Instagram (IG) has evolved to be one of the best social media platforms for engagement and promotion. Millions of users have the ability to get to know brands/businesses organically through their profiles – this means it is important to advance your online presence. Instagram gives businesses the opportunity to market themselves for free while offering tons of features to build a strong brand.
To increase brand awareness and drive engagement, here are 10 hacks that will help optimize your Instagram:
1. Build Your Brand = Build Your Theme
Instagram themes are a great way to leave an impression on your followers. You want to present your audience with a consistent flow of high-quality imagery, so it is aesthetically pleasing. Some things to consider when creating your theme are colour scheme, photo quality, camera angles, grid layout, and more.
2. Instagram Story
IG stories are a powerful tool to reach your audience and promote your brand. It allows you to interact with your followers by creating fun content! Stories appear at the top of your feed as your profile photo with a coloured ring around it. The IG algorithm works by featuring recent stories first; the more stories that you post, the more your followers will see them on their feed. Stories consist of editing tools that can help elevate your post as well such as stickers, gifs, and more!
Within the IG story setting tools, there are currently 4 different styles of pens and 1 eraser. At the bottom of your screen, you can scroll along the color palette to view colour options. However, a great hack to get the perfect color shade for your story is using the color picker tool. Do this by tapping on the pen icon in the bottom left corner beside the other colours, hold it down and then move around the screen to select a color that is already in your photo, video or story content. What an easy way to match the color of your font to the rest of your design!
IG stories offer many different font styles. Just tap the “Aa” icon and you’ll be able to swipe through all the font options. To change the colour of the text, tap on the colour wheel on the top of your screen and swipe to select the color you want. Instagram has also improved the fonts by adding a feature that allows text to move, have a bubble, or elevate the original style; If you tap on the “A” icon at the top of each font, you will notice that there are many different fun text styles that you can choose from to make your story more engaging!
GIFS are essentially motion graphics or animated images that may be used to promote your brand. There are millions of gifs available so don’t be afraid to take full advantage of this feature! GIFS are a fun and entertaining way to entice viewers to engage with your brand because it showcases personality. To incorporate GIFS into your IG stories, tap on the sticker widget, press “search” and enter keywords regarding your post and/or brand.
Instagram has created a variety of stickers that aid in making your posts more interesting so viewers are more likely to engage with them. They give followers a way to interact with the post, maximizing social media efforts. Some interactive and intriguing stickers include:
- Polls allow you to interact with users without actually having to communicate with them! People love to participate in polls as their opinions are valued and the choices they make impact the overall results. Consider creating polls related to your brand and what you post to get feedback from your followers; giving you insight on what you need to improve on.
- The countdown acts as a reminder for an event but it also brings urgency to the post. This feature can make time-sensitive events drive engagement as users have the option to tap on the “remind me” button or even share the countdown to their own story.
- The location feature is a great marketing tool and aligns with SEO as it increases your chances of discoverability. When someone searches for that specific location, your story will pop up!
- The “Question” feature prompts a Q&A or FAQ session between you and your followers. This is a great way to get feedback from your followers, answer any questions or concerns, and drive engagement! When you repost any responses, the users’ profile will not be shown but it is not anonymous – you will be able to view who wrote the response and this gives you the opportunity to start a more detailed conversation using DM.
Reels allow you to post videos that are 15-30 seconds long. This new feature allows users to film and edit videos with tools such as audio, effects, speed, music, and more! It gives you the opportunity to expand your audience and increase engagement as reels have their own dedicated feed on the explore page. To view all reels, tap the middle widget at the bottom of your home screen.
To create a reel, open the Instagram app and swipe right to open the camera. At the bottom of the screen, tap “reels”. You will notice on the left side of your screen, there are a bunch of editing tools to diversify your content such as adding music, effects/filters, changing the speed, using a timer, etc! Use gifs/stickers and draw/text to make your reels more engaging!
IG insights are the best way to measure how your content is performing across the platform. To access IG insights, you will need an Instagram business account. Insights will determine which posts are effective or not and what content prompts the most interaction from your audience. They can be tracked on a past 7 day or past 30-day timeline. You can view important metrics such as reaches, impressions, and content interactions which are further broken down into likes, comments, shares, and saves. IG also reports on the performance of stories, provides a snapshot of your follower breakdown, and highlights important demographics of your audience like location, age-range, and gender. Most Active Times is a chart outlining when your followers are most active on IG. You can filter the results by hours to see when users are online during the day, or by day to see which day(s) of the week your audience is online the most.
IGTV gives users the opportunity to get discovered and improve engagement. You can post any video content as long as it is between 1 – 15 minutes. You could include videos introducing your brand, Q&A videos, and more. By posting videos through the IGTV feature, you’ll be able to gain more traffic, which means more awareness, being able to repost content and consistent video content.
Going live on Instagram gives you the opportunity to broadcast and interact with followers in real-time, which can spike people’s interest in your brand. Your followers can comment in the IG Live chat where you can address questions and respond to followers on live stream. Livestreaming on IG increases your profile’s visibility since it is featured before regular IG stories on the home page. Going Live tells a lot about your brand – viewers will recognize your authenticity and willingness to connect with them. You can see how many people are in your livestream, and Instagram will display usernames of new people who enter the live. To go live, swipe right on your news feed to open the Instagram camera. Then tap the live option at the bottom of your screen, tap “start”.