How to Maximize Your Instagram Strategy: Tutorials for Stories, Highlights, and More
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How to Maximize Your Instagram Strategy: Tutorials for Stories, Highlights, and More

Learn how to maximize your presence on Instagram, including how to create a profile, choose a username, write an engaging bio, and develop a strong social strategy for Stories and Highlights.

If you are still debating whether or not you should create a business Instagram profile, you should create one immediately. Perhaps you haven’t created one because it all seems overwhelming. The laundry list of to-dos when creating a new Instagram profile and building a content strategy seems extremely daunting. I have a solution! Continue reading and you will be given steps on how to create an Instagram profile.

Before we jump into the tutorials, let me recap the reasons why it’s important to have a social presence on Instagram. “In 2019, the percentage of U.S. adults who use Instagram rose from 35 to 37 percent and the active reported users have held steady around 1 billion people,” according to Sprout Social.

Based on the following graph, it may seem like Instagram is falling behind; however, year over year, the percentage keeps growing and growing, which means it will only continue in that trajectory.

Image source: Statista

Additionally, the average time spent on Instagram is over 50 minutes. That is 50 or more minutes of opportunity for brand exposure, fan engagement, community involvement, and turning an Instagram account user into a follower and a potential brand ambassador.

Twenty-one percent of users log in weekly and 16 percent log in less often than that,” says Pew Research, which makes Instagram the second highest used social media site, trailing Facebook by 10 minutes.

#DYK 21% of users log in to @Instagram weekly and 16% log in less often than that? This makes Instagram the second highest used social media site, trailing Facebook by 10 minutes. #SocialMedia | #ContentMarketing | @SingWeist Click To Tweet

Why do you need an Instagram presence for your business?

If you are still not convinced about why having an Instagram profile is important, let’s walk through some incredible Instagram data regarding brands and user-behavior when it comes to businesses and brands that they follow.

In a recent study commissioned by Facebook to understand the behavior of users on Instagram, “the research revealed that Instagram is a platform that goes beyond awareness generation — it drives sales. In fact, 54 percent of people surveyed say they made a purchase either in the moment or after seeing a product or service on Instagram.”

Image source: Facebook

As reflected earlier, with over 80 percent of 1 million active Instagram users discovering, researching, and purchasing new products, that is a great motivator on creating an Instagram profile.

You might be asking yourself, “What if I am not an e-commerce website and I don’t have a product or service to sell?” Instagram can still be used for sharing your overarching brand voice. Now that you’re convinced that Instagram is crucial for your business. Follow along below on how to create an Instagram profile.

How to create an Instagram profile

Let’s start with the basics of how to create an Instagram profile.

  1. Download the Instagram mobile app. The reason being, you’ll probably be snapping the majority of your photos with your mobile device, which makes uploading photos directly to Instagram from your phone that much easier.
  2. Input your information: you have the option to sign in via your Facebook account. If you have a Facebook account, this might be the easiest way; therefore, both accounts will be linked. If not, enter your mobile number or email, full name, username, and password.
  3. Instagram username character count: 30
  4. Tip on creating an Instagram username: Put thought into your username. This is how you are discovered by users, and how users tag you in their photos or Stories. If your username is 30 characters long, users might not remember or want to type out that many characters. Additionally, if there are too many periods or underscores, individuals might mistakenly forget to add the punctuation mark. The best Instagram strategy when it comes to choosing your username is to be consistent. Try to have your username be the same across all your social platforms so individuals can easily find you on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and any other platform you are on.
The best @Instagram strategy when it comes to choosing your username is to be consistent. Choose a username that is the same across all your social platforms so individuals can easily discover your profile. #SocialMedia | #ContentMarketing | @SingWeist Click To Tweet

How to write an engaging Instagram bio

Now that you are logged in and have an Instagram account, it’s time to start writing your bio. A couple of things to consider when writing your bio:

  1. Instagram bio: 150 characters
  2. Explain who you are in a very short and concise manner. Remember that when it comes to Instagram, individuals do judge based on your profile. Your bio can include a brief description of who you are and what your brand is, contact information, emojis, hashtags and more.

Instagram bio examples:

SoulCycle got creative with emojis and a simple description of what they offer to encourage their target audience to follow them.

ClearVoice’s account provides a clear description of what they offer and is indicative of the content you’ll find on their Instagram account.

3. Use of emojis, hashtags, and font: Be creative with your Instagram bio. You want individuals to get to know who you are in 150 characters or fewer. This can be a quote that you love or emojis that can easily depict what you represent.

4. Your profile is the first thing that individuals see, which leads me to your profile photo. This oftentimes is your company logo. Instagram strategy tip: make sure to have the logo within the circle. When it gets cut off, it looks like it was not cropped to the right dimensions. Have your profile image be crisp, even though it is a small circle, you don’t want to upload a blurry photo.

5. Include your website: If your Instagram strategy is brand awareness or to drive traffic to your website, then you should include a link to your website in your bio. You ultimately want to provide your followers with the resources to purchase, discover, read more about your business and your brand.

How to build an Instagram social strategy

Now that you have your profile image uploaded, and your bio written with a link to your website, it’s time to think about what to post! The first step to creating an Instagram strategy is developing a content marketing plan. This is an opportunity for you to share product photos, behind-the-scenes footage, and testimonials.

It might seem extremely overwhelming, but start small and then continue adding on so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Often, my clients want to go full steam ahead with posting multiple times a day, seven days a week. I have to inform them that the quality of content is more important than the quantity of content. You want to be thoughtful and strategic with the content that you are pushing out. Especially if your goal is to increase engagement. So, how do you do that?

  1. Start with posting 2-3 times a week. Consistency is extremely important when developing an Instagram strategy. For example, if you visit a store and you research their hours, you know that they are always open Monday through Friday from the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.. If there is a business with sporadic hours, you’ll never know when they are open or closed, and that might lose your interest after attempting to go multiple times and they aren’t open. Having consistent branding and content curation is important because this allows your followers to know when they can check-in, and when they can see interesting content about your brand.
  2. Look at other brands that inspire you. I recommend this to everyone! Follow other brands on Instagram that you love. Whether it’s motivational, health and well-being, travel, photography, and the list goes on and on, this is to help spark your creativity and ignite your content vision. Seeing what others are doing on Instagram can be extremely beneficial.
  3. Start curating and creating social content. What that means is, start aggregating photos, videos, and other content around your brand and your business. Organize all your photos and information on Google Drive or DropBox or Box, so it can easily be accessible. Group your materials by category. For example, if you’re a jewelry brand, upload all photos of necklaces in one folder, earrings in another, new product lines in another, and so forth. Start organizing your content and see what new content you need to create.
  4. Build your Instagram strategy in a social content calendar. Combine all the steps listed above and populate it into a social calendar template. If you are starting to post 2-3 times a week, then block off those days (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) or if your business gets more foot traffic on the weekend, perhaps posting more on the weekend will be more beneficial. Once you have your calendar aggregated with photos, videos, product launches, and more, it is now time to post!

How to find Instagram metrics and understand what they mean

Let’s take a moment to congratulate yourself on getting to this point! It takes quite a bit of work to start an Instagram profile, and you did it! Now that you have clicked “post” on your Instagram, you’ll see a photo populated in your feed. As you continue posting, you will see that your profile will keep adding photos on your profile in rows of three.

After you have posted quite a few, it is a great opportunity to start reviewing your metrics and seeing how your content is performing. Your profile will showcase how many posts you have posted thus far, how many followers you have, and how many followers you are currently following.

Additionally, if you have a professional Instagram account, you will be able to view your profile metrics. Why are social metrics so important, and why should they not be ignored? This is an opportunity to gauge your audience’s behavior and interest, thus making it better for you to create a stronger more effective Instagram strategy.

Here are things to look for in metrics that will assist you with continuously building out your social strategy:

  1. Take a look at your audience’s demographics. Are there more women or men who are coming to your page? What is the age range? What days are they visiting your profile more? You might be asking what is the purpose of all of these questions. That’s a great question! How else are you going to communicate and provide your audience with what they want to see and know about if you’re not learning more about them? The audience section tells you more about your followers, including growth in follower count by day or week.
  2. Take a look at your content: In this section, you will be able to see your posts, Stories, and promotions insights. What type of engagement are you receiving on your content? Perhaps some individuals like to watch videos more than viewing your static images. This means in your next month’s Instagram strategy, you can post more videos to see if this hypothesis is correct. The amazing benefit of social media is that it provides you so many opportunities for A/B testing, trial and error, and, ultimately, a great creative outlet for your business or your brand.
  3. Check out your audience’s activity on your profile: “This section lets you view important insights on your profile, including Interactions (such as profile visits and website clicks) and Discovery (how many people see your content and where they find it).”

What is an Instagram Story and how do you create one?

It is a feature on Instagram that allows you to view short snippets of video on an individual’s profile. Similar to Snapchat, it lives on your Instagram Stories for 24 hours. Afterward, it is archived in your profile.

This provides individuals an opportunity to learn more about you! Many brands will post a static image on their feed, but utilize Instagram Stories to provide more in-depth information about what they posted. Perhaps it’s a photo of a job opportunity, the Instagram Stories can be a behind-the-scenes video of your company culture or maybe even short videos of employees providing their testimonials.

Instagram Stories are an integral part of your Instagram strategy and should be thought-out and impactful.

  1. How to navigate to Stories: On your profile photo, there is a little blue plus mark. Click the blue plus mark. This will navigate you to your Stories portion. You will then see different options on the bottom of the screen: Live, Create, Normal, Boomerang, Layout, Superzoom, Hands-Free. There are multiple options within each of those categories that allow you to utilize filters, and different text options to design and create an engaging Story.
  2. One of the simpler ways to share your posts on an Instagram Story is by walking through the following steps showcased in the video. Scroll down to your feed, and choose a post, then click the arrow icon right next to the heart and comment icon. Once you click the arrow icon, you will choose the “Add post to your Story” option, which will then populate into your Instagram Stories. Then you can click the “Aa” button to add text.
  3. Once you’re ready to add to your Story you can click the “Your Story” button on the bottom or click, “Send To” and you can post on your Story or send it to multiple individuals!

Voila! You have just published your first Instagram Story!

What is an Instagram Highlight and how do you create one?

They are the table of contents to your Stories. You can house Instagram Stories for more than 24 hours under your Highlights. Often, this is an informative way to categorize your Stories into Highlight buckets that live indefinitely on your profile, unless you decide to remove or delete the Highlight.

  1. To navigate to your Highlights portion, you will see a + “New” icon below your “Edit Profile” portion. This is where your Highlights will live on your Instagram feed.
  2. Once you click the + “New” Instagram Story archives will pop up which will allow you to choose which Stories you would like to include under the Highlight category.
  3. After you’ve picked Stories to include in your Highlight, you can update the Highlight icon to whichever design you’d like. It is an opportunity for you to be creative, once again! See below for some inspiration:

Instagram Highlight examples for ClearVoice:

Instagram Highlight examples for my profile (Sing Weist):

Instagram Highlight examples for Netflix:

4. When followers or Instagram users come to your profile, they’ll be able to see a full list of your Highlights. They can click on the Highlight and see all the Stories that were stored under that particular Highlight.

Now, it’s time for you to create your own Instagram profile!

Whew! That was a lot of information. You now know how to create an Instagram account, write a personable bio, choose an engaging profile photo, create a content strategy, measure performance through metrics, and maximize your presence on Instagram.

Based on data, it is a missed opportunity if your business or brand does not have a presence on Instagram. It might have seemed overwhelming, but by following the steps listed above in this blog, you can create a stellar Instagram account! Now start posting, scrolling, and capturing some amazing content on your Instagram to build brand awareness and drive traffic to your website.

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Sing Weist

About Sing

Sing Weist has over 8 years of social media marketing, digital media, and brand development experience. Skilled in measuring and analyzing ROI, and content calendar management across multiple social media platforms for B2B, entertainment, non-profit, education, hospitality, and healthcare companies. She loves being on the cutting edge of social and digital media, as well as traveling, running, surfing, spending time with family, and indulging in: cinnamon rolls, donuts, ice cream, and lots of sweet treats.

Follow her on social: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

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