“Don’t use social media to impress people, use it to impact people”- Dave Willis
Like it or not, social media is here to stay. Having followers and a loyal community has become a must. It has become an important part of how we do business, of how we acquire customers and loyal followers. With millions of social media users today, staying relevant and present is what is required if we want to increase our circle of influence, make an impact and gain more followers/ customers.
Amongst all the social media platforms today, Instagram is the most popular one especially amongst the younger generation. With new added features like reels, stories and filters, it has only gained more popularity. It is estimated that there are more than 700 million active Instagram users today and these numbers are only going to see an increase. It no longer remains a platform only for entertainment but has become a place for business. People nowadays are not only searching for macro influencers but also micro influencers as they are more relatable and people want to hear and understand them more.
So how do you go about increasing your search ranking and followers on Instagram for free? I am going to tell you just that. So if you are looking to create a brand, do business or just want to be insta famous, read on!
Username: Choose a username that can be easily searched. Having a username with what your main business is, is good practice. For example, if you are into cooking and having a username like @recipebox, it will instantly tell a user what your account is all about. It will also rank when someone searches for recipes which will ultimately lead to more followers.
Account description: Include your product/ service speciality in the description of your account too. It helps when someone is searching those keywords and your account will rank amongst the top.
Photographs: Have eye catching and good quality photographs in your account especially if you sell products like jewellery. Professionally shot photographs can make a world of difference in showcasing the product and making it more eye catching and appealing.
Do post a few photographs of yourself and maybe even of your family/ pets. People are always curious to know who the creator is and also to know what happens behind the scenes. It makes them feel more connected knowing that they are just like them.
Posts: Post consistently. Have unique and valuable posts- ones that will make you stand out from the crowd. One post per day is ideal. But do not have only sales post. Have different posts. You could include motivational posts or good quotes that you have come across or even memes. Have one sales post per week. You could even make a timetable for the different kinds of posts and follow that.
Also, keep posting in the stories section a few times a day so that your account appears in the front of the story section for your followers and then they are more likely watch it.
In the new instagram algorithm, the bookmarks/saves are considered a super like, and hence the algorithm shows it to more people. The shares are prioritized as it helps increase the reach of your posted material. The comments help the content creator to know what you think about their content, and now likes are considered peanuts. So make sure to ask your followers to not only like and comment but to also bookmark your posts.
Showing up in the explore section would be savage but that requires your posts to have huge likes and comments. Going viral will definitely get you into the explore section.
Caption your post: A great caption with a great picture or video will draw people to like and comment on it. A good description is an added bonus. Using call to actions in the caption, asking them to like and comment and bookmark is a sure shot way to increase engagement.
You can also go into the advanced settings while posting and give your own alt text description.
Hashtags: Use relevant hashtags, suited to your product or service. Each hashtag increases your engagement with the users and Instagram allows 30 hashtags per post. So using at least five hashtags per post is a good way to reach more people. Include generic hashtags, plus hashtags specific to your product or service. You can use Hashtagify to find hashtags relevant to your service or product. Make sure to use different hashtags for your posts each time so that Instagram doesn’t think you are a bot.
Videos: Micro videos are in right now. They can draw more eyeballs than regular posts as people find listening and watching more easy than reading a post, especially a lengthy one. Like written posts, have different kinds of videos, which pertain to your line of service.
Ever since the reels feature has been rolled out, instagram is focusing on it for reach. Currently, the reels gain the most views. In decreasing order, it is reels, igtv, videos, the explore page, stories and then posts.
Next, try adding any kind of video/music to your posts, ie some kind of timelapse video showing the process of manufacturing and/or packaging your items, it keeps the viewers engaged, and the algorithm thinks that the viewer is not a bot, hence further increasing its impact and reach
Make sure to make your videos in a well lit area and be visually pleasing to both your eyes and your ears. In case of reels, try using music which is in trend/viral. Using Instagram filters can make the look more appealing.
Follow/ Unfollow: This hack is not very ethical but it is a way that influencers indulge in to get more followers. Follow all the top influencers in your field. Then, go to their followers and follow them. In most cases those people will follow you back. Then after a few weeks if you want you can unfollow them. So you have followers without having to follow them. But please beware that Instagram has changed its algorithm and it bans accounts of those who start following a lot of people at one go.
Engagement: Engage with your followers. Make sure that you reply to their comments. You could also like and comment on their posts. It makes them feel special.
Comment under and also like the posts of other people in your niche as well.
Other influencers: Try and connect with other bigger influencers in your niche and try to get them for an interview or to even promote your product or service or to simply give you a shout out. This may come at a price but if it is affordable definitely go for it, as it’s an easy way to get views and maybe their followers.
Contests: Having a contest now and then is a great way to keep your followers engaged. Even hashtag photo challenges are great like the 10 yr challenge. Be creative.
Giveaways: Who doesn’t like freebies? Giveaways are a huge draw and get more likes and comments than regular posts. Make sure to show that the winner was chosen without any bias whatsoever. Post the name of the winner with the giveaway.
Geotag: Use geotags for your posts if you are in a popular city. Instagram automatically shows it to more followers.
Hire a social media manager: If you think that you will not have the time to constantly keep a tab on the social media handles, hire a social media manager. Yes you will have to pay them but they can take care of your social media effectively while you can concentrate on building your business.
Building your brand is a slow process. These hacks will definitely help you but don’t expect results in a few days or even a few weeks. It takes months or even years. Consistent hard work and patience is what is required. So what are you waiting for? Get grinding!
‘Happy Insta Journey!’