Instagram is a great place to grow your business organically. With over 1 billion monthly active users worldwide and 140 million monthly active users in the US, your brand can gain a lot of recognition through this platform.
What’s the key to success on Instagram? It’s not the occasional post or even your beautiful photos, though both are important for a successful Instagram feed. More often than not, businesses are looking for ways to increase their number of followers and improve brand engagement. Without the engagement of your followers, you won’t see much success on Instagram.
Here are a few ways you can up your Instagram game to increase engagement and grow your business.
Use Instagram Stories
There are 500 million active daily users of Instagram stories. That’s half the platform! While 50% of users are posting stories, 70% are viewing them. Utilizing stories is a great way to reach your followers who may be missing your feed posts.
Stories are also a great way to show a different side of your brand. You can increase your brand transparency by showing the behind the scenes of your business. Maybe your feed is always very serious or clean-cut. Stories are a great way to be a little silly or more up front about the struggles you face in your business day in and day out.
Another benefit of stories is you’re able to gain insights directly from your followers. By utilizing polls and question boxes, you can gain valuable information from your followers.
Maybe you are a boutique deciding what new products to bring into your shop. You could post a photo of an item to your story and simply ask if your followers like it by posting a poll.
Are you a restaurant bringing a new item to your menu and you don’t know what to call it? Post a photo with a question box and let your followers give you suggestions!
The opportunity to gain insight from your followers through stories is almost endless.
Have a Hashtag Strategy
Did you know that posts with at least one hashtag gain 12.6% more engagement than those that aren’t using any.
If you use hashtags properly, you can see major growth in your impressions, reach and even your engagement.
If you search the internet you’ll find many different “experts” telling you how to craft your hashtag strategy. However, a good hashtag strategy comes from trial and error.
You’ll see a lot of people saying to not use all 30 tags Instagram allows, but if you use them all to your advantage, there is no problem with using all 30.
One thing to avoid when crafting a hashtag strategy is using oversaturated tags. If you have 200 followers, you’re not going to want to be using tags that have over 1 million posts per week. The point of a hashtag is to increase the amount of people who can see your posts. If you’re using tags with millions of other posts, how are you going to get found?
The same goes for posts with under 1,000 uses per month. People aren’t using this hashtag very often, which means people aren’t going to be going there to discover posts. The sweet spot is going to be between 50,000 and 500,000 posts per week.
This doesn’t mean you can’t use popular hashtags or hashtags that not many people will see, but if your goal is to expand your reach, you’ll want to use them sparingly.
Instagram Live has all of the benefits of stories and then some. Going live will help get more eyes on your business because Lives are always pushed to the front of the stories feed. Not only are they at the front, but they are highlighted which draws extra attention to you.
Another benefit of Instagram Live is that your followers will get a notification that you are going live. Any of your followers who have notifications turned on for the Instagram app will get a notification that you’ve gone live. They won’t need to opt in for your specific page notifications.
Instagram Live also causes a lot of FOMO (fear of missing out). Because it is live, although it can be later saved or screen recorded at the time, nobody knows what’s going to happen. Something extremely unexpected could happen, which is part of what draws people to live events. Everyone is seeing and experiencing the same thing as it happens.
Live content tends to keep people’s attention longer than any other sort of video content. Because they don’t want to miss out on anything, they stick around longer to see what might happen.
People also love to see authenticity from a brand. Instagram Live brings a different type of connection from the brand to the consumer. 86% of consumers will turn to a competitor of a brand they feel isn’t transparent on social media and that’s something going live can solve!
These different strategies can be extremely effective in reaching a larger audience as well as getting more engagement. Utilizing stories, properly using hashtags and going live are easy ways to grow your brand on Instagram.