Last Updated on January 9, 2021 by Vikas Kalwani
Instagram used to be my favorite social media platform until I fell in love with LinkedIn. Instagram kept on decreasing the organic reach but it kept on making the platform engaging. Instagram marketing has been a pain for digital marketers and growth hackers.
I grew @writersnetwork from 0 to 69K in less than 9 months. On performing numerous experiments on Instagram, I feel here’s what you should do on Instagram:
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Have a powerful bio
Mention your or your brand’s name, add a link, a quality display picture, a few lines about you or your brand, mention relevant accounts, and hashtags.
Engage with other Instagrammers
Engage with the ones who like or comment on your posts. Visit their profiles, like 3 of their posts, and comment on their latest post. Don’t follow them at this point if you do not know them personally.
On following the above process, here’s what they are most likely to do – visit your profile, like and comment on your posts, and maybe follow your account. Follow this process as soon as you share a new post.
Create multiple hashtag sets. Each hashtag set can have a maximum of 30 hashtags. Your hashtag set could consist of 10 small-size, 10 mid-size, and 10 large-size hashtags.
Here’s how I generally categorize a hashtag when I’m in the initial stages of building an Instagram community: If the hashtag has less than 10,000 posts in it, it is a small-size hashtag. If the hashtag has 10,000 to 200,000 posts in it, it is a mid-size hashtag. If the hashtag has more than 200,000 posts in it, it is a large-size hashtag. Note that if my account already has more than 50K followers, my categorization will be different from the one I mentioned previously.
A large portion of the audience on Instagram view large-size hashtags in real-time. However, it is extremely difficult to have your post among the top posts in the hashtag. Use large-size hashtags to get likes and comments on your posts as soon as your post goes live.
As soon as your post gets engagement from the large-size hashtags, it gets enough engagement to land up among the top posts in small-size hashtags. Our ultimate goal should be to get our post among the top posts in mid-size hashtags. This is one of my best Instagram marketing strategies!
You must not use banned hashtags in your posts. Always check your hashtags before using them. To make sure a hashtag is safe to use, you must be able to see all posts in that hashtag (in the recent feed as well as in the top feed). Here’s how a banned hashtag looks like:
Engage with posts in hashtags and locations
As soon as your post goes live, it needs likes and comments so as to hit the top posts in small and mid-size hashtags. Hence, like and comment on recent posts of mid-size hashtags. If your brand provides location-based services, engage with posts in locations or location-based hashtags (say #delhidiaries for the location Delhi).
Strategy for Instagram Stories
Re-share posts from Influencers in your stories tagging them. Provide extra value to your audience. Influencers may re-share your story on their stories. Who doesn’t like getting featured on an account with (let’s say) 20K+ followers?!
Use links in stories. If you have more than 10K followers on your Instagram account, you can add swipe-up links to your stories.
Give your audience a chance to interact with your content in a lively manner. Create polls in stories to step up your Instagram marketing in 2020. Create funnels using polls (I’ll discuss this some other day).
Let your audience know you or your brand better. Conduct AMA (ask me anything) in stories using the “Ask me a question” widget.
Use multiple hashtags in Stories. To start with, create 2/3 stories every day (well-spaced in time) and use only 1 (different) hashtag per story. Do this to know the hashtags for which your stories get featured in the hashtag. Once you know the hashtags which are good for you, use them (up to 3) in your stories. Hide hashtags behind other story elements. If your brand provides location-based services, use a location in your story.
Highlight your stories.
Don’t buy likes, comments, or followers. Build your audience bit by bit – there’s no shortcut to success on Instagram. Also, don’t follow accounts and then unfollow them. It damages your reputation. Not only do you lose followers, but the engagement rate of your page reduces. Thus, your posts have a lesser chance now to be in the top posts section of the hashtags.
Tagging Community Accounts and Influencers
Tag community accounts in your posts (in the picture). Use community hashtags. If your post is good enough, you may get featured on community pages. Believe me, it’s totally worth it. Influencer marketing will rise to the occasion even more in 2020.