Social media - it's a jungle out there.
Instagram... a platform that is so incredibly - and increasingly - saturated. It's easy to skim (or should we say scroll?) the surface and get a bit - or a lot - lost in the ins and outs of it all. But... ! Ask people how they very first interact with a brand, and most will say "I go straight to their Instagram". Instagram presents both the most common first touchpoint and one of the best places for discovery.
If you can master the art of a scroll-stopping feed, you're already well on your way to utilising possibly the best free business tool out there. That is to say, it's well worth your time to take a bit of a dive into all the valuable tools this platform has to offer.
Creating and mastering said scroll-stopping feed involves a little bit of good old stat deciphering - sorry guys. I'm no mathematician myself, so trust me when I say - if I can do it, you can too. In saying that, there's a lot I've had to learn on my feet, studying social media at university gave me no special insights, nor was I ever given a cheat sheet.
So, I'll save you the HECS debt and give you a mini glossary, or social media bible if you will, to get you up to scratch with all the lingo. While I'm focusing mainly on Instagram here, keep in mind that these terms and the ways you can decipher and utilise them can be applied to many other platforms - including Facebook.
OK! First things first - does your brand have an Instagram business account? If you don't have one, get on it! You'll find the option in your settings under account. That's step number one. Once you've got your professional or business account set up, that will open up a whole plethora of insights for you to explore.
The golden three...
Engagement is probably the holy grail of all insights. It's a percentage value Instagram spits out that measures the shares, comments and likes your content is receiving by dividing your post engagement by your post impressions. Generally, you should aim to have your engagement rate sitting somewhere between 1 and 3 percent, but this could be lower depending on a few variants (for example, if you have HEAPS of followers), or it could also be much higher. It can also be affected by what your brand is pedalling and how often you're posting. Food, for example, receives higher engagement than home decor, with a similar number of posts per day or week.
Why does it matter? Engagement is important to watch - it basically indicates how much you're resonating with your audience. If the percentage is up, they're liking what you're doing and hearing what you have to say!
How do I improve it? To start with, think of improving engagement on social media in the same way you would aim to have someone engage with you more in real life. Start a conversation, respond to comments and messages, show people you're interested in what they have to say by sharing their content, utilise stories as often as you can and include stickers (and don't be afraid to be real and raw on them - stories are meant to be instantaneous, not staged!), research your hashtags.
Reach tallies the number of unique users who viewed your post or content. This can be found in insights on individual posts - it's also an important stat to watch out for when it comes to social media ads. Keep an eye on it, it is a good measure of brand awareness!
Why does it matter? Reach is important because it shows you exactly how many people are connecting with your brand each month. It's a big picture statistic that lets you know the size of your influence and if users are seeing your posts.
How do I improve it? Hashtag research is the first step here. You can use up to 30 hashtags per post. A good guide is to aim for 5 hashtags that have <25k, 10 hashtags that have 25-50k, 5 hashtags that have 50-100k, 5 hashtags that have 100-250k and 5 with >250k. Another great way to improve reach is by putting some $ behind your posts or setting up a few ads - but more on that when we chat to our ad expert Hannah.
This is the TOTAL number of times your content was viewed. It's easy to get this one confused with reach, but just remember that reach calculates individual views, where impressions is the total number. If your impressions are higher than your reach, this means that users are viewing your content more than once.
Why does it matter? This helps you get a sense of whether a) lots of people are viewing your posts once, or b) a smaller group of people are viewing it multiple times. Combined with reach, it gives you a sense of your depth and how often people are seeing and actively seeking out your brand!
How do I improve it? Look for posts that have a high ratio of impressions to reach - this will tell you which content is performing best and is most engaging. Aim to do more of that!
Other things to look out for
Saves is indicated on each individual post insights via that little flag icon on the far right. Again, this is a good indicator of post performance - if someone finds your content particularly funny, beautiful, cute, or interesting, they're more likely to hit save!
The number of sends is indicated by the paper aeroplane icon. This is how many people have seen your post and hit send to another user. Again, this is a good indication of engaging or relatable content. It also could be loosely interpreted as an indicator of users who share a relationship (and demographic!) and follow your account - think about how many times you've sent your friend posts from that adorable dog account you both follow - or potentially as new discovery.
This is a great way to discover your ideal target audience. Consider the age bracket your content resonates with the most, where they reside, and what gender they are. It's also key to check out when your followers are most active online - use those time slots to post!
Some extra stats to keep in mind
There are over 3.8 BILLION social media users around the world
99% of these users access social media via their mobile phone (a good reason to make sure your website is mobile compatible!!)
There is an average of 9.2% increase in social media users EVERY YEAR
So... like I said, there are a few numbers and stats to get your head around... ! But once you gain a really strong understanding of them you can start manipulating the data to work harder for you, how good is that?
Time to create that scroll-stopping feed we were talking about earlier!
If you need help with socials and want to work with our expert team, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
WORDS | Lucy Francis, TLSE