How to Effectively Run Your Podcast Instagram in 2021

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Instagram is a tool used by many podcasters to promote their show. But does it really work and are there ways to do it better? Let's find out!

I don’t have to tell you that Instagram is a wildly popular social media platform amongst podcasters. But with hashtags like #podcastlife, #podcastersofinstagram and #podcaster, are we really doing our podcast justice promoting it here? 

Or are we simply preaching to the podcast creating crowd?

It’s a little bit of a challenging question to answer. But, it’s one that you should definitely contemplate, if you’re trying to grow your podcast. So, without further ado, let’s figure out how to effectively run your podcast Instagram, and whether or not you should even use it.

Who Is on Instagram?

Your mom and your dog probably both have Instagram profiles. I know mine do. But, beyond your inner social circle, what kind of people can you reach on Instagram?

A big mistake many podcasters make, when they first start out and are excited about promoting their pod, is to start madly opening a bunch of social media profiles they’ll never properly use. But the first thing you should do is check out the demographics. See if your target audience is actually hanging out there.

Instagram boasts some pretty big numbers. There are over 1.074-billion monthly active users, and 500 million people who hang out there daily. And, according to Omnicore, the demographics of their users looks a little something like this:

  • 50.8 percent female users
  • 140-million users in the United States
  • BUT, 87 percent of their users are from countries abroad
  • 72 percent of teens use Instagram. 73 percent of teens based in the United States say that it’s a good platform to reach them
  • 320-million global users are between the ages of 18 to 24 years
  • 354-million global users between the ages of 25 and 34 years
  • Which leaves over 320-million users that aren’t between 18 to 34 years
  • Active users spend an average of 30 minutes a day on the platform

So, there are a lot of people hanging out on Instagram. Some of them might just be ready to hear your podcasting greatness. But, your next post is probably not enough to attract them.

How Fierce Is The Competition?

One of the most common marketing-related complaints I hear from podcasters is that they’re regularly promoting their podcast on social media, but their listenership isn’t growing. So, what’s the catch?

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Well, simply put, the competition on social media is fierce. According to that same stats page:

  • 1,074 photos are posted on Instagram every second
  • Instagram videos get two times more engagement then non-video posts
  • But engagement rates are the highest with image posts at a whopping 1.03 percent, followed by carousel posts then videos at 0.86 and 0.75 percent respectively
  • Photos with faces 

What this tells us is that while there are a ton of users, there is also a ton of content flowing through the platform. So, the type of content you’re posting really matters. And just because you have 150 or 10,000 followers, doesn’t mean that all of them see it.

How to Create a Podcast Instagram Strategy

Decide if Instagram Is Right for You

Let’s be clear, Instagram is not the right social media platform for all the podcasts out there. Managing a well-run account takes time and resources that you might not have available. So, if it’s not the right move for you, don’t feel obligated to run an account just because everyone else is.

If your target audience isn’t in the 18 to 34 year age range, chances are it’s not the best platform for you. Nor is it a good platform if you’re looking for conversions—turning Instagram followers into podcast listeners—because you can’t use direct links.

So, before you start (or continue) with Instagram, take a good look at your marketing goals. Chances are you have limited bandwidth and resources, don’t use it in places that aren’t going to advance your podcast.

Plan Out How Often You Want to Post

Before we dig into how often you should post, let’s talk about how often everyone else does. Major brands post an average of 1.5 times per day to the platform. Now, they obviously can’t post half a time. So, in most cases they’re publishing one to two times per day during the week.

That’s a lot of posting!

Most experts recommended that you post a minimum of once per day. Whether you include weekends in that is up to you. That means that you have to add preparing five pieces of content to your podcasting schedule. Not to mention scheduling in time for engagement. This includes responding to comments, commenting on other posts, and generally interacting with your audience.

Can you post less than this? Sure, how often you post is up to you. I often recommend that it’s in your best interest to compete on the same level as everyone else. But with the low conversion rates and lack of links on Instagram, if you posted half the time and dedicated a little extra time to engaging with your audience you might find that you get more traction.

Whatever schedule you choose, you need to make sure you’re consistent with it.

Preset Your Types of Content

There are a few different ways that you can use content on Instagram beyond the regular image feed that everyone’s familiar with. Those include:

  • Stories—short vertical posts that disappear after 24 hours, though you can Pin them to a category on your profile
  • Reels—15 second Tik Tok-like videos
  • IGTV—a stand-alone video platform with short “preview” clips to add to your profile

Content in the form of videos, photos, and images is the obvious (and easiest) choice. But, the algorithm favors other types of content (namely reels right now). So, it’s important to look beyond your feed.

When you pick the types of content for Instagram posts, along with what post vehicle you use to deliver them, consider what’s your best bet to convert prospective listeners.

My favourite post type for possible listener conversion is the audiogram. It combines a short clip of audio from an episode (pick something that can be engaging in less than 60-seconds) and a static image (usually your podcast cover artwork), which you add to your Instagram feed, like a video. The best part about them is that you can use a platform like Headliner for free to make them. 

By the way, we have a free graphics library for blog posts and show notes, and it's worth your time to check it out!

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Use a Scheduling Tool

Posting content manually to Instagram can be exhausting. It might only take a few moments for a single post. But, if you’re posting daily and trying to engage with your audience, you can easily spend an hour on the platform without realizing it. That’s where a scheduler comes in.

Using a tool to help you schedule content to Instagram means that instead of checking in on a daily basis, you can get all of your content planning and preparation for an entire week (or month if you’re really ambitious) in an afternoon. From there, you just need to slot some engagement time in your calendar and your Instagram efforts get a lot easier to handle.

There are plenty of tools out there that you can try out, but they’re not all created equally. Scheduling platforms (including the free Creator Studio provided by Facebook) limit content types like Reels, IGTV, and Stories, due to Instagram's restrictions. That means that while a few tools let you “plan” your content, you still need to manually post it.

The limitations imposed by Instagram means that it’s one of the hardest platforms to plan for ahead of time. Your best free option is going to be the Creator Studio. But, it doesn’t allow you to plan out your feed visually, like you can find with a tool like Planoly. My best advice isn’t to point you in the direction of a particular platform. Instead, try out some of the free trials for platforms like Later and Meet Edgar. Then, compare them to free options to see what fits best for you. If you hire a virtual assistant, you can find someone who is Instagram-savvy.

Set Up Your Account Right

Your Instagram strategy has a lot to do with your posting and engagement plans. And, there are a few additional things you can do to help shape the ideal experience for your podcast.

The first thing you want to do is create a good (albeit short) bio that tells prospective listeners who you are and what to expect. The challenge is that you only have 150 characters to do this, which means every letter (and space) counts. 

Because there is only one link spot available on Instagram for most users, it’s in your best interest to use it well. There are services like Flowpage that allow you to set up a page that houses multiple links. Or better yet, set one up on your own website. Now, you can promote your show, merch, and Patreon page to Instagram users.

Should You Use Instagram to Promote Your Content?

I’m not going to lie to you, Instagram isn’t my favorite promotional platform for podcasters. I know everyone uses it. But, I’m not convinced that the rewards outweigh the costs.

To run an effective strategy, you need to put in a lot of effort. But, the lack of links means that Instagram users have to go out of their way to consume more of your content. And, those of us that spend a lot of time on marketing know that internet users like easy access with no extra effort. There are better ways than Instagram to promote your podcast. If you’re just starting your podcast, and you want guidance to launch and promote your show, the Academy is the way to go. Repurpose those Instagram efforts to somewhere they’ll actually matter!