One of the things I do every year is check the data on all the content I’ve posted. Emails, blog posts, videos, podcast episodes, and of course, INSTAGRAM!
One of the best content strategies is to re-share your popular posts and make more similar content. This will help to cut down on the amount of content you’re creating and how effective that content is in growing your audience and bringing in customers + clients.
In this episode, I’m taking you behind the scenes of what I learned from auditing my top Instagram posts, what worked, what didn’t work, and what I’ll be changing for next year.
If you need help with your content strategy, trainings + coaching is always available inside Dare to Grow ➜ daretogrow.co
First, this is your reminder to look at your stats when creating any type of content. If you’ve been on a platform for more than 6 months you need to check the data before creating new posts. This will tell you what topics work best, what photos, what graphics, which types of content work best (on IG you can make Reels, carousels, video, stories). Don’t create new content without checking what already worked.
And second – just because all these things worked or didn’t work for me doesn’t mean they will or won’t work for you. I want to share this information so that you can get some ideas for things to test and learn how to look through your own stats and make decisions to adjust your content plan. You’re still going to have to test things with your audience to see what they respond to.
Things that worked:
Sharing motivating stories + experiences. Every year I post the exact same screenshot from Facebook of the post I made the day I left my corporate job. And every year it’s one of, if not THE top post. Also, really popular, the Reel I made of me eating cake to celebrate 9 years in business. Your audience wants to see you succeeding. They will celebrate you because they like you and have gotten to know you and because if you did it, it’s possible for them too.
That doesn’t have to mean only sharing recent wins, it’s sharing the experiences along the way. If you need to make a list that you can refer back to – do it. Highlight the milestones, the ah-hah moments, the things that change for the better. This could also be sharing a before and after Most often we see this in weight loss content, but it works in any niche. Show your first knitting project versus your most recent project. Talk about the first time you learned something versus what it looks like now, applying that knowledge year after year.
Also worth mentioning that a lot of those posts included selfies. If you think about people scrolling through their feed and seeing a familiar face – they’re going to stop and pay attention.
Quote graphics also did well and the ones that worked best were essentially calling out something my audience is doing or thinking that they need to stop. The top one, which I’ve reposted many times, says, “You’re better off annoying a handful of people who aren’t interested than never offering anything to those that are.” It’s the graphics and quotes that create an “Oh shit, she’s talking to me” response, and a lot of people respond when that happens.
Maybe you talk about home organizing and you know that your audience is buying storage containers and baskets willy nilly just because they’re cute and now they have to organize their organizing materials. Quotes don’t have to be from famous people or super profound. They can just point out something your audience is thinking or doing or something they should start or stop.
Infographics also did well. These have charts or bar graphs and some are serious with actual stats and some are silly. I shared a bar graph on what helps me show up consistently and included 5 things that worked and the 6th thing was “scrolling for inspiration” which I put at a zero to make a point. And what do you think most people commented on…scrolling!
Infographics work because they’re eye-catching, save-able, easy to understand, easy to take action on. You can give your audience specific steps in a visual way so they don’t have to read the whole caption to get the info.
If you’re stuck on what to put into an infographic you can Google “Stats on _____ 2021” and you’ll find articles with research and data. For example – stats on women in business 2021, stats on education 2021, stats on yoga 2021. Type in the top keywords for your niche and see what comes up.
Next up is Reels which obviously get the most reach right now because Instagram is pushing that content. But I did have a few Reels that worked better than others. One was a set of 3 videos that I originally posted on TikTok. Since it was 3 minutes long I had to break it into 3 pieces to post on IG, which I wasn’t too sure about – would people still watch all the videos? Would it work best if I posted them all at once or posted them on my regular every other day schedule?
I decided to post them all at once just to get it done since Reels don’t auto-post at the moment so I couldn’t schedule them in advance. It turns out that was the right move because instead of getting 2000-3000 views, these videos got 8500, 3800, and 4900 views. I will definitely be creating more content for Reels going forward and not being afraid to start on TikTok and split it into pieces for IG.
Also, I found that videos with trending sounds or music didn’t do as well as content where I’m just talking and sharing advice. Like the videos where you act out something with a voiceover. I didn’t love doing it anyway so I’m okay to skip those going forward.
The post that earned me the most follows…the one where I talked about my open enrollment that made zero dollars. That one was just a selfie with text on the photo and sent people to my podcast. The reach wasn’t even that great and I didn’t get that many views from hashtags, but I still got new followers, tons of comments (which were all really nice), and a whole bunch of people clicking over to my profile and website. So, if you’ve got some tough stuff you’ve been thinking of sharing, it’s definitely worth a shot.
Things that didn’t do well:
Going live and reposting the recording to IGTV. Hosting the lives was fun and great for giving people a taste of what it’s like to learn from me, and answering questions. I love that in-the-moment interaction. But the replays I posted as IGTV videos didn’t get that much reach or engagement after the fact.
What I would maybe do instead is to download that video, chop it into Reel-sized pieces (or TikTok-sized pieces) and repost it that way. Longer videos are great for people who already know you because they’re more likely to watch more of the video, but when using IG to grow your audience, shorter videos do better. If you do want to teach longer trainings, hosting it as a workshop/webinar, having people sign up, get on your email list, and then watch via Zoom might be a better option because they will pay more attention.
One other thing I want to mention about this is that Instagram just announced that you’ll be able to add a badge to your Lives so that people can essentially tip you. This is something that I love about TikTok – allowing creators to make money directly from their content without having to create sponsored posts or sell a service or product.
I will be testing out some IG Lives to see how that works and if it’s a good use of my time, but you can bet I’ll be paying attention to the data because making $10 for showing up live isn’t worth it to me.
Audiograms and my cute little podcast graphics. Audiograms are those graphics with the wave bar that moves with the audio. What I’ve found is that posting a photo or carousel and talking about the podcast in the caption did better than a graphic with a podcast player or an audiogram. As much as I love how those graphics look – I’m not making them anymore. Instead, I’ll be testing photos of me with text on the image to see if that helps move people from IG to the podcast app. This may mean that I’m focusing more on sharing podcast episodes to Stories because I can include a link right on the post.
The last big observation is that all my cute colored leopard print background images didn’t do as well as the ones with a white background. So as much as I personally love the way they look and believe in showing up in a way that feels like it represents your personality or style, I’m not trying to sell to myself. I still have to pay attention to what people are responding to which means I’ll be adding in more white background graphics again to see if they start performing better.
How to audit your IG yourself
You should also be doing this with podcast episodes, blog posts, YouTube videos, and emails. Set aside time once or twice every year to track what is working.
On Instagram, click into insights, click on “Content You Shared” to see feed posts. Reels, Stories, IGTV (now just videos) have their own sections.
- Look at content from the last year or two.
- Adjust the dropdowns at the top to look at reach, comments, follows, shares, saves, website taps (whatever stats are important to your goals)
- Pay attention to the topic and what types of images or photos you’re sharing
- Look at the least popular content as well – that’s how I realized it’s time to give up the colorful grid and focus more on white background images and selfies. (there isn’t a “least popular content” button so just scroll to the bottom and see what’s down there)
Then once you have that info all you have to do is create more content like your top 12 to 24 posts and less of the stuff that didn’t get any action.
It’s that simple. We tend to make content so complicated but you should make more decisions based on data because it’s easier to sell to people who are already following and already paying attention than to be constantly searching for new followers.
Yes, growing your audience is part of the strategy, but you also need to be making money and that means connecting with your current followers and subscribers and creating more content similar to what they’ve already responded to so they will engage, see more stuff from you, and turn into clients or customers faster.
Of course, if you’re like – content, insights, haaalp! Join me in Dare to Grow (daretogrow.co). It’s a monthly membership so you can stay as long as you like and I can help you figure it all out.
If you’ve not already done so, take a minute right now to add a task to your calendar so you can do your own content audit. And if you’ve already done this I’d love to hear what you learned. Find me on Instagram @xosarahmorgan and let’s discuss!