With more than 100 million daily active users, Instagram has become nearly impossible for brands to ignore. That said, not every brand using Instagram is doing it well.
To evaluate whether your Instagram activity is making a positive impact on your business, you must measure how your posts are driving outcomes. Whether you’re getting ready to launch a new Instagram account or looking to take a more results-oriented approach to an existing account, a few key metrics can help guide you to success.
Related: 4 Reasons Why Using Instagram Has Become a Marketing Necessity
Follower count is one of the easiest and most crucial metrics to track. On your personal Instagram account, you might simply share cute pics of your dog with friends and family members. But if you’re managing a business account, you want your content to reach as many people as possible in your target audiences.
When it comes to Instagram, the old saying about “the more the merrier” couldn’t ring more true. Attract more Instagram followers by tagging your posts with popular hashtags related to your industry. Our team grew Foundr Magazine’s Instagram audience from 0 to 500,000 followers in one year by tagging our posts with key hashtags: #entrepreneur, #business and #startup, to name a few.
These hashtags allowed people interested in entrepreneurship to find our content and connect with us. You’ll want to tag your posts with hashtags that are relevant for your business. If you’re selling running shoes, you might use the hashtags #run, #fitness and #instarunners. If you’re selling high heels you might choose #fashion, #ootd (Outfit of the Day) and #style.
Related: How to Make the Power of the Hashtag Work for You
You quickly can identify popular hashtags by typing an industry keyword in Instagram’s search box. Don’t be afraid to load up on hashtags. Twitter restricts character count, but Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags. While it’s common to see posts that max out on hashtags, 5 to 10 is considered a best practice.
Not sure which hashtags will gain the most traction? Go with the most popular (the most posts), or take a look at what other brands in your industry are doing.
2. Post engagement.
Once your Instagram account starts growing, you’ll want to make sure your followers are engaging with your posts by liking and commenting on them. The industry standard is 70 interactions per 1,000 followers.
A high level of engagement signals that your content resonates with your target audience. And if your engagement is low? Serial entrepreneur and marketing expert Neil Patel says there’s a science to maximizing Instagram impact:
+38% likes on posts that include images.
+30% increase in engagement for images showing real customers using products.
+29% likes for high background space.
+24% likes for light images versus dark images.
You need to plan your Instagram posts to maximize their impact. It’s no different than conceptualizing a billboard or print ad. Consider creating an editorial calendar for your business’ Instagram account. Plan the type of images you want to post every day — a week in advance. Then, take an afternoon to shoot and edit all the images so you have the perfect visuals ready when it’s time to update your Instagram account.
3. Story views.
Filters for static images were Instagram’s original claim to fame. Since then, the social network has introduced video posts, and users now can create Instagram Stories. People and brands stitch together multiple photos and videos from within a day.
Track the views your Stories are getting, just as you watch your engagement metrics for regular posts. A high number of views (relative to the size of your following) means your Stories are clicking with users. A low number of views tells you it’s time to experiment with different content for your Stories.
Try to vary your Story updates with a mix of product highlights, behind-the scenes snaps and quick tips. Have fun with your posts and don’t worry about over-sharing. Stories actually are ideal for brands because the feature offers the opportunity for multiple touchpoints with consumers throughout the day — without inundating their feeds!
Related: 4 Reasons Why I’m Doubling Down on Instagram Stories and You Should Too
4. Website visits.
Instagram posts don’t allow viewers to click-through to a website (unless that post is running as an ad). However, every Instagram account’s bio section allows the owner to include a link.
Many brands enter the company’s main website URL and never change it. Imagine how you could boost site visits from your Instagram account if you changed the bio link to stay relevant to a recent post. That extra little effort enables you to include a call to action in the caption: “Click the link in our bio for more info!” Then, use your Google Analytics account to track the number of website visits you receive from Instagram, just as you would for any other referral source.