Instagram is still one of the hottest and most engaging social media platforms. That’s not going to change in 2024, and brands will still be competing for user attention and screen time.

As every Instagram marketing strategy needs updating every now and then, the beginning of the year is usually the best time to do so. So how do you create a powerful strategy for Instagram and beat your competitors? Let’s find out!

Monitor your account status

There is one Instagram function that you should check out right after reading this article. It’s called Account status.

What is it for? You’ll be able to see whether or not you’ve violated Instagram’s rules or community guidelines (for example, by posting nude content), resulting in your content not being recommended to users, e.g., in the Explore feed. 

It’s important to monitor your account status for a few reasons:

  • You’ll know if you’ve posted something prohibited (which immediately tells you what you shouldn’t post in the future and should be removed from your strategy).
  • You’ll see if your content is reaching new users (if you’ve violated Instagram’s rules, your organic reach may be impacted).
  • You’ll learn what actions you can take to prevent similar situations from happening in the future, including stopping your Instagram account from being completely taken down.

Remember, posting content that Instagram doesn’t approve of and ignoring such warnings may have a significant and negative impact on your overall profile performance.

How to check your account status

It’s easy. Go to your profile -> Settings -> Account -> and Account status. 

Ideally, you should see a screen like the one below:

account status on instagram

Checking your account status on Instagram

Even though it’s not the newest Instagram function, still not every brand owner knows about it. But you should definitely take advantage of it. 😉 You’ll be a step ahead of your competitors and you’ll know more about what kind of content should and shouldn’t be posted on Instagram.

Track competitors’ organic activities

Once you conduct a health check of your profile, next up when creating your Instagram marketing strategy is spying on your competitors a bit.

It’s not only about learning what they’re posting and how often, but also figuring out how your brand can stand out from others.

Here is a great example of what we mean.

Take a look at what Mentos Poland, Tic Tac Poland, and Maoam Poland – which are direct competitors – posted on their Instagram profiles in May 2022.

instagram competitors examples

Instagram competitors analyzed in Sotrender

While these are three completely different brands, the average Instagram user, just by taking a look at these profiles, may think it’s all one brand…

Don’t make the same mistake. 😉

With Sotrender, a social media analytics tool, you can easily monitor your competitors’ top-performing content, user engagement on each profile (including the engagement rate), follower growth, and more.

Also, you can track and analyze a few competitors at a time or take a closer look at one specific brand.

Just remember that spying on your competitors is essential to outwitting them.

Start analyzing competitors' organic performance

Reveal competitors’ ad strategy

If you always considered it impossible to discover your competitors’ ad results, this will be quite a surprise!

With Sotrender, you can compare your monthly results (CPC, CPM, impressions) to competitive brands, but also…

analyze instagram competitors ad results

Analyze Instagram competitors’ ad results

…you can see how much they spend on ads and which campaign types they choose.

instagram ad spend

Analyze Instagram competitors’ ad spend in Sotrender

Even though it’s not possible to see how much a specific company spent on Instagram ads (this info is only available to account owners), getting access to such aggregated insights is already invaluable.

Secondly, we suggest you head to the free Facebook tool Ad Library.

Even though most marketers think they’ll only find their competitors’ ad visuals and copy in Facebook Ad Library, you can also learn so much more about their ad strategy. You’ll be able to discover, for example:

  • How many ads they have active.
  • How many ads they started running this month.
  • On which products they’re focusing ads.
  • Which ads are running on Instagram only, and which are live on Facebook, too.
  • Which ads are running for the longest period of time (which means they’re extremely effective or they promote key products – either way, these are worth investigating).
facebook ad library

Analyzing competitors’ ads in Facebook Ad Library

You couldn’t find any of this out simply by scrolling your competitors’ Instagram feeds. That’s why a third-party analytics app and Ad Library are a great combo for learning as much as you can about your competitors’ ad activities.

Take advantage of the latest content formats

If you’re not utilizing the latest content format, which is Instagram Reels at the moment, let’s be honest – it’s a missed opportunity.

No matter what Instagram users say, they’re watching Reels, and the Instagram algorithm constantly promotes this content format in user feeds.

Reels are a little demanding, but fun! Getting into it can be tough, but you can start by utilizing some ready templates just to play around with this content format.

If you’re not really into TikTok-style funny videos, Reels can offer so much more than that. For example, educational Reels may even be more interesting to your Instagram followers, and as a business owner, you definitely have a lot of knowledge to share with your community.

Almost any content idea can be presented as a Reel, whether it’s a promotion, a how-to or behind-the-scenes content, interviews, contests… you name it. 😉

instagram stories examples

Instagram Reels examples, Ouai

This is how the Ouai hair brand is utilizing Reels – they post various types of Reels, from funny videos that their audience can easily identify with to how-to/guide videos and direct product presentations.

The sooner you start utilizing this content format, the better! You won’t know if it works until you give it a try and analyze the results thoroughly. And to help there’s Sotrender, with which you can also monitor your Reels performance.

reels analysis

Reels analysis in Sotrender

Start analyzing your Reels

Test, test, and… test

Often what we think is a bad idea turns out to bring the most unexpected results. We’ve all been there.

A/B testing is not only reserved for email campaigns and web content – everything you do on social media can be tested, too.

Testing various post formats, posting times, different hashtags, CTAs, or copy length is crucial for optimizing your Instagram marketing strategy. Your next tests can also be inspired by what you’ve observed on your competitors’ profiles. Unless you’re copy-pasting their work, there’s nothing wrong with getting some inspiration from them.

But remember – one test at a time! 😉

the body shop ads

The Body Shop Instagram ads

Take a look, for example, at The Body Shop ads – they use up to 4 or 5 various creatives for the same ad copy, and this is how they optimize their paid campaigns.

Since you’ll immediately see the results of your tests, why wait? There is likely nothing worse than doing the exact same thing every time.

Monitor your overall Instagram performance along the way 

This may sound boring, and you’ve probably heard it before a dozen times, but analyzing your current and past performance is the best way to make your profile stand out and appear higher in user feeds.

By analyzing your content performance, you’ll see what your audience actually likes most. Even if in comments or DMs your followers are telling you that, e.g., they aren’t really watching videos, it’s all self-reported data and the full picture can only be seen with behavioral data. And that’s why you should thoroughly analyze how they consume your content and interact with your profile in general.

  • Do they engage with videos rather than standard posts?
  • Does caption length matter? 
  • Does posting in the evening bring better results (e.g., higher engagement)? 
  • What were your top-performing posts over the past few months?
  • Does it pay off to invest in Reels? Is your audience enjoying this content format?

You can do all this with Sotrender, too. All the data are pulled automatically and are accessible as soon as you log in, so analyzing your metrics is as seamless as you can imagine. Take advantage of the interactive colored charts and unique metrics and reports that are generated in less than a minute.

share of activities by media type

Analyzing share of activities by media type in Sotrender

About A/B tests again – these are great, but they won’t be of any value unless you analyze the results. 😉

Create the best-performing Instagram marketing strategy

The truth is, there is no secret formula to being successful on Instagram. However, by cleverly utilizing all the tips and tools, you’ll be able to craft the most effective Instagram marketing strategy for your business.

If you’re hungry for more or you’d like to refresh what you know about Instagram marketing, grab our ebook and start running a successful Instagram business profile!

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