Instagram isn’t just for food porn and pretty pictures; it’s for brands that want to engage with their audiences. That’s because Instagram is the number one performing social media platform for engagement! And since more than 800 million people use Instagram every month—logging an average of 15 minutes per day—you have a huge opportunity to connect with customers through this free medium. Whether you’re new to Instagram marketing or want to freshen up on your skills, here are the top six tips to run an even more successful Instagram business account in 2018.
1. Research Your Hashtags
Hashtags are your way out of obscurity and into a wide variety of interest groups and newsfeeds. However, choosing your hashtags shouldn’t be a guessing game. Every hashtag you use (different ones for each post to appease the Instagram algorithm) should be carefully researched. This takes time! Albeit, this is time well spent.
To get started, you can either spy on your competition and write down some of the hashtags they use, or you can start typing hashtags into the search bar and go from there. It might seem enticing to pick hashtags that have millions of mentions, but unless you have thousands of followers and likes, you won’t rank for those super popular hashtags. Instead, use hashtags that are in your league. For instance, if you’re searching #contentmarketing like we did above, click on a hashtag like #contentmarketing tips that has far fewer uses and then investigate posts that rank for that hashtag. Look for how many likes these posts get on average. If you can compete, then that hashtag is right for you!
2. Use all 30 Hashtags—No More, No Less!
You’re allowed to use 30 hashtags in your posts—that includes whether you put them in the caption or buried within comments. Any more and you’ll render all of your hashtags null and void (Instagram’s way of cracking down on people who play it fast and loose) and any less and you’ll be forgoing an opportunity to show up in feeds! Some research indicates that posts with 11 hashtags had the same engagement as those with 30. However, with some top quality hashtag research, every single one of your hashtags should pull its own weight and get you better engagement and visibility.
3. Switch to a Business Profile
If you’re a business on Instagram, make a bonafide business profile! Instagram wants you to do this because it makes it easier to promote your page and help users find you. It also connects to your business Facebook page and gives you data insights through your profile and the ability to optimize, advertise, and more. Simply follow the prompts to set up your free Business profile and continue posting as usual.
4. Optimize Your Profile
Your business profile should be optimized like every other aspect of your brand’s digital presence. The best way to do this is by making your name different than your username. For instance, our username is @wittykittydigital, but when you click on our profile you’ll see Content Marketing Social Media as our name. That’s because this helps people who are searching for content and social media marketing find us easier. You should also include some keywords (and test them) in your profile as well. Forget full sentences, bullet points work just fine.
5. Perfect your Images and Videos
Instagram is all about visuals. Make yours original and top notch! Use free editing software like Canva to add text and a designed flare to your posts. Download a few photo editing apps for super professional photos. Or, post as is and use filters to give your photos the Instagram look. Just don’t use stock images or images you don’t own. People go to Instagram for the original visual content—don’t let them down!
6. Split 50/50 Between Posts and Stories
The stories feature of Instagram shouldn’t be ignored—close to 200 million users have adopted this feature since it went live! While these stories aren’t permanent and will disappear after 24 hours, they offer your audience something limited, fun, and fresh. Plus, you can post as much as you want to your daily story without getting “unfollows” due to flooding feeds. Look at your regular Instagram feed for permanent content you want to rank for. Just use both to cover your bases and be part of your target user’s entire Instagram experience!
Are you a nonprofit looking to up your Instagram game? Read more tips for better success this year.