Instagram quickly outgrew its first impression as a fun app for kids and has become a serious content marketing, selling, networking and audience building tool for individuals and brands. It’s one of the most popular social networking sites on the planet, with over 200 million active monthly members sharing 60 million images and 1.6 billion likes per day.
It's amazing! Instagram has the highest engagement rate of any social network, with a mere 0.1%. The average Instagram engagement rate for brands in a 2014 Forrester study was an epic 58 Times higher than on Facebook.
You can’t argue with numbers like that. But that’s just average. And as I advocate across all manners of online marketing, you don’t want to be average! It’s not a dream or a goal.
Although 58 times more engagement on Instagram sounds great, there are so many other ways to do it better. Whether you’re a big brand or maybe just wondering how to become Instagram famous, I don’t want you to strive for average; I want you to reach for the stars and become an Instagram unicorn. A digital unicorn is that magical, rare creature that outperforms all others by orders of magnitude.
And you’re going to accomplish this by working these eleven amazing Instagram hacks into your social strategy. Check out these attention-getting ideas for your Instagram captions, hashtags, profile, and more, and see what to post on Instagram to get more followers and way more visibility and engagement too.
1. Make a brand hashtag
You can create a collection of your best content by creating a dedicated, custom or branded hashtag. When a potential follower finds you via another highly targeted tag, they’ll be more likely to follow after seeing your top posts.
You may also consider creating a branded tag for each of your Instagram marketing campaigns. In some cases, this is a better option because it often sounds less promotional than using something more specific to your business such as your company name. Campaign hashtags are also used by followers which captures the attention and interest of their connections. They may also start following you if they share the same interests.
2. Cross-promote your designated hashtag.
That’s nice that you created a #joesgarage hashtag for your company, but who knows to use it to share content about you? Make sure it’s in your profile, but take the game offline and have it printed on your receipts, in print ads, on signage in your store and at relevant events.
If you’re on radio and TV, direct people to use your hashtag. Integrate online and offline campaigns by ensuring it’s listed on your other social profiles, on your website, and in your email blasts. Don’t just hope people will find it.
3. Use industry-specific hashtags
You want to attract people who are interested in what your offer is. If you are using terms that aren't relevant to your industry, you will not gain many followers. You must use hashtags when you post. your target audience would be browsing specifically.
The more specific you are, the more interested the people you attract and the higher the chances they’ll become followers. Additionally, using more precise tags will cut down on the number of competitors vying for the follows of the same people you’re targeting. This will make it easier to find your accounts and, consequently, easier to follow.
4. Don’t be boring
When it comes to Instagram caption ideas, you need to look beyond the one-word, obvious hashtags. You can use them, but you should also use hashtags to tell a part of your story. Be funny, ironic, or outrageous–just don’t be BORING. Collaborative workspace company WeWork This is a great idea. They also include fun Instagram content.
5. Use hashtags that are event-related
Event-related hashtags refer to events happening in your industry like annual conventions or seminars, and workshops.
These could be events that are well-known in your area, country, or around the world and are being remembered by the masses at a particular time. These are usually best suited for casual posts that are lighthearted and casual. You could take a picture of your team at lunch watching the World Cup. Post it…and don’t forget to include #worldcup! While this might not gain you a lot of followers since it’s such a general and popular term, it can boost awareness of your business, which will support your efforts to gain followers.
6. Participate in highly popular conversations
For every post, use a mix of topically relevant hashtags such as #woodworking for a carpentry company, for example, as well as trending, super-popular hashtags wherever you can.
The most specific hashtags work in the same way as long-tail keywords. They are more specific and can help you find the right people. But the universally popular hashtags are good for getting more people to your business. These include:
#tbt or #throwbackthursday (or any of these 100+ hashtags for every day of the week)
#wbw and #waybackwednesday
#photooftheday #picoftheday #bestoftheday
#summer (or any other season)
or even plain old #fun get you in front of more people in general.
Be aware that popular hashtags should not be the focus of your strategy. They attract a more general audience, but they do have their rightful place in your social media marketing success, as they can increase your exposure and generate engagement, possibly endearing new followers to you. When it comes to specific vs general hashtags, you need both to achieve growth on a network as big and noisy as Instagram.
7. Make the most out of your bio URL.
It’s prime real estate on your Instagram profile… do you really want your bio to only link to your website homepage, now and forever? Yawn. Change it up at least bi-weekly and use that clickable link in your bio to drive traffic to your newest or most popular content.
8. Be descriptive in your captions
A picture is worth a thousand words, but you can’t skip the words entirely. National Geographic is an amazing resource for using storytelling alongside their Instagram photos to generate engagement and sharing. While traditional media brands have dropped like flies, NatGeo has thrived across digital and become one of the top brands on Instagram, with over 50 million followers.
Like the other Instagram hacks I’ve included here, this is something you’ll want to commit to working into your strategy over time, so don’t worry if it feels weird at first. Your writing will improve as you find your brand’s Instagram voice.
9. You should be all in with influencer marketing.
Visit the profiles of each person you’ve identified as an influencer in your space (AKA a person who influences the people you want to get in front of) and “Turn On Post Notifications” to be notified every time they share new content. You can interact with them and become one their favorite brands or people.
10. Removing unwanted tags photos from your profile is a good idea.
If you only want to feature the best user-generated content about you or your brand on your Instagram profile, you can. Now, you can’t remove the tagged photos from the site entirely, by choosing “Edit Tags,” selecting the ones you want to remove and choosing “Hide from Profile” (you may need to confirm). It does the trick.
11. Before any content appears on your profile you must approve photo tags.
Speaking of giving you greater control over which tagged photos appear on your profile, you can change your Instagram setting so tagged photos won’t show unless you approve them first. You’ll find this under “Options,” “Photos of You,” and “Add Manually.”
I’m trying to think of a reason why any company would NOT want to do this… Nope. I’ve got nothing. To avoid embarrassing situations, you should definitely set this up.
12. Create your own Instagram style.
It’s human nature to want to fit in, but on Instagram, you want to stand out. Frooti, an Indian beverage brand, has created such a product. unique visual content style, it’s instantly recognizable every time a user sees a Frooti post in their newsfeed. It's easy to see:
13. Get local.
See what’s going on in a specific area (say, your neighborhood, a city you’re targeting in ads, or even an event in a certain location) by going to the search page and choosing the Places tab. To view all geotagged posts, enter the name of the location.
14. Keep your calls to action in mind
Instagram, like all social networks, is a platform for conversation and not broadcasting. What action do your followers want to take on your post, and what are their options? If you don’t know that, start over and figure it out. Staples Engaging people by telling them exactly what they expect them from their posts is a great way to generate engagement (bonus points if it sounds entertaining). That call to action is often the most effective. cleverly gets people to share or virally spread Staples’ content.
15. These hashtags should be avoided at all cost.
Your goal is to gain engaged followers with the potential to become customers. There are some commonly used hashtags that can get you lots of followers….but not the kind you want or need. It’s vital that you know what they are so you can avoid them and grow a following that’s actually worth having. Some of these, which we’ll call the hashtags of desperation, are:
These (or their equally terrible counterparts for comments, likes, shares and comments) should not be used. Yes, you might get a few followers this way but you’ll be scraping the bottom of the barrel as far as quality goes. And there’s really no need to do that! As we’ve already discussed, there are plenty of other and better hashtags to get followers on social media.
16. Post at the right time
Posting at the best time will ensure that you get the most exposure and engagement with your posts. This includes following and sharing, which can lead into more followers. Learn the best time to post on Instagram here.
How to Get More Instagram Followers [Summary]
The following are some ways to get more Instagram followers
- Create a dedicated or custom hashtag that includes your business name and a catchy phrase.
- Your dedicated hashtag should be promoted on all social media profiles, your website, and in your email blast.
- Use industry-specific hashtags for a relevant following
- Your hashtags can be creative. Be funny, ironic, or outrageous – but never boring!
- Use hashtags at conferences, annual events, seminars, and local events.
- Keep an eye out for the top trending hashtags. These conversations will help you reach more people.
- Your bio link can be used to drive traffic towards your most recent or most popular content.
- Write descriptive captions. Storytelling can help you generate engagement and share.
- Meet with influential people in your industry and try to be one of their favorite brands or people.
- Don’t want a tagged photo of you or your brand on your profile? To hide images from your profile, edit tags
- Adjust your settings so any potentially embarrassing tagged photos won’t show without your approval.
- Create your own distinctive visual style. Find out what makes you stand out and make it happen!
- Visit the Places tab to see what’s happening locally – your neighborhood, a city you’re targeting in ads, or an event in a certain location.
- To let people know what you want, use a call to actions. Find creative ways to get people sharing your content.
- Avoid hashtags that are desperate (#follow4follow #followme, #followback), Just don’t do it.