Sometimes on Instagram, successful brands appear to just pop up out of nowhere. It can be confusing and frustrating. But what are they doing that you aren’t?! It is likely that they are being much more strategic, rather than just posting nice pictures as and when. Follow these steps to boost your business on Instagram quickly and efficiently.
1. Use hashtags
Hashtags are a great way to boost the exposure of your Instagram account, but they can be tricky to get the hang of.
First, you should consider what phrases you are going to use as hashtags. Generally, there are two strategies. You can opt for widely-used hashtags as more people are using & searching for them and, therefore, more people will likely stumble across your images. Alternatively, you can go for a more niche and minimally-used hashtag, meaning you’ll have fewer other images to compete with and will stand out more. However, the most important takeaway here is to always keep hashtags relevant, otherwise, you’ll come across as spammy.
Next, you should consider how many hashtags to use. Instagram allows a maximum of 30 hashtags per caption. The more, the better, right? Wrong. Studies show that engagement starts to decline once pass nine hashtags, so don’t go overboard, just stick to what’s relevant.
2. Fill out your profile
This is a really simple and easy step. Filling out your profile will provide your followers with ample information to help guide them through your sales funnel and convert to hot leads. Make sure your page has been converted to a business page and is connected to your business Facebook page (you can do this in ‘Settings’). Your bio should be clear and simple, and you can now tag other Instagram accounts or use hashtags (within the character limit). Ensure you have provided contact details, such as website, email address and phone number, so your followers can easily get hold of you.
3. Engage with potential followers
Engaging with potential followers will increase the likelihood of building your following. First, you’ve got to find people who might actually be interested in your account. To do this, search a hashtag that fits well with your niche and select a photo within the ‘Top’ photos section. These are usually images that have a high amount of engagement. Click on the likes and start following each person who engaged with this image. This will put you on the radar of those who are actively interested in that topic.
An alternate route is selecting a good image in the ‘Recent’ photos section for a specific hashtag. Go to that users’ profile and engage (like and comment) with their content. Don’t go overboard, as this will come across as spam, however, you will need to engage with more than one image otherwise your efforts will be redundant. Three is optimal (i.e. two likes and one comment). The aim of this trick is to subtly draw attention to your content, in the hopes that this user will follow you.
4. Quality over quantity
The number of times a day, and when, to post used to be important for Instagram users as your feed displayed content in chronological order. However, the social media platform has since changed their algorithms, and so images are shown based on their relevance to a person. Instagram strategies have had to adapt to accommodate this and so quality is now much more important than quantity.
Moreover, if you post ‘just for the hell of it’, you will likely find that you lose followers each time you upload something. Make sure you are posting content people actually want to look at.
5. Sell without selling
People don’t like to be sold to, especially on Instagram. If you are constantly selling to your followers, you’ll probably find you don’t get too much engagement. Instead, aim to inspire people and promote a desirable lifestyle. This will make people believe that if they buy your product/service, their life could be like this.
For example, if you’re trying to promote a swimwear range (as many do on Instagram), post pictures of people wearing them in beautiful places, having the time of their lives. This implies that, by buying this swimwear, they have a chance to have that kind of lifestyle.
6. Use influencers
Similarly to ‘selling a lifestyle, not a product’, people often purchase products that influencers use for two reasons: 1) they want the same lifestyle as the influencers, 2) they view the influencers as an expert in the niche, and so trust their judgement.
Finding good influencers to promote your products can be tricky though. Some influencers are happy to try new things, some expect the product/service for free, whilst others expect to be paid to post about it. Use a good PR agency to help, as they will have a wide range of existing contacts.