Are you an active Instagram user? Now is the time when you have the highest chance to rock the platform by leveraging its features and taking the right smart steps.
I’m sure you’ve heard about the latest news from Facebook’s algorithm change that was announced by Mark Zuckerberg in January. Yup, that’s been already happening. Long story short, Facebook shows posts primarily from your family, friends and groups you are a member of, instead of posts published by business pages. This drastic change on the social media platform with 2.167 billion active users (as of January 2018) isn’t working for businesses to widen their reach. But no panic! There are several ways to not let Facebook ruin your social media strategy. One great solution is to start leveraging Instagram for business!
Instagram in a Nutshell
Instagram has existed since 2010 and has been owned by Facebook since 2012. It’s a social media platform that is meant for sharing only visuals with others. Anyone can register to it, just like to Facebook or Twitter. So, after you’ve created an account, you have a choice to keep it as a personal profile or you can switch it to a business profile. Either way, on your home feed, you only see posts from accounts that you follow, and others won’t see your posts on their own feed unless they follow you. However, recently it has turned out that there are other ways to make your post visible to others. If you are planning to use Instagram as a part of your social media strategy, it is recommended that you switch to a business profile. This way, you will be able to follow up on how your activities perform by using Instagram Insights and you can find out what works and what doesn’t.
Even though B2C businesses are the main winners of Instagram, B2B organizations shouldn’t be afraid either to grow their exposure there. From the platform’s 800 million active users, even your B2B posts can find the right people! In 2018, the trick is simply to understand the Instagram algorithm and take the right steps to play around on the platform.
How the Instagram Algorithm Works in 2018
In March 2016, Instagram announced the biggest change in their algorithm yet. This change was related to the news feed. Ever since then, instead of seeing posts in a chronological order, we all see them based on the relationships we have with other accounts, and the likelihood, calculated by the algorithm, that we would like the post. So, the more we interact with a user, the more that user and their posts are going to pop up first on our feed. This means that today engagement is the main keyword when it comes to Instagram. You can totally rock the platform if you know how to engage others! Engagement is shown in forms of comments, likes, saves and time spent at posts. So, how can you do that?
1) Know the Anatomy of an Insta Post
A post consists of two parts: the visual and the caption. The visual can be one or more (up to ten) photos or videos. To be engaging, it must be high quality, regardless of the form of the visual. Hint: never use any pixelated images or shaky videos because no one will spend time on watching them. The visuals can be (and are recommended to be) edited with Instagram’s built-in editing tools and ready-made filters. Hint: warm colors attract more attention on the feed while users scroll through it. Earlier, visuals’ size was limited to a square shape, but for quite a while, it has been possible to upload them in both horizontal or vertical orientations, so there’s no need for you to crop them.
Then, there’s the caption. Keep in mind that the caption is as important as the visual itself. You need to focus on being authentic with each of your posts. Utilizing storytelling to describe your piece of visual content is a powerful tool to engage your audience. You can also use emojis to grab attention. Hint: instead of adding random emojis into your text, always aim for the ones that are related in one way or another to what you want to express by the visual content. I also encourage you to ask questions, start competitions or announce giveaways in your captions! And hey, it’s perfectly okay to experiment. This way, you’ll be able to sort what works for you and what doesn’t.
2) Make Others Spend More Time at Your Post
Instagram loves when users spend plenty of time at one post. Therefore, after making sure you follow these few above-mentioned points, investing your time into creating quality posts will pay off. Your watchwords are: raise interest! First, leverage the power of storytelling so that others will want to press the “See more” button to expand your whole caption. They spend time there while they’re reading your text, don’t they? On top of that, if they get really interested in your story, they will not only double tap your post, but will leave a comment. And that’s a new opportunity for you to interact with the person who made the comment.
Secondly, vary the type of your visual content. Posting one quality piece of photo is great, but using the carousel post functionality, posting ten photos at once is even greater! And again, while people are swiping left to see more photos, they spend time at your post. As simple as that. The same applies to video posts. Videos are even better than photos since users need to spend more time to watch your maximum 60 seconds long video. If you have more videos to share, they can be published in a carousel form, too. Bingo!
3) Leverage Instagram Stories
The Stories functionality lets you upload a visual that will disappear after 24 hours. It has a bunch of cool features to explore. You can create a simple poll, add fun emojis and hashtags, show your location, mention other users, use different type modes with the colors of the rainbow, or try the “Swipe up” feature if you already have more than 10 thousand followers. Going live in your Stories is also an exciting feature and your followers will be notified that you went online. Cool, huh? The more Stories you make, the higher the chance is that your profile will pop up to others. The keyword here is experimenting.
4) Use Hashtags in a Consistent Manner
If you get only one thing right on Instagram, it should be hashtags. The main function of hashtags is to help users in content discovery, and there is an incredible amount of hashtags to choose from to help users find your content. The maximum number of hashtags in one post is 30, however, Instagram might consider you as a spammer if you add a huge amount of them under each post. Therefore, implementing a well-thought hashtag strategy is vital to increase your visibility. The keyword here is relevance. It’s not effective to keep using the same hashtags over and over again if they are not relevant to your content.
Do some research on what hashtags are related to your upcoming content and pick several different ones to be used. You might want to take a look at what hashtags your competitors are using, to get some inspiration or new angles to focus on. On the other hand, you can also make up new hashtags that haven’t existed before but keep in mind that those won’t help you much in reaching your audience, rather building your brand over time. Hint: it’s also possible to follow hashtags, so that you can monitor what other users post under a certain topic.
Instagram is a superb app for both B2C and B2B businesses. To succeed with it, you are highly dependent on the relationships you create with other users. Instagram wants you to aim for high post engagement, which is why interacting with others is crucial. Always use quality visuals and authentic captions in your posts. To play smart with the platform’s algorithm, it’s important to make users spend more time at your posts. Leverage Instagram Stories and use hashtags to widen your reach and visibility. In case you think you don’t have enough time for all these, remember that you can schedule posts in advance in order to save time. However, if you still don’t see enough benefits from these algorithm hacks, you can also test with paid advertisements.
Did you know that the Smarp employee communication platform supports sharing posts to Instagram? To widen the visibility of your employer brand, you can propose visuals to be spread around Instagram from Smarp. If you’re interested in how your employees could be the ambassadors of your brand, download the FREE guide right below or don’t hesitate to contact us!