Do it for the ‘gram

July 30, 2018

Did you really brunch on vacation if you didn’t post a picture to your Instagram stories or page? The platform that gave rise to hashtags, social influencers and the food photography craze just hit 1 billion monthly users last month (for context, Facebook has 2.196B and Snapchat has 191M).

Instagram’s massive, highly engaged user base along with new advertising, shopping and reporting capabilities (thanks, in part, to Facebook’s 2012 acquisition of Instagram) has made the platform increasingly popular with influencers and brands. However, you may have noticed it’s increasingly difficult to break through the noise and earn strong engagement these days. The dreaded algorithm changes play a big part in who and when people see your content, but there are lots of surprising tricks out there to help nudge your photo to the top of the feed. Read on to boost your ‘gram game.

Timing

Instagram only releases your photo to 10% of your followers when you press ‘share’ to your page. If the photo does well and receives strong engagement (likes and comments) in the first hour, it is released to the rest of your followers. This makes timing key. Business profiles can see what time/days followers are most active in the ‘Insights’ section, so make sure you do your research and post during peak times.

Content

Follow the lead of brands and wildly popular Instagram influencers and create a cohesive look for your page. Commitment is tough, but you should use the same filter and style for every image in order to lure in new followers. Think of your Instagram page as a portfolio or art gallery and make it beautiful and true to your brand.

Hashtags

How and when you use hashtags matters a lot more than it used to on Instagram. Although they increase reach, using them incorrectly can actually harm your post. Instagram is constantly on the lookout for spammy behavior, and over using hashtags – or using the wrong ones – can land you in shadowbanland fast. Here are a few quick tips to using hashtags responsibly:

  • Only use 5-15 relevant hashtags per post.
  • Change hashtags every time you post to reduce chance of Instagram categorizing you as a spam account.
  • Avoid banned hashtags (a hashtag that the community consistently abuses by posting inappropriate or irrelevant content). One banned hashtag will negate all other hashtags in your post comment, making your image undiscoverable under each hashtag search. Some banned hashtags might surprise you (#dogsofinstagram, #humpday, #books, #tgif)
  • Follow hashtags you frequently use to increase the likelihood that Instagram will prioritize your post and place you in the dscover page feed. To follow a hashtag relevant to your brand, search for it and then press ‘follow’ on the search feed results.
  • Choose hashtags strategically. Pick relevant hashtags that fall in the 100k-750k sweet spot. Instead of the over-saturated #dogs (over 16 million posts), choose the more curated #australianlabradoodle (327,237 posts) to increase the chances of reaching your target audience.
  • Hashtags look best when preceded by stack of periods so the hashtag block is hidden. Some theories suggest posting hashtags in the actual post comment, instead of secondary comment under the post, is the only way to end up in the discover page. Example:

“CAPTION

.

.

.

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#BPR #clientlove #publicrelations #socialmedia”

Account Engagement

Engaging with your Instagram community through liking, commenting and following can boost engagement on your own page. Just remember, comments should be at least four words for Instagram to count it as engagement and not spam. Be better than the emoji commenters. 😉

Kayla

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