Instagram, one of the most popular digital platforms, has proved to be one of the best in ensuring maximum reach to your products and ideas. You can build influence and create compelling content that is distinctly yours.
As brands and individuals are inclining more towards marketing their products and ideas through Instagram, the space has become more competitive than ever before. And it becomes crucial to have a well-planned approach towards content creation on Instagram to ensure maximum reach and visibility of your content.
Creators are actively leveraging Instagram marketing to grow online. Therefore, the demand for quality content is increasing tremendously.
This blog post is a guidebook to how you can grow your brand in this diverse and global platform.
Whether you want to build your business as an artist or independent creator or wish to use Instagram for starting an online business, this post is your go-to guide to grow your post’s reach fast.
You will develop an understanding of how the Instagram algorithm works and how you can use it to ensure maximum reach to your content.
Let’s jump right in!
1. Get to Know Your Audience Closely
The success of any Instagram post depends on how well your audience connects with it. And to do that, you must always know who your target audience is and what captures their attention.
While your Instagram followers will come from different age groups and geographies, it is always possible to find a few trends.
Try to make rough categorizations. For example, data might suggest a disproportionate number of Women above 30 in your followers’ list. Depending on the niche of your brand, you can use that data to mould your content accordingly.
The various Instagram Insights Tools available online provide you with detailed information on your followers. Going back to your insights every few days will help you in selecting the tone and the style of the content you want to share.
Always give special attention to the kind of posts fetching the most reactions. It gives you a first-hand picture of the things your audience is liking the most. Either cater to this demand or modify your posts and relate to the audience.
It is a two-way relationship.
Instagram algorithm boosts the reach of posts that are being loved by the audience and if you are getting engagement on your posts from a specific audience group, the algorithm will push your posts to that audience group even more.
Your posts bring certain types of audience to you, and the kind of audience influences your posts. Isn’t this lively relation the reason why we (and brands) love Instagram?
2. Choose Posts That Fetch the Best Response
Following point 1, the second step is to decide the kind of posts that boost your engagement the most.
There can be no direct answer to this. There is enough demand for every kind of content and you must double down on whatever your audience loves to interact with.
There are tons of Instagram inspiration resources available online that make sure you don’t run out of ideas. While some trends can be more fruitful than others at certain times, there is no correct answer to what works and what doesn’t.
Do you still not go back to the old hard-not-to-binge cat videos every once in a while? Yes, we all do.
Every week there is a new trend. It is never a bad idea to create around these latest trends. Keeping a check on other platforms is another smart way to catch the trends.
Ask yourself how often you end up binge-watching reels on a viral trend.
Catch it early and score quickly.
Posts by brands on trending concepts are more likely to go viral than other kinds of content.
Again, your audience guides what you create.
Be mindful of their tastes and always add something or other to make the posts more relatable.
3. Find Perfect Frequency for Posting
Content creation is not easy. What’s even more difficult is to decide how often to post.
It is a constant struggle to not downgrade the quality while providing sufficient quantity to stay relevant and updated.
Tailwind (a visual marketing tool) conducted a study in 2017 with over 100,000 Instagram profiles.
The research found an increase of 56% followers on the accounts which posted frequently (more than 7 posts per week). This growth is four times compared to the profiles where the frequency was substantially less (less than 1 per week).
Therefore, user activity has a direct impact on the growth of followership.
Publishing more frequently would also mean that your posts are shared more. More likes and more shares might have Instagram algorithms place your posts on top of users’ feeds, and the cycle goes on.
But, never go overboard with the quantity if quality suffers. It is better to post one good piece of content a day than five mediocre ones.
When a new user visits your page, s/he quickly skims through all your recent posts, so it is crucial to make a good impression. Use effective Instagram photo editors and video creation tools to create high quality content and post well-researched content only.
Quality is the king.
Sometimes, less is more.
4. Find the Perfect Time to Post
Factors that help you publish at the perfect time include – the time zone of your followers, the kind of content you share, and feedback from your audience.
Instagram Insights is a handy tool for those with business profiles. Instagram analytics give you great insights into your followers’ activity timing and engagement of your posts at certain timings.
User feedback can be generated through a quick survey of your followers. Short surveys can go a long way in giving valuable insights into your followers.
Go through your own posts and see for yourself which posts have got the most likes.
There is no universal strategy that works for everyone. Moreover, the Instagram algorithm is always evolving. What worked yesterday might not work today.
However, there are many pieces of research conducted that give valuable insights. Hootsuite conducted eighteen months-long research and suggested best times to post on Instagram for different niches and profiles.
Creators can utilize such studies and bring necessary changes to suit their target audience and geographies.
It is crucial to stay up to date with the analytics. The more time sensitive your content is, the more relevant it becomes.
Experiment, analyze, and apply!
5. Use a Combination of Content Types: Posts, Stories, Reels, and Going Live
Simply put, each post type has its own advantage.
If you make live videos, you will appear before all other stories in users’ feeds. On the other hand, it is easier to post stories than to go live. So, being regular with stories is important. Most brands believe that stories have helped them increase user engagement.
Reels add a whole new dimension to shareable content. Reels can go viral very quickly.
One successful reel can do wonders to your following.
Many creators are averse to posting videos for various reasons. But it is important to evolve as the platform evolves. And Instagram certainly seems to favour video content nowadays. Hence, it becomes important to leverage the power of video creation apps and tools to create engaging visual content for Instagram.
Creating and sharing videos on Instagram has never been easier and more rewarding. So, go ahead with trying different forms of content and choose the one that brings you maximum reach and engagement.
6. Use Relevant & Effective Hashtags
Targeting a specific audience with your content is very crucial. Instagram hashtags are specifically used for this purpose.
Using catchy and relatable hashtags can make your post or even the hashtag itself go viral.
Unlike location tags, hashtags can be created on the go, and imagination is the only limit to your hashtags.
Hashtag generator tools can make the process very efficient and ensure that the hashtags you use are relevant and efficient.
Brand-specific tags are particularly helpful. The content will be easier to find and will increase the reach of your content.
7. Generate and Analyze Feedback from Followers
There are three main ways you can get valuable feedback for your posts-
In the Instagram app, tap on the profile photo.
Next, look for the ‘Instagram Insights’ icon. It looks like a bar chart.
Here you will find a number of tools to analyze your data.
Post wise Insights
Selecting a post and tapping on the “View Insights” option gives you data for each post individually.
It is helpful while experimenting with new kind of content
Interacting with users is often ignored but is believed to be a useful tool available to the creator.
It can be achieved in various ways.
Going live and replying to comments can be a good start. Replying to the comments on your posts encourages your users to interact with you more.
Users directly tell what analytics cannot.
Conducting a survey is perhaps the most helpful technique.
Create a short survey for the users and give some incentive to fill the survey.
Using these feedback mechanisms will help you find what is working and what’s not amongst your followers.
8. Build Collaborations and Engage with Competitors
Instagram is a fun place to work. But, like any business environment, it can become very competitive for content creators. Therefore, it is crucial to treat the space with professionalism.
A healthy competition involves identifying the competition, engaging with their content, analyzing your own strengths and weaknesses, and evolving with a long-term strategy.
Every creator must first be a consumer. It is important to be an active user. One must know all the trends, all the viral hits, and the relatively unexplored spaces.
Another effective strategy is building collaborations with influencers. A study by ifluenz showed that 79% of respondents used Instagram over other similar social media networks for influencer marketing.
Understanding and applying the influencer marketing trends will give a definitive push to your posts on Instagram. You can build collaborations even with other brands and help each other. This Instagram post promoting a blog post by Founderjar.com is a good example of brand collaborations that work.
The idea is to elevate the power of your content through distribution across different channels. Once you know the demand and the content supplied by others, you can figure out what part of demand you can cater to.
Interaction with the competition is equally important. An active engagement gives you valuable insights into the market.
Tagging other creators, colluding to post, mentioning one another are some of the options available to you that can ensure mutual benefits for both.
If working together helps improve quality, then there is no reason why it won’t make your content reach more people.
9. Use Smart, Witty and Engaging Captions
Every kind of content should have layers to it.
Instagram is not just a photo-sharing platform anymore. It is developing constantly and has become a market leader when it comes to offering new kinds of content.
While there is nothing wrong with sharing a simple photo with no caption, there is always a scope for adding layers. Including captions does the trick for you.
One can share their views or give the reason behind any post. Instagram’s algorithm surely seems to favor posts that can hold the attention of the audience with their captions. Always make sure to use grammar check before posting.
The user feels more engaged and is more likely to interact with the creator if the caption is captivating enough. Every post becomes more engaging while giving the creator valuable insights into the demand patterns.
The length of captions has gone up significantly. Simple tricks like adding space in captions can go a long way in making the caption look attractive.
The trend is given a boost by big business profiles and it is becoming usual to see long paragraphs of content with posts.
Users are much more likely to comment if the caption prompts them to do so.
This example of a post by Dictionary.com on Instagram illustrates the point.
Caption prompts the users to use the given word and reply with a comment. Using such tactics would result in increased user engagement and positive feedback from your audience.
10. Decide How Much Risk You Can Afford: Controversial Posts and Their Effects
There are certain topics that will always attract attention. However, attention does not always mean positive attention.
One must be careful while dealing with controversial issues.
Almost every day you will find certain creators going viral owing to their content on controversial matters.
Taking sides has its pros and cons. While some creators go hard on the numbers and market while making strong business decisions, others share their personal opinions ignoring the market sentiments. Yet others choose to be politically neutral.
The decision must be based on the ends the creator wants to achieve.
Either way, it is a fact that controversial topics can make profiles viral. Going too hands on with this is never advisable as you can get banned too while going too risky with the topics.
The right strategy is to always take a stance on the issues your audience cares about without being too biased on either side.
11. Engage with Your Potential Followers Through Attractive Contests
Many users are looking to grow their following on Instagram. As your page grows, it can be used as a platform by others to gain more followers.
It is worthwhile to consider organizing contests on your page. However, unlike other content types, creating contests can take a bigger investment with regards to time, or sometimes monetary investment in the form of giveaways.
An added advantage is that you can use contests to advertise or sell your products to the users directly. Contests are specifically beneficial for eCommerce brands. Along with selling your products on ecommerce platforms, you can provide them as a giveaway through regular contests on Instagram which can boost your sales.
There is a whole variety of contest ideas available. They start from the very basic ‘Like and Win’ contests. Then there can be contests where you try to make your hashtag go viral.
Incentives usually work, and good incentives can make users take part in contests, even when they might demand more time from them. Contests require advertising as well. Creating banners and sharing information on other platforms are an easy way to make your contests become popular and attract maximum participation.
It is important to plan well, follow through and follow up after the contest ends. It is a commitment that the creator takes, and requires some dedication to complete.
12. Experiment with Save-Able Content
Instagram provides its users the option of saving a post. The Instagram algorithm rewards posts that are being saved by a number of users.
It works in your favor if users have saved your posts on their Instagram.
Your audience is likely to save the content which they would like to revisit in the future. Cool guides like Bucket list ideas are usually saved instantly by users. Similarly, customized mind maps are a hit among more business oriented and professional users.
Another example would be inspirational posts, which usually have a high saving ratio on Instagram. Inspirational quotes are especially useful if you deal in an industry related to learning and growth.
Check out how Cleverism, a career counselling agency has leveraged the power of inspirational quotes to elevate their Instagram presence.
Again, any high-quality content is more likely to be saved and shared. So, it’s a good thumb rule to go for good quality every time and aim for a save.
13. Adopt a Unique Style That Is Positive, Humorous, and Fun
Content which brings positive emotions in the users’ mind is likely to have a lasting impression on them. Pop culture references, humorous memes, and little jokes can do the trick.
Not every kind of content can be injected with humor, but whenever possible, it should be resorted to. Funny content is very shareable. Users would often share content that makes them laugh. Everyone is trying to build relations based on positivity.
Content creators can do the same and create meaningful and lasting relationships with their followers.
Adapt and Improvise: The Way Forward
Modern content creators play many roles.
The creator is a consumer first. Then, he is a planner, a researcher, and a competitor.
Managing these roles becomes easy when the content he creates is high quality and engaging.
The above guide would certainly help in growing engagement with the user-base and expanding your post’s reach.
As a creator, you must analyze your audience insights and incorporate the points given above to come up with a handy list of to-dos specific to your brand.
Try to incorporate the points mentioned in the post and see your post’s reach grow.
About the Author
Martin Luenendonk is a 3x serial entrepreneur with a deep passion in digital business models and marketing innovations.