Instagram has become such a popular tool among all age groups. Although Snapchat is taking over the spot of being most popular among the younger population, Instagram is still widely used and shows no signs of slowing down, especially after all their new and exciting updates recently! (or am I the only one who got overly excited over insights? lol).
The Bio section of Instagram is often overlooked when it comes to prepping your account for success. It’s the first thing someone sees when they view your profile, and you want to make sure you take advantage of it’s features. The only searchable section of your profile is your Instagram handle and the name on your profile. Use keywords in these sections to ensure that the show up in people’s searches.
I’ve shared a screenshot of my own Instagram account above as an example. I am a photographer and I live in Toronto, so in the “Name” section, I decided to put in “Toronto Photographer.” Whenever someone searches those keywords in Instagram, the chances of my account popping up in their search increases. I also chose to include ‘photo’ in my handle to increase the chances of it appearing in people’s searches if someone chooses to search “photographer” or “photo.”
Another section to make use of is the “Bio“. Include brief information on what you do and how to contact you, as well as an action item.
I’ve included my name, a bullet point on my style of photography, how to contact me, and a link to another Instagram account for them to check out if interested.
One trend that I noticed in Instagram bios are hashtags. People tend to list hashtags or hashtag certain words. This part of your profile is NOT searchable, so there is really no point of doing that. Not only does it not work, it also looks unprofessional if your account is for a business. The only reason you would be putting a hashtag in your bio is if it’s a specific brand hashtag that you want others to be using or be familiar with.
The third important section of your profile is the link. This is considered prime real estate in the Instagram world because it is the only spot on Instagram that allows a clickable link. There are many ways you can take advantage of this. You can link to your website or blog, link to other Instagram accounts, or link to specific posts from your blog that relate to your latest Instagram posts.
For example, on my personal Instagram account, I used the link to lead people to my photography account.
There are so many different ways to make use of these sections and there is no right or wrong way. Be creative and explore new messaging patterns to see what works for you.
2. Post Regularly
No matter how amazing your content is and how polished your bio is, if you’re not posting regularly, I’m not interested. You don’t want to be one of those people who post a couple times a month and expect results. For best results, you need to keep your account active. Try posting at least once a day and no more than 3 times a day (you don’t want to fill up your followers’ feeds with posts.) One thing I noticed on my own accounts is if I miss even a single day of posting, I end up losing followers. This is mostly because the follower rate is sort of a balancing act on Instagram. Every day you gain some followers and you lose some. It’s completely normal. But to make sure your account is rising in followers, you want to ensure that the number of people following you daily is more than the number unfollowing you. How do you do that? The first step is to post every day. Consistency is key.
3. Mentions & Tags
According to a study done by SproutSocial, Instagram posts with @mentions in their captions earned 56% more engagement! Mention other users in your captions that relate to your post. In addition to mentions, you can also tag other users on your photos. For example, as a portrait photographer, I make sure to both mention and tag the models, make up and hair artists, and designers that I work with. Not only does this give them credit (which is very very important), it also let’s them know that you posted something and they might like/comment on it
You can also tag and/or mention feature accounts. Feature accounts are accounts that are dedicated to curating posts that fit a theme. They usually have a specific hashtag that they use to find posts and if they like your post they will share it on their page. This is a great way to get yourself seen across many profiles.
For example, @Portraitpage is an account that features amazing portrait photography and uses the hashtag #PortraitPage.
Every theme/subject matter usually has a feature account associated with it, so do your research and make use of them!
One thing you want to avoid, however, is spamming with mentions and tags. Don’t go overboard and mention and/or tag accounts that are completely unrelated to your posts. Also don’t mention too many users because you can get blocked by Instagram.
You’ve made a beautifully worded bio, you have a list of accounts to mention and tag that relate to your content, and you’ve created the perfect schedule to post. But how do you get your content seen by new people? Hashtags. PetaPixel words it best: “Think of hashtags as a pipeline to the rest of the world.”
Instagram allows you to add a maximum of 30 hashtags per post. Many people will tell you to not use too many hashtags because it looks annoying/desperate/etc. They have a point on it being displeasing to look at. But there’s a way around it. Instead of posting your hashtags directly into your caption, post it as the second comment. This way it is not the first thing people see and it has a chance of being hidden as more and more comments roll in. Another great way to keep your hashtags from being distracting is add a column of dots before the hashtags in your comment. This way, the comment appears as “[…]” in feeds and you don’t see a single hashtag unless they decide to open it up.
Placing your hashtags the right way is just the first step. The more important step is to choose the right hashtags. Choose keywords that relate directly to your content and what you do. Put yourself into the shoes of the people you want to reach and think about what they would most likely search to get to your content. For example, if you are a graphic designer in Toronto, try the hashtag #TorontoGraphicDesigner to reach potential clients. You can also use tags associated with different feature accounts, as mentioned earlier, to get your posts noticed and potentially shared.
Instagram allows you to add locations to your post. These images used to be able to be viewed in a map form, but Instagram is removing the map feature as it is not being used much. However, you are still able to include a location, which when clicked will take you to a page with other photos also taken in that location. Users are also able to search locations in Instagram and see what people have posted. According to SproutSocial, adding a location to your posts increases your engagement by 79%!
Interact with your followers and the people you are following through comments and likes. If someone leaves a comment on your post, reply to it! Even if it’s just a short thank you or an emoji, it still shows that person that you are paying attention to their comments. Also keep in mind that people love getting comments! So leave comments on other people’s posts and make them genuine! Find something interesting to say that relates to their post rather than the generic “nice photo” or a thumbs up emoji. Not only will they appreciate your comment, they might also click through to take a look at your profile! And if they like what they see, you might even get a new follower! Try your best to like and comment every day on other users’ posts. This is the best way to put yourself out there for people to find you.
Another great way to engage with people is direct messages (DMs). DM users with a thoughtful message on how much you appreciate their work, or maybe that you want to work with them on a future project. It’s a great way to get yourself noticed, and you might even make a few new friends in the process!
7. Instagram Stories
Yes, I know, they totally copied SnapChat. But hey, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!
Instagram Stories is a new feature that allows you to publish a photo or video that only lasts for 24 hours. It’s a great feature for businesses and brands because it allows you to get personal with your followers. Usually a business account on Instagram strives to be professional and polished and you don’t get to see much of what goes on behind the scenes. You can use Instagram Stories to share behind the scenes images and footage, or showcase the team and all the work that goes into doing what you do. Instagram stories is also a great place for you to show off your own personality rather than sticking with the brand’s image. You can be silly and funny and let people see the human side of your business.
You can make short vlogs, promo videos, behind the scenes footage, process footage, show off your office/team/workplace, or simply take a selfie to say hi. The list is endless! And the best part is, it’s gone in 24 hours! So take risks and be creative! 🙂
This is my favourite feature of Instagram!! Ever since they announced that it was coming, I’ve been impatiently sitting on the edge of my seat wondering when I’d finally get it!
When the update finally came, I have to say I was a bit underwhelmed with the information they provided. I was hoping for more. Regardless, what they provide is still very valuable and it’s in your best interest to make use of it.
The insights page gives you access to information such as impressions (the total number of times all of your posts have been seen), reach (the number of unique accounts that have seen any of your posts), profile views, website clicks, the average amount of your followers that are online at different times and days, and your top posts for the week with their impressions. It also tells you how many new followers you gained over the week, the percentage of male and female followers that follow you and the age range and location of those followers. You can use all this information to plan how, when and what you will post each day. You can also use this information to figure out how you are doing week to week. If numbers are rising, you know you’re doing something right. But if numbers start to fall, you can take action and make some changes to try and get it back up again. It allows you to always stay proactive and be aware of what’s going on.
Unfortunately insights are only available for business pages. If you don’t have a business page, don’t worry because the above 7 steps will still get you great results, and there are other free tools you can use to measure your account’s success such as Squarelovin and Iconosquare.
I hope you find these tips helpful in your Instagram journey! Feel free to leave questions, comments and/or any additional tips you think are helpful for Instagram success below! 🙂