Whether you’re a marketer looking to build a legion of brand passionistas, or just a regular Instagram user who’d like to share bits & pieces of your visual memories with others, analytics are the key to successfully engage your followers.
There are two free tools in the market which I’d like to recommend:
- Statigram: Between the two tools, Statigram is more user-friendly and it offers readily-available segmented data such as 24/7 community schedule as well as impact from each filters on comments and likes. Statigram is good enough for most users.
- Simply Measured: The major advantage of Simply Measured is that it extends its analytics beyond Instagram to measure engagement of the photos posted in Facebook and Twitter. It also allows users to download the data in excel form for manual manipulation, so it’ll be very valuable for seasoned marketers.
Personally, I’d recommend using both so that you can leverage on the strength of both platforms and cross-reference your performance. Here’s how you can leverage them to optimise your content:
Post at the times when your community is most active
Basic common sense judgments such as posting food pictures during dinner time, or not posting during sleeping hours may be helpful. However, it’s also important to note that Instagram is a global community. Lunch time in Singapore is midnight in New York, so make sure you understand who makes the bulk of your community.
Do also pay attention to Statigram’s community timetable which draws insights from your last 90-day Instagram activities (see below). The dark black circles represent my current posting habit, while the light grey circles represent the exact timing when my community is most active. Thus, the best times for me to post are those with the biggest light grey circles.
As you can see, because my current postings are concentrated on Friday and Saturday, the data is far from robust. If you spread your content over different days & hours, you’ll find out when are the best timings to engage your followers on each day.
Use the right combination of hashtags
On the right side is a list of my top-performing hashtags in Simply Measured.
To understand this data, we need to recognize that hashtag analytics represent two values.
Firstly, there is category value which tells you the strength of your content. For instance, you may notice that my community loves my architecture, entertainment & food photos. These are the types of content which I should generate more often in the future.
Secondly, there is search value, which helps you to determine the exact keywords you should & shouldn’t use to engage your non-followers. Marketers doing comprehensive Instagram campaigns may want to download an excel sheet provided by Simply Measured to analyze the performance of individual hashtag.
The best approach is to use a mix of general & specific hashtags. General hashtags (i.e. cities) provide you with wider audience reach, but it gets drowned with other posts quickly. Specific (i.e. cathedral) and ultra-specific hashtags (i.e. standrews) lack the audience size, but they are very targeted and will resonate with the audience well. If you’re not sure where to start, you may take a look at the list of most popular hashtags for different categories in TagsForLikes.
To enrich your hashtags, you may also use the 5W1H approach (i.e. who, what when, where, why & how) to describe your picture. Some people may be craving to eat something so they may search for the food name, some people may be wondering about the menu that is offered in the newly-opened restaurant you’re eating at so they may search for the location name, and so forth—if you expand your hashtags well enough, you can capture the audience diversity.
There’s a whole lot of other things in both tools. Look at the filter impact to avoid the ‘ugly’ filters which generate low engagement. Find out who are your most engaged followers and interact with them frequently. Visit the profile of followers who are not as engaged to learn about their interests and modify your content to attract them.
I hope this post is useful. 😀 If there’s any other useful Instagram tools or strategies which I have missed, do share it on the comment box below.
Find me on Instagram: @ADarwitan