Instagram has become a popular social network for some time now. But that’s not because the other platforms like Twitter or Facebook have lost their appeal. It’s quite simply due to the fact that the immediacy and the strong visual component of Instagram have placed it as one of the most widely used social networks by youngsters (not to mention its popularity among the Instagramers). Being present in this network has become a priority for many brands, but creating a profile does not necessarily guarantee success. If you want to get the most out of Instagram, make sure you read the following 35 tips to grow your Instagram account.
Some of these tips are very simple and you may already be implementing them but there are others that you will find of interest. As they say: “You’ll never go to bed without learning something new,” so I hope you find them useful and can use them to grow your own account.
These tips are based on my own experience as a Digital Manager, but also on what I have been observing and reading.
Keep in mind that Instagram often makes many updates to its algorithm, thus the organic reach may decline as a result. In fact, it is already happening and I hope it does not end up like Facebook where it is very difficult to achieve an organic reach. In any case, by following these recommendations, you will definitely be able to optimise your account and gain more followers.
- 1. Optimize your biography
- 2. The importance of profile name
- 3. Create a powerful logo
- 4. Emojis and hashtags, icons that add emphasis to your description
- 5. Use advanced features
- 6. Include links in your pages
- 7. Choose an attractive feed layout
- 8. Choose the right hashtags
- 9. Collaborate with other Instagram profiles
- 10. Post frequently but no more than 2 times a day
- 11. Analyse your statistics
- 12. Schedule your posts
- 13. Use Instagram Stories
- 14. Geotagging your posts
- 15. Comment on other people’s posts
- 16. Promote your profile outside of Instagram
- 17. Real time follower counter
- 18. Invest in Instagram Ads
- 19. Join engagement groups
- 20. Use videos
- 21. The possibilities of Instagram Live
- 22. Use the 80/20 ratio
- 23. Tag other accounts
- 24. Respond to comments
- 25. Watermark or add a logo to your images
- 26. Create Instagram story highlights to collect the best posts
- 27. Don’t forget the Call to Action (CTA)
- 28. Run contests or giveaways
- 29. Be original
- 30. Add Alternative Text (ALT Text) to your images
- 31. Repost your best content
- 32. Try to verify your account
- 33. Do microblogging
- 34. Improve or edit previous posts
- 35. Read, learn, and test
1. Optimize your biography
Don’t reveal more information than necessary on your biography. Choose a description that is easy to remember for other users (short and precise) and do not hesitate to make use of numbers, hyphens and other characters that speed up the reading process. It is important that this short text makes an impact on readers so choose the most relevant keywords that are related to your business.
If you can’t find any inspirations, you can take a look at the profiles that already exist on Instagram (but without plagiarizing them, of course).
2. The importance of profile name
To link with the 1st tip, the name of your profile must be just as brief and powerful. If you have accounts in other social networks it is advisable to use the same name for all of them, in order to consolidate a certain brand (if available, of course). You can take advantage of the keywords that are related to your position (Digital Manager Consultant, for example) along with the name. Even when a profile is known to a wide audience, it is best to choose a name on the type of business activity that you specialize in. If you want to be original, you can check the compilations with the best Instagram names.
If you can’t think of any original usernames, check out this page:
3. Create a powerful logo
On Instagram, images go much further than texts. Therefore, a good corporate logo can end up being remembered even by those users who have never contacted you before. Design a powerful logo that arouses the attention of the Instagram community but without going over the top (it can be provocative but always keep some seriousness). Of course, remember that the logo must be compatible with the characteristics of this social network, so be sure to create a square shape and check if it fits correctly in the circle for the profile picture.
You will see in the image below that the version above fits better than the one below. It is more visible and recognizable. The ideal Instagram profile image size is 180 x 180 pixels.
Some professionals consider that emojis reduce the seriousness of their written messages and therefore avoid using them most of the time. But in actual fact, an emoji can express much more than just a word (and uses up fewer characters, by the way). Consider using emojis that are related to your business activity in order to give your profile and your posts a friendlier or light-hearted tone while continuing to convey trust. The same can be said about hashtags, which add emphasis to the content of posts, as long as you don’t overuse them. Hashtags are not going to give you more exposure on Instagram, but they will help you show your audience that you identify with them. If your company or personal brand has a particular hashtag, you can add it to your profile description.
5. Use advanced features
If you want to use your Instagram profile professionally, you cannot use only the basic functions of the platform. The Business and Creator features offer a series of advanced tools for monitoring each post more thoroughly and increase its visibility. Instagram Insights, for example, is a very useful tool to obtain complete statistics on all the visits you receive with the highest number of followers , from which country or city your followers come from, etc. You can also see how many people have saved your post, shared it in Stories, how many comments and likes there are, etc.
With the Business and Creator Instagram account, you can create Instagram ads to get more followers, increase engagement, and promote your product or services. But in order to do so, you must also have a company account created on Facebook before linking it to Instagram.
Other features of the Business and Creator profile is that you can add the contact information of your business or brand to your profile and a contact button will appear. Additionally, you can select to which industry your account belongs. Furthermore, if your account has more than 10,000 followers or if it’s verified, you can add a link in your Instagram stories (Swipe up).
To change your account to Business or Creator, all you need to do is go to “settings“, then account, and “change to Business“. If you change your mind later, you can always go back to your personal account.
Don’t miss the possibility of using your profile as a way to generate more traffic on your web pages. Include links in your profile description as well as in your posts whilst taking into account the previous tips. You may find it useful to refer to some specific tools for creating landing pages where the most interesting links will be hosted. There is a wide variety of options, such as:
7. Choose an attractive feed layout
The theme chosen for the Instagram feed can maximize visits. You may have already come across a multitude of profiles that have the same feed layout, which makes these accounts stand out. Just think about it, when a user who does not know you at all sees your profile, they will only spend a few seconds deciding whether to continue viewing it or not. It is necessary to implement a layout, such as tiles, predominant colors, or other theme combinations.
Using hashtags is one of the most irresistible temptations in social networks. But it only takes a couple of mistakes to kill the positive effects of hashtags. The first mistake is going too far with your creativity and creating supposedly funny hashtags. Another common mistake is repeating the same hashtags that had more followers. Both practices are counterproductive because they make it difficult for your content to reach a large number of users. Instead, try looking for the most used hashtags in your own sector in order to connect directly with those who are interested in what you’re offering.
If you wish, you can take a look at another article that I created “How to use hashtags on Instagram? – 12 Tips” and follow the guidelines when creating your hashtags.
9. Collaborate with other Instagram profiles
Social networks are not governed by the same parameters as traditional commerce, so the fact that your followers visit similar other profiles does not have to reduce your page traffic. Thus, it is best to strengthen ties with accounts that are related to your business activity by inviting the followers of both pages to follow each other or to view the most relevant posts. This may be promotional but only works with pages that share a business niche and have a similar number of followers.
10. Post frequently but no more than 2 times a day
If you believe that a social network is a permanent feature that does not need to be checked regularly, then it’s not for you. The truth is that your pages have to show some activity in order to capture new followers and, most importantly, keep them. However, it is advisable not to overload users with dozens of daily posts that can lose you followers (or even decrease visits to your page). An good plan on Instagram consists of posting one or two quality updates a day and following a set schedule (at 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., for example).
11. Analyse your statistics
What’s the use of your Business or Creator account generating a broad statistics ratio if you don’t analyse them later to draw the relevant conclusions? We know that this task can be tedious and its effects are not immediately noticeable. However, statistics allow problems to be detected before they get worse. Your posts don’t have the impact you expected? Try changing the posting schedule among other aspects and, after a few days or weeks, check if the number of visits has increased. This is just one example of the suggested information that your statistics can contain.
12. Schedule your posts
I have already referred to this issue in the previous sections and it is certainly not a small matter. Some professionals publish a large amount of content and / or updates whenever they feel motivated before drying up almost completely when they are not feeling so creative. To help you with this task, you can use different social media management platforms like:
The above are some of the services available in this regard. Reading the reviews is obviously up to you.
But, also, keep in mind that Facebook has its own platform to schedule your posts on Facebook and Instagram called Facebook Creator Studio. It’s free, but you have to link your Instagram (Business) account to Facebook (Facebook Page).
13. Use Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories has become one of the most popular features but its numerous benefits for professionals are not always taken advantage of. Just like all your other posts, try to post a couple of stories a day and always around the same time slots. Take advantage of the direct and enjoyable formatting features to better position your own content and encourage interaction with viewers. By including questions, surveys or competitions you can increase the interest of followers and attract a greater number of visits to your posts.
14. Geotagging your posts
Did you know that posts with a tagged location receive more visits? Users are more interested in content that they consider geographically closest to them or refer to places they are attracted to. But that’s not all. Keep in mind that Instagram allows you to screen pages or posts based on their location, so users might come across your posts when they enter the location as their primary search. By the way, remember that you don’t need to be physically present in that place to geotag your post there.
15. Comment on other people’s posts
Taking part on other pages that share the same niche as yours is a recommended strategy, as long as proper precautions are taken. If you experience a hostile or unfriendly reception from the administrator of that account, it is advisable not to post there. A good tactic is to make comments that do not sound excessively promotional, for example, by answering questions asked by other users to demonstrate your expertise on the subject. A tip: contrary to popular belief, pages with fewer followers can give your comments more exposure by filling the space on the feeds.
16. Promote your profile outside of Instagram
Another common mistake when opening an Instagram account is to assume that all your potential customers are also present on this platform and, sooner or later, they will find your page. The growth figures of this social network point in that direction but, just in case, it’s best to promote your Instagram profile on other communication channels, such as your email or other social networks (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn …). A more direct marketing strategy would be by printing your username on physical media, such as on caps or business cards.
17. Real time follower counter
In the past, many websites included a small visitor counter that was updated every time someone entered that page. Instagram is also compatible with this feature, which is managed by specialized firms such as Smiirl (which I’m not promoting out of interest but for satisfaction reasons). This product is especially recommended for larger pages or companies and often very fun to use for those who want to see how their number of followers is growing. Be careful, this function can be very addictive for the page owners.
18. Invest in Instagram Ads
This feature is practically unavoidable for those who want to use their Instagram account for business. The ads on this social network are quite affordable (around 1 euro/dollar per day, as a basic rate) and it is advisable to test them for a couple of weeks to see if the number of visits and followers is significantly increased. The most effective way is to use an advanced service to segregate the niche market to which the ad will be directed, specifying the location or demographic data. The Ads Manager offers different possibilities depending on your budget.
19. Join engagement groups
Before reading further, we must clarify that I am not absolutely sure of the effectiveness of this “tip.” Engagement groups or pods are a series of Instagram accounts that have agreed to interact with each other and generate participation. It prompts other users who are interested in the issues being discussed to take part and increase the number of followers. It can be useful but take precautions, as Instagram has perfected its algorithms to “hunt” the participants in these groups. In addition, you should spend plenty of time coordinating with other accounts.
20. Use videos
If the professionals who are active on Instagram are asked whether they consider posts to be more useful or videos, the vast majority will choose the second option but know very well that they must also use the first one. Videos reach more followers and also convey your message more effectively. The big drawback is that it doesn’t work with just any video, since a poor quality recording can be very counterproductive. It is best to spend time on each video and take advantage of the possibilities of the best applications, such as Wave.video . There are four major categories of videos according to their duration:
- Feed Video (between 3 and 60 seconds)
- Story Video (up to 15 seconds)
- IGTV Video (between 15 seconds and 10 minutes)
- Live Video (up to 60 minutes).
21. The possibilities of Instagram Live
This is currently one of the most interesting trends on Instagram. Live broadcasts always attract a large number of users because they are highly interactive and the content will only be available for a short time. A good way to use Instagram Live is to offer quality content to attract more viewers at the same time (contests, answer live comments …). You will also have to manage your video length effectively (up to 60 minutes).
22. Use the 80/20 ratio
This is a basic rule so that your posts are not seen as spam. You are obviously present on Instagram to promote your business and improve your company reputation. This does not mean that you should take every opportunity to post advertising messages everywhere or talk about your services. The most sensible thing is to dedicate 80% of the contents published to topics related to your business activity, with the goal of providing informative and entertaining posts. The remaining 20% can be dedicated to promotional content. After all, No-one wants to follow a self-promoting profile. If you take a look at my Instagram account, you’ll see that I don’t promote myself in any of my posts.
23. Tag other accounts
If you want your followers to see your page as a point of reference in their sector, you should be open to other brands or companies. This is not contradictory, since we have already seen that social networks are not a zero-sum game and we can all win if we work together. This includes adding tags from other accounts and, sooner or later, these profiles will return the favour by using your tags in their posts.
24. Respond to comments
One of the most appreciated aspects by the followers of an Instagram account is that their comments are acknowledged and responded to. Users feel that their opinions are taken into account and the profile owners are always available to answer their questions. There may be times when some of the questions are very difficult to answer or you are forced to repeat the same answers again and again. But that doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you show your appreciation to your followers by responding to their comments in order to increase your engagement rate.
25. Watermark or add a logo to your images
This is the best way to protect your images while promoting your brand at the same time. The watermark is easily identifiable by those who can see the image but cannot change its content, since it is usually quite discreet. If you are going to use it with your name or your brand’s name, remember that you can only do this if you own the rights of the image. One way to do it is to place your logo on the corner of the image. This would make it clear that the content belongs to you.
As you can see, I try to do it this way in my posts, but some of them have been copied by several Instagram users who usually alter these images and publish it as their own (without giving credit to the original author). This used to upset me a lot, but then I stopped and turned to writing content instead. The copycats are the ones who’ll look bad at the end…
26. Create Instagram story highlights to collect the best posts
We have already explained about how much fun it can be to create videos for certain content to make it more accessible for users. Instagram Stories can also be used as a compilation of your best posts. You can upload up to 100 photographs or videos in the same Story, which in turn can be limited to a themed category or be much more general. In any case, this tool will allow your followers to check different aspects of your work with a simple browse through your profile.
27. Don’t forget the Call to Action (CTA)
It may seem somewhat crude but, if you want people to follow you, comment or save your posts, then why don’t you ask them? We often think that encouraging followers to comment on a post or visiting a specific page will make them think badly about us, because we are forcing them to take action. But in actual fact, call to action or CTA is a mere reminder that, if they liked what they have seen or read, they can continue doing so if they become followers of the page or give it more visibility by sharing it With their contacts. You can also add an invitation to allow people to discover your website.
28. Run contests or giveaways
Let’s be honest, we all love participating in contests even if we never considered following a certain page. Organizing contests and offering special giveaways for Instagram users is a fast and effective way to reach a much wider audience. Perhaps some of these users are not really interested in your content but a fairly high percentage of them will become your followers. If you are going to create such an event, remember to take a look at the Instagram rules for contests first:
29. Be original
Sharing the content created by other profiles is not necessarily bad and we have already proven that it can benefit you in several ways. But if you do this every day, you may lose your popularity among your followers. After all, if you just repost other people’s content, why not follow these pages directly? If you’re afraid of creating your own content, a good method that usually works well is to share your professional or personal experience with your followers. These can be in the forms of tips and tricks to improve in a certain aspect or short stories that illustrate a specific topic, to name just two examples.
30. Add Alternative Text (ALT Text) to your images
Have you never found that you have tried to download or view an image on Instagram and, due to connection problems, you have not been able to view the content? This is more common than it seems and may affect the impact of your posts. In anticipation of such issues, you can enter alternative text in your images, so that it will be visible to everyone even when they cannot access the post itself.
To add alternative text simply go to the section “advanced settings” and from there, enter the sub-section “write alternative text“. All this must be done before giving the option of “Share” although if you have already published the content you can always edit it. That said, I must admit that I have only done this from my mobile phone, so I do not know if it is also available on the desktop version.
The most useful part of this option is that it helps your posts rank better. ALT Text is a very well known option when we want to Optimize our Images for SEO on a web page or blog. It can also be used when you upload an image to LinkedIn.
31. Repost your best content
If you’ve been active on Instagram or any other social network for a while, you will have already noticed that not all your posts have the same impact. Oftentimes we are not even able to understand why some contents are more successful than others. A very useful trick among digital marketing professionals is to republish the content that obtained the best results at the time. Of course, in order to do so, it is not enough to have an ordinary account, since you will need to pay in order to check all the statistics.
Obviously, the user always has the possibility to manually review the impact of their posts to find the ones that were most shared, commented, etc. My advice is that, if Instagram is to be used for commercial purposes, you will save time (and perhaps money) with an advanced subscription. Apart from this, keep in mind that when you’re re-posting your best content, it’s best to allow at least 3 to 6 months to pass, since users may see the post as a repetition.
32. Try to verify your account
Verify your account or at least try. We know this is not easy because Instagram only grants the famous blue check to accounts with certain relevance or the ones that aren’t copied in order to harm the brand or person in question. There is no denying that we all would like to have this blue checkmark next to our profile name. Although it does not serve to measure the quality of the posts, it does grant some prestige to the brand. The verification request must be made directly to the platform, which will assess whether or not the profile in question meets the requirements to have this check.
My tip is don’t get discouraged at your first attempt and try a few times to get the blue check. Don’t spend all day begging Instagram to verify your account. Request it every 30 days and try to increase the impact of your posts during that time. There is no guarantee that the social network will give you the blue check but you will have a higher chance of getting it if your brand has some notoriety in its field.
To request this, go to Settings, Account and then Request verification.
I have tried it several times and have had no luck so far. However, I know other people and especially companies that have succeeded.
33. Do microblogging
Many users have serious difficulties in synthesising the messages they wish to publish. The posts are long and this makes them unreadable, given that many users either do not finish reading them or don’t even start reading them at all. It is also not advisable to follow the reverse dynamics, that is, to do away without the texts and just rely on visual content. Yes, the strength of Instagram lies in the images but they lose impact if they are not accompanied by some description.
Microblogging applied to social networks consists of including more information than usual in the titles of the posts. In order for this technique to have the desired effect, all the words included must have a purpose and be highly descriptive. We know this is not easy at first but once you become familiar with this resource, you will adopt it as one of your star strategies.
34. Improve or edit previous posts
If in tip # 31 I encouraged you to repost your most popular content, my next tip is to edit and improve your previous posts. It is not exactly the same as in the previous case because here it is about taking advantage of the content that’s already published and reviewing some details. This is an extension of what has already been published, going into further detail or modifying the sections that were confusing at the time.
This technique has the advantage of making the existing content easier to improve rather than to create it again. You don’t even have to take into account the format or character of the original posts. You can combine different content, add videos, create a gallery of images or even change the tone you used at the time. The only requirement is that the edited post adds value for the user.
35. Read, learn, and test
I do not intend to shoot myself in the foot, but the 34 tips you have just read are not set in stone. Instagram is constantly changing, like the rest of the world, so it is advisable to always stay up-to-date on the main developments that are coming to the social network. Read about the latest updates, learn how to implement them and, finally, try them out. This will give you a great advantage over your competitors and, if it doesn’t work as you expected, you can always go back to the start.