When a marketer is choosing the right platform to promote their business, what fundamental factors should they think about?
Can the platform assist in reaching a broad audience? Is the platform’s user base on the rise, or is it losing its appeal? Do the platform’s features and tools enable effective marketing? Does the platform offer valuable analytics and insights?
Instagram shines in all these aspects. Boasting over 2 billion active users, it’s an ideal platform for reaching a vast and varied audience. Its consistent growth in popularity demonstrates its sustained relevance. Instagram’s extensive features and marketing tools provide ample opportunities for creativity and effective promotion. Moreover, the platform offers valuable analytics and insights to track and enhance your marketing efforts, making it an excellent choice for businesses. Needless to say, Instagram is a platform that shouldn’t be missed.
But remember, even though the basics of how to use Instagram for your business don’t change, the little tricks that work can change from year to year. To make it on Instagram in 2023, you need to keep up with the new best practices.
In this blog post, we’ll help you do just that.
Why is Instagram Important For Marketing?
Instagram has evolved into a marketing powerhouse, exploding its user base from 400 million in 2016 to over 2 billion in 2023. This phenomenal growth makes it a go-to platform for businesses and influencers. The reason? Instagram boasts an impressive engagement rate of 0.83%, surpassing other platforms.
This high engagement level is a boon for brands seeking to raise awareness and generate leads. It offers a direct line to your audience, allowing you to converse with customers, build trust, and expand your network.
The combination of a burgeoning user base and remarkable engagement rates makes it a golden opportunity to craft and execute Instagram marketing strategies. It’s user-friendly, requiring nothing more than a smartphone and a plan.
Instagram also offers a plethora of benefits, such as putting a face to your brand, broadening your audience, selling products directly on the platform, and fostering customer engagement. Partnering with influencers in your niche and keeping tabs on your competitors are just a couple of the tactics in its arsenal.
You can also share the story of your business, connect with other enterprises, monitor consumer trends, gather valuable customer data, and enhance your marketing approach. In a nutshell, Instagram is a vital tool for modern marketing, making it an essential platform for businesses to explore and harness its potential.
Top 15 Instagram Best Practices
Instagram can seem like a labyrinth with its rules and secrets, but understanding the basics is essential. There’s a multitude of tips and guidelines available, but selecting the ones that align with your brand is paramount. To embark on a successful Instagram journey, you must appease both the algorithm and your followers. Make sure you follow these top 15 Best practices to get the best results:
1. SEO-Friendly Profile
To make a splash on Instagram, it all begins with your profile. Think of it as your digital calling card. Start by keeping it search engine-friendly, yes, even on a visual platform like Instagram. Use this space to your advantage. Your account handle, the @username, should be brief, memorable, and directly related to your business. It’s like your digital business card, and it needs to pack a punch.
Then there’s your account name, the one under your profile picture. Make it resonate with your handle and industry so people find you easily when they search. First impressions matter, and on Instagram, this is your digital handshake.
2. Clear and Measurable Goals
Without clear goals, your Instagram presence might become directionless. Are you here to increase brand awareness, boost sales, or foster community engagement? Defining your objectives will provide you with a roadmap. For example, if your primary goal is to drive sales, your content will focus on product showcases, customer testimonials, and promotions. On the other hand, if you aim to boost brand awareness, your strategy might revolve around storytelling and visual aesthetics.
Your chosen goals dictate the type of content you create. Instagram offers various formats like feed posts, Reels, and Stories. If your goal is to engage with the community, you’ll focus on interactive Stories and user-generated content. However, if boosting product sales is the priority, you’ll craft attention-grabbing Reels and well-crafted product images in your feed.
3. Posting Time
It’s not just what you post; it’s when you post that counts. To make sure you’re in sync with your audience, it’s essential to understand when they’re most active. While there are some general guidelines, such as the best time to post photos being 11 a.m. on Wednesdays and Reels doing well at 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. Monday to Thursday, it’s crucial to recognize that your audience might have its unique rhythm.
To truly find the most effective posting times for your specific account, you’ll need to observe your followers’ habits. Keeping an eye on your Instagram Insights can provide valuable data about when your audience is most engaged. After all, posting at the right time ensures your content reaches its maximum potential and doesn’t get lost in the Instagram feed.
4. Analyze Insights and Results
To succeed on Instagram, it’s not just about creating content; it’s about understanding the impact of your efforts. This is where the importance of analyzing insights and results comes into play. The native Instagram insights tool is a good starting point, offering information about your audience and engagement.
However, to dive deeper and gain a richer understanding of your performance, it’s wise to incorporate professional analytics tools like Hootsuite. These tools provide downloadable charts and graphs that make it easy to grasp what’s working and what’s not.
Analyzing insights allows you to adapt your strategy, fine-tune your content, and optimize your approach for better results.
5. 3-Second Rule For Reels
In the digital age, attention spans are shorter than ever. Within the first three seconds of your Reel, you have a tiny window to hook your audience. Viewers need to know what they’re going to get from your Reel right from the start. The title should give a clear indication of the content, and the initial moments should align with that promise. This establishes trust with your audience.
If you promise a quick cooking tip, deliver it promptly. If it’s a funny skit, start with humor. Meeting viewer expectations builds a positive viewer experience. If viewers are unsure about what’s happening or don’t find the content engaging right away, they’re likely to swipe away.
On the other hand, if you deliver on the promise and make those initial seconds captivating, viewers are more likely to stick around and watch the entire Reel.
6. Use Trending Audio
Just like the beat of a catchy song can get stuck in your head, trending audio can get stuck in the minds of your audience, making your content memorable and shareable.
To implement this strategy, keep an eye out for audio with a little arrow next to its name in any Reel. That arrow signifies it’s trending. Tap on the audio to see how many Reels have used it. Aim for trending audio with fewer than 30,000 Reels to avoid getting lost in the crowd. So, don’t miss a beat – start using trending audio to elevate your Instagram game.
7. Use Reel Templates
If you’re not already using Instagram Reels, it’s time to start. Reels are gaining popularity, accounting for 20% of the time users spend on the platform. Research from Hootsuite even indicates that Reels can generate up to 300% more engagement than regular Instagram videos.
Given that the Instagram algorithm favors Reels, creating them should be a key part of your Instagram strategy. Use the Reel Templates feature to get started. It automatically synchronizes your video clips with the audio in the original Reel. To find templates, open the Reels tab, click the camera icon in the top right, and scroll down to Templates. Choose a template that suits your content and tap “Use template” to get creative.
8. Use Relevant Hashtags
Hashtags play a crucial role in making your posts discoverable and engaging on Instagram. It’s essential to select the most relevant and appropriate hashtags for your posts. Avoid generic hashtags like #holiday or #fashion, as your content will compete with countless others. Instead, combine trending and industry-specific hashtags to connect with your target audience effectively.
Once your business gains visibility, consider creating a branded hashtag. A branded hashtag not only boosts discoverability but also fosters a robust user community. Using the right hashtags can significantly impact your post’s visibility, so it’s crucial to learn which ones work best for your brand.
9. Alt Text
Alt text is an often overlooked but powerful tool to enhance your Instagram content’s accessibility and SEO ranking. Similar to alt text on websites, it provides a text description of the content in your image or video. Instagram automatically generates alt text for posts using artificial intelligence, but customizing it yourself can yield better results.
This practice ensures that your content is accessible to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as to the 20% of Reels viewers who watch without sound. Closed captions on Reels are now automatic but can be adjusted by users. Adding timed text to highlight specific points in your video further enhances engagement and accessibility.
10. Captions with a call-to-action
Crafting engaging captions with clear calls-to-action (CTAs) can significantly boost audience engagement. Encourage your followers to take specific actions like liking, commenting, or sharing your content. Your captions should provide value to your audience, and the CTA should align with the post’s purpose.
For instance, if you’re showcasing a new product, your CTA could be “Double-tap if you’d love to try this!” or “Tag a friend who needs this.” CTAs not only engage your audience but also guide them on how to interact with your content, ultimately strengthening your brand’s presence on Instagram.
11. Choose The Right Category For Your Profile
Selecting the appropriate category for your Instagram profile can make a significant difference in how users discover and perceive your brand. Instagram offers various profile categories that reflect your business’s nature, such as “Local Business,” “Blogger,” or “E-commerce Store.”
This categorization enhances your visibility when users search for profiles related to your industry. It also provides essential context about your brand. Ensure that your chosen category accurately represents your business, as it’s a fundamental aspect of your Instagram presence.
12. Relevant Keywords in Bio
Your Instagram bio is a concise introduction to your brand, and including relevant keywords can improve your discoverability. When users search for specific terms or phrases on Instagram, profiles with those keywords in their bio are more likely to appear in the results.
In your bio, you should convey what your brand does, what you offer, and what makes you unique. A well-structured bio can provide valuable information about your business, increasing your chances of attracting the right audience. Ensure that your bio is concise engaging, and effectively communicates your brand’s essence to potential followers.
13. Optimize Your Account
Ensuring your Instagram account is fully optimized is crucial for attracting and retaining followers. This includes using a profile picture that clearly represents your brand, writing a compelling bio, and adding contact information. You can also include a link to your website, which serves as a direct gateway for users to explore your products or services. A well-optimized account not only enhances your credibility but also makes it easier for users to understand what your brand offers.
14. Be Consistent
Maintaining consistency in your Instagram posting schedule is essential for building a loyal following and increasing engagement. A visually consistent style in your posts helps viewers instantly recognize your content in their feeds. To achieve this, consider adhering to a color scheme that aligns with your brand’s style guide.
Consistency in posting frequency is critical, as it keeps your audience engaged and informed. While there’s no universal magic number of weekly posts, observing industry trends can help determine what works best for your brand. Regularly monitor your Instagram Insights or analytics to identify peak engagement times and tailor your posting schedule accordingly.
15. Plan Ahead
Planning your Instagram content in advance is a strategic approach to ensure your feed remains fresh and engaging. A content calendar that considers significant events, holidays, and brand campaigns helps you curate content that resonates with your audience.
By scheduling your posts in advance, you not only save time but also maintain posting consistency. Automated posting using Instagram scheduling tools ensures your content goes live at the most opportune times. This approach allows you to create high-quality content, review it thoroughly, and maintain a well-structured posting strategy.
These Instagram best practices can help your brand thrive. These steps will set you on the path to Instagram success, but remember that the platform is ever-evolving, so staying informed is crucial to maintaining your brand’s presence.
Instagram isn’t just about being present; it’s about being purposeful. Your profile should serve a business goal, adding value to your brand. With Instagram being a hotspot for users, you can’t afford to miss out.
Following simple best practices, you can elevate your Instagram game and watch your brand flourish. These best practices aren’t exclusive to any brand category; they work for everyone. Tailor them to fit your brand and witness organic growth. Instagram thrives on making the ordinary extraordinary, so curate content that captivates.
With dedication and these practices, you’ll see your brand not only survive but thrive on this visual platform.