Instagram is a constantly-growing social network that can be used by brands with visual-driven initiatives and those without alike. This means that brands must work doubly hard to be creative and relevant to an audience consuming content at a very fast rate, in order to remain relevant and memorable to them. Having a sound strategy can help you to reach these goals faster, especially if you already have your Instagram account going but are out of ideas for managing it. This article gives you five tips to propel your business to the next level.
Research your hashtags
This seems like a traditional SEO tactic, but it’s still important. Even though Instagram doesn’t work like your average search engine, it does possess search functionality, and hashtags are the most searched-for phrases on Instagram. Essentially, hashtags are keywords that have the ‘#’ sign before them. You’ll want to choose relevant hashtags, but also those that receive highest search volume for maximum post discoverability. The best thing about hashtags is that you can place as many of them as you want after your post, although you also want to keep them few enough to avoid diluting your message. Hashtagsare also advantageous in that you don’t have to worry about placing them naturally like keywords in regular web content.
Unlike SEO where you have Google Keyword Planner for keyword research, you have no such tool to help you with you hashtag research. It’s therefore important to stay active, especially within your circles so that in time, you’ll be able to identify trending hashtags that haven’t been overused. You can start by searching for the few keywords you have and see what other keywords people using them are also using.
You can also use Websta, which lists the top 100 Instagramhashtags and find out whether there are any relevant ones for you. Websta is great because it also allows you to filter by location, so you can find keywords that people around you are using most – crucial for businesses that thrive on local marketing.
Remember that you can also create your own custom hashtags, but you have to be a big-enough brand to get a keyword trending. Still, you can increase popularity by running a contest, where people have to use a particular hashtag to sign up.
Contests are the hottest marketing tool for social media; in fact, you may have already tried it. Running a contest and offering prizes can go a long way in building a buzz around your profile and products, and create results that are well worth the effort and money spent on setting it up. You can leverage giveaways to acquire more Instagram likes and followers, creating an audience who you can reach out to with other relevant information. A single giveaway could actually get you thousands of followers – it’s that effective.
There are many ways to create social media contests, but for Instagram, you have to remember exactly how the platform works. Being an image and video-based platform, you could ask users to share videos and images with specific hashtags to place themselves in the running for your contest. For instance, a restaurant could ask for selfies of customers dining at the restaurant to win free dining experiences. You couldalsoask them to post photos of creative uses for a specific product, and the most creative one wins. Whatever you do, ensure you market it everywhere, and then use your publicity to get your brand ahead.
Charity or non-profit partnerships pay
Be counted as one of the many who is interested in improving the community that you live in. you can do this directly by hosting a giveaway/contest that improves welfare e.g. winner nominates a charity of their choice to get certain benefits, or winner gets a scholarship etc. You can also directly contribute profits to specific charities around you or fundraise for a cause that is close to your heart. There’s so much leeway with corporate-social responsibility, and you can talk about it in your social media accounts and website. However, don’t blow your trumpet too loud or people will start thinking you did it for the publicity.
Partnering with a non-profit organization allows you both to benefit from the engagement as well as positively contributing to making society a better place. It doesn’t have to be a non-profit doing something related to your business either. Any partnership can work if it is run correctly. Ask them to share your posts while you share theirs. This works well if you have the same audience, but aren’t in direct competition.
Advertise with Instagram Business tools
For many businesses, Instagram is a platform for connecting with your audience by sharing stories embedded on photos and videos. Paid advertising is a natural step that should follow this. You can use yourInstagram account to connect with your audience, but it’s also helpful to use the business-centric features that were created just for you.
Using these features, you can track metrics on performance of specific posts including engagement, shares, insights, reach, impressions and many more. You can therefore tweak your paid campaigns in order to improve these metrics, which are found in the Campaign section of your account. Ads on Instagram can be made in three formats: Carousel, Video and Photo.
Bonus tip: Links don’t work with Instagram
No Instagram; the best you can do is to add a link back to your website on your profile. You cannot add links in comments or photo captions, so you should only use Instagram to improve brand image and increase visibility – improving SEO through promotion of your web content or link building should be left to Twitter and Facebook.
Where rubber meets the road, Instagram optimization is about learning your audience and how they engage on Instagram, which is significantly different from how they do Facebook or Twitter. If you can creatively pass your message across while abiding by Instagram rules, you should soon see your popularity rising on the platform, which will then lead to better online visibility.