Unhappy with the reach of your posts lately?
You’re not the only one.
Instagram’s algorithm since its inception has been tormenting many account holders, resulting in most of an account’s followers never seeing content from the account they’re following. Posts are being lost in feeds unless the account that has produced the post, is an account that is already frequently engaged with by the follower. Tough times!
We can campaign for a return to the chronological ordering of posts that once was, but that is a battle destined to make little difference for the near future. Instead, we must adapt and master the change.
So, here are 12 strategies we suggest you start implementing to regain your fair share of unique account views, increasing your post engagement as a result.
Nowadays, most Instagram users are familiar with the power of hashtags. When you add a hashtag to your post, your post becomes attached to that hashtag. As hashtags are searchable, each hashtag is an opportunity for your post to be seen. If you want to be seen more, give people more places to see you. Different sources recommend different ideal totals for hashtags used per post, but just remember 30 is the max. Exceed this and they don’t work.
You will also need to familiarise yourself with banned and restricted hashtags. These hashtags have their feeds hidden or are completely unsearchable, due to content that does not comply with Instagram’s community guidelines. Use them, or the same block of hashtags repeatedly, and you may receive a “shadowban”.
Lastly, don’t limit your use of hashtags to standard posts only. Stories can also contain hashtags. If you’re lucky enough to have your story added to that of a hashtag when searched, expect a significant spike in views, or at the very least, views from accounts that may never have encountered your account before.
2. Location, location, location!
Before sharing a post, Instagram allows you to add a location. If you have a storefront or tangible place where people can engage with you personally, it is likely (hopeful) that you’ve been using this already. For internet bound products and services, you may have neglected this thinking that you don’t have a real location. Mistake. This location option is not only an obvious tool for brands with a tangible base, but it is somewhat the same as a hashtag. A location can be searched in the same way as a hashtag. If your post is attached to a location, when people explore that location on Instagram, they may encounter your post! Want to increase your market share in a specific area? Why not use the location tool to improve your presence? In addition to this, like hashtags, locations can be added to stories, with the same great results possible for those with a story that is added to a location.
3. Post Notifications
Why not encourage your followers to accept a notification from Instagram when you share a post? Sure, accounts which are willing to turn on post notifications would see your post regardless as they’re generally a more engaging follower, so large leaps in views from accounts already following yours shouldn’t be expected. However, consider this. The algorithm benefits posts with more engagement, particularly those with engagement early in the post’s life. If your followers are being notified of and therefore engaging with a post early, the algorithm will look upon you favorably, thereby promoting your post in front of more users.
The impact is impossible to measure accurately, but encouraging your followers to have Instagram notify them when you share a post won’t cost you anything, nor do any damage to your account’s image, so why not try it?
4. Instagram Pods
We’ve already published a detailed blog available for free (no membership required) that you can read about here. Like all that we have discussed so far, pods are generally free and can result in real engagement and growth, when set up effectively for those that have the time.
5. Captions & CTAs
A picture might tell a thousand words, but that doesn’t mean you can neglect your captions. To get the most from your Instagram efforts, your quality images or videos need to be accompanied with informative, meaningful captions. Captions are an opportunity to drive post engagement, actions that will once again ‘impress’ the algorithm and get you the exposure you deserve. Scrap the short s*** (single or a handful of words and emojis) and tell a story. Or, give free information that will be of use to your target audience, then finish it all with a call to action (CTA), encouraging people to like, follow, comment or share.
6. Promote Your Insta
Are you active on other social media platforms? If so, why not promote your Instagram account on these? It’s possible that you have audience members on other platforms that are also active on Instagram but are not engaging with you. Help them find you. If you must, start providing unique content on each platform so there is more incentive for people to be following your multiple accounts. Again, depending on the size of your audiences, this strategy might have little impact, but some extra Instagram reach is better than none, and small things can compound to become large over time.
Basic giveaways or contests can be a simple yet effective strategy for improving reach. As an example, assume that you’re operating on behalf of, or perhaps own a new apparel brand. As a prize, you have three vouchers, valid for your brand only. To win, people must tag in the comment section of your contest post(s), two other friends they would give the remaining vouchers to if they won. Immediately, what might’ve been one account reached with your post, has the potential to become three, tripling normal reach. Giveaway and contest options are limitless, as reach will be if you get it all right.
Depending on the size, co-branding will be much more time consuming and difficult than many of the strategies outlined thus far. However, when effective, the extra reach accumulated will also be much greater. Small collaborations are possible though and are ideal for giveaways or contests. For those wanting to pursue collaborations to boost post exposure, check out our free blog “Why you need to consider co-branding!”.
Commenting on only YOUR content is not enough. If you want to grow, to get seen, give people more places to see you. The comment section of posts that are not yours are another opportunity to market yourself. Use geotags, hashtags or even the list of accounts that you’re following or are following you to find conversations which are relevant to your brand, and where you can possibly add value. If you’re always providing meaningful information, people will notice. You get their attention, and even begin to earn authority within your market, important for securing customers.
Like co-branding, influencer marketing is often not as simple as the other options listed for improving reach. Also, like co-branding though, big returns are attainable. Once again, we have a whole blog available to members discussing influencer marketing. If you’re new to this type of marketing, our blog is a highly recommended resource. Instagram has become filled with accounts that may appear to have influence over their followers, that in reality have little to none. Don’t get burnt. Let us explain to you the basics so that you can avoid wasting both time and money and damaging your brand’s identity.
11. Instagram Stories
A blog discussing Instagram Stories and why they have become essential will be published soon, but for now, the most important information we can give you is that you need to start using this feature. What should you share via your story? Anything that is relevant to your brand and may be of value or appeal to your audience. Not sure? Find a brand, influencer or entrepreneur that is like you or what you want to be, then observe what they post over a period before developing your own plan.
A strategy chosen by many is to include an alert of sorts in their story, of a post they have recently shared. Their screenshot of their post is partially obstructed, encouraging anyone that views the story that has not yet viewed the post, to visit their profile for a full view. Doing this ensures that any of your followers that may not see your post due to the algorithm, still have the chance to be reached. If you’re including hashtags and making use of the location tool as mentioned above, then your story also has an opportunity to be featured as part of these pages and places, hopefully capturing interest and guiding users to your profile. Whereas standard, consistent posting can consume the feeds of those who follow you, becoming annoying to them on occasion, your story is a far less “intrusive” means of contact.
12. Post Promotion
If you’ve done most of the above but aren’t seeing the results you need or want, perhaps paid promotion is worth considering? Promotions can be created to suit all budgets, but if you’re honestly passionate about whatever it is that you’re attempting to do, then finding the money to invest in promotions can be done. We understand that start-ups 99% of the time lack great capital, but don’t let this stop you from spending money. If you want to compete, spend capital, but spend it well. Prior to paid promotions, ensure that you have a comprehensive understanding of your target audience, as well as a plan in place and more. Unorganised efforts will yield unpleasant results. Proper preparation prevents poor performance.
Lastly, always remember that great things take time. Don’t be disheartened by your current stats. Instead, continue to better yourself, product or service, and/or the way in which they are delivered to your audience. If you learn and progress daily, success is only a matter of when.
If you need any more information about anything we’ve discussed here, then please don’t hesitate to contact us, member or not, via the comment section below, email or Instagram.