Updated: Jan 5, 2021
It's finally here! The New Year! A fresh start! And one more step away from the madness that was 2020 ... We all want growth in the new year, both personal and professional. We won't give you advice on waking up earlier or cutting your caffeine intake because tbh, we hate New Year's Resolutions. Instead, we love goal setting! If one of your goals is growing your Instagram in 2021, read on for our best advice on gaining the reach and engagement you're striving towards.
Long Form Captions are More Important Than Ever
Gone are the days of a cute pun or song lyric to caption your photos. One category that Instagram uses to decide if your content should be boosted by the algorithm is “time spent on post”. An easier way to get people to spend more time on your post? Write a longer caption for them to read. Check out this infographic from Fohr that shows how engagement spikes when your caption word count goes up. According to Fohr, Instagram caption lengths have more than doubled since 2016!
Long form captions take more planning, but the pay off will be worth it. At the beginning of the month, brainstorm topics you want to share about on your Instagram, and then set a timeline for writing the captions so you won’t be caught off guard when it’s time to post. Check out this caption from Media A La Carte that includes an eye catching first line, lots of valuable info, and that precious CTA. With all the changes to the algorithm, if you're not writing multiple long form captions a week, your content will not be getting the reach you want.
Shareable & Saveable Content are MUSTS
Instagram rewards content that has lots of saves and shares. So how do you create content that people want to share and save?? Consider what your audience comes to your account to gain. Do you share great travel tips? Are you like us and you have the ins and outs of social media? Create infographics that cover multiple slides that contain the knowledge you have to share. Using a carousel post with multiple slides has the same effect as a long form caption - it ups your "time spent on post" stat. And here's the kicker, when you post these to your feed encourage your followers to save the content for later and share it to their stories! You'd be surprised how many people will do something simply because you suggest it to them.
BONUS TIP 🔥: Try adding the small save icon in bottom right hand of your infographic (like Instagram influencer @paigeeliza.beth). Some people might not be sure what "save" means on Instagram. If you show them the icon on your infographic, they will be more likely to put 2 and 2 together and save your content.
Utilize Video Even More Than You Did in 2020
We've already written about it, and you've already read about it. BUT we have to mention the importance of video again! Instagram is pushing video content over feed content because they want to pull users from the popular TikTok over to Instagram's Reels feature. You will gain incredible reach if you start posting on Reels. Check out the views numbers Media A La Carte has been racking up on Reels. Our average view numbers on Reels are over 1k, while our typical feed post is seen by around 400 - 600 users. If you aren't creating video content, you're missing out on major reach and engagement.
Don't feel intimidated by video content! If you have a cell phone, you can create perfectly acceptable video content for Instagram. Reels should be fun, quick, and add value. They do NOT need to be cinematic and highly edited. Take a look at our favorite video editing apps here.
Vulnerability & Authenticity Over Perfection
People love to be included and brought in to an inner circle. Have you ever felt that little boost of serotonin when you notice someone has added you to their Close Friends list on Instagram? You can make your followers have that feeling of inclusion by being honest with them and drawing the curtain back on your life. Having a hard week in your business? Be honest with your followers! Did you just pull a full shift at your day job and now you're coming home to build content for your brand? Write a post about how difficult that is but how inspired you are to keep going. In 2021, consider switching to a caption first, image second mentality. Worry about what you're saying more than how good you look in a photo. Consider sharing more behind the scenes moments of your business or your life. Honesty and vulnerability will lead to trust between your followers and your brand. How often are we frustrated with companies because they don't explain the decisions behind their choices? (We're looking at you Taco Bell - we may never forgive you for taking our potatoes away.) Make sure your followers never grow frustrated by being open and honest online.
It’s Okay to Have Fun
Similar to the point above, it's time to let go of the desire for perfection and give yourself permission to have fun on Instagram! Share a meme to your feed. Use a silly filter on your stories. People come to social media to be entertained, and in 2021, users will be more likely to unfollow accounts that make them get caught in comparison traps. If 2020 taught us anything, it taught us that life's too short to follow people online that make us feel bad about ourselves. Allow yourself the freedom to have fun on your feed and your stories, and followers will appreciate it. Check out some fun content Media A La Carte has included on our feed. It's fun, while still including our brand colors.
Start Conversations with Instagram’s Built in Features
Instagram rewards users who utilize all of their features because if you use a feature, it will make your followers more likely to try it out too. To majorly up your engagement on Instagram, a great place to start is your Stories. Instagram has sticker options for their Instagram Stories that make it easy for users to engage without having to think too much about it. Try using a sticker in a story once every day, and watch your Stories reach and engagement soar.
Remember, growth on Instagram doesn't happen overnight. Anyone who promises quick growth isn't being realistic. But if you put in the work by creating consistent, quality content and engaging with Instagram through the tips above, you'll be sure to have a higher follower number when 2022 comes around. Happy New Year!
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