How We Gained 100 Instagram Followers in 2 Weeks with RiloBest Practices | Oct 13, 2017
Growing on a social platform as a new brand is usually a slow build. It takes time for the platform and its users to know and trust that your account is putting out good content. The best thing you can do to speed up the process is to always be monitoring your content and its resulting interaction with the audience. Content + connections. Rilo was designed specifically to measure this interaction so we decided to put it to the test on our own Instagram account. By tracking our strategy in our own Rilo dashboard, we were able to boost a brand new account to 100 new users, organically, in under two weeks. Here’s how we did it.
Comparing Visual Content
This should be obvious, but your visual content is what will make or break the success of your Instagram account. The audience on this platform is there for visually engaging content. Don’t just blindly post images that you think your audience will like. You should be measuring your posts to see if they’re actually working and adjust your content strategy accordingly.
Without any prior information to go off of, we tried a broad range of visuals for our first round of posts. This helped us measure if there was a strong difference between any one type of post. We then tracked the posts every week in our Rilo dashboard to see the impact of each, along with the post itself. This gave us an instant visual representation of our strategy.
Not only could we see a rise and fall in engagements and fans, but we could weed out the posts that weren’t performing well. For example, we noticed that posts of our platform that included just a flat, simple screenshot performed worse than that same screenshot dropped into a mockup of a computer in a real-life setting. Knowing this, we can decide to nix the flat screenshots and post more contextual screenshots.
We started to repeat this process and narrow our content funnel from broad to more focused depending on what our audience liked most. Always provide what your fans like the most. The more specific and narrow you can focus your content, the more engaging it becomes. A good way to check your content focus is by opening up your Rilo report and viewing the Instagram section.
Set the date range by clicking the dates at the top of your dashboard and choose dates that include posts of different posting strategies or content types. Now, take a look a the collection of posts. If your posting strategy isn’t well defined, you’ll be seeing engagement numbers all over the place (like we did at first). But, if you adjusted your strategy at some point along the way, you should see both a difference in visual post content as well as their engagements.That’s exactly what happened with our strategy for Rilo.
Below is a view of all of our recent posts from the start our account (about 3 weeks of posts). The first few posts are all over the place in terms of content while we tested which type worked best. As you get close to the most recent posts (toward the top), you can see a huge change in engagement. The most recent posts are clearly better branded and focused on adding value to the marketing community. They also have almost double the engagement of the first round of posts. Noting this is important, but make sure you actually act on it. If posts aren’t working that well, drop them out of your strategy. Engagement grows exponentially when you post better content, more frequently. Why would you ever post anything other than your best content?
Comparing Captions & Hashtags
In your Rilo dashboard, take a look at the most recent week or two of posts and click on a few of them to open up the full post. Note how your captions are structured. Are you using hashtags? If so, how many? Are they accurate to the visual content?
Like all social platforms, there’s a high level of automation and machine learning behind Instagram’s discovery algorithm. All other things being the same, a post with strong hashtags will outperform a post with no (or poor use of) hashtags every time. It’s a simple matter of information. Platforms like Instagram need some base information on your content before it can decide who to show it to. Things like your caption and hashtags tell Instagram what sorts of discovery and tag feeds to include your post in, which will show it to more relevant users. Providing good information helps get your post in front of more potential fans more quickly.
We tried an experiment with Rilo to see how this theory holds up. We tested one week of posts that had 0-10 hashtags and a second week of posts that had the max allowable (30) hashtags. Once the posts were all out, we checked our dashboard in Rilo to sort the results. By viewing the metric comparisons alongside the posts themselves, we could instantly see the impact of our test. Posts in the second week with more hashtags had 160% more engagements, 100% increase in new followers and an 82% increase in impressions. The obvious benefit of this strategy now has us making better use of hashtags in our new posts.
It’s worth noting that this strategy is more useful for new accounts or accounts trying to focus their efforts toward a specific audience. Established, popular accounts will reach the right people on their own based on their content and what Instagram already knows about them. Also, 30 hashtags on every post looks shitty and desperate if you don’t do it right. Use only as many as you need to avoid annoying your users and if you’re using more than 3 in a post, move them out of your actual caption and into a comment.
When you do this sort of A/B testing with your content strategy, it’s important to monitor each metric throughout the test, not just one. Each strategy will impact KPIs differently. You’ll want to know this information when setting goals for your campaigns so you can implement the strategy that impacts that goal the most. The best way to track this is through the custom date comparison tool and metric summaries in your Rilo dashboard.
When measuring the results of an A/B test, click on the date range selector at the top of your Rilo dashboard and set a custom date to the most recent range in your test. Rilo will automatically calculate that data set as well as the previous period directly before it.
For our Instagram test, we conducted the test over 2 weeks. Group A in week one, and Group B in week two. Now we can see at a glance, the direct impact and results of our test. Our second week of testing outperformed the first by a huge margin, in every KPI. We can also see that it had a much bigger impact on engagement than it did on followers or impressions. We now know that this is a go-to strategy for when we want to boost our engagement. Repeat this for every test you do and you’ll have a tried and true toolkit of strategies to drop in and out of campaigns as you set different goals.
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