How to Get the Most Out of Your Instagram Content

[Originally published on the Dash Hudson blog.]

If you’re wondering how to increase your brand’s Instagram engagement, here’s a pro tip: start with your own content.

How can Citizens of Humanity improve content performance and make its photos and videos go the distance? We’re about to find out.

Looking Within

Introspection is a healthy thing. Looking within oneself to better understand certain issues can be profoundly revelatory. Individuals should do this, but so should businesses — resting on their laurels can stump growth and inhibit innovative ideas. Failing to objectively evaluate the constitution of your operations can actually give you tunnel vision and make you miss opportunities. True story, friends.

This also applies to social marketing, and it’s all the more important given the medium’s relentless appetite for evolution. Gotta stay on your toes when trend progression, functionality releases, and best practices methods are constantly changing. In fact, a lack of self-assessment is likely linked to plateaued growth.

If you’re interested in being an Instagram and marketing industry leader, we cannot stress the importance of content analysis enough. Going through your previously posted photos and videos, understanding their impact, and scrutinizing the performance of each one of your content pillars can really give you a social boost and altogether increase Instagram engagement.

To master the Instagram algorithm is one thing, but to go one step further and optimize your photos and videos with a content analysis software like Dash Hudson’s Boards is taking things up a notch. Strategies to increase your Instagram engagement organically are tricky, but our visual segmentation tool makes it easy. It reveals all of your content’s important Instagram engagement metrics to help you make strategy adjustments, as well as optimize what’s already working well.

Werk Your Content

In order to demonstrate the full potential of the Dash Hudson Boards content analysis method, we investigated one killer Instagram account by segmenting its posts into categories, then extracting all of the essential stats to draw insights from.

We focused on Citizens of Humanity, a rad denim company with an equally beautiful visual storytelling approach. While the brand’s posts already embody a crafted denim lifestyle vibe, the account’s average engagement rate of 0.51% sits a tad below the industry benchmark norm of 0.83%.

Our quantitative content analysis exercise below illustrates how the brand can optimize its segments to be able to make its Instagram content go the distance and increase engagement.

Here goes.

We first separated all of Citizens of Humanity’s posts from 2018 in nine main boards with the most obvious content themes: dudes, product shots, UGC, BTS imagery called #behindthecitizens, produced lookbook images, style guide features, social engagement, posts of their print magazine, and travel shots.

As a general group, the Social Stance board, where all of the brand’s posts about social issues, yields the highest engagement:

Once everything was segmented, smaller common denominators became apparent upon closer inspection, so we began isolating more specific categories for further analysis. This exercise is the best way to determine just how much a particular type of post resonates.

For example, the Travel board was begging to be separated by interiors and exteriors. After doing so, the two were glaringly apples to apples in terms of engagement, both coming in a little bit lower than the brand’s average engagement rate of 0.53%.

But that doesn’t mean that they are all low performers. Digging a little deeper by going into both the interior and exterior boards to arrange their posts in order of engagement, we found that the top posts actually outperform the average by more than double.

The great thing about this segmentation tool is that there is no limit to where your scrutiny can take you; the brand could go in and isolate exteriors of Los Angeles or interiors with beds, or even images with a specific type of lighting. The Boards are your oyster!

With that in mind, we grouped together the three bathtub posts within the Interiors board to see what the deal was. Turns out that tubs photographed on an angle with either shadow play or a window view work very well, with the top two images coming in at 1.20% and 0.74%.

This led to a board with window views, a top performing category at 0.74% engagement. When arranging these posts in order of most engaged, what jumped out is that photos with a window taken on an angle from the left, preferably with some sunny shadow play, are the most resonant in the category.

We also put together a board with all of Citizen of Humanity’s repurposed user-generated content, which turns out to be a high performing category — these regrams outdo the brand’s average by 0.11%. However, we began noticing that there were several micro trends within this overarching segment.

To that effect, we separated all the UGC in several smaller categories, like street style, cropped images, and shoe shots. Analyzing these sub-segments is incredibly useful to help decide which type of user posts to regram in the future for maximum impact.

Here is the board with all of the bundled UGC, in order of engagement:

After the three above-mentioned segments were separated, we noticed that what was perhaps dragging the general UGC average down was the Street Style category. Aside from the paparazzi shot of Chloe Grace Moretz with Brooklyn Beckham and the Olivia Palermo street strut, these images don’t tend to resonate that well with the brand’s Instagram audience. What’s doubly interesting is that the two images that follow are cropped and headless shots — more on that below.

Once the brand’s posted earned media was separated into sub-categories, it became obvious that images featuring cropped outfits were the highest performing. When putting them in order of top engagement, something stood out: photos without heads were clearly in the lead, and into a separate board they went. Out of all of Citizen of Humanity’s regrammed user content, denim on a human body that doesn’t reveal a person’s identity seems to be the winning ticket.

Granular categorization like this knows no bounds, and it’s an exercise that can be instrumental in growth. This type of examination of your brand’s posted media is the most effective way to understand your audience to better cater to it. Doing so is critical for social teams to hone in on what actually works within their crafted visual storytelling narratives.

The objective of separating these sequences isn’t necessarily to eliminate one of your content pillars — even low performing categories have high performers. It’s about finding those engagement gems to be able to deliver more of them to your Insta fam.

Sure, you can’t be posting the same thing all the time, but when you have data-backed facts like this, you can alter your content strategy to feed your followers what they want to engage with. The more you curate your content geared towards your audience’s inclinations, the more successful your Instagram efforts will be — the holy grail for ROI.

And ICYMI: a strong Instagram performance has ripple effects across your business, and ultimately, your bottom line.

Want to learn more about how Dash Hudson can help you succeed at visual marketing? Hit us up today




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Dash Hudson

Dash Hudson

Visual marketing platform built for and used by the world’s most discerning brands and publishers.

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