In April 2017, Instagram announced that the platform had reached the 700-million user milestone. By the end of the year, it’ll hit 800 million monthly users. With such a large audience, it can be disheartening for influencers when only a small fraction of IG users lay eyes on their content. This blog is designed to help social media influencers master their posts and maximize the reach on their Instagram content, ultimately leading to more money.
Understanding the Instagram Algorithm
Optimizing your Instagram presence starts with understanding the algorithm (as best we can). In March 2016, the game changed. Instagram announced its intention to overhaul its chronological feed and replace it with an algorithm-based feed. This transition introduced the new-age algorithm that influencers are now all too familiar with — you know, the one that serves as judge and jury every time you tap “share.”
In the aforementioned announcement, we learned that this new iteration of the algorithm would be similar to Facebook’s algorithm; emphasizing interests, relationships and timeliness when determining a post’s placement in the feed. In fact, the announcement post was aptly titled, “See the Moments You Care About First.” In a nutshell, Instagram began prioritizing the feed to display content it determined the individual would enjoy most based on past behavior and interactions (and perhaps Facebook data, too).
6 Strategies to Increase Your Instagram Reach:
Instagram’s algorithm is the foundation for all metrics, including reach. Here are 6 ways to optimize reach, encouraging the algorithm to display your content to a larger pool of Instagram users.
Leverage the Power of Hashtags: Instagram users have an affinity for exploring content via hashtags, and they can now “follow” hashtags just like they follow friends. The proper blend of hashtags is a gateway to increased reach. With a maximum of 30 hashtags available per post, use a mix of trending, popular-yet-related and uber-targeted tags to unlock a larger audience.
PRO-TIP: To avoid tags appearing spammy, place them as the first comment under your post or after a string of bullets to end the caption.
Cultivate Conversation: This is done effectively through questions, contests, polls and quality call to actions. Comments are a key component to reach, so craft your posts and captions in a way that will spark conversation. Once that chatter starts, do your part to keep it going. People are on social media to be social, after all.
PRO-TIP: Kill two birds with one stone by using questions and polls to gather real-time audience feedback and learn more about your followers.
Post At Peak Times: By using an Instagram Business account, you unlock valuable data through Instagram Insights. Take a look at the “Followers” section to find the hours and days the audience is most active. Then, maximize reach by posting during those peak times.
PRO-TIP: Instagram Insights boasts a plethora of information to help you understand your audience. If your profile is not set up as a business account, make the switch now.
Use Stories to Promote Posts: Instagram stories claim valuable real estate above the feed. This offers ample opportunity to promote posts in a place where users will see them. From “Type” mode to live video, or by exercising your own creative juices, you can leverage stories to send people to your page and notify them of new posts.
PRO-TIP: If you go capture a live video on Instagram, “share” the replay of the video in your stories. It will stay there for 24 hours. This is an excellent strategy to increase exposure.
Run Instagram Ads: Facebook Ads Manager allows you to create Instagram ads. By paying to play and promoting a post, you can use reach as the campaign’s objective to accomplish your goals.
PRO-TIP: In Instagram Insights, filter previous posts by impressions, engagement, “likes” and more to evaluate which posts are worthy of ad spend.
Focus On Quality Over Quantity: Since its inception, Instagram has been a visual platform. If your post’s media is low quality, it’s a safe bet the reach will be low. Focus on posting stunning visuals and thumb-stopping media paired with top-notch copy to maximize reach. Quality wins.
PRO-TIP: Unsure of a post? Share it as a story. If the story generates a buzz, it’s worth sharing to your feed.
The Benefits of Increased Reach
Instagram income is directly correlated to the size and behavior of your audience. Unlock larger audiences by using the tips above. If the reach is there and the content is quality, you can expect more clicks, comments, “likes” and income. Ultimately, giving you the opportunity to command higher bids while building a stronger following. Increased reach is a true win-win.