Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms around, which means it’s an essential place for entrepreneurs and marketers to promote their businesses and connect with audiences. You already know the basics of Instagram: post compelling content that provokes engagement. Interact with your followers. Post at the right times. Optimize your profile. If you are ready for the next step, though, here are a few ways to not just find mediocre success on Instagram this year, but dominate it:
1) Remember your SEO strategy
Instagram is not a search engine like Google, but its search function does consider keywords the way traditional engines do—and in this case, keywords are hashtags. You have probably been tagging your material for ages, but have you been using the right hashtags, and the right amount? While you may think including dozens of tags might make your content more visible, it can seem spammy, so sticking to between 8 and 12 is typically agreed as an effective number.
Conduct research to determine which hashtags are the best to use. Some hashtags have hundreds of millions of posts, so your material is unlikely to find its way to the top. You do not want to use underused hashtags, either, so aim for keywords that are relevant but not overdone.
Be sure to include a link in your bio and links to your Instagram profile across your other social media channels. When you connect your Instagram to your Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube accounts, you make your brand more recognizable to both users and search engines. Taking necessary steps to make your Instagram account show up amongst the top results on Google when people perform related searches can help boost your audience and show them what your business is all about.
2) Host contests
Your content should provoke engagement, but one way to almost guarantee interaction is to host a contest. Doing so provides people with an incentive to participate because you are offering a prize at the end. It might be a simple contest—such as “like to win” raffles—or it might be more complicated, such as asking for followers to create or share something. User-generated content is an effective way of showing potential followers what your current ones think of you, and re-sharing it (with their permission) lets participants know that you appreciate their work and that you are, indeed, paying attention.
3) Explore video more thoroughly
Never underestimate the power of video. If you are already producing enticing and informative video content, then good for you—but how are you sharing it? Instagram offers different video formats, such as posting directly to your feed, uploading an Instagram story, or hosting a live video. Different formats are useful for different content, so decide what you want to share and how it’s most appropriate to share it. It might be an interview with a thought leader in your field, a how-to guide, a behind-the-scenes look, or something else—but while still images are essential on Instagram, video is too.
To make your videos more accessible, include subtitles and closed captions. Doing so enables people without hearing or with hearing impairments to enjoy your content. Many people also browse Instagram in public places without sound on, so reducing the need for audio will increase the number of people who will watch your videos and lengthen their average view times.
4) Spend energy on community building
Between interacting with followers, connecting with influencers, liking and commenting on other users’ posts, and other efforts necessary for attracting attention, building an Instagram audience can be exhausting. While you should not give up trying to reach new followers, it’s also critical to build a community. People may come for your content, but what do they stay for? Other brands can provide them with entertainment, but you can provide people with opportunities to discuss your business’s topic with other interested individuals and acknowledge your appreciation for them.
5) Leverage Instagram ads
Instagram can be free if you want it to be, but depending on your goals, it might be worth investing in paid advertisements. Paid ads will appear to people Instagram believes most likely to find your business interesting. There are also video formats you can explore as well, such as carousel to watch consecutively, 60-second commercials, and Instagram stories you can piece together (and if you have at least 10,000 followers, you can add links).
Instagram is a complicated platform to master, but there are steps you can take to get the most out of it. How will you dominate Instagram in 2019?