Updated: Jan 13
Part 1 of a 3-part series: Instagram Strategies to Boost Account Growth, Engagement and Sales
If you're struggling to grow your business and increase sales, then Instagram might just be the answer. This blog post is all about how to use Instagram strategically and effectively to boost your account growth.
Grow your Instagram account by using particular types of posts and features designed to extend the reach of your Instagram account.
How do you increase your Instagram followers?
Add Yours sticker
Optimised Instagram bio
Hashtags (#) are related to your topic - and although sources differ, the modern approach is to use between 5 and 10 hashtags per post. To increase your reach, It's important the hashtag will reach users who don't follow your Instagram account but do follow a particular hashtag like a topic. For example, #EnglishRiviera #Torbay or #Devon.
Hashtags should be both broad and narrow
Use hashtags that are relevant to the image and video you are using, keywords for your niche or business, and also a few broad topics to bring in new Instagram followers. For example, #travel is broad and #torquay is narrow.
Build a community using branded hashtags
A branded hashtag is a hashtag that’s unique to your business. It can be as simple as your business name, a clever or cheeky tagline, an acronym, or a campaign. Keep your brand's hashtag short, simple, and easy to type so your followers can remember it (and use it).
Branded Instagram hashtags help you build a community around your business and find content created about you by your followers.
Treat tip: Make sure you follow the branded hashtag yourself, so you can engage with the content created about your brand by your customers and followers.
Warning on emoji hashtags
What you'll discover when you use emojis in your hashtags is that they attract significantly less traffic than the same hashtag without an emoji. In part, because Instagram does not support the search function for hashtags that contain emojis.
Alt-text on Instagram
Alt-text is meant to help visually impaired Instagram users to get the most from your content on the platform. The most important aspect of effective alt-text is to give a correct and precise description of the image. Make sure you include critical aspects, such as colour or texture, to assist the user better imagine the photograph. Be sure to include one or more relevant keywords in the alt text, but only follow this rule when it naturally complements the description and is relevant to the image.
Alt-text helps with Instagram search
There are other advantages to using alt-text and alt-tags because they help you with your search visibility. Include your brand name, address, or any other relevant information to help the picture reach your target audience through Instagram search.
NB: Alt-text is used when posting photos in feed, but (in January 2022) they are not available for any video or story content.
How to edit your images and add alt-text:
If you’re uploading a new Instagram post, here are the steps you should follow to add custom alt-text:
Launch the Instagram app, tap the plus button at the top of your screen, and add / edit as you would for regular Instagram posts.
Click the forward arrow on the top-right corner after you’ve applied a filter or edited the photo.
Click the “Advanced Settings” option at the bottom of the screen.
Tap “Write Alt Text” under the Accessibility section on the next page.
Write the alt text and click “Done” button at the top-right corner.
Tap the back arrow on the next page.
Add your Instagram caption, location, and other details and use the Share button to upload your post.
How to add Alt-text to your older Instagram posts (or edit your existing alt-text)
Find and open the Instagram post. Tap the three dots at the top-right corner of your screen.
Select the “Edit” option from the menu.
Tap the “Edit Alt Text” link near the bottom right corner of the photo.
Type the photo description, your keywords, and your business name in the text box.
Click the “Done” button.
Treat tip: Although there is a good amount of space to write content, best practice is to keep the length of the alt text to 100 characters. Otherwise, screen readers won’t accurately interpret and read the description.
The Add Yours sticker in Instagram Stories
A new Instagram feature in 2021 is the Add Yours sticker in Instagram Stories. Launched on Nov. 1, Add Yours is a sticker type that allows users to contribute to different threads with their own contributions on a topic. Once a reply is added to a story, whoever views their story can then tap the sticker to add their own reply, continuing the chain to reach their own followers. Simply tap the sticker to view the responses and other users.
A connected network of Instagram followers
Add Yours is an effective way to gain a following from "friends of friends" where you're reaching out to their network, and eventually their network's network. Because you are tapping into a network and not the general public, the Add Yours sticker concept works a bit like LinkedIn with connected networks. This method forms that basis of a connected, engaged community of Instagram followers.
Using Add Yours to boost Instagram reach in an authentic way
Generally, the Instagram stories post type and format is more intimate and has a greater authenticity. The Add yours sticker is a nice way to grow your Instagram account in an organic way that feels very connected and relevant to what you're trying to achieve in your business.
Paid Instagram Advertising
Advertise your Instagram posts and videos to boost your reach through sponsored posts - using the blue Boost button. There are some nice features in Instagram advertising, and some of it is targeted.
Targeting the right audience
You can choose a particular location, particular age range or gender to target your message. You can also choose a range of interests that will help improve the granularity of your targeting. You will definitely experience a greater Instagram growth when you boost an image or a post, depending on the amount of money you are boosting with each day. Each business is different, and the amount you spend on boosting has a lot to do with your product, services, and number of locations.
Depending on the call to action that you choose, you can ask people to visit your profile and to follow you. It's an effective way of just putting a few pounds behind the boosted post and to ask for Instagram followers. (Just make sure that when you have more Instagram followers that you actually have something to say!)
How to boost your Instagram Posts
Choose the blue boost post button underneath your post
Select a goal of more Instagram profile visits, more website visits, or more messages
Choose "Visit profile" to encourage more Instagram followers
Create your own audience, naming it so you can save and access it again
Choose regional or local locations, using Local to bring up a map and pin
Choose interests that match the demographic of your ideal customer
Choose the age and gender of your ideal customer
Select Next to choose a budget and duration
Select Next to review and preview your Ad in the Instagram feed, Instagram stories, and on the Explore page
Proofread, making sure your call-to-action for each viewer is exactly what you need and confirm the ad.
The advertisement will go through a short approval process with take a few hours. You will learn valuable insights from your advertisement such as behaviours, gender and age of those viewing and engaging with your Instagram Ad.
Treat tip: Make sure you proofread any post before boosting it as you cannot edit it once boosted.
NB: As of January 2022, it is not possible to boost reels.
Optimised Instagram bio
Your Instagram bio is your company's online presence, your company business card, a product portfolio, and website homepage all in one. It's considered one of the most important ways to convert Instagram users into followers.
The best Instagram bios summarize what you do in a few short sentences or bullet points. With a good Instagram biography, you can target your ideal audience so that any new people are aware of what you and your company offer. They're more inclined to hit the follow button if they like what they see!
Consider how you might use the 150 characters in your Instagram bio to produce content that attracts potential clients and consumers, whether it's a bulleted list, a few lines of text, or your branded hashtags.
Use the name field to your advantage with keywords
The Name Field is separate to your Username, and it's a valuable feature for visibility, and to optimise searching for your business. Rather than including your username in this field, use targeted keywords to make your brand or company more discoverable by potential new followers.
On Instagram, consider the keywords your ideal client might use to look for what they need. It could be a topic you're interested in, the items you sell, or the city where your company is located. Put these keywords into the Name Field once you've discovered them.
Clickable hashtags in your bio
Once you've identified your niche and keywords, you can add these clickable elements as hashtags (or a branded hashtag) in your Instagram bio.
Use Linkin.bio or Linktree
It's inconvenient when a brand you follow on Instagram has an old post about an article or product, but the link in their bio doesn't provide the link you need. Linkin.bio and Linktree allows you to easily redirect followers to the products or pages that you mention in your Instagram feed posts without having to update your website in your bio.
Our number one strategy for increasing Instagram growth for free is through a reels-first Instagram marketing strategy.
That simply means that all video content is put onto reels FIRST as a top priority. Reels gives you every advantage of an in-feed Instagram video, because you have the ability to add a caption, mention another Instagram account, hashtags, and locations (without a tonne of story stickers all over your beautiful content).
Increase visibility beyond your Instagram followers
Reels get more visibility (and Instagram growth) than posts than video posts. Video posts, once they're clicked on, automatically go into the reels content category. There's more activity in the reels post category, as it borrows from social media platforms like TikTok style video content to captivate viewers. It's hard to get out of the Instagram Reels because the content is quick, engaging, and optimised using an algorithm.
Reels are highly addictive because the Reels algorithm continually feeds the content that Instagram thinks that users want to see and it's difficult to get out of!
According to Instagram, businesses and marketers should produce Reels that are funny, useful, or innovative - using creative features like text, camera effects, or filters to create them. For Instagram Reels, you should also avoid uploading low-resolution, blurry, or obviously recycled material from other applications (like TikTok). The following types of Reels are downgraded or de-prioritised and less likely to appear on the Explore or Reels category tabs.
Companies should post reels that:
Use vertical (portrait) video
They are both amusing and enjoyable (i.e., they delight individuals, capture their attention, make them laugh, or have a thrilling surprise or twist).
Are inspiring (i.e., starts a trend that others can easily participate in)
Use music from the Instagram music library and/or original audio you create
Try something new
We recommend sharing your Instagram Reels to your main feed, using captions to make your content more informative, and hashtags to increase visibility and improve Instagram growth.
Reels-first is what we recommend to all of our clients for a low-cost Instagram growth strategy.
The next blog in the series is all about increasing Instagram engagement. We'll cover tactics that will increase engagement: Posting photos and video content daily in feed, creating stories with authenticity and using story stickers to foster engagement.
Watch for the third blog in the Instagram strategy about increasing sales, covering tactics like e-commerce functionalities in Instagram, and the Add shop button, the swipe up function and Add Link button in your stories.
Subscribe to receive all the blogs in the Instagram strategy series (and score a 20% discount, too).
The digital marketers at Treat are social media experts, specialising in Instagram strategies that will help you achieve your business and marketing goals in 2022. Get in touch for an informal chat at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 07513472371.