We can no longer ignore the fact that Instagram influences the way we do marketing. In June 2018, the platform reached one billion monthly active users. That achievement surprised even the most optimistic predictions, which told us to expect around 988 million users by 2023. This is a huge network with a versatile audience for marketers to explore.
But there’s a problem: it has already become saturated. The algorithm is pushing personal over brand content, so Instagram marketing is an extremely competitive sport. If you’re wondering how to increase Instagram reach, search engine optimization is the answer.
Tips: How to Master Instagram SEO
Understand How the Instagram Algorithm Works
The first step towards success is to start treating Instagram like a search engine. You need to understand what its users are looking for. They use the Instagram advanced search with phrases similar to the ones used for Google. That’s how they find the content they like. After that, the algorithm fills their feeds with content suited to their taste. The higher your posts rank through Instagram’s search feature, the more organic reach you’ll start getting. There’s a problem: the platform keeps its algorithm a top-secret. But there are some features that users managed to hack through trial and error:
- User engagement is crucial, so that’s what you want to achieve through your posts. The speed of engaging users with a post doesn’t seem to matter, though. It’s the overall reach that counts.
- Videos and photos get the same treatment. There’s no type of content that the platform favors. If the user engages with photos more, they will get more of that content in their feed.
- Fake followers and likes do not work!
Treat Hashtags Like Keywords
In essence, hashtags are Instagram’s keyword system. When users rely on Instagram keyword search, the algorithm launches posts with relevant hashtags. You can even use an automated keyword position checker to see how your hashtag strategy works.
What’s the trick to get ranked when using these tags?
- Add hashtags to relevant content. Never use them aimlessly and don’t overdo it. That’s called spamming, and the algorithm isn’t favorable towards it.
- Use hashtags that are specific to your audience and niche. You can use them on each relevant post.
- You can also use general hashtags that are related to holidays or important trends. Again, you must make sure that the content is relevant to them.
- Branded tags are also important. When Instagram users start recognizing your brand, they might use the platform’s search feature to find your content.
Make the Most Out of Alt Text
The Instagram alt text feature is really simple, but users often ignore it. It enables you to assign attributes to your photos. Through object recognition technology, the platform automatically assigns descriptions for visually impaired users. If you want to manipulate this feature to make the descriptions more relevant to your content, you can adjust the alt text. It’s a great way to “inform” the algorithm about the content and context of your posts.
- You can easily add alt text through Advanced Settings on the screen where you write captions. Under the Accessibility section, you’ll find the Write Alt Text feature.
- Add short, relevant text that accurately describes your content.
Track Everything with Instagram Analytics
Introducing new techniques that would boost your reach is great. But how do you know if they work? Maybe some of them are a waste of time and money. Let’s say you just started using an Instagram scheduling tool, which is supposed to launch your posts at the right time. What difference does it make to your campaign?
The platform gives you its own Insights tool. You just need to open a particular post and view the insights on it. In the Discovery section, you’ll see the number of people who saw your content. The tool also informs you how they found the post, so you’ll know what methods worked. Maybe they found it through hashtags or mentions.
Under the Activity tab, you’ll find details about your overall reach. It’s important to keep track of everything, so you’ll adjust your marketing strategy to be more successful.
Ask Your Audience to Engage
If you’re wondering how to boost on Instagram, remember this: user engagement is essential! You want your audience to comment on your posts, like them, and share them via stories. How do you get them to do it? Sometimes it’s enough to ask for something, and you’ll get it.
First, you have to launch valuable and relevant content for them. To engage them on a deeper level, you can raise discussion points, ask questions, and respond to their comments. Your goal is to create a community around your profile, so the conversation will keep going.
At the end of your post descriptions, you’ll ask everyone to comment with their opinion. After a good conversation starter, that call to action can be very effective.
Do the Work; the Results Will Follow
Search engine optimization strategies apply to Instagram in different ways. You should optimize your content and your entire marketing strategy to become more visible on the platform. Hopefully, you’ll achieve that by following the tips above. It will take some time and a lot of work, but good results are always worth the effort.