Instagram is currently one of the fastest growing social networks, having gone from 600 million to 800 million active users in the past 12 months. With the increased attention comes equivalent interest from brands, meaning that while there are now more people to reach on the platform and more ways to do so. But with this increased attention you are also going to be competing with other brands for space, and attention within the Instagram feed.
If you are looking to put more focus on Instagram, here are 5 simple and easy ways to optimize your Instagram presence.
Instagram has always been big on hashtags, and they have always been an effective way to expand your reach on the platform. But now, there is a new consideration in your Instagram hashtag strategy. Instagram users are now able to follow specific hashtags, along with profiles, meaning that users can now keep tags on relevant conversations by using hashtags alone.
The ability to follow hashtags adds a whole new element to marketers strategic considerations. Now, you have a whole new way to reach new audiences by using targeted hashtags and promoting branded tags. And to help further optimize your hashtag strategy, Instagram also highlights related tags within its search options along with usage volume. Research also suggests that 10 to 11 tags per post are the optimal number for maximizing reach.
According to Instagram, more than 375 million people now use Insta DMs each month (which is almost half of their entire user base). The increased focus on DMs has to lead to Instagram adding a range of new DM specific tools, including their photo remix tools, the ability to share Stories via DM, and most importantly for brands, the capacity to include links in DMs.
Even though data shows that direct messaging is still seen by many as a channel for personal connection. The rising usage does point to an opportunity for savvy marketers to merge their interactions across to a more private, direct connection tool.
Instagram Stories has also grown at a rapid pace, doubling in audience in less than a year. Which is why it is important to consider utilizing Stories within Instagram. Instagram upped the value of Stories in December by adding in their Stories Archive and Highlights functions. These new tools will enable users to keep their Stories content indefinitely and display them in a new section on their profile, maximizing their use.
Highlights will be of particular benefit for brands, as it will enable them to showcase specific Stories posts from events, related to products, highlighting customers, etc. There’s a range of ways in which the tool can be used, while the capacity to have Stories last longer than 24 hours will also encourage further investment.
While Instagram has changed a lot in the past year, it is still important to note that it is still a visual channel. This is why it is still important to consider the composition of your images, as well as your visual consistency when posting.
Having a clear visual strategy is key to standing out. Meaning, knowing which types of layouts and formats work best within your niche is important. Additionally, the wider theme of your visual style should also stand out, with consistency to your posted images (like the colors you use, the filters, and text overlays you use).
While this tool might not be for everyone, tapping into Instagram’s live streaming feature can be a great way to boost your presence. Recently Instagram added the addition of their ‘Live Guests’ option, which enables you to go live with someone else (which a specific notification in the top line listing when it happens). That added exposure provides new promotional opportunities, while the ability to have guests on your live-stream can also help ease the broadcasting process, making it less intimidating, and enabling you to add more context.
These are 5 simple ways to make better use of Instagram, by tapping into Instagrams latest innovations and tools you can easily maximize your presence. With over 25 million active business on the platform, the value of getting it right could be significant.