I receive emails from social media strategy companies on a weekly basis offering to help me automate my Instagram usage to build followers. Should I use their services?
According to this article from sproutsocial.com the automated engagement tools basically uses these strategies:
- commenting on posts
- liking posts
- following and unfollowing accounts
- follow/unfollow accounts that follow competitors
- auto follow back
- unfollow people that don’t follow you
Instagram Marketing Strategy
This article from sproutsocial.com summarizes quite a lot of useful information on creating an Instagram Marketing Strategy
My marketing strategy on my consulting account has primarily focused on:
- brand awareness
- driving traffic to content
- periodically driving traffic for sales
And as such has attracted organic growth based on use of hashtags.
My strategy for Talotics is currently very similar:
- driving traffic to content
At the moment I only have content, I have no product and I’m simply sharing lessons learned. When that changes then my Instagram Marketing Strategy will change accordingly.
Your strategy will change over time. Know what your current objectives are. Create content that matches those objectives. Measure according to those objectives.
Instagram Usage Strategy
When I see some Instagram accounts I suspect they only have an Instagram Marketing Strategy, and don’t actually have an Instagram Usage Strategy.
I actually want to ‘use’ Instagram, as well as market through it.
I want to use Instagram for:
- a feed with actual motivational content
- a feed filled with posts that help me learn
I don’t want a feed filled with pictures of cats and dogs and people I don’t know.
I can either:
- setup a new Instagram account and use that as my main feed
- use my ‘following’ to support my branding
I tend to choose the later:
- for my consulting account I only follow accounts in the same niche or who create content that I find useful
- I’ll try to do the same for Instagram as well
I use a similar strategy on Twitter, but since Twitter allows the creation of Lists I have more flexibility and can create private lists which allow me to follow accounts which are slightly off brand.
For a ‘big’ corporate account this is likely to be less of a problem since they won’t really use their corporate account for ‘learning’, each social media person will have their own account for that, and the corporate account will be on-brand.
Smaller business have to more carefully choose, the approach that they use.
I choose to ‘follow’ in support of my branding.
Usage Strategy Impacts Marketing Strategy
Clearly this Usage Strategy impacts my Instagram tactics.
I can’t really use:
- follow automatically
I can, and will:
This unfollow will be driven from usage, if my feed starts having irrelevant or unrelated content in it.
Number of followers is clearly a vanity metric.
If you want to use your account for sales and marketing then you want people who are interested in your content, products and brand to follow you.
A better set of metrics would be around engagement.
Instagram makes this harder to measure. But Vanity metrics are easy to measure.
It is still worth tracking the vanity metrics as you will want to see growth in these over time. This provides some motivation to continue, and it tells you that your content reach is growing.
At this point in time I am not automating engagement on Instagram.
I am changing my engagement tactics on Instagram based on what I have learned from the tactics used by the automated approaches. I will incorporate more ‘liking’ and ‘commenting’ on posts. But I’m currently doing that without any tool support.
I am adopting some of the tactics that the tools automate:
- click through the hashtags I use on my posts and ‘like’ posts that I actually do like in the hashtag feed
- look at the accounts that follow me, and if they have a feed that I find useful, then I follow them back
My todos, based on a review of automated engagement strategy are, to add:
- comment on posts that I like
- create a competitor list and then review their followers and targeted hashtags
I learned from the automated approaches. I am not using them.