It’s Insta-time! YAY.
Instagram is by far my favorite social media platform, for both personal and marketing purposes. From the story capabilities, the content variety (Boomerangs, pictures, videos, oh my!), and the graphic-centric focus (instead of me having to try and wordsmith as much as I do on Facebook and Twitter), I tend to have the most fun on Instagram, and it’s the platform I not only spend the most time on, but also the place from which I draw the most inspiration.
So let’s go over some of the easiest ways you can draw larger crowds to your Insta feed!
Pencil it in
- Instagram is not for the spontaneous, especially when it comes to marketing. Utilizing a content calendar or scheduler of some kind is essential in order to maintain a consistent posting schedule and to ensure that your content does not become repetitive and consequently drive away your audience. I use Later for my professional Instagram; with a free account, I can upload images and create captions for all of my upcoming Instagram posts.* The platform allows you to not only view your upcoming posts in a weekly or monthly view, but also offers the option to view your scheduled posts as a mockup of your feed so that you can see what posts will look like on your profile. While the free version of Later does have a limit on post scheduling, I have been able to schedule more than two months of posts in advance and have not run into any limitations. Later exists as both a website and an app; I typically schedule content from my laptop and use the app as my posting alarm. It has been an absolute lifesaver. For those who prefer having physical calendars that they can mark up for themselves, I also have a Pinterest board dedicated to fun content scheduling ideas, calendar printables, and more!
Get lost in the clouds
- I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, and then I’ll say it probably a thousand more times: HASHTAG CLOUDS. The quickest and easiest way to reach a much larger Instagram audience is by implementing a group of branded and relevant hashtags on your posts. I’ve received several questions about hashtag clouds, so here’s a breakdown on how they work:
- 1. Come up with a list of hashtags that are relevant to your brand, market, product, etc. These should describe the type of work you do, the field that you are in, and the services you offer. Use a broad array of hashtags, with some being mega-popular hashtags; for example, popular hashtags for my professional Instagram brand would be “#blogger” or “#socialmedia,” and then more specific hashtags; in my case, these include “#freelancer” and “#organizationalmedia.” The large range of hashtags will allow your post to be picked up by Instagram users that are skimming both the well-traveled tags and the more niche-specific ones. Brainstorm about 25-30 of the most relevant hashtags for your needs.
- 2. Keep that list of hashtags in a place that you can easily get to them; I keep mine on the Notes app on my phone so that I can copy and paste them as needed.
- 3. Post a picture, video, Boomerang, slideshow, Hyperlapse, or whatever you can dream up on Instagram.
- 4. After you’ve posted your engaging and stunning content, copy your pre-drafted hashtag cloud from wherever you’ve been keeping it safe.
- 5. Paste that cloud as a comment under your post, and watch the likes and comments roll in!
Feel free to modify the hashtags within your cloud depending on what content you’re posting; for example, if I post a more personal image, I might change out “#consulting” or “#media” to reflect whatever the post is conveying.
If you’re wondering why I’m suggesting you post your cloud as a comment instead of as part of your caption, I’ll tell ya: personal preference. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with including your hashtag cloud within your original post caption, I simply prefer the look of a clean caption without the added bulk of hashtags. By posting it as a comment, you can also add the cloud later for a delayed visibility boost.
It’s a party; have a theme
- Instagram is a very colorful and curated marathon, not an impulsive sprint. Much like the need to schedule your content, having an Instagram “theme” is fundamental. Themes can be created a few different ways; using two or three key colors and fonts on graphics helps create a seamless feed, and using the same photo editing steps for all of your pictures and videos makes your feed uniquely your own. Check out more helpful tips on consistent branding here, which is key when choosing your Insta-theme. Whether you choose dark and moody or vibrant and colorful, make sure your theme accurately reflects you and what you are trying to convey to the Instagram community.
And there it is, my three tried-and-true tips for expanding your Instagram reach! This marks the end of the Expand Your Reach series; I hope it’s been helpful, whether you’re a first-time social media marketer or a seasoned digital marketing vet. I know that writing these posts has been a great refresher for me, and I trust it can be the same for you. If you try out any of the tricks and tips I’ve outlined over the last three weeks, either for your business, brand, or even personal social media accounts, let me know! And if you have any audience growth hacks that you swear by, please feel free to share! I’m always on the hunt for new ideas.
Thanks for following along; this series has been a ton of fun!