With 1 billion overall users and 500 million daily users, Instagram’s popularity and reach makes it an essential marketing tool for showcasing your business and engaging with your audience. If you’ve just started using Instagram and are looking for ways to increase awareness of your brand and grow your followers, then check out these 5 hacks.
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1) Keep it consistent
Like all social media platforms, you’ll only see the benefits of using Instagram if you’re consistent in your efforts. You don’t need to dedicate huge chunks of time and energy, but by following these few Instagram ‘rules’ you can raise your profile markedly:
- Post regularly
- Keep images consistent
- Use relevant hashtags
- Be aware of hot posting times (6am – 10am & 4pm – 8pm)
- Create an aesthetic and stick to it.
2) Use dedicated #hashtags
If your photos only receive half a dozen likes, then you’re probably not using enough hashtags and the right ones. Instagram allows you to add up to 30 hashtags to each photo (over 30 and the photo won’t post).
The more hashtags you use, the more impressions your post will have and the higher the chance of engagement and new followers. As a general rule of thumb you should be using 11 or more hashtags to be discovered, and around 20 if you really want to get a more impressions.
Posting with a consistent list of #hashtags, as well as creating your own specific brand #hashtag, is a good way to get your posts seen by your target audience and attract new customers. Some #hashtag tips are:
- Research the #hashtags your competition uses
- Tap a #hashtag to see photos that have used that tag, and access related tags
- Start writing a #hashtag when posting and Instagram will suggest popular tags
- Use a #hashtag app for discovering trending tags.
If you’re only using a personal account on Instagram it’s advisable to switch to Instagram business. It doesn’t cost anything to do this and it will give you much more functionality. You’ll be able to view insights about your posts, followers (gender, age range, location) and their popular viewing times.
3) Ask customers to #hashtag
If you’re a small businesses selling a specific product, a natural way to build followers is to encourage customers (by including a leaflet or card with purchase) to share a photo of your product being used on their personal account and #hashtag your company in the post.
You could create more engagement by regularly posting the best photos that use your company #hashtag on your Facebook page, or even have a monthly prize for the best photo of the month. Most people love using Instagram because it’s fun and creative, and if there’s a chance they could be singled out for a great photo and win something they’ll happily comply.
4) Show application & results
A good way for a business to engage with their customers on Instagram is to post actionable content of how they can use it their own life. Rather than just a photo of the product, show it being used in a certain way. Like if you sell yogurt, you could post photos of it being used in a variety of recipes; for smoothies, in a breakfast cereal, as a dessert topping etc. Likewise if you’re a fashion business, post an #OOTD (outfit of the day) that uses a certain clothing item.
Another popular kind of post is the ‘before and after’ photo, the end result of having used a product or service. This could be how different people look from using a certain makeup product, having their hair styled for wedding/special occasion or having had plastic surgery. Before and after photos can work well for home renovation experts, interior decorators, landscape gardeners, anything that has an aesthetically pleasing outcome.
5) Engage and interact
Engagement and interaction is key for building engagement and growing your following, as is constantly monitoring comments and likes. Get involved by thanking someone for using your hashtag or a photo of your product being used. Instagram is about people and is used by people, so by responding and engaging you show your business has a human side.
Matt Ramage has been marketing websites for over 20 years. He loves helping businesses improve their user experience and searchability on the Internet. Matt now heads Emarketed which is located in Los Angeles, California. They specialize in SEO, social media marketing and web development.