In a world where social media is more important than ever, Radio Presenter and DJ Maria Hanlon has put together a guide to help you create stand-out content and maximise engagement on one of the most loved social media apps, Instagram.
Instagram is almost the equivalent of a CV nowadays, showcasing your highlights and achievements. In fact, it’s becoming just as acceptable to ask for someone’s Instagram handle instead of their email address in the creative industry. As a Radio Presenter, I book most of my guests via a DM on Instagram as I find it’s an easier and quicker way to connect and it allows them to have a glance at my profile in return. If used correctly, it can be a really useful tool for both individuals and businesses. So, I’ve created 4 simple steps to plan, shoot, edit and post your content to increase your engagement and following.
1. Instagram Content Planning
Before you start creating content ask yourself two questions. Firstly, what type of content aligns with your brand? And secondly, what does your audience want to see? Both questions are important to consider prior to planning your content. If you’re able to work out which posts will showcase your brand best as well as engage your audience, your content should flourish as a result.
Once you’ve done this, you can begin planning your content. Start by making a list of things you want to post about. I recently attended a content creating workshop where the speaker (who has worked with huge artists and music labels) advised us to split our content into three tiers. For example – music, fashion and friends, if those were your main passions and focus points for your Instagram profile. She said by doing this, you’d always have consistency and variety, and if you were stuck for inspiration, you could refer back to your tiers.
2. Shooting Instagram Content
Having high-quality images will instantly attract attention. Some content creators use DSLR cameras, although thanks to camera phones, we can now create content anywhere, anytime without needing to splash out on expensive equipment. As you take photos or shoot videos, think about the aesthetic of your content, the dimensions they’ll need to be and which of Instagram’s features you’ll post on.
Here are the different features Instagram offers and why each of them can be useful:
· Instagram Feed – Your Instagram Feed is your homepage and a follower’s first look at your brand or vibe. The main three things to consider with Feed posts are, hashtags, high-quality images, and audience engagement. Hashtags will allow new followers to find you easily, high-quality images and captions will lure in your followers and direct them to other platforms, (for example your Spotify page) and audience engagement will place you higher on Instagram’s algorithm. Competitions are a great way to increase engagement and gain new followers from Feed posts as you can ask users to follow, comment, like, save and share your post, here’s an example.
· Instagram Stories – I’m sure you can agree, it’s hard to resist the surprise element of Instagram Stories, you never know what you’re going to see, and they disappear after 24 hours! In fact, it’s been reported that 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day. Another way to utilise Instagram Stories is to create Highlights from them, so your best and most relevant content is quick and easy to view on your profile. Unlike Stories, Highlights don’t disappear within 24 hours and will remain on your profile until you remove them. You can divide your Highlights into different topics or your tiers, see our Instagram Highlights here.
· IGTV – IGTV launched in 2018 and now lets users create up to 15-minute video clips via the app. Here are some suggestions for creating impressive IGTV content: behind-the-scenes, tutorials, how-tos, Q&As, interviews, performances, and events. Remember, unlike YouTube’s landscape format, IGTV uses vertical dimensions, so bear this in mind when capturing content.
· Instagram Reels – Reels deliver a TikTok-esque experience and are the perfect way to get discovered on Instagram, as due to their short and snappy nature, people are more likely to watch, share and engage with them. They also show up on the discovery page on Instagram which makes them ideal for increasing views, engagement and followers.
· Instagram Live – Instagram Lives create authenticity, there’s no editing or filters, just real video, in real time. Another pro of Instagram Live is that once you go live your video will be placed at the front of your follower’s Instagram Stories and they’ll get a notification too, driving traffic to your stream. As well as this, Instagram Lives encourage engagement, whether it’s a live DJ set, performance, or interview, they offer the ability to instantly connect with your audience.
Try to utilise all of Instagram’s features as this will give your Feed variation and keep it fresh and fun for you as a creator and for your following.
3. Editing Your Instagram Content
If you’re not an experienced editor, don’t worry! There are so many simple and free apps you can use to edit your Instagram content. A few of my favourites include Canva, an easy-to-use graphic design platform, VSCO, a photography mobile app and Unfold, a photo editor and video maker for stories. I edited my IGTV series using Canva, which was super simple to use and helped make my interviews look more eye-catching, watch them here.
4. Posting Your Instagram Content
Now that you’ve planned out, shot, and edited your content it’s time to post it. There are useful apps that let you preview your posts before posting them to Instagram, such as Content Office and Preview. When it comes to the best time to post on Instagram, I’ve found that I get the most engagement either early mornings when people are on their way to work, lunchtimes when people are on their lunch break or in the evenings when people are relaxing as these are the times people are most likely to be on their phone.
There you have it, my 4 steps to creating Instagram content. Try to post regularly, be creative with your content and utilise all of Instagram’s fun features. Best of luck with your content creation!
Words: Maria Hanlon
Listen to Maria Meets on the 2nd and 4th Friday of the month 3-5pm on voicesradio.co.uk