Running an Instagram profile is a full-time job for many influencers and creators.
To make it fulfilling and satisfying, you need to improve what you are doing all the time.
If you’re not seeing the results of your work or if your account is not growing, you may feel disappointed at some point. I totally understand you.
If you’re going through this hard time, or you’d just like to revise your Instagram strategy, I’ve gathered some tips on what can be done to take your Instagram performance to the next level.
To do that we’ll need a reliable set of data. And which data could be more reliable than your own?
#1. Understand who your followers are
The first, and most important, element of your Instagram presence, are people. Your followers are people for whom you’re preparing your content, and if you’re lucky enough, also monetizing your efforts. If you don’t have an engaged audience, your content, even the best you’ve got, doesn’t count for much.
That’s why in the first place you should know who your followers are, what are they interested in, what their preferences are when it comes to using Instagram, and consuming content on the platform.
A good place to start, which I guess you all already know, is Instagram Insights. You’ll find data that provides information about the gender, age, and location of your followers.
It’s worth it, though, to dig deeper into the data.
Even though Instagram Insights are not showing you daily changes, it may be sometimes worth analyzing in more detail, who your followers are, and how their number is changing. Usually, if you need more extended data, a good choice would be using an external social media analytical app, like, for example, Sotrender.
In the example below, you can see that on February 15th, there was a significant drop in the number of followers in the age between 25-34.
There’s definitely a reason for the numbers dropping. You can easily click on the chart to see what was posted that day.
Maybe the content was completely not relevant to your audience? Maybe it shocked or outraged them? Or maybe it was some cooperation with a brand or just an ad, and your audience didn’t like it?
By analyzing only monthly data, you most probably won’t notice that it was just one post that cost you so many followers.
In general, when it comes to analyzing who your followers are, consider:
- Is the content you’re posting actually relevant to your audience?
- Is the language you’re using relevant as well? You might want to consider adding captions in one more language because you have followers in more than one location.
- Maybe there are some trending topics that you could incorporate into your communication as well? Some country or cultural related events or issues could work well here.
Knowing and understanding your followers is key. Monitoring their behaviors and preferences towards your content is necessary to ensure your future growth and success.
#2. Reach new users effectively
A basic metric that every Instagram creator monitors is reach.
It’s obviously good to know how many users are actually seeing your content. But do you know where and how they found your content? Are they your followers and saw it on their feed? Or didn’t they know you before and discovered your posts via the Explore Page?
It’s a good moment to draw your attention to hashtags, as these can be extremely helpful when it comes to reaching new users.
Let’s take a look at this random example found on Reddit. In this case, 96% of users who have seen this post were not following this account, and found the post via hashtags. This is a great result!
Also, more than 75% of views were generated by hashtags only! I hope this convinces you that hashtags are actually working and can help a lot when it comes to improving your Instagram performance.
You can easily check in Instagram Insights how effective the hashtags are that you’re using. If they’re not bringing you, new followers, or if they’re not increasing your reach, it’s definitely time to revise your hashtag strategy.
It’s good to monitor not only your reach but also impressions. If in the selected period of time, the number of impressions was much higher than your reach, it means that your content was exceptionally interesting for other users and they were willingly coming back to your profile.
Let’s now move to engagement for a while.
We should all be aware of the fact that likes are becoming a less and less valuable metric on Instagram.
Comments and replies (aka DMs) are more valuable simply because they require more engagement and more time from users. But they are important not only from the perspective of your overall engagement but also from the perspective of Instagram’s algorithm and how it’s positioning your content (on the Explore Page, for example).
That’s why you should analyze what the proportion of likes is compared to other types of user’s interaction with your content. The more comments and replies you have, the better.
I’ll leave you with some questions to think about:
- Are you interacting with other users, for example, in the comments section under your posts and in your DMs? Are you engaging with other users on their profiles by leaving meaningful and valuable comments?
- Is your engagement increasing or decreasing over time? Analyze again if what you’re posting is interesting for your followers.
- What type of content drives the most engagement? Videos? Stories? Posts?
Remember that many elements actually have an impact on your reach and engagement. To know your strengths and weaknesses, you should monitor all of them. If the native Instagram analytics is not enough, head towards external analytical apps, which will provide you with more in-depth data.
#3. Follow the path of your top-performing content
The content which you already have on your profile is your best advisor.
You are not creating content just for yourself (as we are not speaking here about personal profiles where we just want to keep our memories fresh), your audience preferences are the most important indicators.
Analyzing your posts from the last 3 to 6 months will immediately tell you what your audience preferences are towards your content. If they prefer content about travelling over cooking, why should you keep showing them how you prepare your meals?
Focus on quality and what is really relevant and interesting for your audience. If you still have doubts, you can easily ask your followers what content they expect to see on your profile.
Don’t underestimate the importance of Instagram Stories right now, as they are increasingly important on Instagram and many users even prefer them over posts.
Although in Instagram Insights you can analyze your posts for the last 2 years, it’s different with Stories, as you will get data about their performance only for the last 14 days.
Though, you can go back in time and analyze how many impressions, what reach, replies, exits, taps forward, and taps back each of your Stories had.
What you can do, for example, is:
- Try eliminating in the future Stories which previously had the highest number of exits, or;
- Create more Stories similar to the ones which had a high number of replies.
However, you should monitor if your Stories are more preferred than posts by your audience and prepare your content plan accordingly (Stories should be planned ahead just as posts).
Stop wasting time preparing content that no one likes. Analyze your posts and Stories published over time to revise your content strategy. Quality over quantity is not just a slogan, so keep in mind that your content should be valuable and useful to your readers in the first place.
#4. Keep an eye on your competitors
Finally, you should also keep an eye on what similar or competitive influencers and creators are posting. And we don’t mean being sneaky and copying others’ work. It’s normal practice to monitor the industry we are in and it’s ok to be inspired by others. We all do so, so it’s time to stop thinking that it’s cheating.
Spend some time observing a few profiles similar to yours, or profiles you are aiming to be better than.
- If they’re engaging their audience better, you should try to come up with reasons for why that’s happening. Maybe they are more active in the comments section? Do they start discussions and continue them in the comments?
- What content are they posting? Maybe they’ve come up with some series of posts which are exceptionally interesting for their audience? They’re doing good but you can do better!
Being open and observing everything around you will help you understand your audience better. It will be easier to catch your audience’s interest (and attract new users) if the content they see is really interesting and valuable to them. Your content needs to make them stop for a while and make them feel that you actually understand their needs and preferences.
Being conscious of what and how your competitors are doing online is not cheating. Outperform them by being more creative or simply by being true to yourself and steal your followers’ hearts with your honesty.
I’ve gone through many metrics and aspects of your Instagram presence that should be re-considered and could be improved. You may feel overwhelmed now, but you shouldn’t be.
Don’t try changing and testing everything at once. It won’t be possible taking into consideration how much time it would take you to analyze and improve every aspect of your Instagram presence. What is more, you won’t actually know which improvement made a difference. You can start with what is the easiest, or what is most important for you at the moment.