This one may seem obvious, but in the current algorithm, more than ever consistency is rewarded. In fact, not posting regularly nowadays means it is much less likely to be found in hashtags or explore pages. These two are like the Google for Instagram and a must to grow! Also, if you're not posting stories and posts regularly it is much less likely that your followers will see your post, since Instagram will add your post lower in their home page. Instagram likes us to check in regularly and behave socially with our followers, it is social media after all. But what does that mean, post consistently? Best is, to post minimally two to three stories and one post daily - and yes I know how difficult that is, especially the daily posts! Every other day a post also works, as long as it is consistent. The more Instagram feels (yes, they track your activity) that you are reliable, the higher you rank in homepages, hashtags and best of all, explore pages.
There is another part of consistency very important tha to do with color grading in photos, but more about that later!
Post only vertical content
Only after researching the internet for a long, long time did I find this tip from an insider expert at Facebook and I have been telling clients this for the past year: Instagram wants us to post vertical, not horizontal content. What does that mean exactly? It is quite simple, only upload photos and videos to Instagram that you took with your phone or camera upwards (vertically), giving you the best possible look for the platform. Instagram is designed as a vertical, mobile scrolling platform, so vertical photos and videos are most desirable. Horizontal and panorama photos are not comfortable to look at so much on Instagram, since they are being cropped! Also, people look longer at vertical content than horizontal content on Instagram, a huge plus, won't you say?
This tip interestingly always is the most surprising part of any workshop or consultancy session I'm giving. Apparently, actually engaging with followers and potential followers (customers!) is easily forgotten. I understand that it is timely and that we never have enough time, but there are actually some super useful hacks where you can engage most effectively with very little time and maximum effect. In my workshops I outline them all for the best results and I'll share one of them here with you for free! Before posting, like and comment back on the posts of the people who liked and commented on your latest photo, this way your post is more likely to pop up high in their homepage.
Choose the right time to post
Have you ever checked when your followers are online in your statistics? If you have a business page (and I highly recommend you to have one), Instagram gives you insights about when most of your followers are active. There are certain peak days and peak hours and it is very important to post exactly on those times! Try and experiment with those hours to see when exactly your posts have the highest reach. If I post in my peak hours, the photo easily reaches 40.000 + people, but if I post an hour later, my reach usually doesn't get above 5000-10.000. This is a huge difference, think about all the potential likes, follows, emails and sales you miss out on by not posting at the right hour.
Use the right hashtags
The topic of hashtags usually is one of the most important parts of my Instagram workshops, it is a world on its own and so, so important for your Instagram game. Think about it, hashtags are for Instagram what SEO is for Google. According to the hashtags you use, the Instagram algorithm 'decides' in what niche your post fits and to whom it will show your post. Using the wrong hashtags leads to a low flow of likes and followers because you are not reaching your target audience, whereas using the right hashtags can create a steady flow of followers and potential customers! Which hashtags you should use, depend completely on your niche. Never use the same hashtags over and over again and never use over 30 hashtags. More about deciding your niche and which hashtags to use later!
These are five Instagram secrets that have helped me and my clients to grow their audience and brand awareness. It is not about becoming 'Instagram famous' or get thousands of not-relevant followers or likes that won't bring any value to your page or brand, but about followers who actually want to see your content and potentially buy your products. Let me know in the comments what you most struggle with on Instagram and I would be happy to help! Perhaps your biggest problem will be the next upcoming blog post about Instagram :)