At this point everyone knows that Instagram is one of the main ways to grow your business. It's also a platform that is always changing and presenting new features causing great confusion for those who wants to beat the algorithm and boost their accounts.
I've been working with social medias since 2012 (when fan pages on facebook were still much more important, remember that time?) and seen all the changes. So I can guaranteer you: Instagram is not the same and you need to keep update in order to still be relevant.
What is Instagram Algorithm?
Once upon a time Instagram used to have a chronological timeline, meaning that the most recent posts were the first ones to be showed. Today unfortunately for some, that's not how it works anymore. Instagram will show the posts and stories they believe are the most interesting ones and they decide that by an algorithm based on specific signals. Instagram pushes the most relevant posts toward the top and give them the most visibility. And probably that's why people are not seeing your posts. Because Instagram understood that they are not good. So now, how can you change that?
Let's check 7 important ways to grow your Instagram in 2021.
1. Followers vs. Likes vs. Comments
For a long time was all about followers. Who had the biggest number was definitely the most successful. But with time a lot of accounts were just collecting numbers or even buying followers (please, never do that!). The same way your business wants to sell products/services, Instagram wants to deliver meaningful content. That's when engagement started to be a lot more important. Likes to start and the most important one: comments. Instagram understands that if your audience is commenting on your posts it's because they are ACTUALLY following you and interested. Even big brands started to partner with small influencers that had small numbers but a high rate of engagement. Companies started to understand that it's better to have thousands of followers and 50% of sales than million followers and just 1% of sales.
Following the first topic, you need to actually engage with your audience. Ask questions, reply your audience's comments and DMs, use a lot those special features on Instagram Stories (emoji slider, question sticker, quiz sticker, etc). Every little interaction counts (and believe me, if you give the chance, people looove to interact!) and that's how Instagram understands that your content is relevant and starts to deliver it more and more.
It’s also important not to, only, engage with your followers and people you follow but also other Instagram users.
Comment (real comments!) on other's posts that has a similar content to yours.
Engagement is the main key for success.
3. Frequency and Timeliness
Instagram does not only pays attention on engagement but also when your content was posted. So technically chronological timeline still exists somehow. For example, once your content is rated by the algorithm as "interesting" they will deliver the latests posts to your followers. That's why is still important to have strategical time plan to post. You can start trying different times during the day to post and notice usually what time you get the best results.
If you post at a time when your followers are online and most active, you give yourself a better chance of getting even more engagement.
4. Consistently Post to Instagram Stories
A lot of users nowadays sees more (or only) the stories than the feed. It's also a great way to interact and with several cool features.
By posting to Instagram Stories more often, you have a better chance of reaching viewers as they browse their daily stories — and the more views you gain, the better your ranking will be.
If you post stories and people engage with them there are higher chances that your posts will show up on top of their feed too.
InstaStory is a very powerful and easy feature that allows you to be more personal and to really connect with your audience. Use this space to show more about your daily life, making of your work/products, get frequented asked questions and answer here.
Be smart with hashtags! With millions and millions of photos being shared is really hard to stand out from the crowd, specially using super popular hashtags. So a little tip here for hashtags AND to real-life business: niche out! the more specific you are the better. Of course you still can and should to use some of the most popular hashtags like #girl or #dog but you must prioritise specific what your post and brand is about, so even that less people are seeing your post it will be the people that actually might be interested in your content. Less is more!
Another cool tip about hashtags that many brands are using is to create your own hashtag and encouraging people to use them as well. For example #JustDoIt is a movement that everyone knows what do they stand for and creates a community sense.
6. IGTV and Instagram Reels
Sometime seems like the resources are endless! That's why social media managers became a real profession. Similar to Youtube and TikTok, IGTV and Reels respectively are just more two very efficient ways to stand out and to bring more relevancy to your profile.
And how can you give them the best chance of being seen by new and existing audiences? The trick is to give them as much of a helping hand as possible.
For IGTV videos, you can share a 1-minute preview to your Instagram feed — increasing initial exposure and providing a positive signal to the algorithm.
For Reels, always share them to your main Instagram feed, and include several hashtags to boost their discoverability.
7. Visuals and Videos
If you have the most interesting content and are using all the tricks to get good results on Instagram but still not making it, it's probably because you still doesn't look appealing to the audience. Beauty and movement is super important to stand out but also to use the right design techniques to translate messages into visuals. Have you heard that expression "a picture is worth a thousand words"? Well, but not any picture. It has to be well designed and even better if well animated. So if you are short on budget take the most advantage you can from platforms like canvas and ready templates and if you can invest in a designer that's will definitely worth the investment. After all, social medias are all about looks.
It's really important to understand how Instagram works in order to be successful at this platform, and never underestimate the power of giving a try. There are many ways to boost your account but there's definitely the best way for you! Try different approaches, times, and narratives. The most important thing is to be present.
Second but not least, besides all these hacks is also really important to have a structured brand, and content strategy and planning. But I'll leave the further details for another post!
If you need help from a professional designer and social media strategist feel free to contact me and get a free quotation: https://louisetamiazzo.com
You can also just leave a comment if you have any questions. Let's chat!