Instagram Advanced Tips

November 24, 2023

Last update


07 MIN.

How To Develop An Effective Instagram Content Strategy

With a well-crafted strategy, consistency, and a dash of authenticity, you're well on your way to Instagram success. The tips in this article will help you develop an effective Instragam content strategy



How To Develop An Effective Instagram Content Strategy

Instagram has evolved into a powerhouse platform, capturing the attention and imagination of millions worldwide. With its ever-growing user base and unrivaled potential for brand exposure, Instagram has become an indispensable tool for businesses, influencers, and content creators alike.

But here's the thing: in this bustling virtual realm, simply posting sporadically won't cut it. To truly leverage the power of Instagram and make a lasting impression, you need a well-thought-out content strategy. 


An effective Instagram content strategy is the compass that guides you through the vast expanse of this visual playground. It's the roadmap that ensures your message reaches the right audience, engages them authentically, and builds a loyal community around your brand.

Without a well-constructed content strategy, your Instagram presence may seem haphazard, lacking the cohesion and purpose necessary to make a lasting impact. But fear not! In this article, we will look at how you can create an effective Instagram content strategy that will elevate your brand, captivate your audience, and set you up for success.

Let’s get started.

1. Define your Instagram content goals

Clear goals provide focus and direction for your Instagram efforts. They help you define what you want to achieve and guide your Instagram marketing strategy accordingly. With goals in place, you can align your content, engagement, and growth strategies to work towards achieving those objectives.

Having measurable goals also serves as a benchmark against which you evaluate your progress. By tracking metrics such as follower growth, engagement rates, website traffic, or conversions, you can assess if your strategies are effective and make informed adjustments as necessary.

Here are examples of common content goals you can set: 

1. Build brand awareness: An important goal for many businesses is to increase brand visibility and recognition. Through captivating imagery, consistent branding, and strategic use of hashtags, Instagram can help spread the word about your brand to a wider audience.

2. Drive website traffic: Your content can also help you direct your Instagram followers to your website, where they can learn more about your products or services. By including compelling calls-to-action in your captions or utilizing the swipe-up feature in Instagram Stories (if available to your account), you can entice your audience to take that next step.

3. Increase engagement: Engagement is the heart of social media, and Instagram is no exception. By fostering two-way communication through thoughtful captions, engaging storytelling, and interactive content like polls or quizzes, you can encourage your audience to like, comment, and share your posts.

4. Showcase products or services: Instagram's visual nature makes it an ideal platform to showcase your products or services in an appealing and aspirational way. High-quality product photos, creative videos, and user-generated content can help generate interest, highlight features, and drive potential customers to make a purchase.

5. Establish thought leadership: Positioning your brand as an authority in your industry can significantly impact your credibility and attract a loyal and engaged audience. Share valuable content, industry insights, and expert tips to establish yourself as a go-to resource in your niche.

2. Understand your target audience

Knowing your audience allows you to create content specifically designed to resonate with them. By understanding their preferences, demographics, and interests, you can craft posts that appeal to their unique needs and desires, increasing the likelihood of engagement and driving meaningful interactions.

Engaging content prompts likes, comments, shares, and saves. When you understand your audience, you can create posts that spark conversations. This boosts engagement, deepens connections, and amplifies your brand's reach.

Here are a few steps to help you get started:

Define your Ideal customer: 

Begin by creating a clear profile of your ideal customer or target audience. Consider demographics like age, location, gender, and interests. Think about their pain points, motivations, and aspirations. This will provide a solid foundation for your research.

Analyze your existing audience: 

Take a deep dive into your current Instagram followers. Use Instagram's built-in analytics or third-party tools to gather data on their demographics, behaviors, and engagement patterns. Look for trends and commonalities among your most active and engaged followers.

Research competitors and industry: 

Analyze your competitors and other businesses within your industry that share a similar target audience. Look at their followers, engagement, and the type of content that resonates with their audience. This can offer valuable insights and help you identify potential gaps or opportunities.

Leverage Instagram insights: 

Utilize the analytics provided by Instagram to gain insights into your posts, stories, and audience. Explore the 'Audience' section of Instagram Insights to learn more about your followers, including their age range, gender distribution, and geographic location. Take note of the posts that receive the most engagement to understand what content resonates with your audience.

How to find Instagram insights

To access Instagram Insights, follow these steps:

  • Open the Instagram app on your mobile device.
  • Go to your profile by tapping the profile icon in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  • Once on your profile, tap the menu icon (three horizontal lines) in the top right corner of the screen.
  • From the menu, select "Insights." Note that this feature may not be available for personal accounts or accounts with low follower counts.
  • You'll be presented with different tabs within Instagram Insights, such as Content, Activity, and Audience. These tabs provide detailed analytics and insights about your Instagram account.

- The "Content" tab allows you to analyze the performance of your posts, stories, and promotions.

- The "Activity" tab shows data related to actions taken on your account, such as profile visits, website clicks, and discovery.

- The "Audience" tab provides demographic information about your followers, including age range, gender distribution, and geographic location.

Please note that the availability and depth of Instagram Insights may vary based on your account type and the number of followers you have. For business accounts, you generally have access to more comprehensive analytics compared to personal accounts. So if you use a personal account, switch to a professional account. 

Screenshot of the Instagram settings page

Using Instagram Insights, you can gain valuable information about your audience's behavior, the effectiveness of your content, and the impact of your promotional efforts. This data can help you optimize your content strategy and engage with your audience in a more targeted and effective way. 

Conduct surveys and interviews: 

Engage directly with your audience by conducting surveys or interviews. Ask questions about their interests, preferences, and pain points. This firsthand information can provide valuable insights into their mindset and help tailor your content accordingly.

Monitor hashtags and engage in conversations: 

Follow relevant hashtags related to your industry or niche and monitor the conversations happening around them. Engage with users who are using these hashtags, join discussions, and observe the type of content that resonates with them. (Learn how to find the right Instagram hashtags for your business)

Take advantage of user feedback: 

Pay attention to the comments, direct messages, and interactions you receive on Instagram. User feedback can reveal valuable information about what your audience likes, dislikes, and wants to see more of. Adjust your content strategy based on this feedback to better serve your audience.

💡 Understanding your target audience is an ongoing process. Continuously monitor and adapt your content strategy based on the insights and feedback you gather. 

3. Plan your content mix

Planning your Instagram content mix is essential to maintain a cohesive and engaging presence on the platform. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you plan effectively:

Define your content themes and categories: 

Start by identifying the key themes or categories that align with your brand and resonate with your target audience. For example, if you're a fitness brand, your themes could be workout tips, healthy recipes, inspirational quotes, and client success stories. Having predetermined themes helps ensure variety and consistency in your content.

Mix content types: 

Mix up the types of content you share to keep your feed visually appealing and engaging. Experiment with a combination of photos, videos, carousels, boomerangs, Reels, and IGTV. Each content type offers unique opportunities to showcase your brand and connect with your audience in different ways.

Balance promotional and non-promotional content: 

It's important to strike a balance between promotional and non-promotional content. While promoting your products, services, or events is essential, also provide value by sharing educational content, behind-the-scenes glimpses, user-generated content, or entertaining posts. This balance helps build trust, authenticity and keeps your audience engaged.

Remember, flexibility is key. While it's good to plan your Instagram content mix, be open to experimenting, monitoring engagement, and adjusting your strategy based on your audience's response. Adapt and refine your content mix over time to keep it fresh, engaging, and aligned with your audience's evolving interests and preferences. 

4. Establish a content calendar

Planning and organizing your Instagram content in advance is incredibly important for several reasons:

Consistency: Planning your content allows you to maintain a consistent presence on Instagram. Consistency is key for building brand recognition, engaging your audience, and establishing yourself as a reliable source of content. With a content plan, you can ensure that you're delivering valuable and engaging posts at regular intervals.

Strategic alignment: Planning your content in advance allows you to align it with your overall marketing strategy and goals. You can incorporate specific campaigns, product launches, or events into your content calendar, ensuring that your Instagram presence supports and reinforces your broader business objectives.

Efficient Workflow: A content calendar allows you to streamline your workflow. You can batch-create content in advance. This saves valuable time and energy, enabling you to focus on other marketing activities or engage with your audience in real time.

Let’s take a look at the steps you should take to create an effective Instagram content calendar. 

1. Choose the right tools: Select a tool that works best for you. It can be as simple as a spreadsheet or a specialized social media scheduling tool. 

While spreadsheets are free, a specialized social media scheduling tool like Iconosquare will help you save time. Rather than manually posting in real-time, a scheduling tool allows you to plan and automate your social media content. 

Along with automatic posting, a scheduling tool allows you to keep your social media posts organized in one place. You can plan your content calendar, coordinate campaigns, and track analytics all within the tool.

Image of the social media scheduler of Iconosquare

Iconosquare also provides analytics features that help you track the performance of your posts. Not just Instagram, but also Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok. You can analyze engagement, reach, and click-through rates to optimize your content strategy. 

2. Set a posting frequency: Decide how often you want to post on Instagram. It can be daily, a few times a week, or specific days of the week. Consider your audience's preferences, your content creation capacity, and the engagement you aim to achieve. Be realistic about what you can consistently maintain.

3. Plan content ideas: Brainstorm and gather content ideas that align with your themes and goals. You can include different content types like photos, videos, user-generated content, quotes, or educational posts. Use your brand story, customer feedback, industry trends, and competitor analysis to inspire your content ideas.

4. Create a content schedule: Using your chosen tool, create a schedule for your content calendar. Assign specific dates, times, and captions for each post. Consider how your content flows visually, ensuring a balanced mix of different content types and themes throughout the week or month.

5. Include engaging captions and hashtags: Alongside your content, jot down ideas for captions and relevant hashtags to use with each post. Captions should be engaging, and informative, and call your audience to action. Research popular and niche-specific hashtags to boost discoverability and engagement.

6. Schedule and automate: Once your content calendar is set, use scheduling tools to automate the publishing process. Schedule your posts in advance so you can focus on engagement and real-time interactions with your audience. Make sure to review and adjust scheduled posts as needed to remain relevant. 

5. Engage with your audience

Here are some tips to help you spark meaningful interactions with your audience on Instagram:

Respond to comments and messages: Show your audience that you value their thoughts by replying to comments and messages promptly. Be genuine, thoughtful, and don't shy away from starting conversations.

image of a Sephora instagram post

Ask questions: Encourage your followers to express themselves by asking thought-provoking questions in your captions or stories. It could be something related to your content, their interests, or even a fun "would you rather" question. 

Use interactive features: Instagram offers various interactive features like polls, quizzes, and sliders in your stories. Utilize these to engage your audience and gather their opinions.

Host contests and giveaways: People love a chance to win something exciting. Organize contests or giveaways that require your followers to engage with your content. This could be by liking, commenting, tagging friends, or sharing your post. It creates buzz and increases participation.

image of a Grove collaborative instagram post

Feature user-generated content (UGC): Showcase your followers' content by reposting or re-sharing it (with their permission, of course!). It not only validates their efforts but also encourages others to engage in the hopes of being featured. Read up on how to power your brand with UGC.

Live Q&A sessions or AMA (Ask Me Anything): Go live on Instagram and invite your audience to ask questions. It's a fantastic way to have real-time conversations, share insights, and let your personality shine.

Collaborate with influencers or like-minded accounts: Partnering with influencers or collaborating with accounts that share your interests can amplify your reach and introduce you to new audiences. Engage with their followers and make meaningful connections.

Instagram post about marketing partnership

The key to successfully engaging with your audience is authenticity. Show your true self, display genuine interest, and create a welcoming space where your audience feels valued and heard. 

6. Create a consistent brand identity

Having a consistent brand identity on Instagram is like having your own unique fingerprint —it makes you easily recognizable.

With millions of Instagram accounts out there, having a consistent brand identity can set you apart. It helps to define your unique selling propositions and what makes you special. A distinctive brand identity can help you carve out your own niche.

A consistent brand identity also creates an emotional connection with your audience. It evokes a feeling of familiarity, comfort, and relatability. When people resonate with your brand, they are more likely to engage, follow, and support it.

Here are tips to help you create a consistent brand identity:

Have a visual aesthetics: 

Develop a visually cohesive theme for your feed. Choose a color palette, photo editing style, and overall visual vibe that aligns with your brand. Consistency in visuals creates a harmonious and recognizable look.

A good example of a brand with a unique visual aesthetic is Brit + Co. Their Instagram feed is all about colorful images and hand-written quotes. Their profile is very fun to scroll through. 

instagram profil of Britandco a social mediacompany

Create a style guide: 

Craft a style guide encompassing your preferred fonts, logo usage, image guidelines, and other design elements. This ensures consistency across all your graphic posts, stories, and highlights.

Develop a tone of voice: 

Define your brand's voice—whether it's casual, formal, witty, or informative—and stay consistent in your captions and comments. Your tone should reflect your brand's personality and resonate with your audience.

Value-driven content: 

Identify the core themes or topics that align with your brand's expertise or purpose. Create content that consistently adds value to your audience's lives, educates them, or entertains them within your niche.

Use branded hashtags: 

Create a unique branded hashtag that encapsulates your brand identity. Encourage your audience to use it when sharing content related to your brand. This not only promotes user-generated content but also strengthens your brand identity. 

Utilize story elements: 

Use Instagram Stories to further express your brand identity. Use consistent story templates, highlight covers, animated stickers, or filters that align with your visual aesthetics and brand personality.

A screenshot of a Zara Instagram story

💡 While consistency is important, it doesn't mean you have to be repetitive or stagnant. Adapt and evolve your brand identity over time while staying true to your core values. Embrace creativity and experimentation within the boundaries of your brand's visual and tonal guidelines.

7. Measuring and analyzing performance

Instagram Insights and analytics tools are your secret weapons for tracking Instagram performance! Here’s how you can use them:

Instagram Insights: Start by utilizing Instagram's built-in analytics tool, Insights. It provides valuable data about your content, followers, and engagement. With Insights, you can track metrics like impressions, reach, profile views, and follower demographics. Use this data to understand what content is resonating, when your audience is most active, and how your profile grows.

Track engagement metrics: Engagements metrics such as likes, comments, saves, and shares, are essential indicators of how your audience is interacting with your content. Keep an eye on these metrics to gauge the effectiveness of your posts and identify trends.

Explore reach and impressions: Reach measures the number of unique users who see your content, while impressions reflect the total number of times your content is viewed. These metrics help you understand the visibility and impact of your posts.

Monitor follower growth: Keep track of your follower count over time to understand how successful your content and strategies are in attracting and retaining followers. Look for patterns and identify what types of content drive follower growth.

Analyze story insights: Instagram Insights offers in-depth analysis of your stories, including metrics like impressions, taps forward/backward, and replies. Use these Insights to gauge which story content resonates most with your audience and adjust your approach accordingly.

Utilize third-party analytics tools: In addition to Instagram Insights, an external tool like Iconosquare offers advanced analytics features. It provides more detailed data, such as post-engagement rates, hashtag performance, and competitor analysis. Explore Iconosquare to gain deeper insights and refine your strategy. Try for free.

 A/B testing: Experiment with different content strategies to track what works best for your audience. Try varying posting times, content formats (photos, videos, carousel posts), and captions to see which generate better engagement and reach.

Use these insights to make data-driven decisions while staying true to your brand identity and purpose.

Ready to start creating engaging Instagram content?

In conclusion, your Instagram content strategy should be a reflection of your brand's personality and values. It's an opportunity to showcase your creativity, connect with your audience, and leave a lasting impression. Stay true to your brand, experiment, adapt, and keep the conversation flowing. 

With a well-crafted strategy, consistency, and a dash of authenticity, you're well on your way to Instagram success. The tips in this article will help you develop an effective Instragam content strategy. Happy strategizing!

the writer


Copywriter @Iconosquare

Hi! I'm Marvellous, huge fan of Iconosquare as a product, and determined to help experienced social media marketers thrive in the various aspects of their career.

Free Instagram Audit

Is your Instagram Business account well-optimized? Run a quick audit courtesy of Iconosquare.

Free Instagram AuditRun my audit

for weekly updates

Get your weekly dose of quality content in the form of blog articles, podcast episodes and expert tips and tricks. Why hesitate? Sign up now!

Thank you !
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form
Emily Marsh
Icon ESm2

Discover our podcast

Every week, Emily interviews top brands, renowned influencers, and hidden agencies with one goal in mind: to understand what happens backstage of their social media strategies.

Listen to esm2
Social Media Calendar

Social Media Calendar

Get your hands on our free, downloadable 2022 Social Media Calendar with over 250 trending dates, all preloaded and ready to use.

Download for Free
Customer stories

Customer stories

Read about how other business, agencies and entrepreneurs were able to level up their social media game with the help of powerful analytics and expert strategies.

Inspiration this way
YouTube tutorials

YouTube tutorials

Need a hand using the multiple features Iconosquare has to offer? Wondering how you can use them to maximize your perfromance on social media? Check out our tutorials on YouTube.

Best pratices

How do you perform on social media?

Find out in a minute using our audit.

How data-driven social media marketers get the job done