Us bloggers seem to have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Instagram. It is the app we love one minute and hate the next. The bots, the follow/unfollow game and of course that Instagram algorithm.
Over the last couple of years, the algorithm has changed first going from posts in chronological order to most popular posts. The latest 2018 updates seem to have made it even harder to get your posts seen and to gain more followers.
As a marketer in my day job, I have become quite fascinated with the Instagram algorithm and have been reading lots of articles about tips and tricks and have been putting some of these into practice.
In this post, I want to share some of the tips and tricks that I have been experimenting with. Some have had better results than others, but please remember with growth and engagement isn’t going to happen overnight. If you work hard at it you will hopefully be rewarded.
Content is key
One of the things I have been trying to improve over the last couple of months is the content I post. I want my content to look professional, but I don’t want it to appear too stiff and boring! I want my feed to be another extension of me and reflect my personality.
I am having fun experimenting and finding out what my followers are liking. One thing I always try to make sure is that each post is of good quality and not pixelated.
Instagram stories is a great tool to use to get more people to your feed. I like updating my story with images that I wouldn’t post on my profile. I try to see it as a bit of a look behind the scenes, which appeals to everyone’s slightly nosey side, as we always what to see what people are really up to.
I tend to share what I’m eating for lunch, what I’m up to on a particular day. I also share
screen grabs of my feed when I have a new post to try and drive users to my profile to like my newest post.
Over the last few months, I have seen many bloggers using stories as a mini youtube channel and will share videos of them talking about their day or a particular subject. Stories are a great way to stay visible on people’s feeds even when you haven’t’ posted on your feed for a while.
If I’m honest this is one tip I need to try and stick to. I find it quite hard to keep to a regular posting schedule, especially with a fulltime nine to five job. At the minute I’m probably posting at least 3 – 4 times a week.
Once a day is usually a good amount. It keeps you constant in people timelines, and the Instagram algorithm likes this too.
Timing is everything
So if you are posting regularly the next thing you want to try and do is post when most of your followers are online. With timing, there isn’t a right or wrong answer, and the ideal times won’t be a one size fits all situation.
I would suggest testing different times over a space a of week and post at different times and see which post performs the best.
I find for me that Saturday and Sunday mornings between 10am and 12 noon are good times, and weekends in the evening at about 6-8pm.
Weekdays are slightly different but I try to post at lunchtime between 12:30 – 2pm and in the evenings after 9pm are quite good too. But just remember before you hit post to try to think about when your audience most likely to be online.
Call to action captions
In the last few months, captions have become quite important. Gone are the short witty one-liners and a relevant emoji. Longer captions and call to actions are where it’s at in 2018!
Many bloggers are using Instagram to tell their followers what they have been doing or even use captions as a mini blog post. Instagram has become the place for microblogging, which is really interesting to see to blogging envolve and cross-over into more platforms.
With my captions, I like to share what products, or things I have been loving and what my plans are for the coming week or weekend. I try to use a relevant image as well. On most of my captions, I like to ask a question to encourage a bit of a conversation and to interact with my audience.
Use relevant hashtags
Relevant hashtags have always been used to get your image seen and drive new users to your profile. With the 2018 Instagram update allows users to follow hashtags, so using relevant ones for your post has become even more important.
You can use up to 30 hashtags in a post, so make sure they are relevant to your post as users can now follow and unfollow hashtags they do and don’t want to see.
This is a tool that I have been using more over the last couple of months. I always tag the brands that feature in my posts and I also tag blogger sharing accounts to try and give my latest posts a little extra boost.
I tend to tag The blogger’s Circle, The Blogger Pad, The Blogging Gang and We Are Thirty Plus, and recently most accounts have reposted my content, which is a great way to pick up new views, like and maybe even follows.
There are lots of niche bloggers accounts out there, so do your research and see which accounts are suitable for your tag in your posts.
As I mentioned previously, I’ve read up a lot on the algorithm and it seems to favour user engagement. Remember Instagram is a social channel, so be just that, social and engaging. How you ask? Leave genuine comments on people’s posts, if someone you follow asks what are your Netflix picks, tell them, get to know your followers and the people you follow.
Another tip I have been putting into practice is once you uploaded your latest post goes into your hashtags and leave genuine comments on the most recent posts within that hashtag, you are more likely to get a response as the people who have just recently posted will probably still be in their app too.
This has worked for me very well as I have seen new content to engage with and I have gained more likes and sometimes a few new followers.
One last thing…don’t get disheartened
Remember don’t get disheartened or too focused on the numbers, or the number of followers or likes you have. I know it is really difficult not to but try to think why you are doing it in the first place?
Just enjoy producing new content, engaging with your followers and taking your feed in the direction that you want.
These are my tips for winning at Instagram, I hope you find them useful. I have been trying to put more of these tips into practice and have started to see more growth. Let me know if these tips have helped you, in the comments below Xx