Instagram is a powerful, visual marketing channel for your business on the Internet. With over 1 billion users, it’s one of the most popular social media tools for reaching a new audience and increasing your brand awareness. Instagram allows your Internet business to market your products or services to targeted and engaged audiences at a lower cost than many traditional forms of paid advertising.
Like any social media channel, there are Instagram best practices that you should follow to grow your following. In this post, we’ll discuss tips to help you optimize your Instagram presence and gain new, engaged Instagram followers for your business on the Internet over time.
1. Add value with your content
Since Instagram is a visual platform, it’s important to invest time in producing high-quality content. Instagram has the highest engagement rate compared to all other social media platforms. To keep existing followers and gain new followers, you should make sure that you are creating and posting content that creates value for them and encourages them to engage with your business.
It’s important to note that you do not need to only post promotional images of your product or service to spread brand awareness and increase sales. For your long-term success, you need to add value to Instagram’s community, rather than using the platform for advertising purposes only.
2. Use the right hashtags
Using hashtags in your Instagram posts is an effective way to expand your audience. A hashtag is a combination of letters or words preceded by the # symbol (e.g., #SmallBusiness) that are used to categorize Instagram posts and make them more discoverable. When you use a hashtag in an Instagram post, your post will appear when someone searches for that hashtag. Instagram users can also follow hashtags. This means that your hashtagged post would appear in a user’s feed, even if they don’t follow your Instagram account (yet).
It’s important to use hashtags that are relevant to your specific business and are being searched for on Instagram. To find relevant hashtags for your small business, you can use free online tools like IconoSquare or Webstagram. These tools also offer analytics so you can track the performance of the hashtags that you use across your posts.
3. Use geotags to boost local discovery
You can also tag your location to make your Instagram posts more discoverable. You can either tag the city that you’re in or the specific venue where your photo or video was taken. Like hashtags, when someone searches for that specific location, your post will appear in their results. You can also tag your location when posting an Instagram Story to reach an even larger audience.
To get the most value out of geotags, you should post regularly to these feeds and engage with posts from prospective customers who are also using these feeds and in your area.
4. Consider influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is an increasingly popular marketing strategy that has proven to be extremely effective for businesses of all sizes. It involves partnering with individuals who have a strong and engaged Instagram following (such as thought leaders, industry experts, or local celebrities) to promote your brand. Influencers not only create content around your brand, but they distribute this content on their Instagram so you can reach a larger audience.
According to a recent Nielson report, influencers’ content generates 11 times the ROI of the average traditional digital campaign. If you’re interested in learning more about influencer marketing and how this can improve your Instagram reach, check out our post, How to Find Social Media Influencers to Promote Your Small Business.
5. Offer a giveaway
Encouraging your followers to share your content is a great way to reach new audiences. One way they can share your content is through tagging their friends in your posts’ comments. Not only do these comments improve to your content’s engagement, making it favorable to the Instagram algorithm, but these comments also serve as referrals, bringing in new Instagram users who you could potentially win over as followers.
To encourage your audience to tag their friends in your posts, you could run a giveaway contest. For example, you could give your followers the chance to win a $100 gift card to your business if they tag a friend in your post. This type of contest will help you reach new users that may be interested in your product or service.
6. Monitor follower growth closely over time
It’s important to set up an Instagram Business Profile for your company. By setting up a business profile, you’ll gain access to Instagram’s Analytics dashboard which provides valuable insights on your overall Instagram performance.
This dashboard shows your profile views, post reach, top performance posts, and comprehensive audience insights, including the location of your followers. You can see how many people are checking out your profile, how many people your posts have reached, what your top posts are, and where most of your followers are from. This data provides great insights into areas of improvement.
When you're ready to create an Internet business profile, follow these easy steps that Instagram provides.
Marketing on Instagram can seem daunting, particularly if you’ve never used the platform for business purposes. However, by following these simple tips, you’ll be on track to optimize your Instagram marketing and grow your follower base.