With 1 billion active users, Instagram is a must-use social media channel for business. Nearly 70% of marketers used the platform for campaigns in 2018, according to eMarketer.
The photo and video-sharing network owned by Facebook, Instagram is arguably the lead social media channel for visual branding. And as a visually-focused social platform, Instagram video offers you something unique that other ad channels can't match: an imagery-centric place to capture consumer attention in a way that is completely natural to its users.
Here are ten ways to boost traffic and engagement on Instagram:
Create a Descriptive Profile Bio
Your brand or company bio (the description in your profile) is one of the first things users will see. Instagram only allows a maximum of 150 characters, so use this small piece of real estate wisely to let people know exactly who you are and what you do, while giving them a reason to follow you (unless you're a large, well-known brand, avoid tag lines with little meaning (Nike can get away with "If you have a body, you are an athlete. #justdoit"). It’s also a good idea to use this limited space to prompt action with call-to-action (CTA) or a branded hashtag (but remember, hashtags in bios are not searchable).
Expand Your Content
Think beyond product posts, quotes and focus heavily on informative, entertaining and inspirational content — photos, videos and animated GIFs with captions — that speaks to your followers and target audience.
Rethink Hashtag Use
Instead of using non-specific hashtags like #travel, #nature, #MotivationalMonday and #FriYAY, focus on using of hashtags that are relevant to your brand or business, since posts with the most popular and widely-used hashtags tend to get lost in a sea of competition.
Repost Others’ Content
Regramming shows your audience you’re willing to share and alerts the person whose content you shared that you did so, which often results in them following you, a strategy you should definitely employ.
Like and Comment
One of the most effective ways to organically increase your following is by liking and commenting (in a genuine way) on other users’ relevant posts. Although labor-intensive, this tactic can be used to gain a large number of new followers in a relatively short period of time.
Consider User-Generated Content
Encourage your followers to tag their Instagram with a specific hashtag (such as #YourBrandRocks) to have them shared on your business feed. This creates engagement and gets people excited about seeing their images used by someone else.
Leverage Giveaways and Contests
Consider sponsoring giveaways or contests. The easiest way to host a giveaway or contest is by posting an image promoting the event, then asking people to like it, follow you or tag someone in the comments. These can be very effective ways to build brand recognition and promote sharing with very little investment (just a few products).
Asking influencers or Instagram users with large followings to do guest posts, or takeovers, for a period (from a single day to a week) is a surefire way to ramp up engagement and increase your following while providing fresh, interesting content.
Add More CTAs
If you’re like most businesses on Instagram, you could use more calls-to-action (CTAs) in their photo captions, but steer clear of those related to selling. Get followers engaged by asking them a question, their opinion or to take a certain action (e.g., “Let us know what you think in the comments” or “Tag a friend if you…”).
Post at the Right Time
According to Hubspot, the best times to post on Instagram are Mondays and Thursdays at any time, though the optimum times to post is between 8-9 a.m. Eastern, followed 2 a.m. and 5 p.m. (avoid 3:00–4:00 p.m.). That said, it's important to use the times zones where your target audience is located. Note: In the United States, nearly 80% of the population lives in Eastern and Central time zones.
Instagram offers a great way to engage with consumers who may not have intended to purchase a specific product or service, by focusing on discovery, inspiration, branding and experiences, which in turn helps them create their own customer journeys.
So, no matter what your business it about, Instagram should be a part of your social media marketing mix.