Gone are the days when you could boost your Instagram followers with a #likeforlike or #followforfollow. Now, to increase your visibility among the 500 million users that use Instagram every day, you have to employ a little more strategy.
Instagram is no longer about being perfect, it’s about being relatable or admirable and displaying that in a way that’s shareable.
Because there is so much content out there, engagement rates for most brands on social networks are less than 0.1%. However, Instagram dominates social engagement. According to Social Pilot, 59% of micro-influencers believe that they get the best engagement on Instagram.
Optimize Your Profile
Add A URL
Your bio is the first thing a user sees when they land upon your profile, aside from your profile image and username. It is prime real estate on your profile.
Within your bio, you can opt to add a URL. Instead of only linking to your website homepage, consider changing it up at least weekly to drive traffic to different areas of your site.
Here, you can see that our Instagram bio is currently linking to our homepage. However, whenever we post a new blog on our site, we update the URL so that users will be directed to new content.
Craft Your Aesthetic
Every influential Instagram account has a visual aesthetic that aligns with a branding strategy, whether it belongs to a business or an individual user. Every aspect of your feed should match the aesthetic you’ve crafted for your brand.
A few tools that can help you create a cohesive look and feel for your profile are Lightroom and Planoly.
Lightroom is an Adobe Creative Suite application that you can download either on a desktop or mobile device. Users can create and save custom presets. We suggest using one or two different presets on all of your photos to create a cohesive look and feel.
Planoly is a grid-planning app that makes your feed easy to layout and organize before posting any content. The app allows you to visually plan, manage, and schedule your Instagram posts.
Start planning your aesthetic by writing down a few words that you want people to associate with your account. Keep this list in mind when deciding what images to post, how to edit them, and how to caption your photos.
However, you still need to keep in mind that your goal shouldn’t be to have the perfect feed. If you take too much time crafting the ideal grid, your feed may lose that personal touch. Your feed should represent who you really are, so you don’t want to worry too much if a photo doesn’t match your brand.
Post High-Quality Photos
Instagram is a visual platform. So, the first step to growing your presence is to post good visuals. Your content should be creative, vivid, and consistent.
If you post good content, people will want to like and comment on your posts.
National Geographic was the first brand to top 100 million followers on Instagram. When you look at the feed, you can see why.
The feed is a collection of images taken by National Geographic’s 135 photographers, who have complete control over the account. By allowing them to post directly to the feed, the company has been able to “cultivate an entirely different level of authenticity”, according to National Geographic Media executive vice president and general manager David Miller.
Tailwind, a visual marketing tool, analyzed over 100,000 posts for three months and reported that consistent posting is key to growing your Instagram outreach. The study found that accounts that posted more frequently saw a significant increase in engagement and followers.
Share Meaningful Captions
The caption is your chance to be personable and connect with your audience. A good caption can drive engagement and build relationships.
As an agency, we try to use our Instagram to put a face on our business. The caption is our way of personalizing our content and sharing who we are behind the monitor.
A simple pun or question won’t drive engagement like it used to. Captions can be up to 2,200 characters long, and this space should be utilized. The amount of time that users spend on your post affects how it performs in Instagram’s algorithm, so writing an engaging and long caption will encourage users to spend more time on your post.
Create A Hashtag Strategy
Hashtags help organize content so the right posts are delivered to the right users. Using hashtags in your posts will help make sure that your post is seen by the people that want to see it.
Hashtags are a great way to reach people who aren’t directly connected with you. For businesses, this means that you can reach new customers that are looking for information about your industry. If you can answer their question or impress the user, they will be more inclined to buy your product or service.
Conduct research on the highest-performing hashtags, then include those in your posts for the greatest chance of being featured on the Search & Explore page.
A good strategy is to use different hashtags in every post so that your posts don’t appear “spammy”. According to Alex Tooby, you should avoid hashtags that have been used over a million times. Using these hashtags may help you receive more likes, but they won’t help you to grow an engaged and targeted audience.
Using specific hashtags will allow you to compete in a smaller pool, therefore giving you a greater chance of exposure.
In 2018, Instagram introduced a new feature that allows users to follow a hashtag. This gives you the ability to see the content you’re interested in from different accounts that you may not follow.
You can also add clickable hashtags to your Instagram bios and stories. When you add a hashtag to an Instagram story, it becomes available on the Search & Explore page, which means that anyone that searches for that hashtag will be able to view your story.
500 million people watch Instagram Stories every day, so regular posting can earn you more followers and engagement.
Instagram stories can be featured on the Explore page, giving you an even greater chance of being discovered by people outside of your network.
Within Instagram stories, you can choose to place stickers on your photos or videos. Users can view stories associated with these stickers, so you can watch any recent stories that were published using a geolocation or hashtag.
Geotags: Geotagging lets your followers know the location you’re posting from. It allows people looking for content from a particular place to find your post. Your location can be broad or specific. You can choose to pin your location in a city or at a specific establishment. Geotagging can also boost your engagement. Simply Measured discovered that posts with locations received 79% more engagement than those without.
When adding your location, Instagram will populate suggestions based on your GPS location, but you can also search for certain locations as well.
Hashtags: Hashtags serve a similar function in Stories as they do elsewhere on Instagram. Users can click on a hashtag sticker to visit the hashtag page and explore related posts.
The swipe-up feature within stories acts as a call-to-action. Users can swipe upwards on a video or photo and be directed to a link set by the creator.
Be social on social media.
The best way to grow your engagement is to respond to comments on your posts and leave genuine comments on others’.
Gary Vaynerchuk, the co-founder of VaynerMedia, developed a process for growing your audience on Instagram that he calls the $1.80 strategy. The idea is to create micro-connections that gradually accumulate into an engaged community.
The strategy doesn’t require any money to implement, just a little bit of time every day.
Once a day, you’ll:
- Search 10 relevant hashtags
- Identify the top 9 posts for each hashtag
- Leave a meaningful comment (your two cents)
This will help to create an engagement custom audience, a target made up of users that have engaged with your content.
Targeting ads toward this engaged audience will result in lower costs than if you were to target cold traffic.
Promote On Other Platforms
Cross-promoting your content on other channels is another way to lead your existing followers to your Instagram content.
If you have a lot of traffic to your website, you can integrate your Instagram feed into your website design.
Collaboration is a powerful tool for businesses.
Teaming up with like-minded or complementary businesses for a co-marketing campaign will introduce your feed to a new and engaged audience.
These campaigns don’t have to cost a lot of money, either. What matters is that your partnership is mutually beneficial to both businesses and audiences.
If you’re looking to grow your Instagram presence, let’s chat about what we can do for you.