“Most people post the first thing that comes to mind on their Instagram feed,” says digital marketing consultant and Instagram expert Scarlet Vincent. It’s basically a surefire way to make sure that you miss the bullseye when you’re aiming for your ideal clients. So it pays to work on your aim. “You need a specific strategy if you want to use the platform to attract clients,” says Vincent. “Research shows conversion rates are up to six times higher for businesses that have a content marketing strategy compared to those who don’t.”
No doubt, finding time to come up with something strategic to say is the perpetual entrepreneurial struggle. But with more than a billion people scrolling through Instagram every month and the average user spending half an hour there, having a strategy can pay off. A whopping 90% of Instagram users follow a business on Instagram, according to Sprout Social, a leading social media software company. That means it’s an excellent platform for increasing your brand visibility.
To figure out how to make time for creating deeply engaging posts that attract ideal customers and increase your following, I caught up with Vincent for some advice. Not only did she grow her Instagram following organically to more than 50,000 people over two years, but she did it as a busy, single mom with an immune condition that causes chronic pain. As a result, her approach to social media is all about clarity and simplicity so she and her clients can build thriving businesses without being overwhelmed. Follow Vincent’s advice for a prosperous plan of Instagram action.
1. Identify Your Customer’s Pain Points
“Your ideal clients scrolling through Instagram need to find value in your posts before making the decision to follow you,” explains Vincent. “In order to create that value, you need to compose strategic content that does a deep dive into their pain points and offers the solution that they desire to get.” For example, if you’re a finance expert, are your ideal clients struggling with managing money during a pandemic and can you offer tips about that? If you’re a relationships coach, are your customers depressed over dating while social distancing? Can you help them with that?
“Your marketing message needs to resonate and align with the beliefs of your target audience, so it is essential to go beyond demographics,” says Vincent who encourages you to ask your own audience about what they’re struggling with and pay attention to comments and questions in your direct messages. “When you have a clear understanding of your Ideal Client Avatar, then you’ll be able to connect with them through your brand message.”
2. Do Market Research To Increase Engagement
“Market research will show you the types of words your ideal clients use to describe what they’re going through, what’s going on in their lives and so much more,” says Vincent. “YouTube is a great place to conduct your market research. You simply go to your competitor’s channel, filter their content for “most popular videos” to see which topics are hot in your niche, and repurpose that as an Instagram post.”
“Beyond that, you can leverage strategies that are already proven to increase engagement on Instagram, like mining your own feed for information,” explains Vincent. “When you have been constantly creating content, you’ll be able to determine which types of posts tend to get a positive response from your ideal clients. Monitor what has been getting a lot of traction and duplicate that on your feed.”
3. Put Posting On Your Schedule
“Have a schedule specifically to create content and stick to it,” says Vincent. “For example, you can work on Instagram content every Monday between 9am to 11am. That way, you’ll stay consistent, which is key for growing engaged followers. Remember, you’re planning high-value content that is strategic, instead of uploading random content on an irregular basis as inspiration doesn’t always strike a pain point.”
“You should also create a social media content calendar to plan your content two weeks in advance, leaning into the kinds of posts that have gotten a positive response for you in the past. When you have a consistent schedule, followers will also look forward to your posts as they know when to expect fresh content from you.”
LinkedIn Makes its 20 Most Popular LinkedIn Learning Courses Freely Available Throughout August
Looking to up your skills for a job change or career advancement in the second half of the year?
This will help – today, LinkedIn has published its listing of the 20 most popular LinkedIn Learning courses over the first half of 2022. In addition to this, LinkedIn’s also making each of these courses free to access till the end of the month – so now may well be the best time to jump in and brush up on the latest, rising skills in your industry.
As per LinkedIn:
“As the Great Reshuffle slows and the job market cools, professionals are getting more serious about skill building. The pandemic accelerated change across industries, and as a result, skills to do a job today have changed even compared to a few years ago. Professionals are responding by learning new skills to future-proof their careers and meet the moment.”
LinkedIn says that over seven million people have undertaken these 20 courses this year, covering everything from improved communication, project management, coding, strategic thinking and more.
Here are the top 20 LinkedIn Learning courses right now, which you can access via the relevant links:
- Goal Setting: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) with Jessie Withers
- Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365) with Dennis Taylor
- Interpersonal Communication with Dorie Clark
- Cultivating a Growth Mindset with Gemma Leigh Roberts
- Project Management Foundations with Bonnie Biafore
- Using Questions to Foster Critical Thinking and Curiosity with Joshua Miller
- Essentials of Team Collaboration with Dana Brownlee
- Unconscious Bias with Stacey Gordon
- Learning Python with Joe Marini
- Communicating with Confidence with Jeff Ansell
- Speaking Confidently and Effectively with Pete Mockaitis
- Learning the OWASP Top 10 with Caroline Wong
- Power BI Essential Training with Gini von Courter
- Strategic Thinking with Dorie Clark
- SQL Essential Training with Bill Weinman
- Developing Your Emotional Intelligence with Gemma Leigh Roberts
- Communication Foundations with Brenda Bailey-Hughes and Tatiana Kolovou
- Agile Foundations with Doug Rose
- Digital Marketing Foundations with Brad Batesole
- Critical Thinking with Mike Figliuolo
If you’ve been thinking about upskilling, now may be the time – or maybe it’s just worth taking some of the programming courses, for example, so that you have a better understanding of how to communicate between departments on projects.
Or you could take an Agile course. If, you know, you don’t trust your own management ability.
The courses are available for free till August 31st via the above links.
Instagram Is Rolling Out Reels Replies, And Will Be Testing A New Feature Which Informs …
Instagram has added a few more social features to the platform, with Reels Replies being rolled out. Along with the Replies, anew feature is being tested that shows when two users are active together in the same chat.
Reels has been performing much better than perhaps even Instagram ever anticipated. The TikTok-inspired new video format (which officially claims to have absolutely no relation to the former) had some trouble really finding its footing initially. However, Reels has grown massively and while it may not be a source of the most direct competition to TikTok, it is indeed a worthy alternative.
Reels has grown to the point that it has a massive creator program attached to it, and the video format has even been migrated to Facebook with the goal of generating further user interest there. Naturally, with such a successful virtual goldmine on its hands, Instagram has been hard at work developing new features and interface updates for Reels, integrating it more and more seamlessly into the rest of the social media platform. Features such as Reels Replies are a major part of such attempts at integration.
Reels Visual Replies are essentially just what they sound like: A Reel that is being used to reply to someone. It’s a feature that’s been seen frequently across TikTok as well. Reel Replies essentially take a user’s comments, and reply to them in video format. The comment will then show up within the Reel itself as a text-box, taking up some amount of space, and showing both the user who issued said comment along with the text. The text-box is apparently adjustable, with users having the ability to move it around and change its size depending on where it obstructs one’s Reel the least.
Overall, it’s a fun addition to the Reels format, even if the credit should be going to TikTok first. At any rate, it’s an example of Instagram really utilizing Reels’ social media capabilities, outside of just serving it up as a form of entertainment.
Speaking of social media capabilities, a new feature might help alleviate one of the most common frustrations encountered across all such platforms. Isn’t it annoying when you see that a friend’s online, but isn’t replying to your chat? Sure, they’ve probably just put their phone down to run a quick errand, but there’s no way for you to know, right? Well, there sort of is now! Instagram is beta testing a new feature via which if both users are active within a chat, the platform will display that accordingly. It’s a work-around, sure, and one that’s currently being tested for usefulness, but it’s still a very nice, and even fresh, addition to the social media game.
— Yash Joshi (@MeYashjoshi) December 10, 2021
5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android
Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.
You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).
You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.
While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.
We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.
Credit: buffer / app store
Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.
Credit: preview / app store
Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.
Credit: content office / app store
An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.
Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.
Credit: plann / apple store
You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…
Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.
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