In Part 1, we covered the very basics of utilizing Instagram for your business and talked about the three pillars of Consistency, Content and Calls to Action.
Here in Part 2, we’re going to talk about more nuanced aspects of the app including the bio page, explore page, account engagement and hashtags.
The bio isn’t so much of a page as it is a short, 160 character synopses of you or your brand. It’s located directly above your photo feed and is the first thing anyone sees when they navigate to your page.
There are several schools of thought on the bio. Some say it should capture a viewer’s attention immediately with a clever tagline, while others say it should be informational and lead the viewer to where you want them to go. Neither is wrong, and the right answer probably depends on who your target is and what their specific habits are.
However, I’m going to tell you what I like to do with my bio. In social media, you really have to cut through the noise, so I like to use every aspect I can to my advantage, and this includes my bio. I use a call to action in my bio. I have a short, one sentence value proposition followed by a specific call to action.
*TIP: You can change the link in your bio. I always change mine to the most recent blog post or a specific page I’m trying to drive traffic to. This is useful when your post caption says “Link in bio.”
The explore page is one of my favorite tools in Instagram! Basically, it is the page that pops up when you tap the little magnifying glass or “search” button. On this page, you can search for specific people or tags, but more importantly, is the “Explore Posts” section toward the bottom.
These posts are based on an algorithm of content that you have “liked” in the past. What this means is, Instagram calculates the type of images in your “like” history, and generates similar content in the Explore page.
LIKE pictures of Instagram users in your target audience to generate a highly targeted audience on your Explore Page. This helps you understand what your audience is posting, their needs, what they want to see, and who is your competition. It also allows you to connect with the people you actually want to reach. Use the Explore Page to your advantage, and your follower count will skyrocket!
*TIP: Be mindful of the photos you like. If you start liking too many images inconsistent with your brand and audience, that is what will fill your Explore Page.
In social media, engagement is king. You could have a zillion followers, but if they aren’t picking up what you’re putting down, then what does it matter?
Engagement is highly measureable in likes and comments and allows you to interact with your audience The higher your engagement level, the higher Instagram will rank any given image and will put it in front of more people (on the explore page).
Post images that are shareable. Every time I post something, I ask myself, “Would I want to share this with a friend if I saw it on my feed?” The answer should always be yes. If your content is valuable and compelling, then the engagement will come. For some ideas on good content, try checking back at Part 1.
Liking other people’s images also sends a message that you are here to interact. You’re here to play! If you are active on Instagram, then users in your market will be more likely to see your account and interact back with you. Calls to action can play a big role in this. A tactic I like to employ is to ask a question in place of my CTA. An example is below:
This gets people talking. Have a conversation with your audience. Be an authority and talk about whatever it is you’re passionate about. This is what makes Instagram fun! In my opinion, Instagram is one of the more social of the social networks, so use it to your advantage. (Are you sensing a theme here?)
Another hugely valuable tool for engagement is hashtags. Much more just an annoying thing from a Jimmy Fallon sketch, hashtags link similar content that are “tagged” with the same hashtag. So, if I were to use the hashtag #disneyblogger, that image would be linked to every other image that uses that hashtag.
This is an excellent way to target posts and get your image in front of the right eyeballs. Many people in search of specific content will search for hashtags, not individual accounts. Use your explore page to see what hashtags your audience are using, and tag the heck out of them!
*TIP: Instagram has a page of the most commonly used hashtags. These can be used across the board, and are a good supplement to your industry specific hashtags.
I have also created a hashtag specific to my brand. It gets people acquainted with my content, and is a great use for feature accounts. For example:
This is an optional thing, but it’s something I like to do.
As you can see, a huge part of Instagram is understanding how the app works and using its features to your advantage. As it is with anything, IG will get easier the more you use it, and always be sure you have fun!
Tell me what you think of my approach and let me know what other cool strategies you have to gain IG followers!