If there’s one thing we know about social media, it’s that it never sits still. Sometimes it feels like hardly a week goes by without one of the platforms announcing a new feature or update. And I know it can be hard to keep up.
Instagram, for example, recently revealed lots of interesting information about how its algorithms work and where it plans to focus its attention in the future (Hint: it’s all about video).
So, in this blog, I’m going to share my top tips on how you can use this info to up your game and get seen by more people.
Let’s get started.
1. Engage with other accounts
In a recent blog, Adam Mosseri – the Head of Instagram – told us one of the main factors in deciding what to show app users was whether accounts interacted with each other.
Why does this matter? Because it drives home how important it is for you to actively comment on your ideal customers’ accounts – and not just respond to comments on your own content.
When you take the time to comment, like or share someone else’s post, you not only build a relationship with that person, but you’re also sending a strong signal to the algorithm to show them your content.
2. Give video a go
We’ve seen for a while that Reels is where the reach is happening on Instagram right now. So it was no surprise when the platform announced it plans to push video content in the coming months.
If you’re currently only posting static images to the grid, you should definitely think about giving some of the platform’s video features a try. There’s no need to go crazy and do everything at once.
Start by adding one new thing – try creating a Reel or going live – and building up. Test, and see what works for you.
Don’t forget that each piece of video content can be shared to other places on the platform. This is known as the ‘The Full Circle Effect’ and can improve your reach on the platform.
Stories, IGTV, Reels and Lives can all be shared to your grid posts, Lives can be saved to IGTV and everything can be shared to Stories.
Be strategic about your content plan to get the most out of it.
3. Post consistently
Consistency is everything on Instagram. Not only will your followers come to expect content from you, but the algorithm will be able to work out your posting pattern – and that will help it show your content to more people.
It not only means your followers learn to expect content from you, it also helps the algorithm to work out your posting pattern so it can show your content to more people. You can help it do this by posting roughly the same type of content (e.g. grid posts or Reels) at around the same time on the same day of each week. So, for example, you might post to your feed every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and do an IG Live every Tuesday night.
As well as ‘training’ the algorithm, having a posting pattern that you stick to means you can be more organised with your content. Using a scheduler can help too. I use Later or you could use the free Facebook Creator Studio where you can create and schedule posts and Stories.
4. Post relevant content and hashtags
When Instagram is choosing what to show people, another important factor is the actual content itself. The platform is looking at whether the subject is popular – are people watching, liking, commenting on and sharing it? Have they interacted with similar content before?
To get seen by the right people, you need to make sure your content is talking to your ideal clients or customers and that the things you’re posting are relevant to them.
Hashtags are important too. As well as using them to be found by new audiences, they help the algorithm build a picture of who you are. This helps Instagram push your content to the right people.
For the best results, follow these tips:
- Use three of the same hashtags in every grid post – they should tell the algorithm about your industry or niche
- Make the remaining hashtags highly relevant to your post
- Do your research and use a mix of big (up to 1m uses) and small (no less than 1k) hashtags
5. Encourage people to save, like and share
Instagram gives users lots of opportunities to tailor their own experience on the platform. As a business owner, you can use this to your advantage. You can, for example, remind followers to be notified when you post (using the bell in the top right-hand corner). Or you can ask them to add you to their ‘close friends’ list. When they do this, your content will be prioritised in their feed and Stories.
You should also be creating content, which is designed to be saved or shared, and including a strong ‘save this post’ or ‘share with someone who needs to see this’ call to action in your captions.