Reviving Underperforming Content in 2022





Blog Date

June 6, 2024


UK, Manchester

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Reviving Underperforming Content in 2022

Reviving a “Dead” Instagram Account? Time to Put on Your Lab Coat!

Wait! Before you throw in the towel on growing your Instagram — Grab your lab coat. We’re diving into content experiments aimed to help figure out what’s going wrong, so we can get it right.

Reviving a dead Instagram account is the single most infuriating digital marketing challenge. Nothing quite dings the ego like posting consistently for weeks — even months — with zero results. Maybe you’ve tried a Reels challenge to get people on your page? Or have changed up your hashtags? This article is not about any of that noise. This is content science so you can figure how what works for your account — not some Instagram guru’s account — once and for all.

These experiments will help clarify which direction is best for growing a successful online community in the way only you can. So, let’s don our lab coats and get experimenting!

Ditch the “Point and Pray” Approach

Have you ever heard of the saying, “point and pray.” It’s when you pick up a camera, point it in the general direction of what you want to capture, click, and hope what you snapped turns out for the best.

There’s a lot of post and pray on Instagram. But here’s the thing: An Instagram strategy is more than just filling a calendar with ideas and hoping it catches fire. It’s a roadmap that will help you make the most of your time on this platform. Dissecting your content approach can reveal what succeeds and fails, so you can prioritize creating material for those who interact with your brand.

Testing different post formats is part of the Instagram growth process — not only to maintain interest but also to determine which posts are most engaging for followers. If done correctly, experiments don’t have to be complicated or take up much time either.

Experimenting with your content keeps things interesting for both you and your readers. Plus, it’s fun! As copywriter Charles Miller wrote in a recent newsletter, “Consumption of useful content shows you possible paths. Consumption alone isn’t good enough. If you see a possible path, you need to walk down it, at least for a while. See if it’s the right path by taking at least a few steps.”

His point, and mine, experimenting will help you find the unique path that sets you apart on Instagram — and in your industry as a whole. For example, experimenting to find a style of Reels that worked for me was huge. I tried to lip sync and follow the trends — feeling awkward the whole time… It was rough. Trying something new not only led me to find a style of Reels I actually enjoyed filming, but my audience loved it back. Win-Win.

Key Takeaway: Instagram experiments allow you to figure out what works for your account, so you don’t have to follow someone else’s advice on how to run your digital presence.

Laying the Groundwork for Successful Experiments

Before we dive into the meat of the content strategy experiments, let’s make sure the foundations are in order:

  1. Optimize Your Instagram Bio (With Keywords For Instagram SEO)
  2. Remove Ghost Followers That Are Killing Your Engagement
  3. If You Haven’t Already, Get Ready To Post Consistently (I highly recommend batching content)
  4. Spend Time Engaging. If Instagram engagement games gross you out, first, same 🤢. Here’s what’s help me: Tying my community engagement directly to my brand values: creativity and empowerment. That way, I am only commenting on posts I find interesting, so I can encourage the creator. It’s faster, it breeds community growth, and, obviously, it’s genuine.

I’d love to see your posts, too! Connect with me @ascent_storycraft.

Experiment #1: Content Format Comparison

You have to know what works for you and your audience. It all starts with these two questions:

  1. What kind of content do you want to create? (This really is 🗝️. If hate doing it, you won’t be consistent. If you don’t really want to be on the platform, people can tell).

  2. What does your audience want to see?

The most practical way to test any hypothesis is data. Staying on top of metrics is what separates the pros from the casual poster. Every content experiment requires some sort of goal in mind—what return on investment to you want from the time spent on content creation?

Having clear objectives will help ensure that any experiments are meaningful and yield useful information that can inform future decisions about what type of content you’re publishing. This makes experimenting especially powerful when it comes time for decision-making; instead of relying solely on intuition or guesswork, you can rely on real data points to figure out how to invest to your time, money, and energy growing on Instagram.

Audits can test tactics related directly to Instagram usage (e.g., how often should I post?). Experiments can also provide insight into broader topics such as customer behavior or market trends (e.g., what kind of content resonates with my target demographic?). Finally, these insights are going to save you time because you’ll know what content formats (i.e. Reels, Carousels, static posts) your ideal readers like to consume when they’re scrolling the Gram.

Currently, Instagram allows four types of posts: photos, videos, shopping posts, and carousel posts. And since Instagram is constantly updating its algorithms and prioritizing certain types of content, it’s easy to get confused about what type of content is going to work best.

Instead of solely relying on trendy formats, insights are incredibly valuable to see what your audience prefers to consume content. Even when Reels were all the rage, that format never performed as well as carousel posts on my account. My audience would rather swipe left on graphics than see me lip sync, thankfully. The exact opposite is true for a client whose audience can’t get enough of short-form video.

Step-by-Step Content Format Experiment

Step One: Head Over To Instagram Insights. Filter top posts by reach and post interactions. Do the same for Reels. Now you have an idea of which format outperforms the other based on interest and interaction.

Step Two: Test. Turn your top-performing post into a Reel. And your top-performing Reel into a static post or Carousel post. This is a great way to repurpose posts, and it also gives insight into how your audience like to consume your content. Knowing if your audience prefers video vs. written content is invaluable for deciding where to best invest your time creating. It also helps you choose what other social media platforms to post on.

The Golden Rule: Do More Of What’s Working. Likes, shares, and saves are a natural side effect of creating content around the people you serve and connecting with other accounts you admire or inspire and teach you — not ones that make you feel like 💩. Quality posts and relationships are the keys to growing engagement day over day.

Experiment #2: Audit Your Top-Performing Content

Taking inventory of what content you already have ensures you’re not creating posts that no one cares about. Head back to your insights to check these key factors:

  1. What hooks and headlines got the most engagement? Need to spice up your Instagram copy? Here are my top Social Media Copywriting Tips.

  2. Is there a reoccurring theme? What topics get the most attention?

  3. What style gets people to stop their scroll? Funny memes or step-by-step tutorials?

Take this as an opportunity to up your content game. Can you:

  • Recycle the wording of a top-performing headline for another hot topic?
  • Answer more FAQs about that hot topic to inspire new posts?
  • Add relatable brand storytelling to make your top posts even more compelling?

Experiment #3: Identify Your Optimal Posting Frequency

In 2023, the overall best time to post on Instagram is 4 AM (calculated in local time across time zones), according to Later. Their theory, based on user data, says posting in the morning gives your content the best chance of being seen by your audience.

But we don’t just rely on other people’s best practices when it comes to your content! It’s back to your insights, friend. Navigate to your audience insights, where if you scroll to the bottom, you’ll find data on what times and days of the week your followers are most likely to interact.

That is the most specific answer you’ll get to the question: When should I post on Instagram?

Note: Engaging right after you hit publish makes the difference. The best time to post is ultimately when you can regularly show up (at the same time) and interact with your followers and new accounts. Here’s my Instagram engagement routine as an example:

  • Make sure you connect with the people in your community, not only trying to reach new people.
  • Post To Stories First Thing In The Morning
  • Response To Messages Before Posting
  • Post & Interact With The Hashtags On The Post
  • Go to the “Following Tab” To Catch Up With The People I Follow
  • Respond To New Comments & Messages On The Post I Just Published

It takes about an hour every time I post. If you want to cut it down, engaging under hashtags is not a hard and fast rule for success. Personally, I’m looking to see what others post under the hashtags I use. I want to see what conversations are happening in my industry, and if I learn something from a new account, I’ll comment. ⚠️ Spoiler alert: This often leads to longterm engagement.

Putting It All Together: The Right Frequency for Your Content

The optimal posting frequency on Instagram depends on several factors, such as your audience, content quality, and engagement levels. However, most brands post on Instagram once per day, while some may post up to three times per day.

As a solopreneur/personal brand, I stick to three days a week when I’m busy behind the scenes with client work and digital product development, but when I have a launch or want to ramp up my Instagram growth I’ll post 5+ times a week for 6-8 weeks to breathe momentum into my account.

Word to the wise: Prioritize quality over quantity. Posting too frequently with low-quality content can actually harm your brand’s reputation and decrease engagement. Instead, focus on creating high-quality content that resonates with your audience and encourages engagement. You can also experiment with different posting frequencies and analyze your engagement metrics to determine what works best for your brand.

The Takeaway: Instagram Experiments Are The Key to Reviving Underperforming Content

Instagram experiments are the most comprehensive way to figure how how to revive and grow your account. They’ll uncover new insights into what types of posts resonate and how the people you are trying to help interact with your account. With some goal planning and thoughtful execution, Instagram experiments will give you the data-driven edge needed to revive a dead Instagram account.

Ready to breathe new life into your content? Head over to to learn more about how our team of experts can help!

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