No-cost ways to help grow your ‘gram
Poor Instagram. In the marketing world, especially in the B2B scene, Instagram is terribly misunderstood. A lot of brands write off the platform as Facebook’s hipster side piece where Millennials post heavily filtered images of their vegan smoothies and teenagers keep tabs on Ariana Grande (your girl’s got mad Insta skills with the third most followers in the freaking world). But here’s the thing, Instagram has one billion active users, 80 percent of whom follow at least one business and 75 percent of whom report visiting a brand’s website after engaging with an Instagram post. And, these people aren’t just looking. Thirty percent say they’ve purchased something they first discovered on Instagram.
Bottom line, if you’re not putting some effort into your Instagram, you’re missing out. The good news is that “some effort” is a lot easier than you may think. Because Instagram is a visual platform, there’s a misconception that sharing professional quality, artistic photos is everything. Your image style is important, yes, but it’s not the only thing that matters. With minimal time and zero dollars, you can implement these quick content-focused fixes and make an impact:
1. Make your name searchable
Here’s a fun fact: your username and what’s in your profile’s name field are not the same thing. Why does this matter? Because the name field on your brand’s Instagram profile is prime real estate for targeted keywords. If you choose wisely, your name can help your brand rise to the top when users are searching keywords related to your niche or industry. For example, say you run a small catering service in Akron, Ohio, called Maria’s, specializing in gluten-free options. Your username may be @mariasakron, but your name field could say, “Gluten-free Catering & Special Events.”
Pro tip: When using a name that differs from your brand name, don’t get crazy with your profile picture. Just use your brand logo so there’s no confusion. (Actually, just do that anyway!)
2. Optimize your bio
Instagram only gives you 150 characters and one call-to-action link for your bio, so it’s important to give this area some thought. Start with a descriptive statement that speaks to who you are and what you do. However, make sure this statement utilizes your brand voice and keeps the focus on the benefit you bring to your audience – not on how awesome you are. Consider including a branded hashtag to encourage engagement and emojis to maximize space and add personality. Finally, think beyond just linking to your website. You can change up this link as frequently as you want to keep things fresh, so link to blog posts, event sign-ups and more. Remember our pal Maria? Maria’s bio might read:
Because gluten-free moments deserve parties, too. 🍽 🎉 Share yours: #mariadelivers #glutenfreeparty
New menu items👇
(place menu link here)
Pro tip: You can create those handy, easy-on-the-eyes line breaks in your bio by composing in a note-taking app on your phone and then copying your bio into Instagram.
3. Write better captions
It should go without saying, but write killer captions. Again, because the platform is so visual, a lot of brands put all of their energy into creating gorgeous photos and treat the captions like an afterthought. Stop that this instant! Make sure your captions add context for the photo you’re sharing and sprinkle in your brand’s personality. Oh, and just like any piece of marketing collateral you put in the world, make sure you include a call-to-action. For Maria’s, this can be a simple “double-tap if you love gluten-free bagels!” with an image of bagels. You can also direct your followers to the link in your bio or ask a fun question. Maria’s might post, “What’s your favorite buckwheat dish? Tell us in the comments!” Remember, the more engagement your post gets, the more priority Instagram’s algorithm will give it.
Pro tip: Instagram is a casual platform, and people love puns, internet slang and intentional hyperbole. Loosen up!
4. Hide your hashtags
Hashtags are a must on Instagram. They help you reach a wider audience and get more engagement, but you have to wield them responsibly. The trouble is that, although hashtags have been around since 2007, many of us still can’t get our heads around the right way to use them (#thestruggleisreal). Instagram lets you use up to 30 hashtags in a caption, but too many can be overwhelming and seem disingenuous. Of course, if you leave out the right ones, you risk losing your audience. What’s a brand to do? Hide them! Create line breaks by using a series of dashes and returns (4-5 should be fine) and then listing your hashtags. Instagram bumps that content down and only shows your photo and caption in the feed – the perfect crime!
Pro tip: Use a mix of branded and trending hashtags, and remember that there are tools to help you assess the right ones.
5. Get comfortable using Stories
It’s been a few years since Instagram stole the magical disappearing, 24-hour-only content gem from Snapchat, and its Stories feature is now wildly popular. Producing content that’s only going to exist for a day may seem like a waste of time to busy marketing people like yourselves. But, keep in mind that Instagram prioritizes Stories with big, eye-catching bubbles at the top of the feed, and Stories content is “discoverable,” meaning that your Story exposes your brand to people who don’t already follow you. Because your Story only lasts for 24 hours, the format is excellent for sharing behind-the-scenes content, as well as incorporating all that video that everyone on the internet agrees is critical – without having to worry about making it polished and highly produced.
Pro tip: Play with this! Take full advantage of features like adding text overlays, using emojis and gifs, regramming other people’s Stories, using hashtags, and tagging relevant people.
OK, admittedly some of these tips are easier than others, but they are all free! Remember, too, that there are all kinds of strategy-related tips like posting at the right time of day and measuring your engagement with a social media management tool. Commit to the process and you’ll be telling Ariana Grande “thank u, next” when it comes to who’s winning Instagram (well… maybe.)
Need more substantial help with your social strategy? Get in touch. We’re happy to help!
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