So, your Instagram isn’t working as you want it to. Perhaps your account isn’t growing at the rate you want it to. Or maybe your audience has stopped engaging with you. Or maybe you’re just out of ideas for content – and all your images and videos become interchangeable.
If that’s the case, there’s no need to panic – it happens; growth stagnates, there aren’t as many people following you, or as many engaging with you. And there’s plenty that you can do to improve on that – just stop for a second, take a breath, and revisit your Instagram strategy.
Hashtags are the bread and butter of Instagram; they can help you reach large amounts of people, as well as to get more followers and more engagement.
But, are you using them the right way.
Here’s what you need to know about Instagram hashtags:
In order to reach as many people as possible, make use of your hashtag allowance of 30 per post; use at least 10 per post, but preferably try to get that number up
In a recent test conducted by the Social Media Lab to see whether they could get 100 new Instagram followers in 24 hours, they used hashtags that had between 30k-50k images per hashtag. The idea behind this thinking is that this way, you stand a better chance of getting your image in a hashtags’ top nine – which then impacts your reach.
The test lead to an increase of 354 new followers (a 56.28% increase for that account) in two weeks, by the way – so even though they didn’t get the results promised in the beginning, that increase is still worth it, especially considering they didn’t have to pay for ads or followers. You’ll be able to easily see how many images there are per hashtag when you search for hashtags on Instagram.
Social media marketers often recommend you post your hashtags in a comment, rather than in the image’s caption. Neil Patel too recommends this – and the reason why is, it won’t clutter your update or its caption, while still making sure your post reaches as many people as possible.
Create a Daily Content Mix
One of the reasons why your Instagram success would be stagnating could be the content you post – either you’re not posting enough, or it’s not good enough (relevant to your audience, or engaging), or maybe you’re not diversifying enough.
Instead of going with the flow every time you post a new image or video to your Instagram account, spend some time creating a content strategy ahead of time.
This way, you’ll always be prepared with content, and best of all, you can assure you’re providing a good, diverse, and engaging mix of content every day.
First of all, how many update are you posting per day? Most digital marketers and Instagram experts recommend:
- 1-2 photos per day
- 1 live video
- 5+ Instagram Stories
Ideally, you should diversify your content as much as possible, to include:
- Behind the scenes photos/videos: From around the office (or your home office, if you work from home)
- Behind the scenes photos/videos from outside the office: Post something when you’re out with your team on getaways, team building trips, and so on
- Photos and videos: From the industry events you’re participating in
- Cute pets: Any cute dogs around the office? Personal pets? Instagram users love images and videos of cute animals, so they can get you more reach and more engagement
- Food: Food is up there with cute pets as one of the best-performing types of content on Instagram; take pics of business lunches and dinners, or just your own – if the food looks amazing, it’s worth sharing with your audience
- Your products and services: Behind the scenes looks at upcoming products, photos, videos of your employees hard at work, and photos of your products being used
- Motivational and inspirational quotes: Just pop an interesting quote over an eye-catching image and post it
- Industry news and stats: Like with quotes before, take any interesting news or stats from your particular industry, post them on an image, and share with your audience
There are so many opportunities for taking good pictures and videos throughout your day – just keep your eyes open and take a picture of anything worth posting on your Instagram.
And don’t forget to diversify; don’t post the same things over and over again – you’ll just bore your audience.
Partner up with Other Users
Like with Facebook Pages, you can partner up with other Instagram accounts to cross-promote your content – and reach a larger audience. Plus, it will help build up your authority if your “partner” is influential on Instagram, and not to mention, with more reach, there usually is an increase in Instagram engagement, traffic, and all the other good stuff as well.
The best way to go about partnering up is to start by building a relationship with them first. To find accounts, you can use hashtags; simply search for relevant hashtags that you use as well, and see who the top sharers are in their categories. If you only operate in certain areas, then use location search to find relevant users in your area.
Once you’ve found a few accounts, start engaging with them – like and comment on their updates, join the same conversations, mention them on your blog, and so on. This is particularly important if you’re going for accounts that have a bigger audience than you do; otherwise, you can even reach out directly to ask if they would be interested in partnering up with you to cross-promote each other’s content.
The issue here is, that you need to offer them some value in return; when audiences are similar, this is much easier to do, as usually, it’s enough to swap updates to promote for each other.
To Sum Up…
If you leave things to chance – and just take things as they come – it will be difficult to get the results you want.
Spend some time instead to put together a growth strategy; not only will it help you get more results, quicker, but it will also make your job easier as you’ll be more organized:
The hashtags you use as a business on Instagram are usually the same few dozens, used over and over again. Consider the categories you want to post in (pets, industry news, behind the scenes, food, and so on) and research hashtags. For each category, find as many targeted hashtags as you can and pop them in your spreadsheet. This way, you can just copy and paste them in your posts and rest assured you have good hashtags to use.
Follow Targeted Users
In order to speed up your Instagram growth and get more (real) followers, you can follow targeted users. Find some of your top competitors that have a decent following – and most importantly, an engaged following – and start following them. You can follow up to 50 users per hour, as per Instagram’s regulations – so, don’t overdo it
Make Sure You’re Posting New Content Daily
As before, make sure you have a good mix of content to post every day on your Instagram profile
Be an Active User
Always respond to any comments you get on your updates, but also engage with other users on a daily basis, by liking and commenting on updates and participating in conversations.
What are some of your biggest struggles with Instagram?
About the Author
Highly regarded on the world speaker circuit, Lilach Bullock has graced Forbes and Number 10 Downing Street. She’s a hugely connected and highly influential entrepreneur. She is listed in Forbes as one of the top 20 women social media power influencers and was crowned the Social Influencer of Europe by Oracle. She is listed as the number one Influencer in the UK by Career Experts and is a recipient for a Global Women Champions Award for her outstanding contribution and leadership in business.