When it comes to marketing on Instagram do you feel overwhelmed at all the moving parts? With so many post options and tools available it’s easy to feel overloaded. Headaches, frustration and overwhelm are rarely far away.

Sound familiar? Well, not for long.

In this week’s Whin Big Podcast, we get rid of all the extra, unnecessary stuff that can block you from successful Instagram marketing. We’ll guide you through the steps to craft a simple and effective Instagram strategy. You’ll start to attract new followers and grow your business without the headaches and tension. It’s all about getting your Instagram foundations in order and there’s no time like right now to get started on that.

Before you get too far into today’s episode, make sure you grab the template for your simplified Instagram strategy, so you can fill it in as you go along.

A dizzying range of options on Instagram

In preparation for presenting this week’s episode of The Whin Big Podcast, Katie wrote out a list of the wide range of Instagram options for posting and engaging with your audience available through your business Instagram profile. The list included everything connected to:

  • Stories 
  • Feed posts
  • Instagram TV
  • Instagram Reels
  • Comments, DMs, collaborations
  • Links in the bio
  • Connecting to your profile away from Instagram

Despite being an Instagram marketing expert, Katie was surprised to see just how many options and functions there are for the everyday user. Her concern is that the creeping expansion of features will turn users away, rather than draw them in.

Simplest possible Instagram strategy – that actually works 

With so many features at our fingertips it can feel easy to lose control. As business owners we feel a pressure to use all the functions, which leads to overwhelm very quickly.

Finding a simpler approach doesn’t mean Instagram stops working for you. It means you’ll see results without spending hours every day thinking up great new ways to show off your products and services using all the newest features.

If you’re looking for a way to achieve great results over time, without the headaches, time loss and stress of finding the coolest, fanciest or fastest way to get there, then this is the right approach for you.

When you use this strategy, it covers the 3 essential foundations for all other strategies so once you’ve mastered these and you find you’d like to add more options into your plan you can do so easily.

If you miss out the 3 foundational steps we talk about in this episode, you’ll have a much harder time getting anything to work.

What you can expect from The Whin’s Simplified Instagram Strategy

Over time you will:

  • Attract followers who are your ideal audience
  • Strengthen your audience – they’ll start to know you, relate to you and engage with you
  • Turn followers into customers – by building your relationships and trust with your followers they will come to you for the products or services you sell.

All of this from just three simple steps? How great does that sound!

To make this even easier for you, we’ve designed a one-page worksheet to fill out as you listen to the episode. Download it here (LINK) and have it to hand as you listen and work through the stages.

The three steps to simplify your strategy

The three foundational steps you’ll learn about in this podcast are:

  • Pictures
  • Captions
  • Hashtags

Three basic, yet essential foundations might seem too simple, but they really are all you need to focus on to build your audience and grow your business using Instagram. 

Step 1: Pictures 

Pick 2-3 types of image you’ll use consistently in your Instagram content. The main categories are people, places, objects and graphic designs, but of course you need to be as specific as you can. 

Then, jump into Instagram and look through the obvious hashtags related to your business (e.g: interior designer look for #interiordesign, digital marketer – #digitalmarketing, jewellery designer – #jewellery).

Browse through that hashtag feed and when you find a picture you like and want to use for inspo, tap into the image and click the ribbon icon to save it to an inspiration folder. If you’ve never done this before, you’ll find it so illuminating to see how other people in your industry illustrate their work.

Using your saved inspiration posts, you should find it easier to narrow down your main picture categories. You can make them more specific and descriptive. Jot down the colours, lighting, subjects so you can begin to understand your sense of style.

Step 2: Captions

Just like your pictures, you’re going to narrow down your caption categories. The podcast includes a variety of caption types to focus on. Choose 2-3 categories, but they don’t have to match the themes of your pictures.

When you scroll through your Instagram feed, you’ll see the first two lines of a caption are displayed under every picture. They can make or break whether someone clicks your post so it’s important to get them right. Scroll through your own feed and make a note of which ones jump out at you. What attracts your attention? Is it words? Emojis? Capitalisation? Questions? Take notes of everything you notice and use them as guidance for your own captions.

Step 3: Hashtags                                                                    

Every post has to have at least 3 hashtags. As far as Katie’s concerned – this is non negotiable! 

A quick trick for getting started is to have three hasthags to use on every single post. (e.g here at The Whin, we use #scottishbusiness, #edinburghbusiness, #smallbusinessuk).

Ideally, your hashtags should be:

  • Location specific
  • Specific to your niche or target customers
  • Have between 10,000 and 1 million posts

To find your default hashtags, and others you can use, browse through different hashtags on your own posts and from others. Look at businesses who do the same thing as you, and at business who serve the same customers, as well as your customers themselves. Try to be specific and find your community and the people interested in what you offer. Find inspiration in similar ways to steps one and two and start to create a list of hashtags to use in your posts.

If you want to create a stronger hashtag foundation, you should spend more time on hashtag research than you do researching pictures and captions. In episode 38 of The Whin Big Podcast we take a deep dive into hashtag research and there’s an easy-to-use download for collecting the best hashtags for your niche.

Once you’ve mastered the simple strategy – what’s next? 

The great thing about this strategy is that it works and it’s simple. Apply the three steps and you’re going to succeed.

Once you’ve nailed it and started to see results, you might want to step it up a little. But remember, the key is to get in front of any overwhelm before it kicks in. Only add one new thing at a time

After you’ve mastered pictures, captions and hashtags, you can then start to tackle

  1. commenting and engagement
  2. understand the data in Instagram Insights
  3. making use of Stories
  4. experimenting with longer videos for IGTV

What would you like to learn about Instagram marketing?

This is one of our favourite subjects, so if you have any questions about Instagram marketing and your business, send Katie a DM at thewhinco on Instagram, or drop us an email at curious@thewhin.co and we can record a podcast that deals with your topic.

Resources and links

Episode 38: How to do hashtag research for Instagram – 4 easy steps

Get your copy of the simplified strategy template