It is no secret that the average individual’s attention span is decreasing every day. And on Instagram, this is no different. Users scroll through their feed for 25 minutes every day and see hundreds, if not thousands, of images. To stand out from your peers (there are over 800 million users on Instagram), you have to create the best content possible. In this blog post, we’ll go over a few things that will help you create quality content that will make your (personal) brand stand out from the masses!
Getting the most out of content needs a good strategy and a plan, and before you can create a plan, we first need to establish a few ground rules.
Understand your audience and brand
The first step is to understand your (target) audience and your brand. This seems like a very easy thing to do; however, it can be a daunting task even for a lot of professionals. We can’t just throw content on Instagram and see what sticks. If you want to become successful with Instagram marketing, it’s best to ask yourself a few questions first:
- What is unique about your brand?
- Who is your target audience, and what do they like?
- What do your customers expect from you or your brand?
Identifying what makes your brand unique, or what type of content your ideal (target) audience likes, is key to creating an appropriate content strategy.
Only the Best Is Good Enough
Instagram is about great visuals and (emotionally) appealing content. Just search through some of the more popular hashtags and see which pictures get the most engagement. 9 times out of 10, it will be high quality, eye candy content. In a world moving to 4K videos and high-quality pictures, that’s what we want to create!
Have a defined subject
Our brains are trained to scan things quickly and having a clear focal point in your images will assist people to linger on your image. On the other hand, an image that’s too busy or too cluttered will have the opposite effect and will make the user scroll by.
Adhere to the rule of thirds
The rule of thirds is a cornerstone of good photography and applies to Instagram as well. It’s a classic in its field and with good reason. To use the rule of thirds, you must envision that your image has a 9-part grid overlaying your image (most of the cameras will have an option for a grid overlay). According to the rule of thirds, images work best where the focal point (or object) of the image is focused on one of the intersections of the grid.
Work with whitespace and borders
Creating white spaces or boxed objects create unusual, stunning effects on Instagram which attract the eye. Combine this with the above-mentioned rule of thirds, and you’ll have a winner!
If you want an image that stands out, play with contrast. You can apply contrast to colors, shapes, fonts, lighting, white spaces, and much more. Finding contrast that works for you and your brand can be hard, but it will forever change the popularity of the image!
Let’s assume you’ve devoted a certain amount of time and effort into creating content for your page, and now you want to evaluate whether or not it actually works. The best way to do that is by monitoring your engagement rates.
To objectively evaluate your content, you need to establish two measures of engagement. The first is your account-wide engagement rate. You can calculate this on various websites (including influencermarketinghub), or you can calculate it for yourself.
To calculate it for yourself, sum up all the likes and comments from the last 12 posts you’ve made and divide that by 12. Then again by the number of followers you have. This will give you a percentage.
As an example, here is a calculation for one of our clients based upon the data of his last 12 posts. He has a total engagement of 13,527 (13,269 likes + 258 comments).
We divide this by 12 (to get the average per post): 13,527 / 12 = 1,127.25
We then divide this again by the number of followers he currently has (he has 14,042): 1,127.25 /14,042 = 8.02%. The percentage we get is the average engagement rate.
We then want to check how well any individual post relates to this.
For this, we follow a very similar path: take the total amount of likes and comments on a post and divide it by the number of followers that user has. Let’s say he posted an image that has a total engagement of 1,063 (1,058 likes and 5 comments). We then divide that by the number of followers he has (14,042) and end up with a percentage of 7.5%.
Working with this kind of data gives us an idea how well a single piece of content is performing compared to the rest of the posts. This will also give you a good idea of how your content strategy is compared to other accounts within your niche as you can compare and contrast engagement rates between the accounts.
If we see the account-wide engagement rate dropping week after week, we have room for improvement. If we see a single piece of content performing far below the average, then we can safely assume that piece didn’t correspond with what our followers typically enjoy.
A side note on evaluating individual pieces: Only compare similar content. This means that you probably shouldn’t compare an image post with a video post, a 12 hour post with a 3 day post, and so on. When comparing, always compare apples to apples (or videos with videos, images with images) to get a good, objective understanding of the matter.