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.

Instagram Marketing Techniques

 

Do you use Instagram?

If you do, you probably notice a ton of pictures of half-naked models, in this post there are ten Instagram Marketing Techniques that I Learned from Instagram Models.

Most people react negatively to these images; for example, they think that these models have nothing going for them other than their looks. Or even worse, most people assume these models aren’t intelligent.

I’ve known a handful of these Instagram models for a few years now, and the one thing I can say about them is that they are really creative marketers. I’ve learned a few tricks from them that would help you grow your social media accounts.

Here are 10 marketing techniques you can learn from Instagram models:

Technique 1: Shout for shout

On any social network, there are users who are popular. But whether you are popular or not, you want more followers.

To get more followers, you should network with other users and approach them to cross-promote each of your profiles. You can tell your followers to follow another member in the same space, and that other member can do the same for you. By doing this, you can grow your account as long as you are continually employing this technique with other members each and every week. And it doesn’t just work for Instagram you can leverage it for Twitter, Facebook, and any other social network.

Technique 2: Cross-promote your profiles

Chances are you have profiles across multiple social networks. From Facebook to LinkedIn to Twitter, you’re on a lot of social networks.

And I bet that your profiles don’t have all of the same friends and followers. So why wouldn’t you cross-promote? For example, you can post on Facebook a few times a month, telling people to follow you on Twitter or LinkedIn.

And on Twitter, you can tell people to add you as a friend on Facebook. When doing this, just make sure you don’t cross-promote more than one network at a time as you’ll see a diminishing return. In other words, if you told people on Facebook to follow you on both Twitter and LinkedIn, it wouldn’t be as effective as if you asked them to follow you on just one of those networks.

Technique 3: Time your posts

You can’t post on these social networks whenever you want. Why? Because your followers may not be there when you are posting, which means they won’t see your status updates or posts.

So, when should you post? Well, you shouldn’t just rely on generic data, telling you that 8 a.m. or 3 p.m. is the best time to post.

Instead, you should use the following free tools by Simply Measured to determine when most of your followers are online. From Google Plus to Twitter and Instagram, they will analyze all of your social profiles and tell you when to post.

Once you have the data from Simply Measured, you will know when to post. This is why you are seeing a lot of these Instagram models posting at certain times, e.g., 6 p.m. It’s not because that is when they are free it’s because they figured out that the majority of their followers are on that social network during that time.

Technique 4: Post multiple times a day

You can’t expect to post once a week or once a day and get the most traffic. I know some people say you get better engagement if you spread out your posts. And although that’s true, it doesn’t really matter if the content you are posting is exceptionally good.

Just look at these models: they are only posting content that their followers want to see. In addition to that, they are posting the content multiple times a day as it helps them get more engagement faster.

Spend the time to curate great content. If you are pushing out great information, more people will want to follow you.

Technique 5: Show some love

Have you noticed that these Instagram models show a lot of love to their fans? They have contests that allow their followers to win a Skype date with them. To enter, all their followers need to do is post an image of the model on their accounts and tell their own followers to follow the model.

It works wonders for them when it comes to follower growth. You too can do similar things.

For example, Gary Vaynerchuk has an Ask Gary Vee show, allowing people who want his advice to tweet at him.

He then selects some of the tweets and answers the questions in a video format. This has helped him grow his follower count to over a million.
Technique 6: Participate in the community

This one is simple, but most people forget to do it…even I forget at times.

You have to participate if you want to build a loyal community. Respond to comments and messages, and help out your followers when you can. If you show that you care about them, they will reciprocate.

Social media is all about being social. So, don’t just post on these social sites and expect people to buy all of the products and services you are selling without participating.

Technique 7: Don’t forget about the stats

What’s interesting with these models is that the good ones don’t put naked pictures of themselves on Instagram. Why? Because they have found that showing too much skin slows down your follower count (plus Instagram bans nude images).

By leaving some things to the imagination, these girls generate more engagement per post, which causes them to pick up more followers and fame.

So, what does this mean for you? Well, you need to experiment. You have to analyze your status updates and tweets to see what performs the best. This will give you some insights into what you should be posting about and what you shouldn’t.

It’s just like how these girls figured out that they shouldn’t post naked pictures leaving something to the imagination works better.

Without analyzing your social media updates, however, you won’t know what your audience is craving.

Technique 8: Focus your energy

Besides Instagram, what other social networks do most of these Instagram models use? It’s Snapchat.

Sure, they may have a Twitter or a Facebook profile, but they focus over 90% of their time on Instagram and Snapchat. Why? Because they know that there isn’t enough time to be on every social network.

If you want to be big on the social web, pick a network or two. You can expand into a third or a forth later on, but first focus your time and attention on a couple.

Once you’ve built up your popularity, you can then use your following to cross-promote other social networks like I described in Technique 2.

Technique 9: Have fun

This is probably the simplest technique, but you probably don’t see it this way. When you look at social media, you probably see it as a chore. It’s something that you have to be on because of work or financial or marketing reasons.

But what would happen if you actually enjoyed being on these social sites? Your content would get better; people would want to read your updates; and you’d gain more followers.

Don’t make social media a chore. It should be something you are passionate about and are having fun with. If you aren’t, then you need to rethink your strategy.

These Instagram models love their jobs and truly enjoy posting pictures all over the social web. That’s one of the main reasons they are blowing up.

Technique 10: Don’t fight fire with fire

As you can imagine, these Instagram models are loved by a lot of people. But at the same time, they are also hated by thousands of people too. And many of those haters are more vocal than their passionate fans.

What should you do when people start bashing you? You could start bashing them back, but that would just create a feud.

Instead, embrace criticism. Try to learn from it, and if you don’t have anything positive to say, don’t say it. Let your fans defend you which they naturally will as you build up your following.

Conclusion

You can learn something from everyone in this world. From kids to flight attendants to even Instagram models, the possibilities are endless.

Sure, you may already know some of the tactics I mentioned above, but I bet you are not leveraging all of them. Just try them out for 30 days, and I promise you will see a world of difference.

 

Do You Make These Social Media Mistakes

Today 90% of businesses use social media, of those that do many make these social media mistakes which can be costly to the growth of your business or brand.

imagesBut, simply opening an account or sending out some tweets and liking the odd thing here and there is not enough to make social media platforms a viable and profitable part of a marketing strategy. By avoiding some basic mistakes, many businesses have the ability to increase ROI and create more opportunities from social media accounts.

 

Listed below are 14 social media mistakes to avoid.

1. Not having a strategy

Less than 20% of businesses say that their social media strategy is mature. Social media users are inundated with information and messages every second of the day. Businesses that don’t have a strategy won’t ever cut through the clutter and deliver an effective message to their target audience. Creating a strategy includes having distinct and measurable goals, developing a clear social media policy, thinking through a brand’s social media voice, and planning out a content calendar with end goals in mind.

Without a clear strategy, businesses could create the best content on the web, but receive little to no engagement.

2. Not integrating with other digital assets

Social media works best when integrated with other digital marketing efforts. One mistake many businesses make is to leave their social media accounts on islands. Not only should the accounts be linked together through profiles, but they should also be directly tied to websites, emails and paid search advertising campaigns. Not connecting these accounts reduces the amount of reach each asset has separately.

3. Not using images

Images on twitter cause tweets to take up more space on the feed and help drive engagement. Tweets that include an image have 200 percent more engagement than tweets without images. While an image may not be appropriate for every tweet, businesses should include one whenever possible to help draw attention to their message.

4. Not providing content users demand

Many businesses decide to use Instagram as another way to push static ads that could be posted on any other platform. However, Instagram is best used when businesses give consumers a behind-the-scenes look at what is going on and give insight into the personality of the brand. Instead of posting a touched up photo destined for the pages of a magazine, businesses should use Instagram to send out a picture of the photo shoot, the models laughing, the chefs cooking, or the crew eating some pizza around a big table. Businesses can stay on message and keep a consistent digital voice while still allowing followers to feel personally connected, which in turn fosters more sharing and increased followers.

5. Not using a consistent voice

A business’ Twitter account should be used for business, not personal anecdotes. While unique, funny and chatty messages can make a Twitter account seem more “human,” getting into arguments, insulting other brands or using it to advance the unrelated interests of executives pushes the platform off-message and can create backlash. Brands shouldn’t have their Twitter account act and sound like a robot either. Repeatedly sending out the same messages can create ill will from consumers as well. The key is to find a happy middle ground where the brand’s voice is consistent, caring and human at the same time.

6. Not utilising images or using the wrong size image

Visual stimulation helps drive engagement on social networks. In fact, 40 percent of people respond better to visual information than plain text according to Zabisco. On average, photos get 50 percent more impressions than any other post type on Facebook, while also gathering more likes and comments according to a study by Roost. To optimize images on Facebook, businesses should make sure to use the correct image size, which varies depending on where the image is going to be used. For the average post, that means uploading a 1,200 x 1,200 pixel image, while Facebook ads have different guidelines businesses should follow to drive the most potential engagement.

7. Not removing the URL from a post

When you put a link in a Facebook update, the social networking site automatically creates a clickable image that also works as a link. Because of this, businesses don’t need to include the URL in the post. While having the extra link doesn’t hurt anything, it does show to some users that the business doesn’t understand the capabilities and features of Facebook, so it’s best to delete the extra URL.

8. Not interacting with followers

Social media is meant to be interactive and consumers expect a certain amount of responsiveness from businesses on Facebook. Responding to posts, thanking consumers for commenting and addressing complaints helps consumers feel more connected to the brand. Businesses should have a strategy in place to respond to comments, both negative and positive, and how to use the social media platform as a part of a crisis management strategy. Not every comment needs a response, but responding to followers helps build camaraderie and trust between brands and consumers, which can affect future sales and word of mouth marketing.

9. Not using the platform at all

Google Plus may be the most underutilized social media platform today. It is directly integrated with Google search results, making profiles an integral part of any digital marketing or search engine optimization strategy.

10. Not utilising circles or communities

Circles on Google Plus allow businesses to segment followers into groups and address each segment separately with unique content. If circles aren’t utilized, each piece of content goes to every single follower. To increase conversion rates and engagement, instead of pushing content to everyone, businesses should create content that appeals to specific audiences and then post that content to the applicable circles and communities.

11. Not including descriptions or prices

Pinning images to Pinterest is simply not enough if businesses want to use the social media site to drive traffic and increase sales. Despite easy access, many businesses are forgoing the use of rich pins, which include a thorough description of the item and the price. Descriptions should use terms that people search for and be as descriptive as possible and including the price entices pinners to click the link. In fact, a study from Shopify found that rich pins with prices get 36 percent more likes and repins than regular pins.

12. Not using active images

Pinterest is all about visual stimulation, but many businesses are using static and uninspiring images to portray products. Instead, businesses should use colorful images that show the products in action. For example, instead of a picture of a sweater on a table, use an image of someone wearing the sweater doing something fun. Curalate looked at a half million Pinterest images and found that factors like color, white space and even the inclusion of faces make a difference in terms of engagement.

13. Not linking to product page

Businesses should strive to make it as easy as possible for shoppers to go from browsing Pinterest to buying a product. To do that, businesses should link directly to product pages instead of home pages or other non-related content. The more links and moves a consumer has to make before buying a product, the less likely they are to make a final purchase.

14. Not using hashtags effectively

imagesThere is no limit to the number of hashtags a business can attach to a post and for some that freedom has led to an overuse of this normally effective outreach tool. Hashtags allow people to filter through the millions of posts every day, and it’s very tempting for businesses to try and wedge their way into conversations where they don’t organically belong by using hashtags. But, just like traditional marketing outlets such as email, traditional mail and phone calls, spam can turn off consumers. Instead, businesses should only use hashtags that directly apply to the post or the company.

 

 

In Conclusion

Brands should strive to create their own social media voice, while also attempting to optimise their social media efforts by avoiding the common pitfalls listed above. Social media has the ability to be an effective and cost controlled method for reaching out to potential consumers, engaging with current fans and helping increase sales. Just like any other marketing strategy, social media efforts should be continually monitored and updated for full effect.