Instagram has established itself as one of the biggest social media platforms with more than one billion active users. For businesses, it can be a powerful marketing tool to reach new prospects and gain more customers. The best way to do that is by increasing your followers, the more people you reach, the higher your chances of driving sales. However, Instagram has become quite saturated, and marketing on the platform is very competitive. Getting noticed amidst millions of other accounts is certainly difficult if you’re a relatively new or small business.
So, the question is, how can you effectively promote your brand on Instagram?
The answer is easy, Instagram SEO!
Instagram recently made a significant update to its search functionality, instead of only being able to search profiles, hashtags, and locations, users can now search general keywords and it will show all posts that include those words.
It means with this change in Instagram algorithm, brands need to incorporate Instagram SEO into their marketing strategy.
Instagram SEO Algorithm
Google has its algorithm to decide which page will rank on top of its result page. Following the same principle, the Instagram algorithm determines which post (photos and videos) will rank on top of users’ feeds, in Instagram Search, and on the Explore page.
Just like with traditional SEO, the higher a brand’s Instagram post ranks, the more organic reach it will generate. Now, the question is, how does the platform’s algorithm work, and what factors influence the ranking?
- Instagram does not favour videos over images or vice versa. For instance, if the user engages with more videos regularly, then he’ll receive more video recommendations
- The main factor in determining a page’s Instagram ranking is user engagement. The platform uses AI and machine learning to monitor user engagement data in real time and is constantly updating
- The type of Instagram account, Personal, Business, or Creator, does not influence the algorithm
- The platform is actively monitoring for bought likes and fake followers and can ban your account if it suspects you of indulging in such fraudulent activities
- How fast the audience engages with your posts does not influence your ranking on Instagram
Now that you have a basic understanding of Instagram SEO and algorithm, here are a few powerful Instagram SEO tips to help you navigate the social landscape.
4 Instagram SEO Tips to Increase Brand’s Discoverability
Instagram SEO Tip #1: Optimize Your Profile for Search
As part of the Explore page, Instagram Search is the directory where users can find any account on the platform.
Similar to Google, users can use the search bar on top of the Explore page to find and discover accounts, hashtags, and locations. The search result is based on a variety of factors such as people the searchers follow, who they’re connected to, and what type of content they interact with on the platform. However, the results are also based on keywords now.
When a user searches for something by typing in a keyword on Instagram (such as a leather handbag), the platform sorts through millions of accounts to find the most relevant result for what they’re looking for – accounts that have those keywords. Therefore, to rank for specific keywords brands need to optimize their profile for such terms.
For instance, to rank for the term handbag, incorporate that keyword into your name and username since both are searchable on Instagram.
|Quick Tip – If you don’t want to use the keyword in your username, place it in the name field of your Instagram bio. It’s fully customizable and separate from your username. Change the name to something that highlights what your business is about. It is an excellent way to boost your visibility on Instagram.|
Instagram SEO Tip #2: Use Instagram Alt Text
Alt-text is a relatively new feature on Instagram that enables users to write captions for their images. It was designed to assist visually impaired users to enjoy their Instagram experience, but it can also be used by brands to rank higher. The platform automatically generates the alt text for the images if you don’t add one. However, It’s better to do it yourself to make sure it matches what’s actually in the photo. It helps your post rank higher in the search results, resulting in more engagement.
Instagram SEO Tip #3: Treat Hashtags Like Keywords
Adding relevant hashtags to your posts and stories is one of the best ways to get discovered by the target audiences on Instagram. This can easily translate into more engagement, followers, and customers for your business.
If you add a hashtag to your post, that post will be displayed on the corresponding hashtag’s results page. Since they’re used to discover new content, using relevant hashtags can put your post/account in front of the target audience, even if they are not following you on Instagram.
Hashtags offer plenty of benefits apart from improving your discoverability. They can help you in community-building, sourcing user-generated content, running social media campaigns, researching target audiences, and more. Therefore, it’s important to have a clear and well-developed hashtag strategy. Without one, you would be missing out on opportunities to optimize your Instagram account and drive more engagement and followers.
|Quick Tip – Instagram hashtag strategy doesn’t have to be too complex. Just test and track your efforts so that you can find out what’s working and what isn’t. At ANS Commerce, we have in-house tools for testing and tracking marketing campaign performance, request your free DEMO today!|
Instagram SEO Tip #4: Optimize Your Page for Engagement
As mentioned above, engagement influences the Instagram algorithm, and to improve engagement, brands need to improve three main aspects of their posts:
In this highly competitive Instagram environment, it is important to create and post content that your target audience would find valuable. Publish carefully curated and enticing photos/videos with attractive captions. Also, if the engagement on one of your posts is high, it will be beneficial for your future posts.
Instagram doesn’t display the content chronologically on its Explore page, however, newer posts are more likely to appear first in the user’s feed. Therefore, spotting the right time to post your photos/videos is very important to increase your engagement. Simply check Instagram Insights and find out when your followers are the most active. You can also use various Instagram analytical tools for this purpose, but you’d need to research your target audience first.
Instagram algorithms also take into account the depth of the engagement, if someone likes or comments on your posts often, it will recommend more of your post to that user. Therefore, knowing your target audience and posting content that will resonate with them is very important. Conduct intensive market research and define your target audience, and develop your content based on those insights.
Why Choose ANS Commerce?
Planning and executing Instagram marketing campaigns can be quite overwhelming if you don’t possess the necessary skills and tools. At ANS Commerce, we offer our clients custom performance marketing solutions, from checking brand logos and guidelines for creatives to collecting actionable insights with our in-house tools, we have everything you need to reach and convert your target audience. Request your free DEMO today!
Instagram SEO is a cost-effective, high-impact strategy that can assist brands in reaching their target audience and driving conversions and sales. It may not be as effective as paid advertising, but the potential ROI is staggering. For brands committed to using social media for marketing purposes, Instagram SEO is an effective tool.