It’s no secret that Instagram is a fickle mistress.
One minute the popular visual platform seems to be giving all you ever dreamed of in terms of followers, clicks and engagement. And then the next your numbers are declining quicker than Usain Bolt on a relay track.
Thanks to the recent algorithm change (November 2019), it’s even more difficult to stand out amongst all the other creators and businesses on there.
That said, it is possible. And it is worth trying.
After all, there are currently 1 billion monthly Instagram users active on the app, which provides so many opportunities to be seen.
You just have to be prepared to work for them.
These 10 Instagram marketing tips will not only help you grow, but they will help you sustain that growth – for your profile and your business.
1. Sign Up for the Right Account
Instagram marketing tips 101: if you’re a business, sign up as a Business. Or if you’re a creator, sign up as a Creator.
Why? Well, there are several perks of switching from a Personal account.
For instance, you can have a Contact button on your profile so that users can easily communicate with you. You can create and publish ads to discover a wider audience. And you can have access to Instagram Insights, which states statistics about the reach and impressions of your posts.
This tool is imperative for determining what you’re doing right on the platform and which areas might need some improvement so that you can adjust your tactics accordingly. #Winning.
2. Use Your Feed Photos to Tell a Story
Newsflash: the most successful Instagram accounts are the ones that tell a story through their feed photos.
When I say “tell a story,” I mean that you should use your feed photos to create a particular narrative that will appeal to your target audience.
For instance, if you’re a luxury travel agency, you might want to post dreamy-looking photos of views and experiences that you can offer a high-end clientele.
Alternatively, if you’re a beauty blogger showing off your favourite makeup products that you’re an affiliate for, you could create “before” and “after” posts to demonstrate their effectiveness in everyday life.
Essentially, make your photos come to life to produce a cohesive feed that aligns with the needs of your target audience – and you will undoubtedly draw them in.
3. Publish Clean, Professional-Looking Photos
Speaking of your feed photos, every single one of them should be shot in good lighting, be high in quality and look professional.
After all, they’re representing your business – and your business needs to be taken seriously to survive and thrive.
There needs to be a key message behind every photo that you post as well as takeaways for your audience.
And try not to post for the sake of posting. Instead, follow the “less is more” rule for optimum success.
4. Optimise Your Caption With Relevant Hashtags
Full disclosure: apparently the latest Instagram algorithm now only shows your feed posts to 10% of your followers.
I know – pretty measly, right?
However, using hashtags in your captions can significantly expand your reach and help you find new audiences.
For example, fashion bloggers like myself who are trying to target other members of the community might use #fbloggers #fbloggersuk #fashionblogging and all those lovely variations.
Pro tip: If you search a specific hashtag, you can find out what other similar hashtags are trending at that particular time and incorporate them into your post too.
And always remember that Instagram has a hashtag cap of 30, so be sure to utilise this amount so you can reach the maximum number of users.
5. Utilise Geotags
A lot of Instagram users tend to forget about the good ol’ geotag, which allows you to allocate the location of your post before publication.
However, this one of the biggest mistakes you can make on the platform.
I mean, did you know that people can find your feed posts from their local area through searching for a specific geotag? No? Well, get on it then, pal.
As well as automatically improving your reach, geotags drive users to your profile, which is more likely to result in them clicking that all-important “follow” button.
6. Treat Instagram Stories as a Separate Platform
Even though Stories were originally the plan B of Instagram, they’re now considered a social media platform in their very own right.
After all, your Stories provide another opportunity to get your content seen by your preferred audience. You can also use hashtags, user tagging and geotagging in your Stories to expand your reach.
In addition, there’s a rumour going around that Instagram likes it when you use their Story features (like questions, polls and GIFs) and will bump you up in the algorithm as a reward.
Needless to say, you might want to take advantage of this!
7. Tie in Your Visuals with Your Branding
One of the best Instagram marketing tips I could give you is to make sure everything on your profile falls in line with who you are as a business, what you offer and your personal branding.
All your visuals should be consistent with the visuals of your other online platforms.
For example, as a childrenswear brand, you wouldn’t showcase colourful branding on your website and Facebook page but then start posting in black and white on Instagram. Right?
I mean, it just wouldn’t make sense.
Some creators choose to use a preset, which is the same set of edits that they apply to every photo they want to upload on the platform. These can be created using photo editing apps like VSCO, Lightroom or Snapseed.
That said, no one’s saying that you have to do this.
But it does help if you post the same style of photo to create an attractive, cohesive feed for your followers.
8. Post Frequently
Captain Obvious over here, but you’re not going to figure out how to beat the Instagram algorithm and grow your brand if you’re hardly ever posting photos.
If you think about it, the more content you’re posting (and more often) the more chance you’ve got of getting your photos “out there” and seen.
Therefore, try to post once a day if you can. Or if you can’t post daily, post every other day or at least once every few days.
Consistency is key (without compromising quality).
Don’t be like how I used to be and post every day for one week then slide off the face of the earth for a few days and rinse and repeat. In this case, your audience won’t be able to build trust with you.
And if they can’t trust with you, they’re not going to keep following you. True story.
9. Post at the Right Times
One of the top ways to stay all up in your followers’ grill is by posting during peak days and hours when they’re online.
You can find out the specific times that work for you by checking out your Instagram Insights. Then use a social media scheduler, such as Hootsuite or CoSchedule, to post at these times.
Having said that, these are generally the best times for UK-based users, according to Expert Voice:
- Monday – 11am to 5pm
- Tuesday – 5am then 9am to 6pm
- Wednesday – 5am then 9am to 6pm
- Thursday – 5am then 11am and 3pm to 4pm
- Friday – 5am then 9am to 4pm
- Saturday – 11am
- Sunday – 10am to 2pm
Personally, I find that between 8am and 9am is my optimal hour, when people are getting ready for work or commuting and checking social media.
10. Engage, Engage, Engage!
Finally, just like the age-old saying “you get out of life what you put in,” well, you also get out of Instagram what you put in.
If you’re not willing to comment and like other people’s photos, don’t expect others to do the same for you.
And while we’re on the subject, you should always reply to comments on your own photos, even if it’s just a simple “thank you.”
Sure, this could increase your chances of further followers, but it’s also just good manners!
Pro tip: Lately, I’ve been replying to every comment on my photos and then clicking on that user’s profile and commenting on their latest photo, which is giving me a good level of engagement.
Rise to the Top with These Instagram Marketing Tips
It’s no secret that businesses and creators have got the ultimate challenge on their hands right now when it comes to figuring out the minefield that is the Instagram algorithm.
However, try all or a combination of these steps to stick two fingers up at it and grow your profile slowly but surely.
And always remember that Instagram isn’t a race. It’s better to have good-quality, highly-engaged followers who have taken a while to attract than a bunch of spambots or fake followers because you’ve obtained them through the pesky follow/unfollow method.
Above all, be consistent, create intriguing posts, engage with others and stay true to your brand – and I think you’ll find that your Instagram profile will do more than fine.
Do you have any Instagram marketing tips to add? Are you following all of mine? Let me know in the comments below!