1. Get on the Explore tab
Also known as the Explore page.
What is it?
Curated topics and personalized content you will adore. At least that’s what Instagram believes, based on your previous actions and engagement patterns. Wired calls it, “the most honest place on the internet.” Ah, how nice. Click on the magnifying glass to see for yourself.
Why use it?
For your brand to become more recognized. Placing high on the Explore tab can get you new followers and a steady flow of traffic.
How to get on it
It’s not completely known, but most likely, Instagram uses these criteria to place content in the Explore tab:
- Content similar to what users engaged with
- Content with high engagement
- Content from accounts similar to accounts the user already follows
How to improve your chances
- Know your audience. Like: your target customer, their interests, and who they follow. Create a persona to target your content.
- Listen closely. Tailor your content based on how your audience is engaging with theirs.
- Use hashtags. We talked about this above. Don’t skip it.
2. Post consistently
- People will know what to expect. This keeps followers engaged with a consistent, versus overwhelming, flow in their feeds.
- Establishes authority and credibility. You’ll be considered a thought leader in your industry.
- Your brand will be recognized. By consistently sharing content with your target audience. 93% of organizations depend on this.
- Engage with your audience. Which makes them come back for more. Loyal customers generate more revenue. Cheaper than acquiring new ones.
- Generate leads. Give people useful, interesting content, they’ll knock on your e-door to learn more.
3. Post at the right time, too
Which is 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday.
That’s what we do. Because our audience scrolls through Instagram during their lunch hour. Since we’re B2B, our strategy is weekday focused.
Instagram moved away from the reverse-chronological feed, but timing still matters. They explain on their blog, posts are ordered based on:
- Likelihood of their interest in your content
- One’s relationship with your brand
- Timeliness of posts (an emphasis for us)
- Timing is everything. What’s yours?
Find out by:
- Knowing your audience
- Testing different times
- Measure what works, what doesn’t. Do more of what does.
4. Run a “like-to-win” contest
Say I offered you a free flight to your next holiday destination. You only needed to post a cool photo of yourself on vacation.
Would you do it?
That’s the seductive play of an Instagram contest.
There’s a few types of these contests. We like the like-to-win one best.
It’s simple to do. Just ask users to like an Instagram photo of your brand, so they can win a prize. It’s a great way to connect with your audience and get people excited about your brand.
Set goals and metrics to see how it’s working.
- For building brand awareness, measure follower count, engagement, and website traffic
- For an annual sale, measure purchases, year-over-year engagement, and landing page traffic
5. Ask your followers to tag their friends
You can also encourage your followers to tag their friends in the comments. For example: “Tag someone you know who needs a vacation!” This can help expose your Instagram account to a larger network of people.6
6. Comment and ‘like’ posts of others
Do this and Instagram will reward you, because they care most about engagement.
When a post receives a bunch of likes and comments, Instagram sees this as quality, engaging content that more people will want to see. So then…
- Get on and scroll your feed
- Like what you like
- Write useful comments (not patronizing ones)
Participate in a social community that actually cares about each other’s posts. Not much more to say than that.
7. Share your Instagram posts on other channels
No need to keep things to yourself.
Increase your reach by sharing your posts on other social sites. But, alter them a bit versus just posting as is. So it works best for that platform and audience. For instance…
- Address your Facebook friends differently than your LinkedIn connections
- Edit your message to fit Twitter’s 280 character count limit
- For Pinterest, post just the picture
Use formats wisely, too.