5 Ways to Level Up Your Instagram

At 2019 Summer NAMM, Mallory Nees, social media manager for Reverb, shared how to perfect your Instagram game. Nees revealed social media is often trial and error and discovering what works best for your business. Check out the session video to get sure-fire tips and ideas to serve up hot content and create impact on Instagram.

Here are highlights from Nees’ session.

Tip 1: Learn About Your Audience
Nees stated that it’s smart to confirm what you already know about your customers by reviewing the data. Instagram Insights is a good place to start. Make sure you have a business profile to gain access.

Know who’s following you, including when your audience is active, why they follow you and what they want next. The content tab in Insights will give you information about your most popular posts—the most likely reason your audience follows you and also what they want to see more of in the future. Take the time to examine what you’ve done and what’s been successful.

Tip 2: Engage Your Followers
Nees advised you to treat Instagram posts like first dates. Start by looking your best. Refine your aesthetic on your Instagram profile page, and make sure every photo and video looks branded. Also, accentuate your strengths. Reverb’s hashtag #foundonreverb is one way the company emphasizes its strengths and reinforces its brand.

Instagram has been the fastest-growing social media platform in the world for several years. According to Nees, one reason is that it provides you with an oasis from the negativity you see on other social media platforms. Entertain and inspire your audience and give them something to smile about. In other words, be positive.

Instagram gives you more than 3,000 characters in your captions to get your point across, but that doesn’t mean you should use them all. People will only see the first line of your post in your grid feed, so keep it short and sweet. Make sure the juiciest and most enticing information is in that first line, so viewers will click on your post to see more.

Ask questions of your audience—Instagram will be more likely to serve your post to a large audience and you stand to learn more about them. Nees shared that she recently discovered that her audience is activated by a feeling of childhood nostalgia. So, Reverb created new content and ended up having its highest-performing Instagram post this year.

Pamper your audience. Run a giveaway or hashtag contest, or invite users to invite their friends to your page for free stuff. They’ll be glad they follow you.

Tip 3: Learn to Love Instagram Stories
Nees admitted that she initially believed Instagram Stories to be a waste of time—the idea of content that’s only available for 24 hours. Now, she said she’s a fan, and she shared the following tips for using Stories:

• Sidestep algorithm changes. If you have time-sensitive information to share, the only way you can guarantee it’s seen is by posting it to Stories.

• Share timely content. Post sales or offers that will expire, so your followers won’t miss out and be disappointed.

• Enjoy one-on-one audience interaction. You have the opportunity to share who you are as a brand or person and learn more about your followers, including their likes and dislikes.

• Get real. Be authentic.

• Be a tactical storyteller. You can now expand your reach with new features: Location, Mentions and Hashtags. You can also engage your followers with Polls, Quizzes, Questions and Chat (the newest feature that lets your audience join a group chat). CloseFriends is an option that lets you select specific Instagram accounts that you would like to see your story. If you have an Instagram business profile and Facebook business profile with a product catalog attached, you can ask Instagram to set you up with Shopping. The product icon will then be available in your Stories and grid posts, and you can tag posts with your products. This lets followers see your product, click and buy. It’s easier than ever for them to spend money with you.

• It’s time to go Live. The best thing you can do to engage your followers is to go Live. Enjoy prime storyline placement ahead of everyone else who doesn’t go Live on a particular day. Prompt helpful push notifications, so your followers get alerts that you’re going Live. Enhance “follower FOMO,” and get immediate feedback from your audience as you stream. You can do anything you can imagine Live, including demos, performances or interviews. Nees recommended following John Mayer’s Instagram Live talk show called “Current Mood With John Mayer” for inspiration and content.

Tip 4: Be a Better Follower
Nees reminded everyone of the “social” in social media and encouraged you to visit other pages than your own.

Start conversations in threads on other pages. Not only do you interact with others but it’s also good from a business-branding perspective. Even if you don’t receive a response, your comment will be seen and others may start following you.

Sharing other people’s content is also fun and useful. If you’re impressed with a music video, ask the artist if you can re-gram them and share it. Nees mentioned that 75 percent of Reverb’s best-performing music videos from the last few months are re-gram content.

Tip 5: Be a Better Leader
Nees affirmed that Instagram is the fastest-growing social media platform, which means that it’s also one of the fastest-changing platforms. Given that, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve. Take the time to find tech forums and resources you can rely on to help you stay aware of platform changes. The sooner you’re in the know, the sooner you can embrace them.

Think about developing influencer strategies and partnerships. Be selective about who you work with, though. It may be tempting to choose influencers with the highest follower count, but they’re not necessarily the best choice. Find influencers and content creators with audiences that will love what you do, even if that audience is small. You want valuable followers and customers.

Also, diversify your profile. Know your target audience. Take another look at your Instagram page to make sure you’re reaching target demographic groups. If you want a higher followship among females, feature female artists or women in the music community. When you re-gram, you’re diversifying your content by amplifying other artists’ messages, which is great for both of you. Nees emphasized that we should all strive to make this the best experience for everyone in the music industry since we’re all on the same mission: to bring more music to the world.