Identify the four key messages you want to send out and focus your posts and reels on those.
There’s no fixed rule on how often to post, though some advise 3 - 7 times per week. It’s important to be realistic about how much time and resource you really have though.
You can spend time curating your images and making your grid look wonderful, but it’s probably best to get stuff out there and post regularly - Instagram likes this.
Use your stories as the place to publish behind the scenes content.
Don’t be scared to talk to camera. As a business owner, people love to see you. I know a lot of our customers think of me when they think of Cake or Death - and it’s the big difference you get between a small business and a big one - you feel connected to the founder.
You can use analytics to understand how your audience engages with your content. If you have an Instagram business account, the free Instagram Analytics feature can identify patterns of engagement and help show you what kind of content resonates. This may give you pointers as to what content works well, and what is less successful. There are other analytic tools out there too. It’s worth exploring what’s on offer, though for some of them you may need to pay to use.
Video vs photo
Instagram used to be a photo-sharing app but it’s much more focused on video now, to compete with TikTok. These videos are called reels and get much more traction than photos. You should keep them short and aim to use trending audio so they get shared more widely.
I did a course on how to build reels run by @rebuildagram and this was very useful. There will also be plenty of free information out there on YouTube for example.
The best reels are either funny, educational or feature really beautiful or delicious looking content.
Keep them short. Under 10 seconds is ideal.
Watch other reels and you may be able to use music from those by saving the audio - if it has a little arrow on it that means it’s trending.
Working with others
I built the Cake or Death account in large part by working with others - in particular influencers. There are lots of individuals running Instagram accounts who’ll happily review your product and feature it on their stories and sometimes their grid for free. This way you access their followers. You can even do giveaways with them or offer them a personalised discount code which can work well.
You can also work with influencers via an affiliate network where influencers get paid per sale they make. Don’t ignore accounts with smaller numbers of followers. I have worked with accounts of 10-15K followers and got brilliant engagement because their audience really listens to them.
Also look at collaborating with other like-minded companies. You can do this via giveaways (offering a product from both you and the other company) which are timed posts that ask followers from both accounts to enter the giveaway and follow both companies. Thousands of my followers come from this route and I mostly work with other vegan companies to ensure we have overlapping audiences.
Instagram was an absolutely amazing tool during the pandemic when everyone was sitting on their phones. My account grows much more slowly now and I am focusing on quality interactions rather than rapid growth.
Don’t ignore the other channels. Facebook is important for an older audience and TikTok for a younger audience. You may feel that Twitter will work for you if you have less strong imagery, like a service-based business. But lots of service-based businesses do very well on Instagram so find them and take inspiration from what they are doing.