Instagram is more popular than ever before, amassing well over a billion active users. It is also a spectacularly managed platform that has retained the charm of an intimate online speakeasy while also consistently rolling out new functions and features to appeal to businesses. When it comes to marketing on Instagram, engagement is the name of the game. If you can get people to be genuinely interested in the content you publish and be willing to show it through likes, comments, and mentions, the Instagram algorithm will treat you very favorably. This, however, is easier said than done. You must stick to some of the platform’s best practices to ensure you are getting the best returns.
A Solid Bio is a Must
The bio is a crucial piece in the Instagram puzzle and is more valuable than most people realize. You can use it to establish your brand identity front and center, to serve a call to action, or to help visitors through your marketing funnel. Here are few things you need to keep in your bio:
- A short description of your brand or a slogan that captures your voice.
- A short link that points to your website or a promotion you are running. You can use URL shortener services to assess the traffic this link generates. Further, you could use a generic URL that remains the same on Instagram, but point it to whatever you would like on your end.
- A branded hashtag that is catchy and encourages visitors to share content using it.
Stories- A Killer Feature for Marketers
Ever since their introduction to the platform, Instagram Stories have been a smash hit. They are right at the top of the page, even before the feed of posts, and they generate huge amounts of viewership and engagement from users. These ephemeral delights have become a clear priority for Instagram. They have chosen first to integrate features to encourage engagement like polls, and then to insert advertisements into Stories to make them more appealing to marketers. Another great thing about stories is that they do not take that much more effort from you. Stories are short, and no one expects the polish of a full-length movie with them. All you have to do is to make them entertaining, reflective of your brand, and appealing to your audience.
Identify a Posting Schedule and Stick to It
A great way to boost your reach on Instagram is to find an effective posting schedule. It is not uncommon to not have a schedule at all or to post content as soon as you come up with the idea or feel like it. Often you might get some success even without being methodical, purely due to the quality of your content. However, the most effective route to success is to identify the optimal time to put up new posts and the right frequency to push them out to your audience.
With a good enough sample size and perhaps even a little competition research, you will be able to identify the times when your audience is most likely to be online and come across your posts. You must remember to pick a schedule that you can stick to consistently; this also gives followers something to look forward to every week or so. Further, you should never go overboard with posting. If you have an abundance of content ready to go, it is still better to spread it evenly over an extended period rather than dump huge batches of it on your profile. This behavior could be considered spammy by the algorithm and could potentially irritate viewers enough to cause them to unsubscribe from your updates entirely. If you need to generate engagement, you can always buy Instagram likes for a small outlay.
Video Content Must Not be Neglected
Stories might be ruling the content game right now, but videos are just as important on Instagram. Video has been supported on the platform for a while, but the introduction of IGTV has put video content front and center for everybody to see. Further, several great apps like Hyperlapse and Boomerang have come up that provide an easy and intuitive way to make awesome videos for social media.
Use Hashtags the Right Way
Twitter and Instagram pioneered using hashtags to link content together under a single theme. When the feature was new, people flocked to it for novelty and visibility, and it was not uncommon to see half a page full of hashtags under every photo posted on Instagram. Unfortunately, not everyone has moved on from this, despite the algorithm not taking kindly to it. Hashtags have two primary values – to make posts discoverable and also to start movements among users who use a common hashtag to show their love for a brand or support for a cause.
When dealing with hashtags, the number one tenet is to not stuff your posts with them. A minimal, intentional approach to captions goes a long way on Instagram. By limiting yourself to only a few, more meaningful tags, you are much more likely to get organic growth and engagement. On the other hand, cramming your captions with tens of tags could be counterproductive and may also lead to your profile being blacklisted for spam. Be creative with your hashtags. According to Forbes, you must ensure they are relevant to the content of the post. However, if you feel like the content is loud enough to speak for itself, allow it to breathe and to take center stage.
As the number of brands on social media keeps growing, users are getting tired of obnoxious ads and tasteless corporate content being shoved down their throats. As a brand, you cannot derive profits and visibility without also providing value. Every decision you take on Instagram must benefit your audience, and also shows a human side of your company that allows it to stand out from the competition. By following these tips, you can build a solid presence on the platform and earn rich dividends for years to come.