Do You Have an Instagram Strategy That Works? Captions Are Important, but There’s More!

Do You Have an Instagram Strategy That Works? Captions Are Important, but There’s More!

Feb 21, 2024

Asking my Facebook followers about Instagram led me to write this post.

In January, I created a poll in my Ditching the 9-5 Facebook group to get feedback on what members "put off" - the winner (resoundingly) was advance planning for social media. Thus the decision to write valuable content focused on simplifying social media. Today's topic: creating an Instagram strategy that works!

I'm keeping this post simple and concise but don't worry.

I'm including links throughout the article and 2 recommended tools at the end. All of it will open up into a new tab. I'm also using graphics pulled right from my feed to inspire you for yours!

To make the most of this post, take a minute to do the following:

  1. Grab a pen and paper.
  2. Open the links as you go. (then bookmark them for later!)
  3. Set time aside in your planner to work on creating an Instagram strategy that works! (a whole day, an hour a day for a week, at 8am every Thursday...whatever works...but do it now.)

Disclosure: As a blogger, I use affiliate links sometimes! I may receive commission from purchases I share, but it does not change your price.

RELATED: Join the Ditching the 9-5 Facebook community today!

Canva graphic used to create this Instagram post on @daphnefreeat50's feed

Canva graphic on @daphnefreeat50 Instagram feed

Creating an Instagram strategy that works: Set up your account for success.

Don't be random if you're using Instagram to build a business. Be strategic right from the start.

3 top priorities:

  1. Brand your account. At the foundation, your brand includes your colors, fonts, look-and-feel, as well as your messaging.
  2. Create a solid profile. Have a photo (you are your brand!) and use keywords that speak directly to your ideal clients/readers/followers.
  3. Create good content. Yes, it's that simple. There are so many ways.... telling your story, showing what's happening behind the scenes, and importantly: providing value. If you want to dive deeper into this topic (and you should!) click here for my recent post on simplifying social media.

Check out my DaphneFreeAt50 Instagram account by clicking here.

Introduction post on @daphnefreeat50 Instagram feed is part of creating a strategy that works

Canva graphic- introduction on @daphnefreeat50 feed

Creating an Instagram strategy that works: Know who to follow.

I'm cheating a bit on this one...I asked my Facebook community who they follow and WHY. Here's the "why" list to help you create a list of accounts that make sense for YOU.

In-niche accounts. Stay on top of what people in your niche are talking about, how they connect with their audience (reels, behind-the-scenes, tips), and of course, who is commenting and following them!

Collaboration opportunities. This is actually my main strategy with Instagram at the moment. (yes, you can and should evolve your strategy over time!). For me, I love connecting with others who can bring a new perspective or fantastic insight to Free At 50 readers.

It's how I've met some people you see on the blog, like Susie Burton, who wrote this guest post. I sent her a message because I loved one of her Instagram posts and knew she could bring value to you all with the topic.

Inspirational feeds. Sometimes, you just need a little inspiration. Whether you need your creativity sparked, your feeling down/defeated on this journey, or you can use some clarity, there are accounts you can follow.

Since one of Free At 50's core promises is inspiration, I often have "rise and shine" posts or quotes I share (you know by now I love quotes!). It's not only right on-brand, but authentic to me as a human.

Who you have commonalities with. You may not always end up collaborating, but still- following those you have stuff in common with can boost your business and your mood.

I've followed other bloggers, people that have an interest in history (I even started a 2nd blog focused on history), people that love coffee, social media managers, 9-5 escapees of all types... they may not be my "ideal client" but:

  • I might be theirs
  • I may be able to learn from them
  • ...or the relationship could turn into a collaboration later!

People who engage meaningfully. One of the members who responded to my question in the Facebook group added this reply. And I couldn't agree more.

If people take the time to respond to their followers, or comment meaningfully on my account, they're an account worth following.

MID-POST REMINDER: My 3-2-1 take ACTION plan is the perfect structure to get you on track with using social media. Book a call here.

@daphnefreeat50 Instagram post sharing 3 quotes

Canva graphic on @daphnefreeat50 feed

Creating an Instagram strategy that works: Have a system to stay on top of it.

Batch your Instagram tasks.

What are the tasks?

  • Creating graphics: I use templates in Canva, all customized to my brand. Some templates come directly from Canva but most are purchased, came from courses, or were included with marketing bundles.
  • Scheduling in advance: use Meta Business Suite to keep it simple. Meta will even share 'active times.' Captions really are important and by sitting down and focusing, you can create solid content that WORKS.
  • Engaging: Responding, messaging, and commenting.

I do add stories or reels on the fly - because sometimes I'm just inspired! Other times, I add stories when I take 10-15 minutes to respond, message, and comment.

Keep your account clean.

  • Remove baddies. There are accounts you don't want following you. My friend, Content Strategist Cyndi Zaweski, is an Instagram guru and wrote a fantastic article on how to identify such accounts. Click here to read it!
  • Unfollow when necessary. Every once in awhile, I click to my list of "following" and unfollow my least interacted with accounts. Side note: if anyone in that group is providing value I'm interested in, I engage on some of their posts so Instagram knows I'm interested. I will also unfollow accounts that haven't posted in at least several months.

@daphnefreeat50 Instagram post about branding and being authentic on social media

Canva graphic on @daphnefreeat50 Instagram feed

Track your stats.

Quality over quantity is my personal recommendation. It's difficult to stay focused on that, I know. But don't fall into the trap of worrying about how MANY followers you have.

Instead, track what matters.

  • Comments
  • Reactions
  • Top posts, captions on those top posts... all of these things can help you evolve your strategy. In the spirit of keeping it simple, do what works, ditch what doesn't.

I use tracking sheets created by blog coach Anjali Kay (but you don't have to be a blogger to benefit from her digital planner, which is under $10). Grab her planner here and print off the tracking sheets!

Closing it out on creating an Instagram strategy.

My 2 recommended tools.

I'm all about simplifying social media and there are two 2 tools I recommend to get started.

1) Sign up for Canva for free. Click here.

2) Take Tara Reid's fantastic Instagram course I took. Yes, she'll go over the importance of having a good caption (and how to do it) but also: the other topics I've referenced! Click here.

My calls to action:

Start with the end.

  • Grab the two tools above.
  • Set up and/or update your Instagram account based on this post!
  • Follow me on Instagram.

And of course, let me know how it's going!

Let's get you on the 3-2-1 take ACTION program!

If you want to talk 1:1 to discuss your Instagram strategy, book a FREE call with me and type "IG" in the booking notes. Cheers!

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Instagram post on @daphnefreeat50 feed about creating content

Canva graphic on @daphnefreeat50 Instagram feed