While it looks like some regions are finally seeing an end to the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s safe to say life will never truly return to ‘normal’.
Instead, we must embrace a new normal — one where we have a deeper understanding of our connectedness to the rest of the world and how our actions affect others.
This is especially true on social media. In light of the lockdown, businesses and influencers have been forced to reconsider and adapt their digital marketing strategies. Whether it’s through more personalised stories, thoughtful captions or candid IGTVs, we’ve seen them respond to the needs of their audiences by using Instagram as a more intimate form of connection.
But just because we’re nearly out of the woods, doesn’t mean it’s time to go back to what we were doing before on social media! In order for brands to survive and thrive on Instagram, they must continue to listen to the needs of their audience and pivot accordingly.
At Plann Instagram scheduling app, we recently surveyed more than 1,300 of our users to uncover what they want to see from brands on Instagram right now. Here are the insights, and how you can apply them to smash your own post-COVID Instagram strategy!
Think and act quick
Our survey data found that over the COVID-19 period, there was a 54% increase in scheduled Instagram posts. This shows that having a strong and consistent posting schedule was a top priority for our users. Having this in place ensures you’re regularly posting quality content and eliminates the stress of what to post in when.
Over the COVID-19 period, there has been a 54% increase in scheduled Instagram posts -- Plann
That said, it’s also important to stay flexible. In order to stand out for the right reasons, brands must strike a balance between on-brand and high-quality content and responding to the needs of their audience.
With so much happening in our world right now, it’s important to stay agile so you can respond appropriately to global issues and consumer sentiments. The last thing you want to do is post something that comes across as tone-deaf, just because it was scheduled to go up.
So, consider leaving a couple of gaps in your content schedule to cater for on-the-fly posts. You might also choose to use post reminders rather than auto-posting, to allow you to quickly pivot your schedule where necessary.
Listen, listen and listen some more
What’s the best way to figure out what your audience wants from you in the aftermath of COVID? Ask them! Instagram has introduced a range of tools that make it easy to gain insights about your audience’s needs and wants. These include the ‘poll’ and ‘questions’ story stickers.
Check out Plann on Instagram for great content tips.
Does your audience want you to share inspiring content that gets them excited about achieving their goals for the rest of the year? Or, perhaps they’d like more educational posts, or to see more of YOU on their feed? By asking these questions, you remove the need to play guessing games and can feel confident that you’re creating relevant and intentional content.
Get creative with Stories
Stories are king right now. Plann’s survey data showed a whopping 82% increase in users scheduling Stories from March to April. While the numbers had slightly levelled out by May, there was still a significant rise — showing that many users were still relying on stories to help their audience connect with them on a more personal level.
But, with so many more people harnessing the power of stories, it’s more important than ever to stand out. Consider more creative ways to integrate more stories into your content creation. This could include making use of the new suite of stickers Instagram has recently introduced — including ‘DM me’, small businesses shout-outs and challenge stickers.
For 41% of our survey respondents, these stickers were the favourite new feature introduced by Instagram during COVID-19. And it’s not hard to see why — they’re a fantastic way to create more interactive content and skyrocket your engagement.
Now more than ever, people want to use Instagram to learn. With so much happening in the world recently — from the Australian bushfires to COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement — there’s a real thirst for educational resources over superficial quotes and platitudes.
Our survey data showed that for 56% of respondents, images were the best-performing content type during COVID-19. However, as we move into the new normal, we’re seeing different spins on the traditional image format that are even more powerful — especially those that serve an educational purpose.
How do you use carousels?
For example, carousels are performing extremely well on Instagram at the moment. These are educational graphics with multiple slides your audience can flick through — with each slide normally featuring a new point or tip. Even if these might not get as much visible engagement as other types of posts, they tend to encourage users to hit the ‘save’ button to revisit and learn later.
Now is also the time to make great use of the link in your Instagram bio. Whether it’s directing your audience to lengthier blog posts or videos about the topics in your Instagram posts or sharing content from other thought leaders, it’s an excellent way to direct your audience to informative content. By using a tool like Linktree, you won’t even have to sacrifice the main link to your website — you can link to as many relevant resources as you like!
Analytics are everything
If there was ever a time to check your Instagram analytics religiously, it’s now. After all, what worked for you on Instagram before COVID-19 may not be as effective anymore. What’s more, with lockdown ending, what worked for you during COVID-19 may no longer work for you.
Overall, our survey data showed that inspirational content was by far the best-performing theme on Instagram during the Coronavirus — but this may not necessarily be the case forever. What can we say, the social media world moves fast!
To continue growing your Instagram, it’s really important to regularly monitoring how your content is performing. That way, you can pivot your strategy accordingly when necessary. This means paying attention to how many people are engaging with your posts, clicking through to your next stories, watching your videos all the way through and saving your content — all analytics you can review on Plann.
You’ll also want to pay attention to how many people are clicking through to the links in your bio. Often, the goal of posting Instagram content is to encourage your followers to take some kind of action — whether that’s signing up for your mailing list, reading your blog post or visiting your landing page. Using a tool like Linktree with powerful analytics will give you valuable insights on what content is working for you.
The social media landscape may never look exactly the same as it did before COVID-19 — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing! By continuing to move with the times, you can rise to the challenge and make a positive impact on Instagram.
Plann on Linktree
Plann’s Linktree is a hotbed of useful creator content, like a guide to SEO for Instagram, info on new features such as their stock video and details of collaborations with creator software like Canva. From their Linktree you can sign up to Plann’s newletter, download Plann for desktop, and follow the app on different social platforms – they’re using the social icons to make that seamless. Plann have customized their Linktree in their brand palettes, keeping a clean feel which drives conversion. They also have the Support Anti-Racism feature enabled which helps link their audiences to BLM content around education, donating and taking action.
Want more insights from the Plann team on how you can prep your social content? Join our next webinar, Linktree Live: Creating a content schedule, on Tuesday July 7, at 4pm EDT. We’ll be chatting with Plann CMO Karina May about how to craft your best possible online presence. Sign up here!