May 11, 2018 Last updated on February 9th, 2021
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Want to improve your Instagram strategy but not sure where to start? Or maybe you have plenty of ideas but can’t decide where to focus your attention? Whatever your goal is on Instagram, there are some fundamental steps you can implement to help you get there. This article will cover 5 of these steps to help you re-assess and rework your existing strategy for even better results 💪

1. Evaluate your KPIs (again!)

It can be easy to lose track of your goals on Instagram when you feel like you should be doing it all. But what did you set out to do initially? And is this still your priority? Are you even sticking to your initial Instagram strategy?


I know, it’s a lot! But re-evaluating your goals, and therefore the KPIs you measure to know if you’re actually achieving those goals, is something you should be doing every few months at least.

A good Instagram strategy is made up from having a clear goal, actionable tactics, and measurable performance metrics. Stay focused on one or two goals at a time – if you want to drive traffic to your blog, for example, tailor your strategy to driving traffic and keep a close eye on metrics such as reach and link clicks. If your priority is boosting engagement, you want to be first and foremost looking at engagement rate, talk rate, likes and comments – and of course, monitoring the quality of those interactions.

The first step is to decide on what is most important to you, and then put your energy into that, rather than trying to spread yourself too thin!

If you feel like you’re falling at the first hurdle and need some help defining your KPIs or evaluating analytics, check out this ebook from Iconosquare and HubSpot: How Successful is Your Instagram Strategy? The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Analytics

2. Develop a distinct visual style – and use apps to help you!

There’s one best practice in particular that should always be a part of your strategy and that are a requirement for achieving any goal: creating high-quality, relevant visual content.

But, you’re not a designer?

Well, me neither!

In fact, most social media managers aren’t (because they’re busy being social media managers).

Thankfully, there are loads of tools out there to help you create better Instagram content, whether that’s Posts for your feed or Stories.

Obviously, it helps to have a basic idea of what fits together visually (especially if you’re aiming for a stylized feed like that of @apartmenttherapy or @asos), as well as an understanding of your company’s brand identity and, importantly, the kind of visuals that resonate with your target audience. You might personally love a really minimalist, clean Instagram feed, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right approach for your brand.

5 Steps to Improving Your Instagram Strategy

Stylized Instagram feed from @apartmenttheraphy

Not sure what will go down well with your target audience? Test it! You can always send posts in your feed to your Archive later on once you have a clear idea of the content that works and how you want your feed to look. Or not. As a rule of thumb, as long as your first 3 scrolls of your feed are consistent and on-brand, leaving your older posts up aren’t really going to stop people from following your account or engaging with your recent content – so don’t stress about it too much!

To actually bring your ideas to life and to get more from your images, apps like Unfold, Easil and Canva can be really helpful. Preset post templates are great and will save you loads of time, but you can also edit them to make them branded or just to personalize them slightly so they’re unique. I would definitely recommend doing this as every post will work to reinforce your brand identity and make your account more memorable.

For creating impressive Instagram Stories that go beyond the basics, apps like Fastory and Quik will give you all the tools you need. You really don’t need to be a design whiz, you just need a quiet hour or two and some basic know-how.

To learn more, check out this article on the best design tools for creating Instagram Stories.

3. Speak to your community

How do you know what kind of content your community wants to see most? Sure, you can look at the metrics – which posts are getting engagement, have the most likes and so on. You should do that! But a really easy way to find out what people want is just to ask them. Formulate questions in your captions; host an Instagram Stories Poll; reply to comments with more questions that allow you to dig a bit deeper.

For example, a Stories Poll could be a simple yes/no choice as to whether a post on, say, shoppable Instagram content would be helpful for your audience.

5 Steps to Improving Your Instagram Strategy

Or you can run a Poll to find out whether your followers are more interested in actionable travel tips, or inspirational travel destinations instead.

5 Steps to Improving Your Instagram Strategy

When you find out directly from your audience what your audience wants to see, you learn where to spend your time and energy to keep your followers happy. And, they also feel involved and listened to, so are more likely to continue engaging with your content.

One (very important) thing that will help you to grow your Instagram account, aside from understanding what content is relevant to your audience, is to have real conversations with your existing community. So, even if your goal isn’t to boost your engagement or increase your follower numbers, don’t underestimate the importance of talking one on one with your community. Just be you – there’s no need to be formal! Have a sense of humour, and be friendly. That’s it 😊

4. Research your hashtags

Whatever your overarching Instagram goal, the likelihood is that it’s going to require getting your content seen. There are a few ways to increase the discoverability of your content and your Instagram account, but one of the most commonly used is, of course, hashtags!

There’s more of an art to using hashtags than there first appears. Using them incorrectly can result in a spammy looking post that seems a bit, well, desperate – especially if those hashtags are along the lines of #followforfollow or #followtrain. 😬 Poorly researched hashtags (e.g. really general hashtags like #love) also won’t improve the discoverability of your content because, either a) there are just too many posts tagged with the same hashtag or b) no one is actually using that hashtag.

5 Steps to Improving Your Instagram Strategy

For example,#love has been used 1.3 billion times, so it’s definitely not going to get your content any airtime!

So, the secret formula? Unfortunately, there isn’t one 😢

But here’s what you can do: research your hashtags in advance to see which are popular but not too popular. Make sure your hashtags are relevant to both your industry and your post, so you deliver up the content you’re promising when using that hashtag. Oh, and don’t just copy and paste the same hashtags over and over again, as Instagram will pick it up as spam and your content won’t show up in any searches, such as hashtag searches or on the explore page.

You can also search for alternative hashtags with Iconosquare’s Hashtag Suggestion feature (Advanced & Agency plans). All you have to do is type in the hashtag you want alternatives for and you’ll see new suggestions appear!

To find out more about how to research and plan your hashtags, check out this hashtag guide.

5. Collaborate with influencers

Collaborating with influencers is a great way to reach new audiences, boost brand awareness, and promote trust in your products or services. And Instagram is definitely where it’s at! You don’t need a Kardashian-worthy budget to work with Instagram influencers, and whatever your niche, there’s no doubt influencers you can collaborate with.

Obviously, when I say influencers, I don’t just mean people with hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of followers. Micro-influencers with around 10,000 followers are a great choice for brands with smaller budgets. You could argue that endorsements from micro-influencers seem more authentic than those from celebrities, because it’s actually easy to imagine them really using the products they promote. And numbers aren’t everything! Just because an Instagrammer has loads of followers doesn’t mean they’re an influencer.

So how do you find them? The real influencers who will actually help you boost your Instagram strategy and achieve your business goals? You can search relevant hashtags (yep, hashtags again) to find relevant content from popular accounts in your industry. Then, just reach out via DM or send an email if they’ve included their email in their bio, which most influencers open to collabs will definitely do. Alternatively, there are also quite a few tools for influencer search and management out there that will make the process of finding the perfect influencers for your brand much easier.


To summarize, if you revisit your goals regularly, create quality content, engage with your audience, and focus on getting your content seen, then whatever your goal, you’re on the right path to achieving it!

Over to you – what are your Instagram goals? Leave us a comment and let us know your own strategic Instagram tips!

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About the author
Caitlin Hughes

Caitlin Hughes

Caitlin is a Content Marketing expert at Iconosquare, based in Berlin. She’s passionate about creating ROI-driven content strategies and sharing her best tips on social media marketing. She’s also into true crime, loves ‘80’s music, and spends too much time online shopping.

More posts by Caitlin Hughes

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