It’s 2021, does your brand have an Instagram strategy? Once the app meant solely for sharing photos with your friends, Instagram has become an elaborate platform for brands, celebrity influencers, bloggers, regular people (and even their pets) to connect. From microblogging with long-form captions to online boutiques entirely in-platform, Instagram offers endless opportunities for small independent brand builders and large corporations alike.

Today, businesses can use the platform for so much more while still connecting with their audience and building their online community. Use GROWL’s complete guide to elevate your Instagram strategy and see results in 2021.

Know the algorithm 

To find success on Instagram, digital marketers must understand how the algorithm works to boost discoverability and engagement successfully. You can tailor your content and strategy once you’re familiar with how the algorithm works. Check out these 4 essential factors that influence the Instagram feed post algorithm.

1 Interest 

Users’ Instagram feed is based on the accounts you already follow and the types of posts you’ve interacted with in the past. The algorithm makes assumptions based on this data and will put posts higher in your feed if you may like it.

2 Relationship 

It will also prioritize content from accounts you actually have a relationship with, including friends and family. It tries to gauge which accounts matter most based on who you interact with regularly, including DMs, saves, comments, and likes.

3 Timeliness 

The algorithm tries to balance relevance and timeliness, serving you the latest, most interesting posts. So, it’s important to think about frequency when posting to improve your chances of being seen. Post regularly to ensure your content fits what the algorithm is looking for, relevant, timely content.

4 Following 

Consider auditing your followers. If a large portion of your follower base is inactive, it may be harming your account’s algorithmic ranking. So, as a part of your community management, pay attention to users that seem to be “ghost” accounts and remove them as followers.

Consistency is key 

As every digital marketer knows, consistency is KEY to a brand’s Instagram strategy. Using your knowledge of the algorithm ensures you are posting on a consistent schedule. This doesn’t necessarily apply only to feed posts but also to Stories and community engagement.

Utilize Instagram’s native features in your strategy 

With so many new features in the last year alone, Instagram favors accounts that utilize native because followers are engaging with them more. IGTV has been around for a while, but brands have been optimizing their usage to increase their exposure and create more long-form video content for their followers to engage with. Shortly after the COVID-19 lockdowns, Instagram launched Instagram Guides as a tool for brands and bloggers alike to share more long-form content that followers can easily save. Determine what kind of content would work for your brand and how you can create beneficial Guides for your followers.

In contrast to Guides and IGTV long-form content, short-form video dominates the social media space this year. In response to TikTok’s success, Instagram launched Reels, a short-form video creating and sharing feature. The capabilities for businesses to leverage reels are endless, especially with the new ecommerce integrations that allow followers to shop directly from Reels. Instagram’s most recently launched new feature, Instagram Shops, allows businesses to create an online store completely within the platform. This feature has shifted Instagram to be a full-scale e-commerce platform for brands and creators to monetize their content.

Ensuring your Instagram marketing strategy incorporates these features will boost your account’s ranking and get more eyes on your profile and increase your ROI.

Don’t forget to engage 

Besides posting with consistency and utilizing new features, you must work community engagement into your Instagram strategy. Take time to respond to your posts’ comments and any direct messages from your followers. Also, make sure you find related brands or accounts that would be valuable for you to engage with and like, and comment on their posts. Consider building relationships and partnering with influencers to reach a broader audience to engage with your brand.

When creating content, think strategically about the captions and graphics you use. Are they going to capture attention? Do they encourage viewers to engage? Knowing what types of engagement matter most will help you strategize and build content that will create valuable audience interaction. While likes and comments are great to see for your brand, direct messages and saves will provide the best results. When building your Instagram strategy, plan to engage with your followers and other accounts and create valuable content for your followers that captures attention and encourages engagement.  


Regardless of Instagram’s growth, one critical element has remained — hashtags. Hashtags are essential for every Instagram marketing strategy as they boost discoverability and translate to more followers, engagement, and customers for your business.

Instagram categorizes all of its content to serve the most relevant content to its users. Ensure you are using the optimal 8-12 hashtags on feed posts, and don’t forget to incorporate them into your stories as well. With changes to the explore page in 2020, users can search for content as they would in other search engines. Meaning digital marketers must optimize their brand’s profile to be more discoverable – including the brand name in bio and relevant hashtags in posts.

Instagram is making things as easy as possible for their users to consume the content they find valuable. Consider your audience and your USP as you build your Instagram marketing strategy. With so many valuable new features, determine how your brand can take Instagram marketing to the next level in 2021.

Ready to boost your ‘double-taps’? Contact the GROWL Team to elevate your Instagram strategy. 

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