With Instagram’s algorithms changing in the blink of an eye, it can be hard to keep up.
And yes, this makes it increasingly more difficult to grow a page. Whether you’re brand new to the IG scene, or simply want to grow your existing following, it is necessary to harness a good social media strategy. This means keeping up to date with trends, curating a desirable feed and, most importantly, targeting your audience.
Wondering where to begin?
There are so many Instagram ‘hacks’ out there that, again, can be hard to follow. In order to get into best practice, here are 5 quick and easy Instagram tips for bloggers looking to tackle IG’s daunting algorithms.
Tip 1: Post portrait pictures and videos
A very simple tip, but an effective (and logical) one. Think about it. Your phone screen is portrait, not landscape, so why would you not utilise all of the screen space? With your image or video taking up most of the user’s phone screen, this leaves little space for distraction. It also takes more time to scroll past, utilising maximum viewing time.
Just look at popular platform Tik Tok and the way their app is designed. The content takes up the entire phone screen. Your focus is, therefore, never diverted. Your eyes are glued to the video content and your only focus is watching and swiping forward. With a design this neat, it’s no wonder Tik Tok has catapulted into success so quickly!
Tip 2: Pick an easy and short username
Another simple but obvious one. When it comes to usernames, pick something memorable and easy to understand. This will help your name to stand out wherever it is found on the platform. Whether it’s in comments, on the newsfeed or in DMs, people are more likely to remember your username and click into it if it makes sense.
Avoid excessive underscores and full stops. Aim to use every day words that people know. And if you want to use your real name, make sure you simplify the name if it’s a tough one. Try using just your first and middle name if you have a confusing last name. You can also try adding an article or pronoun. For example: ‘itsmelissa‘ or ‘heymelissa’.
One word usernames are also associated with authority. You’ll notice Jennifer Lopez has ‘jlo’ and Eminem has ’eminem’. If you manage to score yourself one of these, kudos to you.
Tip 3: Drop the generic hashtags, focus on niche hashtags
Using hashtags will always work to your favour. The key is to use them strategically. Using hashtags like #cute, #love and #instagood just don’t cut it anymore… Did they ever really?
It’s all about the niche hashtag. These hashtags help categorise your content and target your audience. They also have less population than a generic hashtag, meaning your content will show up in ‘Recent’ for longer, rather than getting buried within seconds.
How do you find the right hashtags for you? It’s pretty easy. Follow what other bloggers in your niche are using. If you’re a travel blogger, look at what other travel bloggers use. If you’re a Sydney fashion blogger, look at what other Sydney fashion bloggers use. If your content is location-based, find niche hashtags for that particular location.
Here’s an example:
View this post on Instagram
A magical hidden fairyland rooftop in the most unsuspecting of #London locations... 🌿🌷🌸🌛💫🧚♀️ ______ The @busseyrooftopbar sits atop an industrial warehouse building in Peckham & plays host to the @rooftopfilmclub, where guests can enjoy movies 🎬 on the big screen in a spacious open air cinema setting. 🎥 Complete with a bucketful of popcorn 🍿 and the gorgeous view of the sun setting in the background 🌅 , this is without a doubt one of our favourite London summer experiences. ✅ ______ What’s your favourite thing to do in London over summer? Let us know! ⬇️ #MyDarlingLondon #LondonDiaries #PrettyCityLondon
The post above utilises location hashtags to promote London-based content. The niche hashtags #MyDarlingLondon, #LondonDiaries and #PrettyCityLondon have been used, alongside the generic hashtag #London.
Tip 4: Spread out your Instagram stories
Max out your potential by creating Instagram stories as well as Instagram feed posts. Successful blogs need to be tending to both.
Just like with feed posts, there are best practice tips to creating Instagram stories. One of the best ways of making the most of stories is to spread them out evenly throughout the day (and to not overdo it).
The moment you post a story, your profile picture shows up in the Stories bar (see below). Over time, it is pushed further back in the line to make way for newer stories. Therefore, it makes sense to post regularly to try and stay first in line as long as possible.
However, overdoing it can be just as detrimental as not doing it enough. If your stories show up with too many within the 24 hour period, people are highly likely to skip your content altogether and move onto the next user. When it comes to story posting, balance is key.
Tip 5: Time your posts strategically
Timing is just as important for feed content as it is for stories. However, posting to your feed works very differently. That means a different strategy is required.
It’s widely accepted that posting at least once daily is best practice. It’s also recommended that you post around the same time every day. Your followers will get used to seeing your posts at a certain time, and if that time is an optimal time for your audience, it is sure to reel in the most views. Optimal times are likely to be before and after normal work hours. That’s before 10am and after 6pm on weekdays.
Weekend timings are different given the obvious. Posts might not perform as well on the weekends as they do during the week, but this depends on your target audience of course.
Make sure you also refer to the geographical location of your audience. You will have to be a business account on Instagram to find these follower statistics. If most of your followers are in Australia, post according to Australian times. If most of your followers are in UK, post according to UK times. If there’s an equal balance between two locations, find a happy medium.