analytics to Monitor

39% of marketers claim that social media is the best lead generation advertising channel.

image14

(Image Source)

And some people might think that this information is just smoke and mirrors, but you know it isn’t.

After all, you’ve clicked on something like this before, right?

image17

(Image Source)

These posts don’t seem particularly invasive to you, and you even appreciate many of them.

But it isn’t just the ads that are driving leads. It’s the organic reach.

And when it comes to organic reach, Instagram is even beating Facebook.

image12

(Image Source)

Instagram is the best social media platform to spread your brand’s message and engage with your ideal clients.

While people on other social media platforms tend to shy away from brand interactions, Instagram’s image-based system personalizes otherwise impersonal businesses.

But you don’t have to take my word for it.

After optimizing their Instagram account, Native Union increased their website traffic from Instagram by 2,662%.

image3

(Image Source)

And Magnolia Boutique also experienced this when they increased their revenue on Instagram by 20%.

image21

(Image Source)

All over the marketing sphere, businesses are benefiting from Instagram’s traffic, lead, and revenue potential.

But how can your Instagram account do the same thing?

Well, it all comes down to the analytics you use to measure success.

Here are the four you need to monitor, how you can calculate them, and how you can improve them.

1. Top-Performing Posts

The first metric you need to track is which posts are performing the best on your Instagram account.

Which ones are receiving a massive amount of engagement, and which ones aren’t?

Whenever you post something, think of “likes” and comments as votes

Anyone who interacts with your post is telling you that they enjoy the content. People who don’t are telling you they didn’t enjoy it.

Then, adjust accordingly.

There’s a big difference, for instance, between a post that gets 37,000 “likes”…

image19

(Image Source)

And one that only gets 13,000.

image5

(Image Source)

And both of those posts are from the same account.

13,000 might seem like a lot of “likes,” but if you compare that number to 37,000, the discrepancy becomes obvious.

Followers engaged with the first post almost three times more than the second one.

The question you need to answer is, “Why?”

Why did people love one of your posts and ignore another? There’s a reason. You simply have to find it.

How To Calculate This Metric

Calculating this metric is simple.

If you can even call it “calculating.”

All you need to do is go to your account and browse through your posts. Gather up all of the posts that have an exceptional amount of “likes” or comments. Ideally, these posts will have around 50% to 100% more “likes” and comments than your overall average.

To determine your average number of “likes” and comments per post, gather up the last 20 posts you’ve published.

image10
Then, count up the total number of “likes” and comments you received across all of those posts. Divide by 20, and you have your average.

image11

Then, find posts that are exceptional in regards to your average number of “likes” and comments.

image8

Put all of those posts side by side and ask yourself this question: Why are people engaging with these posts more than the others. What makes them so compelling?

How To Improve This Metric

As you gather all of your most popular posts and place them side by side, you’ll start to notice similarities between them.

Take the example that I mentioned earlier, for instance, where the profile received 37,000 “likes” on one post and 13,000 on another.

Here’s another one of their posts that received 31,000 “likes.”

image20

(Image Source)

It’s probably safe to say that this post falls into the category of 50% to 100% above the account’s average amount of engagement.

Thus we can place it next to the post with 37,000 “likes” and determine where the similarity lies.

If you scroll back up and look at both of these posts, do you see the similarity?

Here’s what it is. In both posts, they told their followers to “tag someone.”

image22

And it seems that this CTA made a big difference in the engagement this profile received on certain posts.

You can find your own nuggets of engagement gold by seeking out posts that work best, finding the similarities, and then mimicking those strategies in your future content.

2. Follower Growth Rate

Follower growth rate is one of the most important Instagram metrics you can measure.

After all, if you don’t have followers, you’re going to struggle to become an influencer or grow your business.

Your followers are what your entire strategy revolves around. If you’re not gaining followers, then stop or change what you’re doing. Because that’s one of the end goals.

Nathan Chan, the founder of Foundr Magazine, did a great job of growing his follower base quickly on Instagram.

Here’s a graph of what his growth looked like in 2015.

image4

(Image Source)

But imagine if he hadn’t been paying attention to that growth?

What would have happened?

Well, Nathan wouldn’t have known that his Instagram account was doing so well, and he probably would have had a lot of trouble replicating his success.

This is just a small illustration of why tracking your follower growth rate is so important.

You need to know your follower growth rate to determine what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong.

How To Calculate This Metric

When you’re calculating your follower growth rate, keep this in mind: You don’t just want to calculate how many followers you’re gaining, but how many you’re losing as well.

You then want to compare those numbers to pull out a meaningful percentage.

Here’s a formula you can use.

image13

(Image Source)

Let’s imagine I have 10,000 followers and last month I had 5,000 followers. Here’s what this math would look like.

((10,000 – 5,000) / 5,000) x 100%

In this case, my growth rate would, of course, be 100%. You can plug in your own numbers to determine your growth rate month over month.

How To Improve This Metric

I don’t want to sound like a broken record with all of the other Instagram tip-givers out there on the internet, but the best way to increase your follower growth rate is to post great content.

If you don’t post great content, then no one will have any interest in following you.

Great content means a few things.

  • The content itself should be interesting or unusual.
  • You need a CTA at the end of every post (e.g., Tag Someone, Rate 1-10, Real or Fake?).
  • Include the appropriate hashtags.

Consider Instagram influencer Desi Perkins who has a unique fashion style that she sticks to.

Here’s one of her posts…

image9

(Image Source)

And another…

image23

(Image Source)

If you were to browse through her account, you’d notice that much of her content is practically impossible to find on any other Instagram account. Plus, it’s unusual and interesting, making people very interested in it.

You have to post exceptional content if you want to gain an exceptional following.

3. Engagement Ratio

Of course you want to gain followers. And you’re right to want to.

But here’s what’s even more valuable: followers that listen to you.

What you don’t want is a massive followership that ignores your content. Not only is that a sign that your content isn’t living up to people’s expectations, but you’re also probably going to start losing a lot of those followers.

Engagement is to Instagram what customer retention is to ecommerce. It’s a measurement of how effective your content is and how much people like your brand.

The two types of engagement you want to measure on Instagram are “likes” and comments.

image18

(Image Source)

Measure them separately, though, so as not to muddy the specificity of your data.

How To Calculate This Metric

You only need two factors to calculate your Instagram engagement ratio.

You need your number of followers and the number of people who engaged with your post.

To crunch the numbers, gather up your last 20 posts. Then, count up the number of comments across all of these posts and total them. Do the same with “likes.”

Find the averages for each of those numbers by dividing by 20.

This formula will do the rest. Just plug in your follower number for the “people reached” section.

image16

(Image Source)

Here’s an example. If I have 10,000 followers and I got an average of 2,000 likes and 200 comments over my last 20 posts, here’s what the math would look like.

Comment Rate = 200 / 10,000

Like Rate = 2,000 / 10,000

In this case, my comment rate would be 2%, and my “like” rate would be 20%.

How To Improve This Metric

Instagram is just as versatile as any other social media platform, which means that there are lots of different ways to improve your strategy for engagement.

Here’s a list of some of the methods you can try.

  • Ask a compelling question.
  • Tell followers to tag one of their friends in the comments.
  • Host a competition.
  • Run a giveaway.

Poster Gully, for instance, used giveaways to grow their Instagram following. For a while, they were giving away as much as $1,000 in merchandise every single week.

Here’s one of their posts during that time period.

image1

(Image Source)

And this helped grow Postergully to a $1 million market.

In a similar story, Sunny Co Clothing gained 750,000 Instagram followers overnight by giving away a single swimsuit.

However, the same giveaway strategy might not engage your Instagram followers.

The best way to find out which methods work and which ones don’t is to test different methods, measure the results, and then leverage the strategies that work for you.

4. Click-Through Rate

Regardless of what marketing channel you’re using, click-through rate is almost always a critical metric to measure.

After all, you’re not just running an Instagram account for fun. You’re running it to drive traffic, leads, and revenue for your business.

And that means you eventually want to take people from  Instagram to your landing page.

As you’ve probably already figured out, Instagram doesn’t allow users to place links into the image caption, which means you’ll need to get a little creative.

The most common workaround is to put the updated link somewhere in your bio and then write something to the effect of “link in bio” in your post’s image caption.

image7

(Image Source)

Now here’s how you can calculate how many people are actually going to your website from Instagram.

How To Calculate This Metric

Finding your click-through rate is dead simple.

All you need to do is, again, gather up your last 20 posts with a link-in-bio CTA.

Using an analytics dashboard — such as Google Analytics, Instagram Insights, a spreadsheet, or a bit of all three — determine how many clicks each post delivered. Then, add those numbers up to get a collective amount and divide by 20 to get an average.

The only other number you need is your total number of followers.

Just plug those numbers into this equation, and you’ll get your click-through rate.

image6

(Image Source)

If, after gathering up my last 20 posts with a click-this-link CTA, I have an average of 50 clicks per post and I have a total of 10,000 followers, then here’s what that would look like in this formula.

50 / 10,000

This means I have a .5% CTR.

Once you calculate your own CTR, you’ll probably wonder, “But what’s a good click-through rate?”

To answer that question, I pulled the averages across four social media platforms.

image15

(Image Source)

How To Improve This Metric

As I already mentioned, one of the best ways to increase your click-through rate is to include a “link in bio” CTA in your post captions.

image2

(Image Source)

If you’re not already doing that, then you’re missing out on a lot of click-through potential.

Remember: Instagram won’t allow you to include a hyperlink in your image caption.

So, to increase your overall click-through rate, you might want to consider just upping the number of posts you include a “link in bio” CTA on.

Also, be sure to use a service like Bitly to track clicks rather than just plugging in your blog post URL.

The more posts you ask for a click in, the more clicks you’ll receive. So long as you don’t overdo it and annoy your followers.

Conclusion

It’s no secret that social media presents one of the best opportunities in the history of humanity for you to advertise your business.

But Instagram offers the best place, by far, to grow an audience and gain a following that will actually listen to what you have to say.

There’s a big difference between gaining followers and gaining followers who care.

You want the latter. But to do so, you have to track the correct metrics and improve each as needed.

The four most critical ones are your top-performing posts, your follower growth rate, your engagement ratio, and your click-through rate.

Measure those, and you’ll be able to determine what’s working on your Instagram account, what isn’t, and how you can improve.

Which means more followers, better engagement, and bigger business.

3

The 5 Most Popular Instagram Post Ideas That Your Followers Will Love

So you need a few ideas?

You know you need to post consistently on Instagram to stay relevant, but you’re trying to figure out what to post.

What kind of posts work best? Which posts will grow your audience and the depth of relationship that you experience with them?

Ever since its creation, Instagram has grown.

It’s now become the hub for people to share photos of their dog, food, new bathing suit, and boyfriends.

And it also hosts a massive amount of influencers with massive follower counts.

The platform has 800 million monthly active users, 500 million daily active users, 1.6 billion daily “likes,” and 60 million average photo posts every single day.

In other words, there is no shortage of activity on Instagram.

For fun, let’s break it down by seconds.

Every second, Instagram sports 17,000 likes and 2,000 comments.

image9

So don’t wonder about the potential of Instagram. There is plenty of promise on the platform.

The question you should ask is, “How do I claim my piece of the pie?

After all, that massive amount of activity provides competition to match its opportunity. How do you stand out when there are so many other people trying to stand out as well?

That’s a far more important question.

And the answer isn’t that complicated.

In the end, you only need to do one thing on Instagram to build the following that you dream of: post engaging content. Literally. That’s it.

If you post engaging content, then more people will engage with you, follow you, comment, and “like” your stuff.

If your content isn’t engaging, you don’t stand a chance.

So without further ado, here are 5 ideas for posts that your followers (and followers-to-be) will love.

1. User-submitted photos

What if there was a way to produce amazing Instagram content without any of the work?

Well, now there is!

Sorry… too informercial-y.

But seriously, there is. You already have an audience. Maybe it’s hundreds of people, and maybe it’s thousands.

Whatever the case, you can leverage that audience to create content for you.

And, generally speaking, your followers will enjoy that user-generated content more than they’ll enjoy your own.

Why?

Because it’s authentic, fun, and varied.

And everyone loves those three things.

GoPro is the hallmark example of user-generated content, and their Instagram profile is no exception.

Here’s a beautiful photo that one of their users took recently, which they then posted.

image11

Now you might be wondering, how do you get your users to engage with your prompting to create and send content your way?

Well, it’s far easier than you think.

Remember: your audience probably wants followers of their own. Let them know that if you select their photo, you’ll tag them in your post — meaning that they’ll grow their audience as well from the publicity.

If done right, user-generated content provides a win-win scenario for the business and the customer.

Here’s another photo they posted of a surfer enjoying the sunset.

image4

GoPro treats this like a competition.

Which is good. Most people love to throw their hat into a friendly competition — especially when there’s the chance of gaining a bigger follower base.

Truthfully, you’ll never know how your audience will engage with this concept unless you try. You might be surprised at their willingness to participate.

The other side of this user-generated content coin is that you have to wisely pick which photos to post and which to ditch.

This can be a difficult process.

Here are some things you’ll need to consider when choosing a winner.

  1. Does this photo emphasize the brand image you’re trying to create, or does hamper it?
  2. Is the photo appropriate for your audience?
  3. How big is the following of the person whose photo you’re going to share?

The first is important because you’re running a business, and despite all of the fun you can have on Instagram, you need to ensure that each photo is consistent with your brand’s message.

The second is important because, well, every business has a different audience. Some images will be appropriate for that audience, and others will not.

And the third is important because the street goes both ways. If you share someone’s photo who has a lot of followers, those followers might join your own Instagram crusade. Don’t be too biased to posting influencer content, but keep in mind that when you do, you’ll probably reap some follower-count benefits.

This post from GoPro does a great job implementing all three of these factors.

image7

Prompting your audience to send in photos of them using your product is a great way to generate engaging content without much hassle.

Try it out and see what happens.

2. Behind-the-scene shots

You’re running a business, and so you always want to put your best foot forward. I get it.

You want to send a consistent, high-quality message to your audience… every time.

And you’ve probably been aiming for that standard for a while. Which is good. If you don’t produce high-quality Instagram posts, most of your followers probably would be behind some other guy.

But every once in a while, people enjoy getting a peek behind the curtain of how all of it happens.

I, for example, am obsessed with the end of every Game Of Thrones episode where the directors discuss how the episode was created and why they filmed it the way they did.

Why do I love this?

Because the episode is always amazing, and learning how they put it together is even more so.

You can create the same effect with your Instagram photos.

Consider this Instagram post from Thinkcreativecollective.

image14

Most people with a desire for perfection would be hesitant to post a photo like this on Instagram because of the level of transparency involved. She’s trying to work while she takes care of the baby, and there’s a dog in the background.

At the same time, you gotta give it to her. Something about this photo is straight-up endearing.

It illustrates a reality about life that most people aren’t able to capture in an Instagram post. And people love authenticity.

Here’s another example from a friend of mine, Tricia Lake, who has a youtube channel where she runs makeup tutorial videos.

image1

I love this post. Normally, her videos and pictures are of attempted perfection. The perfect makeup with the perfect expression and the perfect lighting and edits.

And that’s why people love her. She’s good at it.

But with this off-color post, she shows her child dancing around on her lap while she holds an iced coffee and sits in her filming station at home.

Again, the picture is touching in a way that most Social Media posts aren’t.

There’s a certain “I’m not perfect either” statement that attracts her audience and makes them want to engage with the more relatable version of her.

After all, if your audience can’t relate to you, then they won’t follow you.

The post could even be something as simple as a picture of your workstation, like this picture from Kate.Lives.Here.

image10

You can tell that this post is staged more than some of the others, but it has a similar effect.

The point is that people want to get behind the screen you’re posting to. They want to get behind the camera and see the real you. It’s easy to live a facadé on Social Media, and even beneficial for your business at times, but a healthy dose of transparency will also work wonders for your followership.

3. Product teasers

What if you could sell your product using Instagram product teasers?

Well, now you ca— Dang it. Infomercial again. Nevermind.

Instagram is an excellent platform for advertising your product, and if you do it right, you won’t scare people off.

That is what we’re often afraid of, isn’t it?

That we’ll be too pushy or too sales-y or too demanding and we’ll lose followers faster than a fat kid eats hotcakes.

But product teasers are a great way to talk about your product without trying too hard.

Here’s an Instagram advertisement from Gilt Man that doesn’t directly try to sell a product, but rather offers a free app where you can browse their inventory.

image2

They offer a compelling 70% off discount and show a classy picture of some of the clothes you’ll be able to purchase.

Who said, “I don’t want to see that”?

Oh. None of us did. Because it’s awesome.

As you can tell, the ad received over 30,000 likes and over 500 comments.

That’s a lot of action for a clothing advertisement. And it’s because the ad isn’t pushy and teases people into downloading the app with the discount and image.

Similarly, this post from Macy’s teases its audience about seasonal products without trying to force their hand.

image8

 

When you tease people about a product that they like, and you don’t try to shove them into buying it, they’ll — here’s the big surprise! — buy it.

Or they’ll at least engage with your Instagram post. Which is what you’re here for anyway.

Since you’re running a business and you have a product to sell, don’t be afraid to show followers what you’ve got brewing. Just do it correctly.

4. Canva posts

Can’t think of anything cool to take a photo of for your next post?

That’s okay.

Canva provides a free solution.

image13

With Canva, you can find stock photos for free and even more for $1. You can edit those photos, putting text on them with a font of your choosing.

Here are a few posts that my good friend, Michael Blankenship, has made recently.

image16

These kind of quotes are a great way to strengthen your brand’s voice and image.

First, determine what you want to communicate to your audience about your business. Do you want to come off fun, formal, or on fire?

Then, simply dig up a quote from an expert, a guru, or a piece of content and plaster it onto a well-designed background using Canva.

Post it and ask for people’s opinions on the quote.

You can also take a quote from a piece of content that you created, post it, and use it to drive some traffic to your website.

Michael does this with his Instagram posts.

image3

He even throws in the link so that people can easily copy and paste it into their browser.

Whenever you’re in doubt about what to post, Canva is a great place to go. Find a quote, make it look pretty, and post it.

5. Authentic pictures

We already talked about showing people behind the scenes of your business, but there’s something else that you can do as well. Something similar.

Show your authentic side.

Celebrities are notorious for always putting on a face and always being a little bit fake.

However, this post from Selena Gomez, where it’s simple and feels authentic, is the second most-liked post on all of Instagram.

image6

People love to see a different side to you, your business, and your everyday activities. They want a peek into the real stuff.

You can also use this principle to give your audience a laugh.

Amazon did exactly that.

image12

Yep. This post is weird. But it’s also unique, funny, and positions Amazon as a business that is fun to work at and with.

Depending on what you want to communicate with your Instagram account, decide on the sort of authenticity to reveal.

Read the hilarious caption of this post.  

image5

People love honesty, and humor is a great way to accomplish that. When a business can laugh at itself and enjoy the finer things in life, many people want to tag along.

There isn’t a science to authenticity. But it’s undeniably powerful when you get real with your audience.

Keep in mind that there is a healthy middle ground that lies somewhere between authentic and fake. If you’re too fake, people can tell, and they’ll click the “unfollow” button. If you’re too authentic, sometimes stuff can get weird. Both are fine… sometimes.

But you’ll ultimately want an adequate dose of both.

Conclusion

In the coming years, Instagram will only continue to grow in influence.

And the people who tag along for the ride are the ones who will benefit most from its lucrative journey.

Since Instagram is still largely free of the clutter that many Social Media platforms experience, tagging along now is easier than it will be in the future.

To do so, you’ll need followers. And to keep those followers, you’ll need to post engaging content.

Engaging content means user-submitted photos, behind-the-scenes images, product teasers, Canva posts, and authentic pictures.

With these 5 ideas at your disposal, no one will be able to stop you from becoming the next big Instagram influencer.

And who doesn’t want that?