Just like you know, switching to Geico can save you 15% or more on car insurance; you know Instagram is an essential piece of any brand’s marketing strategy.
A highly targetable, visual marketing channel, Instagram offers an opportunity for your brand to build a loyal customer base around your business. The social media platform has exploded over the past few years and only continues to grow.
We can almost guarantee that your audience is on Instagram.
The key to reaching your audience is excellent content and understanding the Instagram algorithm.
Stats you should know – plus they make us sound smart
- As of 2021, there are 1.074 billion users worldwide.
- 500 million Instagram users are on the app every day.
- 71% of users are under 35, meaning you will have access to millennials and Gen Z. They make up the most considerable portion of consumers.
- The average time spent on Instagram is 53 minutes a day, which is super interesting. I spend at least 4 hours a day on the app, so it’s nice to be considered above average in something.
- 80% of businesses list Instagram engagement as among their most important marketing metrics.
The Instagram Algorithm
Just like “Keeping up with the Kardashians,” keeping up with the Instagram algorithm and trending content is complex and emotional. It can take up quite a bit of your time. However, if you are hesitating to invest time into understanding the algorithm, trust me, it’s worth every second.
Think of the algorithm as a set of rules set forth by Instagram to determine the extent of your content’s organic reach.
The second you open Instagram, the app uses its algorithm to decide on three things:
- Which posts are featured on your Explore tab
- Which posts go to the top of your feed and their order
- The order you’ll see Reels, Stories, and IGTV videos as they show up in their respective tabs
Looking at a user’s past behavior, Instagram evaluates all of its content to predict how interested the user will be. The algorithm uses thousands of data points, known as ranking signals, to accomplish their evaluations.
The ranking signals fall into three primary categories:
Newer posts are almost always given preference at the top of the feed, as Instagram assumes that the most important thing to users is to see the most current content. Instagram has said that all posts will, at some point, appear in a user’s feed, but again, give priority to newer posts.
It is important to consider the best time of day to post for your brand to make sure you are getting in front of your audience.
Give the people what they want! But also make sure the content is diverse and show them something new every once in a while. That is the leading goal of the algorithm. Instagram tracks users’ interests and can decipher what is in each post (Cool, right? Or creepy? Meh, I like my puppy videos, and I have no shame.).
The ability to identify content is how Instagram puts football highlights in front of football fans, “live, laugh, love” posts in front of moms, and alien conspiracy theories in front of me.
For your brand, catering to your target audience’s interests is key for the algorithm to put your content in front of them. Develop a consistent voice, and tell a story that matters to people.
Instagram also weighs past interactions between your audience and your account as indicators of whether or not they would like to see your new content. For example, what kind of relationship have you developed with the account? Instagram is looking for the below information:
- Are you following each other?
- Have you messaged each other or left comments?
- Did they search for you by name?
- Have they saved your posts?
- Do you tag each other in posts?
Suppose you are a brand that already has a significant amount of followers (congrats, btw). In that case, you know you couldn’t possibly engage with all of your followers and become best friends, even though that birthday party would be LIT.
Once you have a loyal customer base that regularly engages with your content, the algorithm will recognize it.
TLDR; engaging with your followers helps increase your organic reach.
Tips for more likes
Here are some tips for brands looking to increase their likes, reach, engagement, and growth on the platform.
If you have ever read any other article about increasing likes on Instagram, you know that they all recommend consistency.
At Nowadays, we are all about being bold and breaking the status quo. But not right now.
Consistency requires lots of planning to accomplish. It is crucial to have a social media content calendar set up to keep control around your posting. Businesses post on average 1.56 posts per day. That may seem like a lot. However, it might not be completely necessary, particularly if you cannot develop that much content matching the quality needed for engagement.
Recently, the head of Instagram recommended that two posts per week and two stories per day is an excellent way to build a following on the app.
Using the proper hashtags on your posts can help people who don’t already follow you find you. Also, unlike Instagram ads, hashtags are free to use.
Accurate, thoughtful, and targeted hashtags are vital for getting your content in front of new people. They signal to both the algorithm and humans what your content contains and who might be interested in it.
Putting #followme on all your posts isn’t really gonna do you any favors. Research hashtags that actually describe your content and dig around your niche to see examples of successful hashtags.
Use ALL of Instagram’s features (Sell your soul!)
Oh yeah, having success with the algorithm is like getting graded on class participation (the f***ing worst, am I right, fellow introverts?)
A great example of this is using Reels. It’s been proven that posting a Reel boosts engagement with the rest of your content. The boost is mainly because Instagram wants to encourage using its new feature (competing with TikTok).
The most successful social marketing strategy contains a combination of reels, normal posts, stories, IGTV, shoppable posts, etc. Add in using Instagram’s cameras, effects, tagging, filters, etc., and you are the kid who sits in the front row in class and answers every question.
Think outside the grid
To maximize the draw of your content, make sure it is varied and unique. Nobody wants to follow an account that just posts their own products. On the other hand, user-generated content is fun and fabulous to post. It is more relatable than a random model in a slick photo. Plus, when people are posting pics and stories with your product, it shows how much your customers love it!
Also, consider posting behind-the-scenes content. People are naturally curious and love to see what is happening behind a brand’s closed doors. Show off your office space, team members, and how Gary won trivia night for the 5th week in a row (lol, nerd). These inside looks at your business make you feel authentic and approachable.
Now, I can keep going, tag people and brands, write great captions, use geotags, like and comment on other user’s posts.
But if I could sum it all up: Use Instagram all the time, and the algorithm overlord will reward you handsomely (what an incredible business model, damn).
Sell your soul, win their hearts
To win against the algorithm, win over people’s hearts. Cheesy, but true.
The benchmark of “good” engagement is between 1-5% for brands, but the average in 2020 for businesses was around 0.85%. So don’t beat yourself up, and don’t rush if you are not reaching the engagement levels you aim for. Patience is a virtue, especially with Instagram. The algorithm is in no rush to show your content, so keeping consistent, quality content is the most critical focus.
Once you have established your brand, Nowadays is here to take it to the next level.
Our viral marketing strategies are proven to increase engagement and get your brand an extensive reach. I mean, just check out the dope brands we already had the pleasure of working with.
Is your brand ready? If you just thought, HELL YEAH, then hit us up.