Instagram presents a great opportunity right now for most people and brands. It is the network that you can grow your audience the quickest and grow a predominately targeted audience. This use to be the case with Twitter, but Instagram now holds that advantage. However, if you’re not using Hashtags or Locations, your potential growth is extremely limited.
An Instagram post is like a billboard, and hashtags are the car traffic that drives by. Without traffic, nobody except for the people who live within eyesight of the billboard will see it. Without Hashtags, essentially the only people that will see your posts are people who are already following you. You can’t grow an account that way.
Hashtags are a tool that Instagram provides to help users follow or find posts about various topics. It is the discover-ability of Instagram. When a social media network gives you tools to increase your visibility and grow your audience, use them! I suggest 6-8 hashtags per post. Use 3-4 that your target audience might search. Use 2-3 that describe or relate to the post, and maybe 1-2 with the location if you’re target audience is location based. Place the hashtags at the end of your post, not within a comment or with any line spaces or special character in between. While that may look better visually, it can, and almost always does, reduce your organic reach. Try to vary your hashtags. I usually have a list of 18-20 hashtags I rotate between for an account.
Locations are also important. You want to select a location in each post. This won’t usually drive as much discover-ability as a hashtag, but it does help growth. If you’re a location based business, you will see more of a benefit from this. You can select your exact location of your business, but I suggest varying the location. Select your city in one post. In the next post, select your state. In another, select your business location. Try to post images from nearby cities, attractions or businesses and select their location. The goal with the location is to have your post come up when someone searches that location.
While Instagram is currently the network you can grow your following the quickest on, like all social media, it is a marathon not a sprint. If you start using hashtags and a location in your posts, you may not see much of a difference initially. Your reach will slowly grow, but if you post consistently, you’ll start to see a noticeable difference and you’ll find your audience is becoming better targeted and therefore more engaged.
Clean, Crisp, Properly Formatted Image.
Select a Location.
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Instagram is simple. Follow the above steps with each post. Post consistently. Then go out and proactively engage with other targeted accounts, and you’ll experience growth.