Instagram remains one of the most popular social media platforms. Users are continuing to grow despite downturns in the growth of users on other platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
It also remains a great platform for showcasing high quality imagery and video, sharing your brand story, and interacting with consumers and prospects on a personable level.
We have previously discussed the importance of your business having an Instagram account but once you have Instagram up and running, what can you do to optimize your account to get the best results?
Keep reading to discover a few easy ways to optimize your Instagram account for improved results.
Top Ways to Optimize Your Instagram Account
1. Use an Instagram Business Profile
A first step in optimizing your Instagram account for business purposes is to switch to an Instagram business account. This is an easy process and offers you access to Instagram analytics (called Insights) as well as the option to run paid promotions.
You will need a Facebook page and Facebook business manager account but that’s all. You can then see analytics within Instagram including follower changes, reach and impressions of posts, and follower demos. You can also run ad campaigns (story and in-feed ads) via Facebook ads manager with similar targeting options to those offered for Facebook ads.
Additionally, with a business profile, you can display an office or store address and opening hours. You can also add buttons for users to easily send DMs, emails, and SMS which is great for customer support and feedback. Ecommerce brands have the option to add a shop button too.
2. Consider Becoming Verified
You may also choose to become verified. Verified accounts are those that have a blue check mark, indicating that this is the original and real account that represents a brand.
This is especially important for brands or influencers who may have people pretending to be them or even have fan accounts that could confuse Instagram users into thinking that’s the main account of the brand or individual.
Once verified, Instagram users will be sure that they are interacting with your brand which should reduce losing followers and engagements to fake or similar accounts.
3. Optimize Your Instagram Account Profile
Before we discuss how to optimize the content you share, it’s important to look at how to optimize your Instagram profile.
All aspects of your profile from the profile image and username you choose to your bio can have just as big an impact as the content posted to the account.
When optimizing your Instagram profile, keep the following in mind.
Choose a Relevant Username That’s Easy to Find
Your username needs to be very relevant to your brand with most choosing their brand name as their username.
If your desired name is taken, consider altering it slightly if you can’t choose another username.
You’ll want a name that will bring up your account if searched for, which is why using brand name is the most popular choice.
Use a Branded Profile Image
To optimize your Instagram account, use a profile image that is instantly recognizable with your brand.
This image will show up on your profile in the left hand corner. It will also appear every time you comment and share a post.
Using your logo is a good idea. No matter what you choose, try to keep consistency across all social media platforms.
Optimize your Bio
Your bio appears at the top of your Instagram profile, just under your profile picture and your following and follower counts.
Instagram offers you 150 characters for use in thee bio to summarize your brand and explain what you can do for those who interact with you. You want to use the bio to briefly show the benefit you’ll provide.
It’s a good idea to include a few keywords that are most relevant to your brand. You may also want to add a call-to-action that points users to the link you’re allowed to place under your bio. Using a few hashtags that are most relevant to your brand is a good idea too, discussed more later on.
Lastly, adding a few emojis may help in getting your brand identity across in just a few extra characters.
4. Optimize Your Instagram Account Content
Once your profile elements are optimized, it’s now time to focus on your content. While your bio, image, username, etc. are very important, ultimately people will be interacting with your posts so optimization of these cannot be ignored.
When optimizing your Instagram content, keep the following in mind.
Share Quality Content that Highlights Your Brand
Success on Instagram is highly related to the content you post. It’s a platform that rewards those who post amazing imagery and videos so you need to be taking the time to create and/or source this high-quality content.
Try to keep consistency among posts and use content that strongly relates to your brand.
Make Use of Instagram Stories and Highlights
Posting Instagram stories is a great way to get the most out of your account. It’s the perfect platform to provide more information to followers and increase interaction with them.
Using stories allows you to ask your followers questions and have them ask you questions, allowing for Q&A style posts. You can also use stories to give quick updates and a behind the scenes look at your brand.
Once you have 10,000 followers, you can also add links to your posts. This makes stories the perfect platform for promoting content intended to drive traffic to your website.
You should additionally add highlights to your account. Instagram stories only stay on your account for 24 hours, but adding them to highlights saves them to your account, allowing followers to view them whenever they like.
The highlights bar sits between your bio information and your posts. It’s recommended to create categorized highlights to help followers easily find the content they’re looking for.
Lastly, you can take part in “Lives” via the stories feature. This is a live video that allows you to chat with followers in real-time.
You can connect it with multiple other accounts too and there is a chat box allowing followers to ask questions and engage in real-time.
Instagram is a relaxed, fun, and creative platform. So use of emojis here, if relevant to your message, can be a good idea.
Using emojis can help in making your account seem more personable which can increase the chance of engagement and help with relationship building.
Emojis can also add to your message or emphasize it without needing to add lots more characters. While Instagram post captions don’t come with a character limit, you still want to keep your message as succinct as possible.
This is equally true with stories where you’ll want to keep text to a minimum due to the limited space available and the fact that followers spend just a few seconds viewing each story.
Hashtags are important to use on Instagram to help with discovery. You can use hashtags in your posts as well as to optimize your account bio.
Choose a few hashtags that are most relevant to your brand to place in your bio. Then use a selection of relevant hashtags in each post. This can be one or two within your caption plus you have the option to place more below the caption or in a comment.
L’oreal Instagram post showing use of emojis and hashtags within a post caption.
Don’t overdo it though, around 5 to 15 hashtags below your caption or in a comment is a good idea. Be sure to consistently research the hashtags that are most relevant to your audience and keep a check on trending hashtags that could be relevant.
You may also want to look at the hashtags your competitors use to ensure you are showing up alongside them when those hashtags are searched.
Use Location Tags
Using appropriate location tags on posts and in stories can help with discovery. They are especially useful if you run a local business or if you serve certain areas across the city, state, or country.
Even if you serve the whole country or operate on an international level, adding location tags where appropriate can help increase audience size and make your offerings known to those living in or interested in certain areas.
Use some posts to encourage followers to tag you. This will help increase your reach and expose you to potential customers.
Your followers’ followers are likely to be quite similar to them so are also likely to be interested in your offerings.
You could also add a line in your bio mentioning tagging. You can additionally use tagged images as user generated content for your page. Mentioning that you may feature their image if followers tag you can increase the chances of them tagging you.
5. Use CTAs
As mentioned above, it’s a good idea to include a call-to-action in your bio. This is used to encourage those viewing your account to click on the link placed below your bio copy.
You’ll also want to be using CTAs within your captions that direct post viewers to your bio link as this is the only live link Instagram allows you to use. Excluding links in stories and shopping tags that is.
6. Use Trackable Links and Content Libraries
You can only place one link in the bio of your Instagram account and cannot place live links within post captions. It can therefore be difficult to track click through if you change the link in your bio often.
You can see bio link clicks in analytics but it will provide just one figure no matter how many links you used over the week or month.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to always use tracking links. You can easily create tracking links through Bitly or a host of other platforms. Using these types of links allows you to see exactly how much traffic each link is bringing even if you change your link frequently.
If you plan to share a lot of content (which means you will be directing followers to multiple web pages each week) using a “content library”, like LinkinBio is a good idea.
These allow you to place just one link in your bio. When that is clicked on, followers arrive on a page where they can see your Instagram posts and click through on the link mentioned in each.
It’s also a good idea to use tracking links for content libraries. This makes it easy to see who came to your website from which links and posts. You may also have parameters to be able to see what the traffic did once on your website.
You can also place swipe up links in stories once they have 10,000 followers. You can see how many link swipe-ups (link clicks) a story got but a tracking link allows you to analyze behavior once on the promoted landing page.
Want to learn more about your target consumer? Connect with your existing customers and reach out to new ones through social media. Learn more in our blog article, The Importance of Social Media For Business.
7. Link to Mobile Optimized Websites
As Instagram is an app, the majority of users use it on their cell phone. Therefore, you want to ensure any link you place points to a website that’s optimized for mobile.
Links will most likely be pointing to your website so if it’s not mobile-friendly, be sure to fix that.
Your website really should be mobile-friendly and ideally use responsive web design anyway as more and more internet users are browsing on their mobile devices.
Make sure any links to other domains that you post are optimized too. For example, if you share a link to a website with an article about your brand check that the website is mobile friendly to offer your followers the best experience.
8. Enable Notifications and Interact with Followers
To be successful on Instagram, you need to be social! This means interacting with followers. This is best if done in real-time, responding as soon as possible after followers interact.
These interactions can include people commenting on your posts, tagging or mentioning you, and sending direct messages.
You should also assign the task of responding to these interactions to at least one team member. Ask them to activate notifications on their mobile device and respond asap to all of these notifications.
9. Follow a Consistent Posting Schedule
A key to social media success in general is consistency in your posting. This includes the number of times each day/week/month that you post and some consistency in the days and times you post.
Therefore, to optimize your Instagram account and efforts, you’ll want to develop a posting schedule and stick to it. While you will want to adjust as you analyze results and other data, try to keep as much consistency as possible.
10. Discover the Best Times to Post
There will be certain days and times when your followers are most active on Instagram and most engaged with your posts. Therefore, there will be certain times that are most optimal for posting.
There are a few ways in which you can find the most optimal posting times for your audience.
Look at Industry Trends
To begin with, you may want to post at the times that are said to be busiest for Instagram in general or at the times that work best for your industry. This is a good starting point if new to Instagram.
Look at Instagram Insights
Once you have begun posting, you’ll be able to use analytics to help choose the most optimal posting times.
As Instagram collects information on those interacting with your account, you can see the times that your followers are most active on Instagram in Insights.
This feature uses bars to show the most popular times on each day of the week which will also tell you which days work best for posting.
Look at Third Party Analytics
You may also want to invest in third party analytics platforms which are discussed more next. These will offer more insights into those who interact with your posts and offer more data driven suggestions for good times to post.
11. Make Use of Analytics
Once you have a business profile, you’ll have access to Instagram Insights. This shows things like post reach, changes in follower numbers, follower demographics, and the most popular days and times for follower interaction.
Make sure that you’re making use of this information and using it to help optimize your account. For example, if you see that your followers are highly active on Instagram at 9 am on Mondays and 6 pm on Thursdays, you could schedule posts for these times to increase the chance of engagement.
Instagram analytics, however, can be quite basic. To really optimize your account, you may want to look into using third party software.
These platforms offer more analytics and can offer optimization suggestions, such as the best times to post each week based on past performance of your posts.
12. Use Scheduling Software
Unlike IG’s owner, Facebook, you cannot schedule posts within IG. To schedule in advance, you’ll have to use third-party software. Recommended as it’s easiest to keep a consistent posting schedule if plan and schedule content in advance. Create content calendars and have social editorial meetings.
Range of options and plans depending on your needs. Many of these also include in depth analytics so need just one for extra analytics and scheduling.
Instagram is the perfect platform to connect with your customers and grow your audience. However, just having an account isn’t enough to succeed.
Making use of the tips discussed here to optimize your Instagram account is a great start to running an account that builds relationships and increases your customer base.
If you need some extra help with your Instagram efforts, we would love to help! Brand Hause offers social media marketing services to help from setting up your account to optimizing it and getting conversions.
Get in touch today for a free Instagram marketing consultation!
Let us help you explore the benefits of building a strong, organic presence on Instagram.