In early 2017, Instagram introduced an algorithm into the newsfeed. This is good news for the user as you only see posts from people that you interact with, even if you are following people, you won't see their posts unless you double click or comment on their photos. But, it is not good news for the marketer. Now you need to up your game on Instagram and start encouraging people to engage with your content.
In this blog, I will explain how to gain extra exposure on Instagram, along with a checklist of daily activities that you can implement to stand out from the crowd.
#1 – Post a minimum of one photo a day
Now, this can be a bit of a challenge, especially for those that work in the business to business environment. Ideally, we recommend posting content that has been specifically created for Instagram. Try not to regurgitate images that you use on other platforms. Perhaps you are only posting photos of behind the scenes or all your Instagram posts are black and white.
A photo in the newsfeed should be creative and pleasant to the eye. You are only posting once a day (maximum three), so make sure that the image or video stands out from the crowd. If you are posting multiple times a day then I suggest that you should try the stories feature rather than posting in the newsfeed. If you are posting multiple times a day, users will skim past them in the feed and not double tap or comment.
Where do you find images?
- Download images or videos from Pixabay or Pexels and add comments or text using Wordswag.
- Use the Ripl application (they give some great ideas and motivational hashtags that work brilliantly in Instagram). Ripl was created with Instagram in mind and includes either video or still images.
- You can search in the hashtags on Instagram for your topic and then “regram” the post using a variety of applications such as Repost for Instagram or check out this article from Hubspot that gives some great ideas on reposting on Instagram. There is a rumour that Instagram will be introducing their own regram button (similar to a retweet or a share on Facebook) – that will certainly make life easier!
- Add photos of your own – which is the best scenario. Try black and white or focus shots of behind the scenes types of posts.
- Quotes of the day tend to work well, or Throw Back Thursdays.
#2 – Post at optimal times
If you are using a business profile then you can see when your audience is active. Scheduling your posts so that they are delivered to your feed at these times will give you more exposure to your network.
How do you know what is the best time to post?
If you have a business account simply tap the analytics button (chart) at the top, navigate to followers, click see more, and scroll down to the area that shows the day of the week. You can see from the mini recording below that the best time for Green Umbrella to post is at 9 pm in the evening on most days.
How do you schedule a post on Instagram?
There are many ways to schedule a post on Instagram. Most scheduling software such as HootSuite, Eclincher or Buffer will allow you to schedule a post, but it will send you a notification to say “you need to send this post to Instagram now”. We currently use software called Onlypult which is a set it and forget it software for Instagram. This software allows you to schedule a post, add a description and also your first comment. Once set, there are no notifications, it simply gets posted. For £12 a month you can add up to three Instagram accounts. We love Onlypult!
#3 – Follow a minimum of 10 people a day
If you are serious about using Instagram for your business then you will need a strategy for following and engaging with your target audience. Finding people on Instagram is fairly easy and the search bar is the place to start. You can search for hashtags, people or places that are relevant to your industry or sector. At this moment in time you can not add your followers into lists (although a recent article revealed that a list feature is soon coming to Instagram).
#4 – Respond to your audience
As with all social media accounts, it is important that your audience know that you are listening. There are numerous ways in which you can show that you are not a robot and simply posting via a scheduling system each day. Consider all of these activities every day on Instagram:-
- Always have the last word when someone comments on your posts.
- Thank those that have tagged you in a post
- Thank those that have regrammed your post
- Check your hashtag (if you have one for your business) and thank those that have mentioned it in their posts.
- Do you have a new follower? Then create a little “thanks for following” video or image and send them a direct message
- Note: please do not follow spam accounts. This may get you additional followers initially, but they will not be relevant to your target market and it is a complete waste of everyone's time. If in doubt, don't.
#5 – Post at least one story a day
A story should be exactly that, a story of your day. The trivial things that have happened in the office or on the road. A story will vanish after 24 hours, so it needs to be regular content that gives an account of what is happening in your day. A story is a great way to show the culture of your business. Whose turn is it to make the tea? Who just turned up with their new baby? Is there a wasp in the office? These are all elements of what makes your company different to your competitors. Be authentic, be you and new customers will gravitate to your business. The optimal stories per 24 hours should ideally be no more than six a day.
It's time to get creative and stand out from the crowd. What tips do you have that work well for you on Instagram? Please share in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.