With more people stuck in their homes, people have been indulging in all kinds of social media platforms. TikTok is something that has risen in tremendous popularity, now in over 150 coun-tries and 1 billion users. That said, other companies are still thriving and are still relevant as ever. Instagram being one of them.
Now since this pandemic, there have been some changes. Because more people are stuck at home, there has been a rise in spam as well as misinformation and the platform has been cracking down on them. They’ve filtered out misinformation and reduced the spread of those accounts. Furthermore, they have been dealing with bots or more specifically accounts that have shown a “pattern of potential inauthentic behaviour” by reducing those accounts individual reach.
But while these changes are implemented, people are still going to Instagram and growing their business through it. There are many ways to leverage it in the middle of a pandemic and beyond that so I’d like to share with you a simple – but in-depth – guide on growing a channel on Insta-gram.
Post Daily & Engage
You see this generic piece of advice on every guide like this but it’s still an important part of any business. You want to be posting at least once every day even if it’s a quote or a short video. And don’t just take it from me.
Tailwind studied over 100,000 Instagram profiles in 2017 to understand how frequency impacts follower and engagement rates. To no one’s surprise, the more you post, the more likes and followers you’ll get.
Now you don’t want to be too overbearing and put out post after post. As mentioned, Instagram is watching for accounts who are showing “inauthentic behaviour.” In other words, gradually post more content for a while if you’re not typically posting seven posts. If not, you could get flagged by Instagram and they will restrict your content. Even if it’s genuinely helpful and not at all spam.
On top of posting, you’ll also want to be engaging as well. This doesn’t mean spamming likes and comments but doing this on the regular here and there will put you in Instagram’s good graces. Not to mention if people are engaging with your own post, be sure to comment back to them.
Use Videos/Live Video/Stories
This feature has been around for a while now but it’s still a valuable one. People love videos and Instagram has provided a variety of means for you to provide that. First was Stories and now you can post live videos and videos on your profile.
It’s important that you provide a combination of content. Regular posts are nice, but there is something to be said about videos. Here are some incentives to at least try videos:
- The average engagement of videos are growing faster than any other form of content.
- Live videos put you on the front of the Stories feed prompting more people to click on them.
- A 2019 report found that 57% of brands surveyed found video and stories to be “somewhat effective” or “very effective” as one piece of their social media strategy.
Hashtags are different from platform to platform. Facebook doesn’t care so much about them and Twitter you want to use them sparingly. On Instagram though, they shine and play a big part on Instagram.
Through the right hashtags, you can expose your video or post to a larger targeted audience. What’s better is a lot of users don’t seem to experience hashtag fatigue the same way as others would on other platforms. The fatigue is why it doesn’t work so well on other platforms. This makes sense since Instagram focuses more on the image or video itself rather than the text that comes with it.
All in all, hashtags on Instagram are important and you want to be implementing them. However you don’t want to be putting in any old hashtag into your post. Nor do you want to be going up to the maximum amount of hashtags and putting in 30 of them in each post. According to TrackMaven, the right amount is actually nine.
You’ll also want to make sure the quality is good as I said and some tools to help with that are AutoHash, and Display Purpose. These will help you get quality and relevant hashtags without you thinking of some from the top of your head.
Share Any User-Generated Content
User-generated content comes in many different forms – which I’ll explain in a bit – but all stems from one aspect: it is content that someone else created for you that you can share. It is one of the most powerful ways for you to be gaining followers and overall engagement from. If you’ve spent any time reading up these guides or strategies, you’ve no doubt heard people talking about the insane growth through this strategy.
Below are some ways for you to be generating user-generated content:
- Shoutout posts from 3rd parties. This is one of the most common forms of them. In some cases it’s you providing a post to an account that has way more followers than you and they share it on your behalf. It’s a decent strategy, but I’d be cautious of this as some companies don’t always have the right type of followers that will jive with your brand. Worse, the fol-lowers could be just bots.
- Sharing others posts. This is a better option for many reasons. For one, it doesn’t cost you anything and can be a good way of building up good faith with someone else. If you’re shar-ing someone’s post and giving them credit for their post, they’ll likely return the favour.
- Incorporating a campaign around it. But what’s even better than sharing a random post is sharing a post revolving around a campaign. This requires some work and understanding of your audience but this can create a good way of generating a lot of content. The idea involves users making posts around your product (for example, someone taking a selfie while holding your book or product.) and giving their honest opinion. From there, it’s a matter of you shar-ing that on your account, and tagging them in that post.
All of this is powerful as research found that user-generated content also increases the likeli-hood of followers turning to customers on any platform.
Collaborate With People
On the note of user-generated content, you also want to be collaborating with people. Not just on sharing posts here and there. Collaborations can take on two forms: partnerships or sponsorships.
If you can afford the expense, getting involved with influencers and influencer marketing can yield great results. The whole idea is you providing some products or services of some kind for your sponsors. A classic example of this was the Swedish watchmaker Daniel Wellington who worked with influencers to boost their brand. All the influencer had to do was take a picture of the brand’s product and tag the company in the post.
Partnerships are likely the first thing you’ll do and there are many ways to go about it. There are the methods mentioned above where you’re sharing posts here and there but there are other crea-tive ideas too. One example is “taking over each others Stories”. This entails you sharing the other persons stories and posting them as your own while tagging your partner in them. This is all around a good way to introduce new things to your existing audience while being introduced to another
Posting At Ideal Times
One thing you’ll hear a lot in social media marketing is that there is an “ideal time” to be pub-lishing your posts. Companies like Huffington Post, CoSchedule, Lifewire, and many other mar-keting agencies have compiled all kinds of research and studies to narrow down the time.
From all that, they presented it in a nice graph like this.
But at the end of the day, there is no universal time out there for you to be posting. Instead of finding a magic time to be posting, you want to be finding the best time for YOU to post. Every company is different and has their own times where their audience is around.
You want to be figuring out what that time is and using that to time your posts.
In order to know the best time to post, you’ll have to be digging into your own analytics. Thank-fully social media platforms have made it easier and available analytics. You want to be using these as much as you can. After all, they’ll tell you what content is doing good and what is the optimal time to be posting.
Not only that but you’ll be able to see patterns as well of what kind of content is working for you and what isn’t. All of this leads to more engaged fans as you tailor your posts to what is per-forming well.
Contests are the best ways to be boosting your follower count while showing appreciation to your fans. Contests usually require little commitment from followers and helps to spread word. In most cases contests involve comments (which boost exposure from Instagram algorithms) or even tagging other people.
You can do this stuff outside of contests, but contests provide those extra incentives. Social Me-dia Examiner provided ahelpful guide in 2014 on holding contests and it still holds up to this day.
The last thing you want to be doing is before you click on publish, make sure that you’re pub-lishing on other platforms. Cross-posting is a helpful way of bringing in more people from other platforms. Instagram allows you to post on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr with a touch of a but-ton.
You want to be pressing those buttons on the relevant platforms you are on.
This is extra exposure and can lead to your followers on there seeing that post and giving your Instagram a follow too.
And while you may think it is redundant, do note that images that are posted to Facebook through Instagram get more engagement than those that are natively published.
Another approach to consider is embedding photos into your own blog posts which give the op-tion for people to follow the profile or like that specific post from there.
Grow Your Traffic Through Instagram
Instagram has a lot of potential even during the middle of a pandemic. It’s worth focusing your efforts on growing as much as you can on there and engaging with your audience. In the end, this can all be used as a tool to help you grow a customer base and boost traffic on your site as well.