Instagram has more than 1 billion active monthly users and 500 million daily users. The social giant’s rapid growth is a clear invitation for brands and businesses to jump on the social bandwagon. That being said, it’s one thing to claim that Instagram is all the rage in 2019. However, it’s much more valuable to actually use this booming social platform as a means for increasing visibility and traffic. Below we’ve listed several simple methods you can use right now to begin promoting your content organically on Instagram.
Choosing the Right Hashtags
Selecting the best hashtag sets for your Instagram post can mean the difference between appearing as a top post or sinking to the bottom of the feed with little to no chance of exposure. If hashtags are too generic like #newyear or #fashion, then your post will compete with many other Instagram posts.
Instead, use a mix of niche specific hashtags that are both contextually relevant and less competitive. This will increase the likelihood of your surfacing to other users. In addition to the type of hashtags, the number of hashtags is also critical. While Instagram allows for up to 30 a smaller set of 15 hashtags that are relevant to your post will suffice. You can also experiment with different hashtag quantities to determine which hashtag sets will yield the greatest reach. Note, if an Instagram post was discovered based on hashtag usage post insights will include hashtags as a discovery source.
Use Stories Regularly
Stories are a great way to continue building an engaged audience. Instagram’s story update which allows you to highlight content is also a simple mechanism you can use to transform those once 24 hours tidbits into longer lasting content. For example, Triberr uses highlights to showcase different features on their platform. You can also add hashtags and tag other accounts using IG stories which is another method that helps surface content.
Consistency is Key
Instagram is a visual channel, it is important to consider the composition of your images and visual consistency when posting. Having a clear visual strategy is key to standing out. A great method for creating consistency on your profile is deciding and sticking to a theme or motif. If you’re interested we’ve composed a compelling piece on themes and motifs. Be sure to check it out. However, apart from simply creating an aesthetically cohesive theme or greater importance is to create consistency within your posting schedule. Use approved tools like Hootsuite or LaterApp to create a consistent publishing schedule.
Go Live or Create Episodes on IGTV
Instagram’s Live streaming and other video features are great methods for posting relatable real-time content. It’s also a simple no-fuss way to promote your existing content. For example, @suebzimmerman is the poster child for live and relatable marketing content. The form on content promotion helps build brand awareness and also gives your audience and opportunity to connect with you on a more personal level (e.g. watching you in real life).
You can also step beyond Instagram’s real-time video features and delve into creating pillar video content. For example, Carlos Gil showcases his longform video content using IGTV. This is an excellent method for sharing longer episodic pieces your audience can quickly sink their teeth into.
Follow and Engage With Other Relevant Accounts
Look for the types of brands, media companies or people in your industry that are already using Instagram. Follow their accounts and interact with their last few posts by pressing like or leaving a comment. Marketers like Gary Vee state that simple offering valuable comment responses in your niche can help you break into the influential sphere. Following and Engaging with others in your niche will help promote your content because you are naturally building immersed in your community. It’s much more valuable to have 1k highly engaged followers than 100k nonchalant (will unfollow your tomorrow) fans.
Shoutouts from Others
Shoutout’s are a common promotional or collaboration method. A simple method to start using shoutouts are to simply ask other account holders if they are willing to exchange a mention. If you’re a photographer or content creator making your content available for reuse on the platform is also another method for organically obtaining shoutouts via crediting. If you really want to take this strategy to the next level you can begin using Influencer marketing campaigns or purchasing shoutouts from other influential accounts. Infact, many brands are already utilizing this strategy today.
For example, Nathan Chan who co-founded Foundr, was able to grow his account from 0 to 110k followers in five months by building relationships with bigger accounts and having them promote his page on theirs. He suggested that you research the popular accounts that are relevant in your field, reach out to them to see if they’re willing to do an Instagram shoutout for you.
Contests and Giveaways
Contest are powerful engagement tool on Instagram that generates 3.5 times more likes and 64 times more comments than a regular posts. Stuart McKeown, one of the co-founders of Gleam.io, says that “Instagram has the flexibility to allow you to just run your contest on your feed, the advantage of this is that it’s easy to setup and encourages participation via Instagram.”
However, the downside is that it can be quite challenging to test. Stuart suggested you use the link as your bio as a place to send your followers and them enter the contest. Once it is ready, strategically pair the contest’s promotion with Instagram ads, email blasts, website banners, social network plugs, and more. Monitoring the contest when it is up and running is also essential. Once it’s over promote the results on your social networks to create a momentum loop as well as social proof.
Final Thoughts on Promoting Your Content on Instagram
As Instagram continues to grow account holders have an interesting opportunity to leverage free and organic marketing. There is no better time to start than now. Do you have some methods you use to promote your content organically? If so, we’d love to hear about what works best for you. Feel free to leave a comment below.