Develop your career Blogs Nailing it with your audience on Instagram Have you ever experienced the frustration of creating a cool video but reaching only a little segment of your audience, or writing the caption of your life, but not getting the long-awaited reactions? Deep inside - one way, or another - we are all content creators, and our creative spirits might be hurt if our ground-breaking content reaches only a handful of people. The world of Instagram can easily make you feel lost in the maze of the ever-changing social media labyrinth. If you agree that social media is a two way street, look no further, here are 10 important points to inspire and engage your audience on the ‘gram. #1 Get to know your people Familiarise yourself with the demographics of your target audience and this will help you to define the type of content you should post, your brand voice, and even what days and times to publish. To make sure you can dive into these analytics you need to have a business or a creator account. Don’t panic if you don’t with this guide you can easily switch. To get to your Instagram analytics, go to Insights and under ‘Your Audience’ you will find important information about age range, top locations (cities, countries) and gender of your followers. #2 Timing is key You just posted an excellent behind the scenes video about one of your practice sessions or concerts. Sound and picture are both great, you even did a little intro, but the reach is low and there is almost no reactions. What has gone wrong? As timing is key, make sure you post your content when your audience is online. How can you check this? Again, you need to have a creator or business account, then head to your Insights, and check under ‘Your Audience’ when your followers are online. #3 Your bio matters Think of your bio as your business card, and as an opportunity to create a great first impression. Remember, your bio should not be about you, but rather about the needs of your target audience Include a call to action - what is that you would like your audience to do? Add your branded hashtags Use a link tool such as Linktree that allows you to host multiple links in your Instagram bio. Instead of updating your bio link every time you publish a new blog post or start a promotion you just update your Linktree. #4 Video is the king of content Just imagine, if a picture tells a thousand words, what can a video do for your engagement! According to Sproutsocial, videos on Instagram receive 49% more engagement than static photo posts. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri claimed recently, ‘Instagram is no longer just a square photo-sharing app.’ Right now they’re focused on four key areas, including videos. There are plenty of different video styles to choose from such as story videos, feed videos, live, IGTV and why not try reels? They all offer different ways to tell your stories and talk to your audience. For a cheat sheet on video length, ideal size and some best practices read more here. #5 A good story tells a story Stories are the best and easiest way on Instagram to strengthen the ‘para-social’ interactions with your followers. Make sure your story has a beginning, a middle part, and end Play around with all the different interactive tools that increase follower activity in different ways, e.g.: Promote your concerts/projects with a countdown Start a conversation with the different stickers Be brave, experiment, and use the various types of available video options and AR filters App recommendation: Add videos and pictures to your ready-made story template with Unfold that offers unique templates for free. Source: Unfold #6 Use #s to meet new audiences You can include a maximum of 30 #s in each of your posts; every one of them is a new opportunity to reach out to people who are not following you yet. UPDATE: On 27 September 2021 Instagram published their latest hashtag advice on their Creators account. Based on this, the ideal number of hashtags is 3-5, and10-20 hashtags per post “will not help you get additional distribution.” Add them either in the text part or in the first comment, if the latter one, make sure you add them immediately It is worth creating hashtag lists around the topics you post about and save them in a document, so it is ready to copy and paste Avoid too general hashtags, that are used more than a million times (e.g.: #music #piano) Use the #s in the language of your audience Source: Pikrea App recommendation: If you are lacking some ideas and want to save some time, visit displaypurposes.com, the Instagram hashtag generator. Type in a hashtag you use, and it offers 30 related hashtags for you. (Disclaimer: some of them might be too general, but is still good for inspiration) #7 Create carousels An Instagram carousel is a post with multiple photos or videos that can be viewed by swiping left. This kind of content type offers a great opportunity (and flexibility) to share multiple photos and/or videos at the same time without spamming your audiences with too many posts. Instagram Carousels have the highest engagement rate of all post types, not to mention the fact that Instagram’s algorithm works in your favour if you vary your content type. Source: digitalinformationworld.com App recommendation: There are a couple of useful apps to make your carousels stand out. Canva is a super user-friendly, free design tool with ready made templates (not only, but also) for all kinds of Instagram content. Unsquared makes it easy to create swipeable panoramas/carousels for your Instagram by splitting your panorama or wide format photos. #8 Make the most out of your captions You have 2200 characters to tell your story, but this is an option, and there is no need to rewrite War & Peace. Ask questions, talk to your audience, and focus your most important wording in the first 125 characters (saving your audiences from a further click to Read more). Tailor your text to the data you learnt from your analytics (see point #1). App recommendation: Edit your Instagram text in a super easy and creative way, add cool fonts, line breaks and all this for free and without having to download an app on captioner.me. Source: captioner.me #9 Engage, react to, and share content created by your audience So why is it important to react to the comments underneath your posts? Instagram works the following way: the more engagement you create, the higher the chance people might see your posts. Think about your Instagram account as a place for discussion. When you engage in a conversation, you’d like to be listened to and answered. Your audience is looking for exactly this. Make them feel part of the game, and if they tag you, your concert, or a project of yours in their stories, share it. #10 Apps that make a difference Finally, here are some personal favourites (beside the ones mentioned above) that can make your life easier and your storytelling more personal. Snapseed is a great photo editing tool with free features that let you save your edited and enhanced image at a very high quality, holding the same resolution as that of your original picture. Pfpmaker helps you to create beautifully branded, eye-catching profile pictures for your Instagram profile (and also other platforms) from any photos you have. FontJoy helps you to generate different kinds of font pairings that you can use on your Instagram stories. And here is a tutorial video. Another great story creating apps with colourful templates is Over. If you tend to forget to post the right time, Latergram and Hootsuite might be your new buddies. In these social media management tools, you can create free accounts, plan, schedule, and analyse your content, and both offer great blogs if you are a lifelong learner type. It’s been a long way, congrats if you made it to the bottom of this page. I hope you can use these tips on your journey to engage more effectively with your audience. Don’t forget to listen and to experiment, but most importantly, enjoy what you do! If you liked the blog, leave us a comment and let us know what else you would like to learn more about in the fields of social or digital media and sign up for our 21cMusician Toolkit Newsletter.