We have tried lots of different ways to improve our and our clients Instagram feeds.  Hootsuite have kindly shared some of its best tips which we employ on all of our accounts. We have added our thoughts too in italics!

1. Post consistently

Building relationships with your audience is key to being a success on Instagram, providing consistent quality content for your audience or potential audience will enjoy.

Don’t be over-ambitious, if you say you are going to post a 5-minute IGTV every day, can you really keep that level of content building up? If you think you can, then well done! But it may be worth starting out a with a simple plan you can manage manually and go towards bulk posting, using third-party tools.

Resources can be an issue for small businesses so make sure you can manage expectation. And remember none of this will be an overnight success.

Be realistic about what you can achieve, regular quality content is key, and that is best thought about and planned before posts are shared.

2. Re-use and repost your top-performing content

When you have established what works on your feed, then stick with the formula, it sounds like you have tapped into your audiences wavelength, but don’t forget you can reuse and recycle posts content that worked well.

Once you have a polished content calendar in place and a lot of analytical evidence detailing exactly what your audience wants, it’s still not always a simple task to source or create enough content to feed the machine.

Upcycling and remixing your best tried-and-true content has two benefits: you already know the algorithm likes it, and it saves time.

Once you have created good imagery for your feed, keep it filed on your computer so you can easily reuse it on your feed. Or alternatively, change it up and utilise in your story on Instagram.

2. Keep a close eye on your analytics

Looking at your analytics is, not surprisingly, one of the best ways to get insight into not just how your audience feels, but how the algorithm sees your brand.

Which posts are wowing your audience? Do they like video or photos better? How much of your traffic is coming from hashtags? Can you give them more of the same, or variations on a theme? Analytics will tell you what you’ve done right, but it’s up to you to figure out how to run with that success.

If you have a business account, take a look at Instagram’s native analytics. This is also how you find out when your audience is online, as well as general demographics and geographic locations.

It’s easy to find your Insights. On your home feed, look underneath your bio and the insights button is in the middle, click here to view.

3. Remix, reuse and repost your top-performing content

Once you have a polished content calendar in place and a lot of analytical evidence detailing exactly what your audience wants, it’s still not always a simple task to source or create enough content to feed the machine.

Upcycling and remixing your best tried-and-true content has two benefits: you already know the algorithm likes it, and it saves time.

Here are some devastatingly simple ideas for maximizing your visual assets:

  • turn a video into gifs or stills
  • turn a series of photos into a slideshow video or carousel
  • use multiple images from the same photoshoot for different purposes (e.g., as in the case above, to create a week-long mood)
  • a #throwbackthursday never hurt anyone
  • redesign images and feature them as Stories

This is the fun bit, using Canva, Ripl or WordSwag to name three tools, any of these can be sued to repurpose and liven up any graphics or photos you have used before. Give it a try.

4. Reward your audience for spreading the word with UGC

The term is a little broad, but what we talk about when we talk about “user-generated content” is this: regular unpaid folks posting about your brand on Instagram out of sheer enthusiasm. Maybe with a little encouragement, but not necessarily.

This has demonstrable benefits when it comes to the algorithm. It’s no coincidence that the more your audience interacts with your account (tagging you, replying to you, DMing you, etc.), the closer a relationship the algorithm will note, and the more it will surface your posts.

The idea here is to build the kind of loyalty and enthusiasm that inspires people to champion and promote you themselves. If you have an amazing B2C product, the product might do the work for you. Otherwise, you might need to find ways to inspire people indirectly.

Pro tip: Avoid reposting everything your audience sends you. Curate the best and, where possible, incorporate content into your brand’s visual identity.

Be social, like what you like and get involved in your follower’s lives.

5. Collaborate with like minds

We won’t go into the ins and outs of Instagram influencer marketing, but finding a relevant collaborator with a complementary audience is one of the best ways to organically expand your reach to new eyes, while also catching your audience’s attention with relevant new angles.

The result—if the collaboration is as exciting your audience as it is to you—may well include an additional boost from the algorithm.

Be on the lookout for that beneficial collaborator.

6. Build quality relationships the old-fashioned way

For brands, it doesn’t hurt to behave as if anything that people care about—warm gestures, human connection—is something the algorithm also cares about. (Or will care about soon, seeing as it’s always evolving.)

What do we mean by old-fashioned? Mostly, don’t take shortcuts. Here are some best practices:

  • Ask questions, but only if you actually care about the answers (your guiding principle for writing good captions should be “the opposite of engagement-bait.”)
  • Embrace DMs (the algorithm counts these as it gauges your relationship with other accounts; though of course, that doesn’t mean tolerating abusive messages.)
  • Reply to comments quickly (while there’s no proof the algorithm cares about how fast you respond, you will impress not just one person, but potentially everyone who sees it)
  • Like and comment on other people’s posts (don’t just broadcast your own content, especially if you’re trying to get more followers.

Pro tip: Don’t buy likes, don’t buy followers, that is all! 

Being active and present on Instagram is so important, spend time talking and listening to those interested in your brand.

7. Use hashtags properly

On Instagram, hashtags are an integral tool for getting your content in front of the right eyes—that is, the eyes most likely to engage with it. They can help create a virtuous circle where, as your post gets more attention, the algorithm will make sure even more eyes see it.

That said, misusing or abusing your hashtags is one of the easiest ways to get on the wrong side of the Instagram algorithm.

The key here is, to be honest. Use the hashtags that are relevant to your brand, industry and audience.

Otherwise, if you annoy people enough you might find yourself getting flagged for using misleading hashtags. Flagged to who? That’s right, the algorithm.

Take some time to do some research on hashtags that will benefit your brand. Once developed mix them up and assess them regularly. Don’t just use the same ones over and over again. I store mine in my notes apps- they are easy to transfer to posts quickly and efficiently.

8. Post in a timely manner

We’ve saved the easiest tip for last. The Instagram algorithm favours recent posts, so post when your audience is online. Simple.

Nothing further to add!

 

If you find Instagram a headache or just don’t have the time to engage with followers, then perhaps we can help. Call us on 01642 712817 or email us on sue@catchdesigns.co.uk

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