One of the most crucial social media channels for pet brands is Instagram — it’s long been the platform that many businesses in the pet industry prioritize to advertise their brands and product offerings.
Between changes in the algorithm and the many evolving ways in which customers use social media to find and shop with brands, optimizing your use of Instagram marketing in 2021 is a must. Consistent posting to Instagram no longer guarantees your content will be seen (and doesn’t guarantee audience engagement, either).
So, how can you elevate your brand’s use of Instagram to market new products, increase awareness for your pet business, and engage your customers?
Let’s take a closer look!
1. Be aware of how changes in the algorithm affect your Instagram content’s performance
Instagram is notorious for changing its algorithm quite frequently, and 2021 is no exception. Instagram’s latest algorithm change means many brands across all industries have to pivot the way they use the platform —in particular, the greatest challenge the new algorithm presents is how content is prioritized.
There are 3 key ranking factors you should be aware of:
Engagement – your relationship with your audiences on Instagram matters most, as Instagram will prioritize content from brands that audiences interact with frequently. This makes it more important than ever to focus on engaging customers with your content through comments, Shares, Likes and even Saves
User interest – Instagram is also using interest as a factor in whether your content is shown to your target audiences. The more users interact with similar content, the more likely they are to see your own
Timeliness – as always, the times at which you post content to Instagram matters, but this time around, posting at the optimal times for your brand is key in ensuring Instagram shows your content to your audiences when they’re most likely to see and interact with it
2. Make Instagram Stories a priority (and make sure they’re engaging, too)
Similar to the above, engagement and timeliness matter for Instagram Stories; but it’s not just about when and what you post, but how often you’re showing up for your audiences.
Typically, Instagram bumps Stories to the forefront of users’ feeds when they engage with a brand frequently — but in the case of the new algorithm, the more opportunity users have to engage with your Story content, the better of a chance your brand has of getting its Stories shown first.
Of course, there are a few easy ways you can optimize Instagram Stories to work in your favour:
Post Instagram Stories consistently – don’t just post a few times a week or every once and a while; instead, create content that users can expect to see often (like an Instagram Story series, or a weekly Q&A session with your brand)
Make every Story engaging – every single interaction with your Instagram Stories counts. That means every Story you post should give users a way of interacting with it. For example, you can use Instagram’s question, poll, quiz, and other sticker features
Harness the power of geotagging – Instagram also shows users Stories based on location, which is why 2021 is the perfect year to start geotagging your location(s) in every Instagram Story!
3. Post with the Explore page in mind
Instagram’s Explore page works in a very simple way: by showing users content similar to other content they’ve interacted with.
But, what’s interesting about Instagram this year is that users can now search and explore Instagram not only with hashtags but with keywords, too!
What does this mean for your pet brand? Well, it makes it easier to target key audiences and customers you actually want your content in front of, but it also means you can increase your chances of having your content show up on Instagram’s Explore page!
There are 2 main ways to optimize your Instagram content to do just that:
- Niche your hashtags – by creating lists or groups of niche hashtags, you can more effectively reach the right audiences (rather than posting for any random audience). We’ve got more tips for using Instagram hashtags you’ll want to check out right here
- Use keyword-rich captions – similar to hashtags, using the right keywords in your captions that are relevant to your brand and target audience is a hugely effective way of having your content show up in Explore
The key here is to always focus on audience engagement — hashtags and keywords can support your content, but engagement with your content still matters!
4. Focus on encouraging audiences to Save content and DM your brand on Instagram
Many brands will focus heavily on generating engagement for comments and Likes — but two often overlooked indicators of engagement are Saves and DMs. And the good news is, they’re easy to drive engagement for!
Simply put, a Save occurs anytime a user saves one of your Instagram posts. This may not seem like a “big deal”, but Instagram counts Saves as engagement and even uses the number of Saves on a post as an indicator that users are interested in a brand.
You can easily start encouraging users to Save your Instagram posts more frequently by creating and sharing content that is Save-worthy. For example, witty or funny quotes and advice-based content is popular on Instagram and is some of the most Save-worthy content you can post.
Like Saves, Instagram also counts DMs as an indicator that users care about your brand on the platform because they see DMs as audience engagement. For the most part, brands will use DMs for customer service purposes, but DMs can also be used to encourage questions about careers, contests, collaborations and much more!
A simple way of driving more users to your DMs? Use your DMs as a call-to-action! Consider using your Instagram bio and posts to direct users to send you a DM instead of always directing people to an email (for example).
As always, don’t forget analytics!
One of the most reliable ways to determine how your Instagram marketing is performing — not to mention, what works and what doesn’t — is by tracking and monitoring your Instagram consistently.
By looking at your Instagram analytics, you can develop a more holistic view of what you can improve on, and what your brand sentiment is among your audiences. This is key to understanding what you should optimize for your Instagram marketing strategy and what you should do more of!
If you’re looking for new ways to grow your pet brand’s Instagram and start driving more sales from social media, we’re here to help. Contact us to discover how we can elevate your brand’s Instagram marketing!