Instagram is one of the fastest growing social networks out there. In fact, in the past 12 months, their active users went from 600 million to 800 million! As for Instagram Stories, it’s up to 300 million daily active users! This is great news. Especially for brands that use Instagram as a way to build brand awareness and communicate with their followers. However, with these increased numbers, it means that there has also been interested from brands of all kinds.

That means that while there are even more people to reach on the platform, you’ll ultimately have to compete with other brands. So if you want to put more focus on your brand’s Instagram this year, there are a few things you should consider. Especially when it comes to maximizing your tactics. The following 5 tips are the best way to optimize your Instagram presence so you can make the most out of your account.

HOW TO MAXIMIZE YOUR BRAND’S INSTAGRAM

1. Direct Messages

This one’s a little complex, but it’s worth it. Over time, people will start to interact with direct messages on Instagram. According to Instagram, more than 375 million people now use Instagram DMs each month. That’s almost half of their entire user base! Because of this increased usage, Instagram has added a range of new DM-specific tools. Such as their photo remix tool, the ability to share Stories via DM, and the capacity to include links within DMs.

With brands, the idea is to consider customer workflows which transition into people’s Insta DMS with the integration of links. This is a great way to provide a new capacity to extend to your customers’ conversations. It’s also a great way to boost connections with your audience in a considerate and measured manner.

2. Hashtags

Instagram has always been the king of hashtags. And rightfully so. Hashtags are an incredibly effective way to expand your reach and possibly get new followers. With Instagram’s latest hashtag follow feature, this means it’s even MORE important to use hashtags. With this new feature, users are able to follow specific hashtags, along with profiles. This means that they can keep tabs on hashtags that are relevant to them. Just keep in mind that you can add up to 30 hashtags per post.

So what does this mean for brands? The ability to follow hashtags means that you can be more strategic in your marketing efforts. You’ll also have another way to reach new followers whenever you use targeted hashtags. And if you haven’t created a brand hashtag already, now’s the time. Brand hashtags are a great way to expand your brand’s message.

Even though Instagram doesn’t show a list of how many people actually follow a hashtag, it does show the hashtags each user follows on their profile. It’s located under the “Following” tab. So, it does take a little extra work, but you could use this to find a focused list of hashtags to include. That way you can make sure to reach your target audience. It’s pretty easy.

How To Find Hashtags That Users Follow

  • check the profiles of the users you want to reach
  • click their following button
  • then select hashtags

You can then compile a list of all of the relevant hashtags. Ideally, you’ll find some consistent tags among your target audience. This will definitely help to maximize your reach. However this is a new functionality, so this won’t give an extensive list just yet. But it’s definitely worth a try. This could really turn out to be a great way to stay on top of the most relevant hashtags. In the long run, this will help boost your exposure among the people most likely to become your customers? It’s also a good idea to properly brand your Instagram. With the right research, you can find relevant hashtags for your business.

3. Stories

Instagram Stories is a great way to reach your customers in very special and unique way. As more and more people become aware of the Stories format, the potential value will continue to increase. In fact, Instagram added Stories Archives and Highlight Functions. These tools enable users to keep their stories content indefinitely. It displays them in a new section on their profile.

Highlights are a great way for brands to showcase specific Stories posts from events, products, customer recognition, etc. There are countless ways in which this tool can be used. Especially because they last a lot longer than Storie’s typical 24 hours.

4. Visual Composition & Consistency

Instagram is extremely visual, but I’m sure you already knew that. But it’s important to take the time to consider the composition of your images and your visual consistency WHENEVER you post. Brands that have a clear visual component will stand out more than the ones that don’t. Just make sure that the image quality is top notch. Now is not the time for grainy photos. Most importantly, the wider the theme of your visual style the more your brand will stand out.

That means that your photos should be consistent. ESPECIALLY when it comes to your posted images, the colors you use, filters, and text overlays. Focusing on creative images with great composition will definitely boost your Instagram performance. While it’s tempting to focus on newer tools like Stories, a visual approach is still the ultimate way to get followers.

5. Instagram Live

Instagram’s live feature has evolved quite a bit from 2016. They’ve added new innovations and options that make it a lot more appealing than it once was. One of their more recent developments is their ‘Live guests’ option. This lets you go live with another Instagram user. There is even a special notification in the top line listing whenever this happens.

The added exposure gives brands access to new promotional opportunities. And with the ‘Live guests’ feature, it helps to ease the broadcasting process. Which can make it a lot less intimidating. It also allows you to add even more content, either through an interview or a Q&A session. Q&A sessions are a great way for brands to entice viewers to watch their Live Stories.

However, there a few risks with live-streaming. Naturally, it’s live so you can’t edit anything. But given the prominent listing of Instagram Live broadcasts (in user feeds and within Explore) it’s a significant opportunity for brands to gain even extra exposure.

 

There you have it! We hope these 5 tips will help maximize your brand on Instagram in 2018. It’s always a good idea to tap into the platform’s latest innovations and tools as a way to grow your brand. Yes, competition is rising, so you need to do your best to stand out. If you’re looking for even more Instagram marketing tips, head over here. We’d love to know which tip you’ll use first… Let us know in the comments below so we can discuss!