Tips for optimizing your Instagram account and content!

Here are a few of the top things you should consider when optimizing your Instagram account and content.

Business/Creator Account

Instagram offers 3 types of accounts

  • Personal Account
  • Business Account
  • Creator Account

Consider creating or switching to a Business or Creator Account.

The main advantage of using a Business or Creator Account over a Personal Account are the Analytics (Insights) they offer, among other features.

Analytics are essential for the optimization of your Instagram Marketing attempts.

Instagram offers you a lot of data about your:

  • Content
  • Activity (Reach, Impressions, Interactions)
  • Audience (Growth – Follows/Unfollows, Top Location, Age Range, Gender, Followers – when they are online).

This is valuable information that you should take advantage of to maximize your engagement and growth!

Profile Pic

Instagram Profile Picture

Do you have a clear profile pic that identifies you or your brand?

You need to create an image that will be vibrant, convey who you are, set a tone for what your purpose is, and will grab the attention of the audience.

Tip: Make it a “close-up shot” pic and use your brand colors so that it is easily distinguishable.

Instagram Bio and Name

This is a gem.

Your Instagram Bio text is your home base.

Your Instagram Bio text is where you have the opportunity to tell your audience who you are, what you do, what you post about, what your purpose is, how you can help them, and propose a Call to Action.

However, you only have a limited amount of characters you can use for your Bio text (150 characters) so make it clear, concise, informative, optimized and keyword rich in order to enhance it for search results and help people to quickly understand and determine if they wish to follow you.

You can also add hashtags to your Bio text in order for users to be able to click on them and view the posts in those hashtags – making it also a great way to direct them to your branded hashtag if you have one!

Tip: You can add emojis to maximize on character use plus special fonts to make your Bio text more captivating.

You can also add a clickable link on your Bio text and use it as part of a Call to Action (Download, Subscribe, Learn More, etc.) so that people can have easy access to your website and content, products, courses, offers, etc. This is a great way to drive organic traffic to your site!

Tip: Use a dedicated landing page on your website for your Instagram visitors so that you can easily track your Instagram referred traffic!

You can also add a Call to Action button. As a Business you should also take advantage of that feature in the Contact Section where you can set your email and/or business phone number so that people are able to email or call you directly from your profile.

Available options currently are: Call, Text, Directions, Email, Book, Get Tickets, Reserve More Info on Instagram Call-to-Action Buttons

Many have yet to take advantage of the Name section for SEO purposes.

Instagram Name
Instagram Name

Your Instagram name (not your handle, but the name displayed in the section above your Bio text) is also where you can optimize your account for better reach.

Don’t simply write your name or some sort of random description, instead take advantage of the Instagram name section for SEO purposes by using a targeted keyword that will allow you to be searchable (search engines display your Instagram name) as well as shown to people searching for that keyword/hashtag on Instagram.

Content

This is an obvious but very important one – it is where the game is played!

To create good content there is one key rule you need to remember:

Quality is everything!

  • Quality in your Visuals – Images/Videos (are your visuals high quality resolution? are your visuals captivating? are your visuals aesthetically appealing? are your visuals informative? are your visuals in sync with your brand message?, etc.)
  • Quality in your Caption – Text (is your caption engaging? is it thought provoking? is it inspiring? does it appeal to the emotions of the reader? is it filled with value for your audience? does it convey effectively your message? etc.)

Like I have expressed in one of my posts:

When you engage with your followers to find out what content they want, when you select that picture.⁣ when you write that caption. when you create that story.⁣.. don’t start with your needs in mind and aiming to create the “best piece of content” that HAS to go viral to be considered successful. Rather, start by asking yourself WHO is the recipient and HOW do I want this content to impact him/her?⁣⁣

⁣⁣At the end of the day, value comes from the impact you make.

Your content should be Creative, Consistent and Genuine.

There are 4 different types of Instagram content you can post:

  • Feed (Image/Video Content you upload to your profile grid and is then displayed on your followers feed)
  • Stories (Image/Video Content that disappears after 24 hours)
    The Stories feature offers the following modes: Live, Create (Text, GIFs, Quote of the Day, On this Day, Poll, Templates Question, Quiz, Countdown), Normal (Customize your Story), Boomerang (Loop Video Clip), Layout, Superzoom, Hands-Free)
  • Live Video (Live streams where your followers can interact with you in real-time)
  • IGTV (Long Form Videos)
    They are at least 1 min long and up to 15 mins (via mobile) and up to 60 mins (via desktop) and they don’t disappear after 24 hours.

No matter the type of content you share with your audience on Instagram – whether on your Feed, Stories, Live Video or IGTV – remember to make it:

  • Relatable
  • Inspirational (Motivating and Positive Content)
  • Educational (Informative Content)
  • Entertaining (Fun Content)
  • Interactive (Responsive Content)

Hashtags

Are you using hashtags on your post captions to expand your reach?

Generally, you can add up to 30 hashtags on a Post (caption or comment section) and up to 10 hashtags on a Story (sticker, text).

Make them specific, targeted and related to your content.

Research your key hashtags and their alternatives.

Instagram - Hashtags
Instagram – Hashtags
Image reflects actions when creating a Post

Tip: Make sure that you check out the posts under those hashtags, see how relevant they are and comment genuinely and connect with people posting under those hashtags. That is a sure way to make yourself noticeable and increase your engagement and community!

I wouldn’t suggest that you use the generalized hashtags such as #followforfollow, etc. as these might result in some follows but they won’t be by a targeted audience wanting to genuinely engage. Don’t aim for for non-organic ways to increase your following as they have an expiry date.

Avoid banned hashtags – yes there are hashtags that have been banned by Instagram as they have been frequently reported by users and have been deemed as not following the Community Guidelines.

To find banned hashtags:

  • Go to Instagram’s search bar
  • Type and select the hashtag you want to search for
  • go to Recent
  • If the hashtag is banned, you will see a message that states:
banned hashtags
banned hashtags

There are also sites that have already done the “heavy lifting” and have an updated list of banned hashtags you can refer to.

Notice that there as some innocent ones such as #kansas or #streetphoto that have been banned, so to be on the safe side a quick search before choosing hashtags is a good course of action.

Bonus tip:

Carefully approach your hashtag strategy.

If creating a Post for example, mix up your hashtags as follows:

5+ of the top-range hashtags (Millions)

5+ of the high-range hashtags (Hundreds of thousands)

10+ of the mid-range hashtags. (Tens of thousands)

Distribute accordingly.

Remember to use your branded hashtag if you have one.

There is some debate as to whether you should use up all 30 hashtags in a post (as allowed by Instagram).

In my opinion, if Instagram allows it, it is OK. However, I suggest you test with different scenarios and see what works best for you.

Using hashtags that are not that targeted simply to complete the 30 hashtag limit will not render the desired results.

Remember:

Don’t try to game the system by using 30 hashtags within your caption and another 30 on the comment section, for example. This is spamming and Instagram will notice and act accordingly.

Don’t use the same hashtag set repeatedly on posts as this is also considered spammy behavior by Instagram.

Mix it up and keep it fresh!

Tagging

You can Tag accounts and Locations.

Tagging accounts or a Location in your Posts and Stories is a good strategy to get your content noticed.

When creating a Post, you can tag an account (person or brand) by selecting the Tag People option or a Geo-location via the Add Location option when creating a post.

Instagram tagging
Instagram tagging
Image reflects actions when creating a Post

Tip: If Tagging accounts, please do so mindfully. When tagging people or a brand in your posts or stories, make sure that it has some relevance to your post’s topic, not just a random tag. For example, tag a brand if your post shows an image with the brand’s product which you refer to in your caption.

If random and frequent, this action might not be welcomed by the recipient and could cause the exact opposite effect.

Location tagging will allow you to reach people within the area you are in / posting about / targeting.

Add Alt Text to your Post

An important yet underutilized feature!

Instagram allows you to add Alt Text (Alternative Text) to your Posts.

The Alt Text feature facilitates screen-reading tools to describe images to the blind and visually impaired.

Instagram offers 2 options: Automatic Alt Text and Custom Alt Text.

As this blog post by Instagram explains:

Automatic alternative text so you can hear descriptions of photos through your screen reader when you use Feed, Explore and Profile. This feature uses object recognition technology to generate a description of photos for screen readers so you can hear a list of items that photos may contain as you browse the app.

Next, we’re introducing custom alternative text so you can add a richer description of your photos when you upload a photo. People using screen readers will be able to hear this description.

https://instagram-press.com/blog/2018/11/28/creating-a-more-accessible-instagram/

Adding Alt Text also plays an important role with SEO.

It facilitates Instagram’s algorithm to understand the context of your image (In other words, what your image is about) and show it to targeted people interested in that type of content . That is why you should be specific with your Alt Text and use targeted keywords (1 or 2 keywords, don’t overuse!) that will help your post rank in relevant search queries.

To add Custom Alt Text:

  • Select your Image.
  • Add a Filter and Edit Your Image.
  • Select Advanced Settings.
  • Select Write Alt Text.
  • Add your Alt Text and click on Done (iOS) or Save (Android).
Instagram Alt Text
Instagram Custom Alt Text
Instagram Custom Alt Text
Instagram Alt Text
Instagram Custom Alt Text

More info on Instagram Alt Text feature

Add a Call to Action in your Content

Adding a strong Call to Action (a button, link or verbal direction on a video – that prompts a specific action) is an essential part of your marketing campaign success.

An example of a Call to Action is a button prompting readers to Subscribe to your blog 😉

It should clearly and effectively prompt your audience towards the “next step” they should take.

Now, going back to Instagram – in addition to the profile Call to Action buttons, you can add Call-to-Actions in your content.

This can be Verbal (video), Text (within caption), or Link (example: Swipe Up link)

Whichever the Call to Action you use (Contact, Learn More, Download, Subscribe, View, Swipe up, Like, Comment, Share, Save, etc.), you need to direct your audience to take that next step.

If you create a piece of content that is without a Call to Action, you can’t really expect your audience to respond accordingly and risk losing them along the way… that has to be cultivated and guided by you.

For example, if you are a business the use of a Call to Action (for example, a Learn More or Swipe-Up link in a story) when creating your content is an opportunity for you to direct possible leads to your website (cultivating organic traffic) and converting them to customers – in other words, directing them through the funnel.

Don’t forget to maximize your Instagram marketing results by tracking the effectiveness of each Call to Action!

Tip: Remember you don’t own your Instagram account, it is Instagram’s real estate – so it is good practice to use Call-to-Actions to guide that traffic towards your website, where you can focus on converting and retaining!


Would love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comment section!

Good vibes only and have a great day!

With appreciation,

 Natasha

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