There are two kinds of people in the Instagram marketing world:
- Those who know there’s been a change to Instagram’s algorithm but are in denial of the consequences for their brand
- Those who know about the algorithm changes and are FREAKING the hell out
If you’re person #1, you’re in for quite the surprise. Thanks to the new algorithm, 70% of Instagram posts are never seen. And if you’re person #2, we have good news. Instagram marketing isn’t going away anytime soon. Even though it’s more challenging to get in front of users, there are methods to this madness that can turn Instagram’s change into a triumph.
Here are five tips for your Instagram marketing strategy that will help you master the algorithm:
1. Engagement is strikingly important
Let’s address the elephant in the room – er – blog. Maybe you don’t exactly know how engagement is measured. Here’s the low-down: engagements are anything from likes, comments, video views, saves, shared posts, DM’s, and swiping between multiple photos. Based on how active your audience is, engagement will give you a good indication of how well your Instagram marketing strategy is working.
Engagement has always been a key factor in social media. However, the new algorithm really takes it to another level. Instagram now bases the configuration of your entire profile on the engagements your brand receives. To be frank, the more that people engage with your photos, the more visibility your profile will receive.
So how do you get people to engage with your posts? That’s the question of the decade.
Here are 3 Instagram marketing tactics that can improve the visibility of your profile:
1. Optimize your captions and overall messaging
Creating captions that are catchy AND straightforward is key. Longer captions get cut off, so be sure to put the most important information in the beginning. Also, be sure to ask questions—but don’t stop there. Respond to comments and keep the conversation going. Otherwise, your audience could stop engaging with your content.
2. Post when your audience is most active
Not all audiences are the same, so use tools like Squarelovin and Instagram Insights to see when your audience is most active—this way, you can post at optimal times. You may need to do a little testing to see which type of content works best at certain times, but these tools can give you a strong head start.
3. Post to Instagram Stories
Expanding your posting to another area will also increase your engagement opportunities.
According to Mediakix, 60% of Instagram’s 500 million daily active users are viewing or publishing Instagram Stories content, so this is a great space to broaden your exposure.
Stories also fall in line with the algorithm update. If someone is watching your stories regularly, Instagram will then prioritize your stories on their page—double win!
2. Consistency remains a crucial factor
Followers are more likely to convert into fans when they know what to expect from your brand. This means your Instagram marketing strategy should include a regular posting frequency and a consistent brand tone.
Post up to two times a day
Coschedule recommends posting up to two posts per day on Instagram, but no more. We recommend starting off with one post, then testing the frequency and posting times from there. Maintaining a consistent posting schedule is important because someone who anticipates you in their feed is officially a devoted follower (hooray!).
Maintain your brand tone
Finding and sticking to your brand tone is critical; your audience communicates a certain way, and your message won’t resonate unless you’re speaking their language. For example, you’re probably not going to use the word “lit” as part of your messaging to Baby Boomers, and you definitely wouldn’t say “whippersnapper” to a Gen Z-er—do you catch my drift?
More importantly, you should set a consistent tone—whether it’s on your website or your social pages—so that your audience develops familiarity and trust with your brand.
3. Authenticity is integral to Instagram marketing
Authenticity may be a redundant word in the social world, but for good reason. Social media users crave authenticity because it means the brand is approachable, inviting, and trustworthy.
Here are 2 ways you can build rapport with your Instagram audience:
- Think about the meaning of what you’re posting
- A big mistake social media marketers often make is posting just for the sake of posting. What? They want to fill gaps in their content and need something—anything—to publish. We’re not saying never do that, but really, never do that. Really think about what your post contributes to your brand and what value it’s providing for your audience.
- Create meaningful and genuine captions
- Don’t be afraid to get personal, crack a joke, or show some vulnerability. Your caption doesn’t have to be long, but it does need to make an impact.
4. Hashtags are still relevant.
Don’t let the Instagram shadowban scare you away—hashtags are still a great way to attract more followers and increase your engagement.
Instagram’s follow update makes hashtags more important than ever
Instagram recently rolled out the ability to follow specific hashtags, which means new followers can land on your posts more easily than before. In other words, your audience can use hashtags to follow conversations and trends.
For example, if your business is local to Austin and you include the hashtag #ATX in your post, anyone who follows that hashtag may see your post in their feed. This is a great opportunity for increased exposure because you don’t have to rely on users searching for a specific hashtag among thousands of other posts. Instead, you can use hashtags that are more general to your business and your content is more likely to get seen!
Optimize your hashtag strategy
There are tons of ways to incorporate hashtags into your strategy, regardless of the new updates. Make sure to do your research on trending topics, hashtag campaign types, as well as recency and quality. You can make templates to save your most commonly used hashtags with tools such as Later, but do so with caution. Using the same hashtags over and over again can get your account flagged.
5. Instagram ads are practically mandatory
Hashtags help boost your organic exposure, but investing in Instagram ads can really put you ahead of the game. Instagram’s algorithm update will cause organic reach to drop. But fear not, promoting your posts will provide a much needed boost of exposure.
It’s an important time for Instagram—demand from brands to utilize their advertising opportunities is higher than ever. What’s even more compelling is Instagram’s user growth since 2013—just check out this graph from Statista:
Instagram Stories ads will be a big player in 2018
We’ve been hearing a lot about Instagram Stories ads lately and here’s why: they’re a relatively new feature and ad costs are still low. There’s huge opportunity for brands to experiment while it’s cheap because, like all good deals, it probably won’t last long.
It’s also yet another means of increasing exposure and gaining new followers, which will be important as your algorithmic reach decreases.
Use Instagram analytics to understand your brand’s performance
As part of your Instagram marketing strategy this year, make it a point to not only use Instagram analytics, but also to understand what it all means. With the algorithm lowering organic reach and engagement, brands will really have to prioritize the quality of content and stay on top of what is and isn’t working for them.