Over the years, Instagram has become a huge social media platform with the number of users increasing year after year. While the main purpose of the app when it was first incepted was to be a photo-sharing platform, it has evolved into a giant advertising avenue for businesses and brands. Almost every brand is using the platform to promote their products or services directly to their audience. To get a glimpse of how many businesses are on the platform, Mention’s 2018 report on Instagram stated that 98% of fashion brands and 100% of auto brands are on Instagram. With this in mind, the competition is at an all-time peak for digital marketers and to stand out from the rest you will need a successful content plan.
4 Ways To Boose Reach & Engagement on Instagram
Plan Your Content Feed in Advance
Instagram is an advertising goldmine and as mentioned previously, almost every brand is on the platform. On average, these brands post about 27.9 times a month so if you are looking to keep the reach and engagement up you will need to post almost every day. The best way to plan for this is by planning your feed two to three weeks in advance. Your feed is where users will first interact with your brand so having a consistent editing style and aesthetic can help your brand image. A great way to help you with this planning is by scheduling out your posts in advance using scheduling tools such as Later and Hootsuite. No matter what theme or strategy you go with, you will want to make sure that all the images, videos and other related content are relevant to the overall goal and are ready to go.
Use Relevant Hashtags
Hashtags are a huge part of Instagram as it is a way to categorize your posts as well as giving your posts more searchability as users are able to search hashtags on the platform. Adding hashtags to your posts is the best way to make your content discoverable. There is a limit of 30 hashtags to each post but if you are thinking of using all 30 then your posts run the risk of looking spammy. The best course of action is to use an average of 5-6, but research has found that posts that have nine hashtags get the best engagement. When it comes to hashtags you can look up these types of hashtags to optimize your content.
- Trending Hashtags: These are the most popular hashtags on Instagram at a certain time. Example: if you are a fitness business you will want to include #fitinspiration, #fitstagram, and #gymspiration as these are the top trending fitness hashtags of 2019.
- General Hashtags: These are general and commonly used hashtags throughout the year. For example, #love, #food, #yummy are samples of general hashtags you can include.
- Niche-Specific Hashtags: These are hashtags specific and popular in your industry. These tags can include your brand name, as well as popular terms within the industry. For example: #adidas, #streetwear, #sports, #football are all industry-specific.
To help with your hashtag research you can use tools such as Hashtagify, All Hashtag, and others.
Post At The Right Time
One factor for Instagram that plays a big role in your brand’s success but is often overlooked is timing your posts. Knowing when to publish can help your brand as you will avoid low engagement days and capitalize when your audience is on Instagram. According to SproutSocial data, below are the best and worst times to post:
- Best Times to Post: Wednesday at 11 a.m. and Friday between 10 and 11 a.m.
- Best Day: Wednesday.
- Most Consistent Engagement: Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Worst Day To Post: Sunday.
- Lowest Engagement: Late night and early morning from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.
These are just general metrics of when to post as each industry or niche will have different results. The best way to get an idea of when to target your audience is to use the analytics provided by Instagram. To find your audience’s activity pertaining to your industry you will need to do the following:
- Tap the bar-chart icon on the top right of your business account profile page to go to Instagram Insights.
- Go to the Audience tab.
- You will be able to see the audience activity under the “Followers” section.
The final piece of the content plan is to measure the results of posts you have published. The more you measure your posts the more you can improve your content creation, timing, and hashtag optimization. Below are key metrics you should keep track of and measure for future posts:
- Comments – These are great for a better understanding of how well-received your posts are. The more comments a post has tells how much of a connection it has with your audience. Make sure to keep track of which posts have the most comments and follow that guide for future posts.
- Engagement Rate – Engagement rate is dividing the total number of likes and comments by the total number of followers. With 1.37 being an average engagement rate for posts, look to have your posts have that as a minimum.
- Reach – Using Instagram Insights you can see how many people your post has reached.
- Purchases – This is huge for businesses selling products through Instagram. You can see which posts with a shoppable link led to purchases and use the most successful post as a benchmark for future posts.