10 Easy Ways to Boost Your Instagram Reach

10 Ways to Boost Your Instagram Reach Today

1. Find your optimal posting times

Even though Instagram uses an algorithmic timeline now, optimal posting times are still relevant as timing is a factor in the algorithm.

Posting at the right times can help generate an initial round of engagement on your posts which can, in turn, prompt the Instagram algorithm to push your posts higher on your followers’ feed.

Instagram Expert, Sue B. Zimmermansuggests posting when the majority of your audience is online:

It may take time to get a long-term understanding of your followers’ activity, but it’s important to make sure you’re posting when the majority of your audience is online.

If you are using an Instagram Business Profile, you can check your Instagram Insights to find out when your followers are most active by the day of the week and the time of the day.

To access your Instagram Insights, tap on the profile tab in the Instagram app and then the bar chart icon (Insights icon) on the upper-right corner. There will be a section for your followers’ activity information, and you can tap on “See More” to see more detailed insights. Here’s an example of what you’ll see:

Instagram Insights - Followers

2. Experiment with videos

Several studies have found that photos tend to get more overall engagement (i.e. likes and comments) than videos on Instagram. On first look, it might seem that photos are better than videos for engagement — and it could well be!

On closer examination, we might draw a different conclusion. News Whip studied the Instagram accounts of 31 news publishers and made an interesting discovery. While photos, on average, get more likes (and overall engagement) than videos, videos generate more comments than photos. In fact, videos, on average, received more than twice the amount of comments than photos!

Instagram Engagement Study

It is not certain if the Instagram algorithm values likes and comments equally or one more than another. But since commenting requires more effort from a user than liking, it’s possible that the algorithm values comments more than likes and would rank posts with more comments higher than posts with more likes.

Last year, Instagram found that the video watch time on Instagram increased by more than 40 percent over a six-month period. At this growth rate, it could be great to experiment with videos to see if it increases your engagement and organic reach on Instagram.

3. Host contests or ask questions to encourage engagement

Asking questions or calling for an action is one of the fun ways to encourage your followers to interact with your Instagram posts. We found that hosting a giveaway contest is an effective way to engage our followers.

Buffer Instagram giveaway contest

Some of the call-to-actions we have tried are:

  • Enter to win by sharing your favorite emoji party combo in the comments below 👇
  • To enter, simply tag a friend below who you would “Vote” for as your favorite marketer and you’ll both be entered to win!
  • To enter tag a friend below who you know is rocking it on social media! 👊
  • What’s on your reading list this week? 📚 Drop your book suggestions below for a chance to win a free book of your choice from the Buffer team! 😄❤

While giveaway contests usually generate more comments than usual posts, we try to give it a few months in between each contest to keep things fun and exciting.

Something that we do more often is asking a question in our Instagram posts. Several of our most-commented posts (excluding contest posts) are posts with a question such as thisthis, and this.

4. Curate user-generated content

Brian Peters, our digital marketing strategist, grew our Instagram account following by about 500% (4,250 to 21,000) in under six months. His secret? User-generated content.

Curating user-generated content can encourage those users to engage with and share those content. Since the Instagram algorithm considers users’ relationships when ranking content on their feed, building relationships with your users through Instagram might also help your content rank higher on their feeds.

Apart from organic reach, Crowdtap found that user-generated content is 35 percent more memorable and 50 percent more trusted than traditional media and other non-user-generated content. This makes user-generated content a valuable strategy to try.

User-generated content infographic

5. Tell Instagram Stories

In our State of Social Media 2016 report, we found that while 63 percent of marketers surveyed use Instagram, only 16 percent have created Instagram Stories. There’s a great opportunity to stand out before it gets too crowded!

Instagram Stories take a prominent position on the Instagram app — above the feed. This allows you to stay on top of your followers’ feed and grab more of their attention. If your followers view your Stories regularly, it could possibly even help your Instagram posts rank higher on their feeds.

It’s worth noting that the Stories are also ranked by an algorithm; possibly one very similar to the feed algorithm. Spend the time to craft great Stories to help them rank better.

6. Go live on Instagram

A similar “trick” is to go live on Instagram. When you use live video, you will appear right at the front of the Stories feed, assuming no one else is live at the same time. The “LIVE” logo also makes your profile photo more prominent in the Instagram app.

Instagram Live

Social Media Examiner found that the more they went live on Facebook, the more their non-live content received exposure. Michael Stelzner said that one reason might be their brand is in front of their fans more often so the fans might go to their Page to see their content more — even if the fans don’t watch the live video.

This effect could play out on Instagram, too. Seeing your logo at the top of their feed might encourage your followers to check out your Instagram profile.

From our State of Social Media 2016 report, we concluded that live video has yet to hit mass adoption as only 27 percent of marketers surveyed had created live video content. While the percentage might be higher today, I believe live videos aren’t mainstream yet. So it’s another perfect way to stand out and deliver great content!

7. Use Instagram ads

This might sound a little counter-intuitive but Instagram ads can be an effective way to grow your organic reach.

If you have an Instagram Business Profile, you can promote your existing posts from within the Instagram app. (Here’s how!) By boosting an existing post and selecting the appropriate target audience, you can drive more engagement to the post and help it rank better on your followers’ feed. The paid reach can eventually help to drive organic reach!

Instagram ads - Promote existing post

So which post should you promote?

Here’s a quick way to pick a good post to promote:

  1. Go to your Instagram Insights on the mobile app (tap on the profile tab and then the bar chart icon).
  2. Tap “See More” under the “Top Posts” section.
  3. Tap on “Impressions” at the top (a pop-up should apply to let you adjust your stats filters).
  4. For the first filter, you can choose “All”, “Photos”, or “Videos” according to your preference.
  5. For the second filter, select “Engagement”.
  6. For the third filter, select “7 days”.
  7. You will see your top posts by engagement for the last seven days. From there, you can pick a post to promote.

Picking a top post from Instagram Insights

As these posts have received the most engagement from your followers, they would likely also resonate with the people you promote to (assuming you have targeted people like your followers).

8. Post less

When explaining social media algorithms, Michael Stelzner encouraged marketers to re-think your posting strategy.

Rethink is the keyword here. Rethink your posting strategy on social media – Less is actually more!

Sue B. Zimmerman also gave a similar advice for marketers who want to overcome the Instagram algorithm.

If you truly want to connect with your audience, it’s better to share one fabulous photo instead of 20 mediocre images. So next time, before you hit post, take a moment and consider how this content contributes to your brand, and does it effectively encourage engagement from your followers.

I believe this is about the allocation of your resources and time. Instead of publishing 20 posts a week, use the same resources and time for just one or two posts and make them great.

Quality content that is relevant to your followers has a higher chance of eliciting a positive response from your followers. In turn, this can help your posts rank higher on your followers’ feed.

9. Create specifically for Instagram

One way to create quality content is to create content specifically for Instagram. Instagram, being a very visual platform, has a greater focus on the photo or video itself than the text. So a post that would do well on Instagram is probably different from one that would do well on Twitter or Facebook.

For smaller social media teams or solo social media manager, it can be challenging to always create unique content for each platform. Crossposting and repurposing content from other platforms can be great, too. If you are doing that, it’d be best to craft specific caption for each social media platform as your followers likely follow you for a different reason for each of the platforms.

Now with Tailored Posts, you can write customized captions for each social network. We’re hoping that this feature would encourage you to be (even) more creative with your social media posts and would help you drive more engagement.

Buffer Multiple Composer

10. Be a great Instagram user

This last point might be a little vague but it nicely wraps up many of the points above.

Social media algorithms are built to encourage genuine, positive behaviors on the platforms such as sharing, showing appreciation, quick replies, and more. Often, they would also try to discourage abuse or hacks.

My gut feeling here is that being a great Instagram user will help you grow your organic reach over time. That includes:

  • Posting quality content that is relevant to your followers (be it informative, inspiring, or entertaining)
  • Answering questions on your posts quickly
  • Thanking people for commenting on your posts
  • Exploring other people’s profiles, engaging with their posts, and building a relationship with them

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What’s your Instagram strategy?

The main objective of Instagram (and most social media platforms) is to make users happy and let them enjoy the experience. As brands on Instagram (and social media), I think we can do a lot to create great experiences for our followers — which will, in turn, benefit ourselves.

I’d love to learn from you, too! What’s your strategy on Instagram? Is anything in particular that is working well for you on Instagram? Thanks.

Your Business Needs Search Engine Optimisation

You have likely heard highly rated Internet marketers say over and over that your small business needs SEO. It is very probable that you get a daily drip of emails from SEO businesses with the aim of marketing their services to you. But very rarely do you hear WHY your business needs Search Engine Optimisation.

Search Engine Optimisation, SEO for short, certainly plays a major role in the online success of your business. It adds to favourable search rankings in Google, Yahoo and Bing and assists in the branding of your business as well. We have listed below the reasons your business should invest marketing pounds into being ranked favourably in the organic search results whether that be on a local level or a national level.

1. YOUR SMALL BUSINESS WILL GET A HIGH ROI FROM SEO

No other Internet marketing strategy yields a return comparable to SEO. All to often, an SME won’t gain noteworthy success with SEO because they use the services of an inexperienced SEO agency or one that just outsources the work. Low-quality companies have very little idea when it comes to the requirements of a successful SEO campaign. They are lacking when it comes to delivering results.

In spite of that, when done in the right way, SEO is more than effective when sending constant organic traffic (website visitors) to your business website. The same amount of traffic would cost you an enormous amount of money if you paid for it through a paid search marketing campaign such as Google Ads.

2. YOU CAN BET YOUR COMPETITORS ALREADY DO IT

A large number of small to medium sized businesses erroneously presume that SEO is required only until top rankings are achieved. However, this belief is not accurate. When your business website reaches a Page 1 ranking in Google, it needs even more SEO work to continue to keep this ranking. In fact, you need to aim to improve your rankings further.

Always keep in mind that your competition are also trying every trick in the book to get these top positions in the search engines too. Hence, you need to step your game up and keep ahead of that competition. If you relax and take your foot off the gas, your competitors will take over these top spots. They will gain your business website’s portion of website traffic at the same time. People that would have visited your website will now visit your competitors website instead.

In short, you need to comprehend that by sitting back, you allow your competitors to take your share of the web traffic in your industry. Disregarding SEO is equal to giving your website visitors and potential customers to your competitors without putting up so much as a fight.

3. YOUR POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS ARE USING MOBILE DEVICES

As is stands, mobile website traffic has increased sharply and outpaced the traffic via desktops and laptops. SEO ensures that your business becomes more visible to customers who are busy searching online for the products or services your business offers.

Local search engine optimisation (Local SEO) makes it easier for local customers to find your business in the search engines. These favourable search results can result in telephone calls, visits to your shop or offices, or even on-the-spot online purchases via your eCommerce website. Mobile search is undoubtedly the future of search. Make sure your business website is equipped for mobile search.

4. Search Engine Optimisation IS HERE TO STAY

SEO is not going away. What is required is for your business to adapt over time as SEO develops. The companies that have a firm grasp on the ever changing landscape of SEO adapt continuously to it without so much as a stutter. In the past 10 years, Google have punished websites utilising spammy link building techniques. Now, the focus is firmly on developing top-drawer website content and thus earning links from relevant and authority websites.

The core attributes of SEO will always stay the same. In spite of that, the techniques to keep top rankings will change all the time. In consequence, SEO will stay around for as long as the Internet remains as important as is currently does to businesses and individuals. Thus, it’s imperative that you get involved in SEO right now instead of remaining on the sidelines and allowing your competitors to gain your share of what could easily be your website traffic and potential customers.

5. EVERYONE SEARCHES FOR BUSINESS SERVICES AND PRODUCTS ONLINE

Having an SEO campaign in place enables you to increase the chance of potential customers trying to find your business website and engaging with your business. Try to think from your customer’s point of view and understand how extremely important the Internet has become to your customers.

Any person can now search for a business online and consequently review that business, review their products and services, and even buy directly from that business. And all of this can be done from that persons home or even on the go by means of a mobile device. For those reasons and if you wish customers could easily find your business online, you need Search Engine Optimisation, SEO.

IN SUMMARY

To enable your potential customers to find your small business online, your business website requires a powerful SEO strategy to pull in organic search traffic. In this day and age, SEO is more of a branding game and less of a marketing strategy. Given Google’s ongoing advancements in their search engines’ algorithms, it’s important to invest in a robust, SEO Internet campaign. Make sure you employ the services of an experienced SEO consultant to propel your small business website to page 1 in the search engines and to keep it there.

For the best SEO marketing tools take a look right here!!