With over a billion active users on Instagram, it seems more of us than ever are captivated by the tiny squares on our phones. We’re not saying you’re going to be the next Ariana Grande (currently the most followed woman at 168 million followers), but if you’re looking to boost your business profile – or just trying to up your followers on your personal account – here are some handy tips to get you going in the right direction.
Define your target market and who you wish to reach. If you decide to go down the route of posting ads, this will help you later, but in the meantime it’s important to understand who you want to talk to.
Who are your customers and what do they like? Who else do they follow? Everything you do will come back to this. Identify who is currently seeing your posts (family doesn’t count!) and build from there.
Do you want to convert your followers to attend a class or buy a product? Or just increase your engagement? Remember, REACH is the total amount of people who have seen your post. IMPRESSIONS are the amount of times your post has been seen. ENGAGEMENT is the number of interactions people have with your posts, be it likes, shares or comments.
Track these in your app and monitor them on a weekly basis. Simples.
Pick the best profile picture – something that reflects your brand or business, or who you want to be seen as. Make sure you complete all the fields Instagram has offered you, including your bio (keep it short and to the point), your website, category, contact info and a call-to-action button.
If you’re going to use Stories (you should!) use the Highlights function and ensure you’re consistent with colours, fonts and branding.
The easiest way to boost your profile and keep it on track is to build out a calendar and plan, plan, plan. Research any awareness days or national events that you could tap into.
Make sure you feature a mix of brand-building posts, relatable content, sales content and a bit about you. Track what performs well, what doesn’t – and learn from it. Only use original images or be sure to credit those you’ve reposted from others. Play with video. Post quotes. Ensure your lighting is always consistent and the feed is visually appealing as a whole.
Tone of voice is everything to a brand and there’s a lot to be said for consistency in your captions. Spell check all your posts and decide how you want to be ‘seen’ on this platform. Is this your ‘behind the scenes’, or your voice, or is it a sales tool? Either way, ensure you nail the messaging and speak to your audience in a way that excites and encourages action.
A little wit where appropriate also works wonders.
Hashtags are your friends, here. Research your market, take a look at what competitors are doing. And importantly, what do you search for? Hashtags are key for building your profile and helping new, potential followers to find you.
Build out categories and keep them somewhere safe to reuse. Use three hashtags on the post, then post another 10 in a comment underneath for maximum reach. Only ever post hashtags that are relevant to your content.
Another way to ensure optimum reach and impressions is to include a location whenever you post. Try to mix it up and post from different places. New areas = new people = new followers. The same applies to Stories.
Engage with your audience. If they comment – respond – and do so as soon as possible.
Timing is also key when posting. Plan out your calendar based on the most engaged times. These are readily available online, via Hootsuite or similar platforms. There are optimum posting times for different industries and categories. So, no posting while your audience is asleep or your post won’t be seen.
Rebecca Martin is a Journalist, Content Strategist and Digital Consultant. She can be found on Instagram at @bexonthebeach or professionally at @rlm_consulting.
When this feature was first discussed with the wider TGIOF team, we all decided that