Getting to know your audience is tough as it is. So where do you start when your followers are a beautiful mix of genders, nationalities, ages, and personality types?
For brands that have a clear-cut target demographic, audiences can typically be broken down into a handful of personas. These personas can then be used to guide your marketing strategy—everything from messaging to visuals. But imagine you’re a global apparel brand like Levi’s whose products are loved by every age, gender, nationality, and pretty much every other label. You can start to see how daunting the task of audience profiling would become. Couple this with the fact that each follower has their own tastes, social media habits, and aesthetic preferences, and it becomes a labyrinth of overlapping ideals and creative crossed-paths.
Your New BFF: Visual Intelligence
Before we get into the content strategy side of engaging a diverse audience on Instagram, we must take a moment to tell you about the technology that makes insight this good possible.
Our visual intelligence technology, called Vision, can surface visual trends, identify engagement patterns, and provide recommendations on how your content will perform on Instagram before you even post it.
Vision reads an image just like we do, but on an epic scale. It identifies and analyzes thousands of visual elements—from composition and setting, to color and objects. It then ties those visual elements back to your historical engagement data on Instagram. It’s pretty cool (if we do say so ourselves 😇).
Where to Start?
Here at Dash Hudson, we love to start out with a bird’s eye view of how your audience—followers or not—are talking about your brand. When you look at your user-generated content (UGC) from a high altitude, you get a read into how much people are posting about your brand, and also the types of content they’re featuring you in.
Now, getting a total view of every 👏 single 👏 post 👏 your brand has been featured in during the last few months is going to be overwhelming. But don’t worry, we got you.
Another tool in Dash Hudson that uses our Vision technology is called Visual IQ. This tool has a nifty way of breaking out your UGC into segments so you don’t have to. We know, we know. Insights + time saving = happy social media manager.
Vision will read through all your UGC and pick out trends based on visual cues. The segments will look something like this.
Notice the little icons on the photos? Those are the recommendations we mentioned earlier. These performance indicators are telling you how this piece of content is likely to perform on your feed with your audience.
This is how you’ll start to get a deeper understanding of what styles of content your audience likes. For example, you know they love street style shots…but do they prefer to see the model head-to-toe or from the waist up? What about lighting? Do sunny shots work better? Do front or back facing shots make a difference? The prediction icons will guide you. That said, you know your brand and its content better than anyone else—you should think of these prediction icons as data-backed creative insight. It’s a partnership after all.
It’s tempting to look at competitors and wonder, what’s their strategy? How do they come up with these ideas? Is their engagement rate better than ours? While it’s healthy to stay in the loop on what they’re up to, it’s not ideal to be constantly snooping.
This is where Visual IQ for competitive content lends a hand 👋. Just like UGC, Vision can break out your competitors’ content into segments based on visual cues. We should mention here that they don’t have to be your direct competition—you can choose aspirational accounts who post content you’re curious about.
All the effort in the world spent on improving your engagement rate means nothing if you can’t take the numbers to your boss and claim your hard-earned status as the in-house Instagram whisperer.💅
Engagement Rate vs. Effectiveness Rate
Engagement rate is (likes + comments) / your followers.
Effectiveness rate is (likes + comments + video views + saves) / reach.
Why do these metrics matter? And why did we create effectiveness rate? Well, engagement rate rules because it determines where you land in the Instagram feeds of your followers. This means it’s essential to look at and improve over time. But it has one little flaw: the base of engagement is followers, and we know that only part of your audience will see your post.
In effectiveness rate, we divide the engagements by reach. This tells you, of the people who actually saw your post, how many engaged with it. It’s also a great way to benchmark video, because more often than not, your audience will engage with the video by watching it.
So with key metrics out of the way, let’s dig into how to measure content performance at a more granular level.
You could probably list your key content pillars off the top of your head right now. But do you know how each of those pillars are performing at the individual level? Just thinking about the spreadsheet you would need in order to work that out gives us a headache. So we built Boards.
Boards is Dash Hudson’s content segmentation tool. It’s a totally customisable way for brands to group their content into segments and access metrics on each of those segments. It’s also super useful for campaigns. Boards even integrates with Scheduler, so you only have to touch each piece of content once. Say goodbye to backtracking.
From here you can start to hold your individual content pillars to their own benchmarks. Say your overall engagement rate is 2%, and your Street Style board has an average engagement rate of 3.5%. Now you know that when you post street style shots, they should be performing at 3.5% average engagement or higher.
One More Thing, Don’t Sell Out.
Trends are great, but have you ever had a steadily increasing engagement rate?
The best brands in the world don’t follow trends. Coca Cola has been marketing optimism for over 130 years. Nike says, “if you have a body, you’re an athlete” and the concept of “Just Do It” is universal. These brands have nailed engaging a wide and diverse audience by unifying their community. They find the commonalities between humankind, the aspirations of nations, and bring that into their strategy. From there, content pillars that feed the overall strategy become a little easier to pin down.
What we’re saying is that when your brand has a solid foundation, you can build, and build, and build—and no matter how massive your audience gets, you’ll keep your integrity intact.
What Did We Learn Today?
The key is to let the ethics, aspirations, morals, and aesthetic (otherwise known as vibes ✌) of the brand permeate every piece of content you create, and then use data backed creative genius to figure out exactly how your audience wants to see different products, compositions, colors, and so on. To us, this is how you strike the perfect balance between keeping everyone happy and engaged while staying on brand.
And don’t forget, Vision is always learning…
Header image: @asos
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