“Pics Or It Never Happened”This phrase is much more than what a Google search claims gained its internet fame from a meme way back in the dark ages of 2003.
In a modern age of Instagram marketing, “pics or it never happened” can be applied to not only how necessary it is to have a solid media presence, but also as a strong metaphor for marketing. The reality is, if you aren’t utilizing Instagram for your brand, there is a strong chance that your business may not “happen” at all.
Figuring out Instagram can sometimes be reminiscent of a High School algebra class. Complex formulas for hashtagging, captioning, what to post and when to post it dominate the internet until you feel like your head is spinning more than a 1985 hit record from Dead Or Alive.
Fortunately, we have put together this list of hacks, tips and tricks to expand your Instagram reach, boost your engagement and get your content double tapped more often than a zombie in Zombieland.
1) Community > Influence
A big mistake businesses and creators make with Instagram is operating with a selfish mindset. They focus on influence, personal gain and showcasing their product or service in an effort to chase after followers. This is a one-way ticket to low engagement because it misses what is essential and at the centre of any successful business endeavours. Value.
Like many things in business, Instagram is about relationships.
Providing your followers with genuine value, be it informative, entertainment based, educational or otherwise is paramount in dominating on Instagram.
What’s more, this doesn’t start and end with your content. Relationships and community building means putting as much effort into the content of others (in your target audience) as your own.
A great way to do this is to find the top 5 hashtags in your niche, then clicking the top 9 posts in those hashtags and commenting on each. Again, you need to focus these efforts around providing value. Don’t jump on into the comments with a “???”. Give genuine thoughts, knowledge or advice that directly responds to the specifics of each post.
2) Know Your Audience
Understanding your audience is paramount in growing your presence on Instagram and yet so often it is something that content creators don’t give the proper amount of time to research.
Start with the basics:
Who is it that your brand story speaks to?
How do they communicate (slang)?
What hashtags do they follow?
Once you have figured out their basic online habits, delve deeper into their consumer behaviour:
What time are they online?
Which of Instagram’s features do they consume the most – reels, carousel posts, stories, lives?
What other platforms do they use and do you use that platform with a link to your Instagram?
In its simplest form, this means finding out where your audience spends their time on Instagram and infiltrating that area with your value driven content communicated in a way that they will authentically resonate with.
3) Understand The Algorithm
In many ways, the Instagram algorithm is the best example of democracy we have had since those robe sporting philosophers in Ancient Greece.
Thinking about the Instagram algorithm as a democratic system is a fantastic way to understand it to leverage it for boosting your impact.
Anything you post is put in front of the eyes of those who follow you. How each person that engages with that content influences Instagram’s “decision” on how much reach the post will gain. This links directly into point 1) and 2) above.
Instagram thinks people who have previously interacted with your content will be interested in what you post. This means it decides on who sees your post based on your relationship.
This is why knowing your audience and interacting with your community is integral.
Bonus tip – Instagram favours creators that utilize all their features. So make sure you are using reels, IGTV, lives etc as well as the standard posting mediums.
4) Time Is Of The Essence
When we speak about time in regards to Instagram, we need to break it down into two separate points:
? What time should you be posting
? The amount of time people spend with your content
What time should you be posting
Now we know that the algorithm works based on your relationships and engagement it is easy to understand why you would want to post at peak user time for your audience base.
This entirely depends on your audience. If your customers are in Australia for example, you want to make sure you are posting at peak times in which Australian users are online. The best times to post for Australian engagement are 8-9pm and 7am AEST.
If your audience is multi-locational or global, you can check where your following is based using your “insights” button on your profile. Demographic information and analytics are a game-changer, and the more detailed, the better. To get more in-depth information for your analytics we recommend checking out Crowdfire.
The amount of time people spend with your content
So now we know that engagement is everything, what can we do to boost the engagement time spent with your posts?
Likes and comments are the most well-known forms of engagement. But what people often forget to take into account, and well, their account ?, is that Instagram’s aim is to keep people on the app for as much time as possible.
This means for Instagram engagement goes far beyond likes and comments. Instagram favours shares and saves because both lead to more time on their app.
Shares – because it means more users will view the post
Saves – because it means at a later date the user will re-open the app to go back to it
This means when it comes to your content strategy, you should focus on creating content focused on sharing and saving as the outcome.
Furthermore, Instagram takes into account how long people spend on your post whether they interact or not. So here are a few bonus tips on how to keep your users engaged:
- Reels – Reels are a great way to expand your audience. You have about 3 seconds to attract the interest of the watcher, so make sure you have an eye catching hook in that time frame.
- Carousels – Turning your static posts into posts that are scrollable (with a swipe) naturally leads to longer interaction with your posts as users are looking at numerous posts on one.
- Stories – Creating stories that take users on a journey as they click through keeps people engaged not only with your post but also directly with your profile.
5) Collaboration Over Competition
Collaborating with others is a fantastic way to boost your Instagram engagement. One way to do this is by having an agreement with others in your industry to support and share each other’s posts.
Another great way to collaborate is to do group lives. This gives you direct access to each other’s audience because as soon as someone joins you in a live, their followers are notified as well as yours. You can have up to 3 people join you in a live so it is a fantastic way to reach new members of an active audience already interested in your niche.
While there are several ways to boost your reach on Instagram there is no substitute for consistency. Posting regularly, staying engaged with your audience and staying on topic are the driving force behind the growth of any Instagram account.
Remember to be value-centric, build relationships and regularly post content and before you know it you’ll have a blue tick next to your username and more customers than you can count.
What tips do you have for increasing your reach on Instagram? Let us know in the comments!