Get on the front foot with your Instagram plan

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INSTAGRAM is a small but mighty force for local business boasting 800 million monthly active users and stronger conversion rates than any other social media platform.

Here are five ways to harness its power for your brand:

1. Have a strategy. The word ‘strategy’ alone can overwhelm some but let’s keep it simple; write down what you want to achieve by using Instagram, include key dates and other metrics to keep you on track. Also outline who it is you want to engage with; be it potential business collaborators or consumers, or both. In order to measure success you need to know where to start and set goals. Monitoring these will let you know what is working, what is not and guide you in developing content.

2. Create a content calendar a month in advance. This will alleviate the ‘what on earth am I going to post?’ panic. Outline key dates such as Easter, or the Commonwealth Games, and if these align with your brand consider how you can post content to align with that theme. Your content should engage, inspire, educate and/or entertain. Bonus tip: Google ‘content calendar’ and you will find great, free templates to make life just that bit easier.

3. Invest in a scheduling app that will allow you to upload your content in advance, along with captions and specific days/times you will post. Two ‘go-tos’ are Plann or Later, which allow you to layout your posts which is especially important for retailers wanting to create a certain aesthetic for their brand. You can post up to seven times a day, but regardless of this, a general rule is that 75 per cent of posts should add value and 25 per cent of posts can be sales focused.

4. Set aside time to engage with people on Instagram. Just five minutes in the morning and evening is all you need to like, comment and message your audience and create conversations…it is social media after all, so be social.

5. Instagram offers business analytics, which allow you to discover more about your audience, when is the best time to post, your reach and more. Use this data to monitor if you are achieving your strategic goals, and modify accordingly.

6. For many businesses having one web address field on Instagram is just not enough. Especially when you are posting regularly and want to direct your audience to several locations including your shop, blog and event ticketing site. Use free desktop application Linktree to have unlimited links and analytics to monitor click throughs.

Now, let’s get to work. Outline five actions you can implement today and bring your Instagram strategy to life.

This article originally appeared in the Business Insight section of the Gold Coast Bulletin newspaper in 2018.