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Since its creation, Instagram has racked up over 1 billion users (yes, we said BILLION). And those users aren’t just teens and influencers. An estimated 71% of businesses are on Instagram, and we know engagement is hands-down the most important metric for being successful on this app. The more people like, comment, share, and save your content (a.k.a engagement), the more Instagram prioritizes and promotes it. More engagement = more chances to be found and seen.
So, everyone needs to use Instagram…easy enough, right? Well, the tricky part about this platform is that it keeps you on your toes. This means the strategy that you used last year isn’t the most efficient anymore.
The good news: we’re here to help! We’ve been riding the waves of social media updates and are here to tell you 5 things you need to be doing to stay (or become) relevant on Instagram.
1. Video Content Rules All
Ironically, Instagram was created to share photo content, but times are changing. Video content holds a viewer’s attention longer than an image and generates approximately 1200% more shares than text and image content combined. Instagram is experimenting with different algorithms to recommend content to users, which means creating highly engaging content is more important than ever.
In an effort to lean into the trend of short-form video entertainment, Instagram recently announced that they will be putting heavier emphasis on video content and creators in the app. The best way to grow organically on Instagram is through Reels, so if you are not already active on this part of the platform, it is best that you start soon.
Here are a few ideas for how to incorporate more video content into your Instagram strategy:
- Post brand videos on your feed
- Create an IGTV series
- Publish videos to Instagram Reels
- Utilize your stories for organic video content
*Pro Tip: Use hashtags across all avenues of your video content (including Instagram stories) to make it more discoverable by users!
2. Use Hashtags
Hashtags are one of the best ways to get discovered by new viewers. Using a hashtag gives your content greater potential to get in front of your target audience, even if they aren’t following you.
There are plenty of things to keep in mind when it comes to hashtags.
- Less isn’t always more. Instagram recommends using between 8 and 15 hashtags on each post. Though the right number of hashtags will differ between companies, so test out different strategies to determine your sweet spot.
- Use relevant hashtags. Research your audience, competitors & industry leaders to discover which hashtags people are actively searching for. Use in-app analytics or online research tools to determine what hashtags are relevant to your target audience.
- Organize hashtags. There are plenty of options for structuring your hashtags. The Social Media Examiner breaks down our favorite hashtag strategy to use here.
3. Use Link-in-Bio Tools
Gone are the days of only needing one link in your bio. While we wait for Instagram to emerge from the rock they’re under and allow clickable links in post captions, we have to fend for ourselves using link-in-bio tools (and you need to be using one).
There are plenty of options, however our favorite is solo.to. These tools allow you to create customized pages with links to anything and everything you could dream of, such as your blog, company websites, even your favorite articles. On top of making both yours and your customers’ lives easier, each linking tool comes with its own set of analytics, helping you measure clicks, traffic, sales and more.
4. Understand Your Audience (obsess over the analytics)
Audience analytics is a marketer’s bread and butter. Since all our content is created for a specific audience, it is crucial to know who they are and what they like. Before you do anything, thoroughly research your target audience- borderline stalk them on social media- and find out everything from what content they like to the times they’re most active online. This will help you develop a great initial strategy.
Notice that we didn’t say final strategy. Remember that Instagram changes a lot, and so does your audience. Continuous research on what your audience is engaging with will be your key to success.
5. Connect With Your Audience
Once you reach your target audience, it’s important to engage with them. We are currently in the “Era of Small Businesses” where consumers are pushing for supporting smaller, often local companies. Growth in support for small businesses has created an emphasis on personal connection with a brand, so it is important to think like a small business regardless of your size. Connecting with your customers at a micro level will impact your business’ scale of success.
Your audience wants to know your brand, but more importantly, they want to feel seen and heard by you. Like and respond to comments, have a conversation with viewers, give shout outs when your content is shared. These are a few simple ways to make your audience feel appreciated and will deepen their connection and loyalty to you.
Social media can be intimidating, we get it. The key to success is being actively involved on the platform and being quick to respond to updates and changes that come your way. Following these 5 tips could be the start to your viral breakthrough on Instagram.