The year 2018 has already started and a lot of social media bloggers and businesses have continued to work on their accounts, setting new goals for a new year. Of course, the ultimate goal for all Instagram users is to engage more with their target audience and increase their followers count. It is very important to review your strategy because, last year, Instagram has changed quite a lot! To help you adapt to the latest trends and new features of Instagram, we have once again reviewed the trends of 2017 and created this article about Instagram strategy for 2018. The main 5 trends of Instagram in 2017 were:
- Video content
- Work with engagement rates
- Growing value of bloggers
- Development of Instagram business functionality
- Adapting to a new Instagram algorithm
The last one is possibly the more important out of the 5, and a lot of people spend ages figuring out what the new Instagram algorithm is all about. It is pretty easy to remember: Engagement, Relevancy, Relationships, Timeliness, Profile Searches, Direct Shares, Time Spent. Those are the most important factors which influence whether your posts will be popular among small audience, and whether it is going to appear in the Recommended feed as well. Last year’s trends have now transformed into “to-do lists”, because everyone now knows that video content is viewed by more people (has more reach). The same goes for engagement; this factor is not going to disappear this year, so do spend some time looking into them. However, we will talk about Instagram strategy for 2018 and review trends which will be most discussed in the offices of social media agencies around the world:
- Influencer Marketing
- Review your Hashtag strategy
- Fighting bots and spammers
- More engaging content
As you can see, in 2018, working on your content, making sure it’s attracts attention of most of your followers, and preparing to work with other bloggers is still highly important. But let’s try to discuss every point in more detail.
We cannot stress the importance of Instagram stories. If you’re still not using them you’re losing out.
Almost half of all updates Instagram made in 2017 were somehow relevant to Stories, which went crazy last year and there were even rumours of Instagram overpowering Snapchat. Oh, we are not even mentioning that WhatsApp and Facebook have introduced “Stories” as well. Statistics speak for themselves: 3 out of 5 Instagram users who use the app daily are interacting with Stories. At the same time, it is very simple to create Stories, and they don’t require any kind of high quality images or videos. The Stories have become a more “trustful” channel for communication with readers. Using dedicated albums with Stories (called Highlights), cross posting Stories from Instagram to Facebook, interactive buttons (like added links, polls etc.), forms an entirely separate social network inside Instagram, and everyone needs to treat it separately. This means working with it in a different way than you would with usual Instagram posts. This has inspired us to start developing a series of different content strategies and content plans only for Instagram stories.
Over the past few years – especially last year – influencer marketing has significantly grown and now is used actively by main media marketing agencies as one of the most efficient ways of advertisement. If we are to compare a featured post on a local blogger’s Instagram and a usual Instagram Ad, you would get more for the same money, specifically because Influencer followers are more likely to notice your brand within a bloggers feed (especially when the advertisement is natural) rather than in the “Sponsored” section on Instagram whilst scrolling through their feed. There is a connection between each blogger and the follower, which can’t be substituted at all. It is very important to note that in 2018 brands will tend to work more with smaller influencers, and if you think that your business is too small and can’t afford to implement influencer marketing in their Instagram strategy for 2018, then you are completely wrong. There are usually two types of bloggers:
- Those who think that they are local “Stars” and charge x5 the usual price;
- Those who are rarely contacted by brands, they charge a reasonable amount or are even happy to work in exchange for a product/voucher/free meal etc.
In the United Kingdom, influencer marketing is not that popular as of yet, and if we are not taking London into account there are not a lot of bloggers on Instagram with very big follower bases. This means that you will have to go for quantity, although even working with 5-10 bloggers on a monthly basis will pay off for sure. Make sure you are checking potential influencers thoroughly, because some tend to buy bots who only increase the number of followers, but they don’t actually have a lot of true observers. Some tend to buy likes, boosting their images so it looks like they are popular. It is pretty easy to spot a profile which relies on these bad techniques, and there are several ways in which to avoid them. First of all, you can ask for their stats. All Instagram business accounts have their own analytics section called “Insights”, which will show important metrics such as “Reach” and “Impressions”. We tend to suggest that normal pricing for working with Influencers in the UK should be calculated by the formula “£5-10 times every 1000 followers”. So, for example, a collaboration with a local blogger, who has around 2.000 followers, shouldn’t exceed £20. At this point, the first dilemma is always whether to give this money to a blogger or rather spend it on Facebook Ads. Just compare what results you are getting via different marketing channels, and remember that you can always invite a blogger for a free meal, but you can’t pay Facebook with your product, which is why influencer marketing has a higher ROI.
Don’t be scared to dive into Influencer Marketing, bloggers are waiting to be contacted by brands and agencies. According to the latest stats 74% of bloggers enjoy being contacted by brands and agencies, and only 6-7% hate any topics related to featured posts and collaborations. Moreover 55% of bloggers don’t always want money in return, they rather have a free meal in your restaurant or review your gifted product.
The importance of using hashtags on Instagram has always been highlighted here, but there was a problem with the most popular hashtags because they were literally spoiled due to dreadful amount of spam. This was until Instagram introduced the new feature which allows us to follow hashtags.
By following the hashtag, you are able to see the most popular post along with stories containing the chosen hashtag. This is a fantastic feature for branded hashtags because it has now become easier to track your fans’ posts and stories without even following them. Also, we still notice that some businesses and bloggers continue to use the most popular hashtags, like #followforfollow, #instalike, #instafood etc. By using the most popular hashtags you are going to receive spam likes and be followed by bots, and you want to avoid that because you can’t benefit from that. What you want to do is to pick hashtags which will make you appear in the Top Posts section. Simply type hashtags relevant to your business and check how many likes Top Posts are receiving. If you are way below that, there is no need to even use this hashtag. Think of some local hashtags, like #WestYorkshire and #Leeds because they may be pretty popular, and try to narrow down the number of hashtags and think carefully about which ones to use. There is no point putting hashtags just for the sake of it; try to use this feature smartly. It is also important to review your hashtag strategy at least every 3 months, as Instagram changes pretty quickly, whether that means that old hashtags you used have become too spammy, or new hashtags have been established.
Fighting bots and spammers
It is very important to keep your Instagram healthy, especially in 2018 when social media has implemented a new algorithm. Basically, Instagram now calculates whether most of the followers will be interested in your post or not, and they do it by using different ranking factors. If, from the moment you share post, a lot of followers start to interact with your post (likes/comments) then Instagram will more likely show your post in the feed of other followers as well. It’s pretty complicated, but what we have recently figured out is that you need to have a good ratio between how many likes/comments you get per post and the number of followers you have. To improve the situation, you can analyse what type of followers you have by splitting it up into engagement rates:
- High (account with less than 300 followings)
- Medium (300-1000 followings)
- Low (Over 1000 followings)
It is clear that the group ‘Low’ will be the least interested in your posts simply because they follow more than 1000 accounts, and it would be really hard to appear in their feed. Normal accounts have no more than 10% followers from the ‘Low’ group. If you have more than 10%, then you have to try to find a solution. Today, there are quite a lot of spammers and bots who will follow anyone to get some exposure, and they can harm your account. Such bots follow at least over 3000 accounts, and you can simply block them. Although this brings down the number of followers you have, it boosts engagement rates; Instagram will see higher engagement rates, and will acknowledge that your posts are actually popular and will start showing them to a broader range of your followers.
More engaging content
We have mentioned the importance of engagement rates in the Instagram Strategy for 2018 year about 100 times, and will mention it again. Most marketers love the phrase “Content is King”, and this most certainly applies to the realms of Instagram as well. The better your content is, the more likes/comments you will get, the better engagement rates you’ll have, and the quicker you grow. Of course, it’s about the quality of the content, but by the quality we not only mean the quality of the photo, but the quality of the actual post. Instagram users have shown that they don’t really like Professional Photographs when it comes to food posts. For example, they prefer simple images, more like the ones that an average Instagram user can generate on their own. People don’t like text on photographs of the posts on Instagram. This kind of promotion would work well on Facebook, but not on Instagram. Photos for Instagram posts should be creative and “beautiful” to meet the standards of the followers. But it is also important to engage with your audience by asking questions in the capture of your post. Let’s look at the example:
Who’s visiting waffle royalty today? 😋 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ . . . . . #KaspasLeeds #Leeds #dessertbae #loveleeds #sugarholic #LeedsLife #Kaspas #dessertsheaven #dessertoftheday #tryitordiet #thefoodbible #sweettreats #spoonbing #foodgasmic #lufc #leedsunited #westyorkshire #sweetbreakfast #puregym #cheatday #foodbloggeruk #dessertslover #waffleheaven #belgiumwaffle #bananawaffle
Simple post vs Post which asks for comments.
TAG your chocoholic friend under this picture ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ . . . . . #KaspasLeeds #Leeds #dessertbae #loveleeds #sugarholic #LeedsLife #Kaspas #dessertsheaven #dessertoftheday #tryitordiet #thefoodbible #sweettreats #spoonbing #foodgasmic #lufc #leedsunited #westyorkshire #sweetbreakfast #puregym #cheatday #foodbloggeruk #dessertslover #chocoholic #chapeltown #roundhay #kirkstall #otley
The second post has 20% more reach than the one without any strategically smart text which would persuade the followers to interact under the post. Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with your followers, if you get 0 comments, try again and think of something that would persuade your followers to comment. Marketing is always about testing something new, comparing the results and then drawing conclusions.
That’s probably it, we have discussed the 5 main topics which will be important in your Instagram strategy for 2018. We didn’t talk about the new implementations which might come to Instagram this year: Instagram Shopping and Instagram Messenger (DM). You can keep an eye out on the official Instagram business blog, where all the latest updates can be found. You just need to make sure you are using latest features Instagram is offering, such as following hashtags, live broadcasts and actively using Stories. If something new comes up, make sure you invest a good amount of time into that, because competition levels between businesses and bloggers on Instagram are increasing every year, and whoever implements Instagram’s latest updates into their Instagram strategy has a head start.
If you ever need some help with Instagram Marketing, feel free to contact our professional via the contact details below: