As of June 2018, over 1 billion Instagram accounts are active every month. Further, according to Instagram Business, eighty percent of accounts follow a business on Instagram and over 500 million users are active every single day! The visual aesthetics of the platform set it apart from other social media channels and make it a unique place for businesses to reach and interact with their audiences. But, how do you make the most of it? Here are 8 tips and tricks:
#1 Be consistent
Users want fresh content, and Instagram’s algorithm takes recency into account to ensure that users see new posts first. This keeps the newsfeed fresh. However, as a business, it means you have to post regularly to stay visible. A few days after you share a post, it is hardly going to be seen unless someone visits your profile. So you need to post at least once per day, and possibly more if you can scale up without losing engagement.
Experiment and track the results to find the right posting frequency for your business. Whatever frequency you choose, make sure you can stick to it. A great way to stay consistent is to use software to schedule your posts ahead of time.
#2 Post at the best time(s)
In addition to posting consistently, it’s also important to pay attention when your audience is most receptive to your posts. You may find that you get double the engagement when you post at 8 a.m. versus 3 p.m. It will depend on your target audience and when they are most engaged with Instagram. In the beginning, review the general rules about the best time to post, and then post at a few different times throughout the day to find out when your audience is most engaged. Then, consistently schedule your posts at that time/those times.
#3 Experiment with various post types
Instagram offers three ways to share content. You can publish a post in the usual newsfeed, you can share video content on IGTV, or you can share a story which appears at the top of followers’ feeds for 24 hours. As for the content of your post, it varies depending on the post type but can include photos, links (in some cases), videos, or live videos. Brands should utilize all of the post possibilities to increase their visibility and engagement. Track what your audience responds to most and craft your strategy accordingly.
#4 Collaborate with others
Building a quality audience on Instagram takes time and patience, like building any relationship. However, by partnering with the right people, you can expedite the process. A common collaboration tactic is the “Instagram takeover,” where you post on another person’s account for a limited period, or vice versa. As a result, you gain exposure to a new audience and have an opportunity to boost your followers. Another approach is to have an influencer promote your brand, product, promotion, or service. The key is to partner with the right people who have an audience that aligns with yours.
#5 Use hashtags strategically
Hashtags are essential to Instagram success. When you add a hashtag, your post will then show up on a content page for that hashtag which can expose your post to a much broader audience. Additionally, you can create a unique hashtag for your brand, promotions, contests, etc. to organize posts, receive user-generated content, and help get the word out. Each post is allowed 30 hashtags. However, it is considered spammy by some to include 30 on a post, so it is best to research 10 to 15 that will bring you the most value and to include those. Look for hashtags that have a good size following of engaged people who are interested in something related to your brand.
#6 Follow a content theme
It’s important to remember that Instagram is primarily a visual platform, so you should take composition into consideration when planning your content. Think about how you can best represent your brand visually in terms of color, filters, subject, style, text overlays, etc., and create guidelines for your content. All of your images and videos should offer unique value on their own while also fitting in with the overall theme when viewed together.
#7 Encourage interactions
The more a person interacts with your Instagram posts, the more they will see your content in their newsfeed. Further, the more people interact with your post, the higher it will appear in other people’s feeds. Being so, you want to encourage your audience to take action by liking, commenting on, saving, viewing (Stories), or sharing your post. How? Write captions that encourage engagement by including questions or asking for feedback. When people respond, respond back and work on inspiring a conversation. Additionally, pay attention to which kinds of content gets the most interactions and create more of it.
#8 Utilize Instagram ads
Lastly, you can extend your reach by using Instagram ads. Not only can you boost a post, promote your account, or encourage a specific action, but you can also take advantage of retargeting and custom audiences. For example, you can retarget customers of your competitors or can build a custom audience based on people who have engaged with your content, purchased from your website, visited your store, or received your newsletter.
Get the most out of Instagram
Instagram provides an excellent opportunity for businesses to connect with potential and existing customers. You can foster ongoing relationships, strengthen your brand presence, and drive sales. However, to do so effectively, it’s important to understand how to get the most out of the platform. Use the 8 tips and tricks to speed up the learning curve and boost your business results.