Still don’t get Instagram? Here’s how to approach a results-oriented strategy.

IG strategy

Hired a social media manager for Instagram and not getting the results your premium promised? You might think immediately that you hired someone who overqualified their skills or set expectations that were phantom at best.

These assumptions might hold true in some cases, but did you take a step back to think about your knowledge in the space to successfully hire someone to do the job? Knowing EXACTLY what you are looking for, and having some degree of domain expertise, is going to influence the results a lot more than you think. In fact, its a necessary foundation to the staffing process.

There’s a reason why social media experts are so expensive. It’s time to filter them and identify the help you need, and where that falls in the social media marketing org chart.

Here’s the problem.

Someone who knows how to use Instagram will say they are qualified to do your “marketing” job. They will post 5 times a week, write captions, target key accounts, and engage. This is not what you need, but only a small fraction to a much larger picture. You, the hiring manager with little experience in the field, will think this is the solution. Wrong.

The solution?

A high-level social media strategist. Someone to design a strategy because they know the ecosystem and its ever-changing technical chops. Someone to manage and/or oversee the foot soldiers doing the execution. They will steer projects, benchmark performance, and identify the talent needed to get the job done. When starting a discussion with someone, take into consideration big picture vision and market knowledge, not just tasks. Someone who continuously reverts to what they can “do” versus what they “think” is a red flag.

The reality is you will need a team. Not a person. Your premium will go much further with a real ROI.

Below are 14 things to think about when building your Instagram strategy. Your strategist should oversee and build out each component while leading their team to perform fulfillment.


instagram strategy


1. Research

Research at least 100 accounts in your niche, and compile your observations in a spreadsheet. For example, what type of content is performing the best? How often are they posting? Which hashtags are they using?

2. Consistently Post High Quality Content

You want to post at least once every single day (or more) and you want to post content that makes people feel something. Elicit emotion. Refer to your research to figure out what kinds of content post, and always be testing. Also be sure to include a location, caption, hashtags, and call to action on each post.

3. Hashtags

Use the 10/10/10 Strategy Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags, so use them all. Post in the first comment instead of your caption. 10 Smaller Hashtags (10,000 to 50,000 total posts), 10 Mid-size Hashtags (50,000 to 200,000 total posts), 10 Large Hashtags (200,000 – 2,000,000 total posts). Remember to use different, but relevant, hashtags for each post to avoid a shadow-ban of your content.

4. Engagement Groups

Join pods on Telegram that will help you get likes and comments within the first hour that you post. Pods with influencers from your same niche are the best to join.

5. Powerlikes

If an influencer with about 20k or more followers likes your posts, it is considered a “powerlike.” If you can get larger users within your niche to like and comment on your posts, chances are that the reach of that post will exponentially increase.

6. Engage

Follow/unfollow, like, comment, and DM Instagram users as authentically as possible. This takes the most work, but it’s still the best way to authentically build relationships.

7. Shoutout for Shoutout

Find influencers that are about the same size as your account, and trade shoutouts. You can have regular post shoutouts, story shoutouts, and screener shoutouts.

8. Buy Shoutouts

Buying shoutouts from the right influencers can provide mind-blowing ROI. In 2018, this is one of the top tactics companies are using to grow their Instagram and increase sales.

9. Instagram Ads

(I know, this is paid…but still wanted to include it) You can boost posts as well as create and edit ads in power editor. Instagram story ads are also now available, which pairs well with the “swipe up” feature.

10. Instagram Stories

Add location and hashtags to your stories to increase views. You can also use the “swipe up” feature to add additional links once you hit 10k followers. Also, you can save stories as “highlights” underneath your bio.

11. Instagram Live

Lives help you develop deeper relationships with your followers. The longer you stay on live, the more engagement you will typically get. Create a 2-way conversation with your followers instead of just “talking at them.”

12. Instagram Giveaway Loops

If you join niche-specific giveaways, you can increase your followers by thousands for a minimal investment. Search #giveawayloops to find some to join.

13. Analytics

Check your analytics daily: followers, weekly growth, demographics, profile visits, website clicks, email clicks, reach, impressions, saves… Use analytics more than emotion to determine what type of content is working well.

14. A/B Testing

Always be testing. Don’t get too comfortable with one strategy. Instagram is always changing, and you’ll need to keep up.


It’s a lot more than you think to build, execute, and optimize a successful Instagram strategy. At the root, problems more often than less fall on the hiring manager, and their lack of knowledge in the space to call bullshit when they are pitched to. If you’re thinking of building or rebuilding your Instagram initiatives, you might want to consider a consultant or strategist to design the plan and make the right hiring decisions, whether thats internal with them or on your behalf.

If you’re finding yourself stuck, we’d love to help strategize with you.


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