21 Ideas To “Up Your Social Media Game” This Year

Have you failed to launch? This year, try these ideas…

Many of us know that social media can be a great way to brand or market yourself or your business. But It’s not enough to simply open an account and randomly post pictures or articles. You need a plan.

Here are 21 ideas that can help you to boost your social media strategies.

Engage

IG’s algorithm prioritizes accounts that not only have high engagement but that also engage often and in meaningful ways with other accounts. Within an hour after you post an update, you should like and comment on other accounts that have a similar audience or use similar hashtags. Longer comments are better than single emoji comments. By engaging with others, you are more likely to grow your own engagement. — Dan Salganik

Captions

Create captivating captions. Despite what you may have been told, people do read your captions. To get the most out of a post, have your image and caption work together. It makes your posts more interesting and shows that you’re thoughtful about your posts. That goes a long way with your followers. — Andrew Stephenson

Partner

Partner With Influencers/Thought Leaders. People identify with brands and personalities, not businesses. Influencer Marketing is a powerful, cost-effective method for getting your content out to a quality, relevant audience. Look at it this way, people tend to place Instagram content in 2 categories, entertainment (good) and ads (bad). People willingly trust bloggers and YouTube personalities and are paying attention to them. Finding a small group of influencers whose overall values align with your brand could be a powerful opportunity to find new customers. — Michael Lewis

Giveaways

Giveaways: Every now and then a giveaway is a great way to gain exposure and engagement. It is fantastic way to plant the seed amongst new connections on Instagram. We held our first giveaway 6 months into our business and we have seen an increase in registrations since then. — Ashlee Collova

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing: These are the new celebrities. You may not know who they are but your customer does. And they follow them every day. Attach your brand to the right influencer and build instant credibility.The number one key to successful influencer marketing is making sure you get the most bang for your buck. I like to use a scale system. So for example. If you bring me 10 leads I will pay you $100. If you bring me 100 leads I will pay you $1,000. This way you are not overpaying for talent that doesn’t work or help. Some influencers don’t want to play that game. But if you sell it to them right they will be all for it because in the end they will make more money. But if you can’t get a scale kind of deal. BE WARNED!Make sure the influencer you pick puts in real work. How? By asking a company that they have used before. By looking through the influencers comments. Are these a bunch of generic comments and profiles or are these real people talking real shit. — James Robinson

Collaborations

Social Collaborations. Start looking for brands that match your mission and do social collaborations. It’s a great way for you to be introduced to their audience and vice versa. This could be an instagram story or IGTV takeover, you could partner on a giveaway, they could do a guest blog post and so much more! — Ashley Rector

Be a fan

Be a fan! If you want people to be a fan of your brand, then you need to be a fan of your users. Get out there and find the people who represent the message your brand is trying to convey. If you’re a fitness brand, find the influencers in that space, follow them, and engage with them on Instagram! Comment on their posts, like, etc, but make sure it stays authentic. People can smell a phony (or a bot) a mile away, and that will do more to hurt your reputation than help. And most importantly, integrate user-generated content into your feed! It shows you’re appreciative of your viewers and fans. — Veronica Belmont

Before and afters

Demonstrate your success stories: Before and afters are so powerful as well as redemption stories. If you can show your product or service helping people in a clear way, you are using the platform in the most effective way. Videos are great, testimonials are awesome, before and after shots, etc. are all powerful for consumers. — Shannon O’Dowd

Gather free information

Gather free information from your audience using Instagram Stories

If you’re unsure about what your audience wants, or if you simply need a refresher, use Instagram Stories tools such as the questions, polls, or emoji slider stickers to gather effortlessly free data about product needs or wants! For example, if you own a clothing brand you could use the questions sticker to ask customers an open ended question about the types of products they’re most excited to see in the spring. The polls sticker could accompany two sample items and then inquire which color is the audience favorite in order to determine which product to release first. Finally, the emoji slider can help poll an audience on how much they truly like or dislike an item in your catalog. — Alexis Davis

Aesthetics

Keep Aesthetics in Mind. Instagram is all about visual creativity! Popular Instagram accounts all have one thing in common — they have coherent feeds. Create an aesthetic that is deeply rooted to your brand identity, following a common theme that can speak volumes about what you’re all about! Understand your brand and put #nofilter on your values, let them shine through your posts! Create photos that help illustrate your brand personality through a fixated theme, whether it be modern and minimalistic or cute and colorful! Utilize mobile applications like UNUM and VSCO to edit your photos and plan your feeds. — Ashley Graham

Quality not Quantity

Always remember it’s about quality followers, not quantity. It’s easy to get sucked in to thinking you need to have a certain amount of followers to be successful, but what you really need are quality followers that are a part of your tribe. There was a time I did a big giveaway to attract followers and grow my numbers, and that just let to me being followed by people that just wanted free stuff. Then I had to waste a bunch of time removing all of these people because they were ruining my engagement. Once I deleted all of them, I finally had followers that were my people and started building a loyal following. — Jessica Castaneda

Contact info

Make sure that your business contact info is accessible. Some Instagram accounts haven’t linked up there company phone numbers, email or website. They think someone will direct message them if they have questions which does happen but make sure they can do further research right from your Instagram by linking your website so they can click on it and get redirected immediately. — Trevor Cowley

Behind the scenes

Show behind the scenes content. People want to know, like and trust you before they’ll do business with you. IG allows a great visual platform to show people what’s going on behind the scenes on a daily basis. In fact, people tend to like authentic content of this type even more than highly curated video or graphic-designed posts. — Jaya Jaya Myra

Show your face

Show your face. Gone are the days where Instagram feeds were a place for pictures of your breakfast, dog and sunset. People now want to see the person behind the brand. People want to connect to a person, not a product. I used to have a fear that if I showed my face, people would unfollow me and the opposite ended up being true. — Sahara Rose

Stories

Instagram stories are fast becoming the go-to place users spend their time. I’ve used stories in a number of different ways, including pure awareness. However, I’ve seen them be really good for conversion and engagement. The best conversion driving stories are incentive-based and get people to swipe up. Brands can also have a lot of fun with engagement in stories. I once worked on a campaign for a TV show where we used exclusive content and the tapping behavior to give fans the ability to see other “episodes” or plotlines that were built by the user depending on how they tapped through the story sequences. — Logan Bennett

Advertising

Instagram Advertising — You gotta spend money to make money, right? You can’t depend on solely your followers to convert into clients or help generate greater business. Sometimes you just need to place yourself in front of the right people! Every time we promote a new influencer, we put them in front of their target audience. Immediately, engagement skyrockets and the post gets shared even more due to effective targeting. — Alexander Onaindia

Brand Ambassadors

Focus on Building Brand Ambassadors — The Kind of People Who Do Your Advertising For You. Most companies on Instagram focus on growing the number of followers they have. Followers are good, but brand ambassadors are far better. Rather than focusing on numbers, focus on the quality of your followers. In Tim Ferris’ book Tools of Titans, Kevin Kelly talks about any only needing 1,000 true fans to be successful, with a true fan defined as “a fan who will buy anything you produce.” For example, if you are a footwear label, focus on having your brand ambassadors follow you, and more importantly converting your general customers into raving fans. Often this can be achieved by providing above and beyond customer service. — David Pagotto

Interactive

Make your content interactive. We all know that consumers are saturated with online content, and we’ve all been a thumb-scrolling zombie at one time or another on Instagram. The content just flows in a never-ending stream, and our eyes glaze over as all the perfection blends into one. So how can you draw your customers and leads out of autopilot mode? Ask them for their opinion. Ask them for recommendations. Ask them to choose between things. Making your content interactive is an amazing way to connect with your customers on IG, because it not only shows you value their input, you might actually unearth incredible insights that can help inform business decisions. AirBnB did this brilliantly in a campaign where they posted a beautiful photo of a destination and asked the audience to choose between two options as to where they thought the photo was taken. Simple, but very engaging. — Gracie Page

DM

Slide into the DM (for business).I do this every single day (even as part of my daily engagement). I consistently comment on people’s stories and love seeing what they are doing with their lives. Think of it like texting. Rather than texting your friends and colleagues what they are up to you, you now have an opportunity to see what they are doing with their lives and feeling part of it. I have gotten clients and referrals from other vendors simply because I have engaged on their stories and then they send me a message that they have a client for me. It’s worth the time. — Katelyn McCullough

Personality for your brand

Create a personality for your brand. Instagram is an opportunity for people to get to know your brand and what you are all about. Beyond just your company’s offerings and products, you can use Instagram to give your customers a sense of your brand’s essence- what is your brand’s aesthetic, voice, etc. For example, as an ice cream company, most of our photos are of ice cream, but our captions to these photos are about: throwing a party, unwinding after a long week of work, ideas for entertaining etc. Providing some added value to your customers and giving them a sense of what you are all about makes Instagram a more interesting tool that goes beyond what an e-commerce website could provide someone with. — Melissa Tavss

Plan

Before you start marketing your business on Instagram, you should carefully plan your marketing strategy. IG is all about visual content. Prepare high-quality visuals such as photos, logos, videos, and graphics. Identify how often and when you are going to use paid Instagram ads. Are you going to promote your business on other popular IG accounts? These are the issues you should clarify even before you start your Instagram marketing campaign. — Dautov Bahtiyar