I have received countless messages in the past few weeks about how discouraged people are about their numbers on Instagram. I get it! It has been a rough few weeks! Between Instagram algorithim changes and people having more on their personal plates as we approach the holidays, it leaves our numbers looking a little lackluster! However, just like any other time of the year, you can only do the best you can do to give your post the best shot at performing well and hope it takes off! How do you do the best you can do? By focusing on what time you post, having a captivating caption and using your hashtags.
What time is the best time to post? This can be different for each person. Instagram offers some insight into what time is best for you, though I have found this to be manipulatable. Basically, if I mainly post at 9pm and that is when my audience engages, it will say my best time to post is 9pm. However, if I start posting at 8pm thus changing my audience engagement time, it will change my best time to closer to 8pm. So do not take this solely as gospel, but it is a great starting point! Some other ways to figure out your best time to post are by running some test. Post at different times on different days and record your engagement numbers. Sometimes, I will even post different posts or even the same post on the same day at different times just to see what happens. Do not do this very often as it will drive your followers crazy but once every few months is not going to hurt anything. To clarify what I mean by this, for different posts, I will create say three different posts and share one at 8pm, one at 8:30pm and one at 9pm. To share the same post, I will share a post at 8pm and see how it performs for 10 minutes, then take it down. I will then repeat the process at 8:30 and again at 9, though I will live the final post up after the 10 minutes. I will then compare my numbers from the 10 minute mark and see what time seemed to perform best. You can do this with different times and days, I am just using random times as an example.
Once you feel like you are posting at the right time, you can now focus on making sure your captions are engaging. Always pretend you are sharing something with your best friend. This is the simplest way to make sure you are writing good captions. Act as though you just found the prettiest thing and you are sending it to your friend and tell her about it or if you are just talking in general and the photo is more if a backdrop, pretend you are telling your friend about your day or whatever it is you are saying. Be enthusiastic, positive and informative. Provide some type of call to action. Ask for their opinion, ask a question, provide some type of open ended question that requires a response. An open ended question is a question that cannot be answered with a yes or no. "Did you have a good day?" "Do you like farmhouses?" Those are close ended questions. "What did your day look like?" "What type of farmhouse is your favorite?" Those are open ended questions. Focusing on writing your caption like you are writing to your best friend and asking an open ended question or giving a call to action are great ways to make sure your caption is engaging.
Using hashtags is one way to easily increase your exposure. While there are many varied opinions on this topic, I know what I have seen and learned and that is what I will share with you. Not saying other opinions are wrong, everyone has had their own experience, this is just what has worked for me. Below I have shared my impression numbers from one of my recent posts. If you look at those numbers, you will see more people found my post from hashtags than from any other single source. You are allowed to use thirty hashtags. That is thirty opportunities for someone to see your post. Why would you not capitalize on each one of those opportunities? As far as where to put those hashtags, I always put them in my post. Some people put them as a comment and as long as you have them copied and ready to post as a comment the moment you share your post, that may work but remember, the algorithm puts your post in the hashtag the moment you share your post. So even if it takes you 10-15 seconds to share your hashtags in the comment, all the posts that used that hashtag in the 10-15 seconds it took will now be ahead of your post. I know it works for some people so do your own research and see what works for you!
I hope that some of this will help you through this "holiday hump." Always remember to keep the bigger picture and your long term goals in mind, this will allow you to not get so discouraged or wrapped up in your day to day post performance. Focus on where your brand is headed and the strategies you have in place to get you there. This season will pass and in January we can all rejoice when the holiday parties and shopping are over and people are more focused on their homes and looking for inspiration!