Aug 16, 2023

8 Ways to Get Noticed on Instagram

by Digital Marketing Institute

Instagram is a powerful content marketing and audience-building machine. It has built brands and established many successful influencers, allowing people to become self-made social stars. 

Celebrities, entrepreneurs, models, and other professionals make a living on Instagram thanks to its sponsored posts. Instagram also has the second biggest engagement rate of social networks at 0.60 percent (lagging behind TikTok's whopping 4.24 percent, but way ahead of Facebook's 0.15 percent). 

The social network has just announced a rival to Twitter called 'Threads' that offers a "new space for real-time updates and public conversations" which may also offer new ad opportunities so keep an eye out!

If you're looking to promote yourself or your brand on Instagram and achieve a large and loyal following, check out these 8 useful and effective tips.

1. Choose Appealing Aesthetics

When it comes to Instagram, the aesthetic is crucial. It's a picture and video-sharing website at its core, so image is everything.

First, you need to adopt a general brand aesthetic on your account and stick to it. If you're running a fashion brand, you want clean and sleek imagery. If you're trying to promote a lifestyle brand, you should use brighter, eye-catching photos like yoga and athleisure brand Lululemon.

Lululemon on Instagram
Lululemon on Instagram

If you're following someone on Instagram, you're doing so because they have excellent photography and interesting images. Upload your highest-quality photos to your public profile and make people take notice as soon as they surf your page.

Make sure the aesthetics you choose are directly and authentically tied to your brand. Avoid changing up your filters too often so that you can establish a consistent style and theme which people can follow.

2. Find Your Niche

To effectively boost your following, you need to understand your target demographic. Gauge who your ideal followers are and how you want them to interact with your social media and brand. 

It's good to be multi-faceted, but if you have a travel blog, you should be tailoring your content to entice fellow travelers (like National Geographic's feed below). If your focus is on fitness, then you'll be looking for exercise and sports enthusiasts with your fitness videos and diet tips.

National Geographic Instagram
National Geographic Instagram

People will unfollow you once they either see content that doesn't relate to them or don't see consistency in your focus. Keep these things in mind before you start uploading content.

Furthermore, keep your professional page professional, and leave your personal or random photos for your private, non-business account.

3. Use Engaging Captions

Looking at pictures without knowing what you're looking at can be frustrating when surfing Instagram, especially when you see something interesting and want to know more. So why would you leave your followers in the dark?

Keep your followers engaged with witty, sharp captions that still explain with clarity what they're seeing. Captions are a great way to show your brand's personality because people like to feel connected to those they follow. Just think about Nike's famous tagline 'Just do it' as a short and sharp way to say a lot in a few words. 

Talk to them through captions. Keep your captions informative and descriptive but not too wordy. People like simple, short and intriguing bits of text to read on social, and captions should embody that spirit. Here's an example from a carousel on the Digital Marketing Institute's Instagram account to give you some inspiration.

Caption example from DMI's Instagram
Caption example from DMI's Instagram

4. Be Smart With Your Hashtags

To accelerate likes, views and shares of your posts, hashtags on social media are a smart way to go. Instagram limits how many hashtags you can use in a single post to 30, but you can use as many as possible that are relevant to the post. 

You don't have to avoid the really popular ones, such as #instadaily and #instagood, but know that it's very competitive to rank for these tags as hundreds of millions of people use them. The more popular and generic a hashtag is, the harder it is to get noticed by the people who you want to interact with your posts.

#instagood on Instagram
#instagood on Instagram

Choose hashtags that are relevant to your interests and industry. You can also make your own hashtags or put a spin on a trending topic. You can type a hashtag into or below your caption and Instagram will suggest other ones for you to use. 

Customize your hashtags for each post to the subject of each post to help more of your posts get seen by the right users.  

5. Post at the Right Time

The best way to attract followers on Instagram is by posting at optimal times when you get more impressions and interactions. Though Instagram uses an algorithmic timeline, optimal posting times are still relevant.

You can check Instagram insights to know when the majority of your followers are online by clicking on the profile tab and then the bar chart icon. If you know your followers are online more in the morning, post something to brighten their day. If they’re scrolling at night, save your content for after-work hours.

You should also space out posts as much as you can. Posting multiple things at the same time won’t get you more attention, and you don’t want to inundate people. 

If you have multiple photos to share, combine them in one post with the slideshow feature. If you're eager to post and have an Android, you can save posts that are ready to publish via drafts within Instagram. This way, you can post whenever you're ready with a caption, hashtags and edits.

6. Be Interactive

Followers will want to visit your profile more if they know you are interested in talking to them in the comments, through direct messages, or even in a live stream.

Reply to comments you get on your posts, and tag people and places in your posts, as long as those tags are relevant to the picture or video that you're posting.

You should also interact with some of your followers who share similar content by commenting on their posts, as that could spark a conversation and an exchange of ideas. You can also follow Instagram hashtags relevant to your niche. Using this feature, you can filter, like and comment on relatable posts and even gain some new followers.

7. Use Instagram Stories

Another way to be interactive is by using Instagram Stories. Much like Snapchat, you can post videos and photos that your followers can see, allowing them to send messages if they like them.

It's spontaneous, unpolished content that lets people know what you are promoting and the personality behind it. You can also post links to your website, which looks less clunky on a Story than it does in an individual post or your bio.

Here's a great IG Stories example from Oatly created 'The New Normal' show using puppets that resemble its cartons vs a 'normal' milk carton to promote its mission of switching people to oat-based milk. 

The New Normal IG Story
The New Normal IG Story

The best way to use Stories is by going live. Instagram Live permits followers to comment and join the conversation in real time. Don't use your Live sessions to just sell your services or whatever you're promoting. Make it fun and something that people will want to watch from start to finish, for the 24 hours that the video is available. 

People can send in their questions for you, so it's a great way to introduce a product or conduct an interview. There are also options where someone will send a request to be in your live video, creating a split-screen live conversation.

Note: Be aware that since March 2023, Instagram users will no longer be able to tag products during live broadcasts. Meta says this change will allow the platform to “focus on products and features that provide the most value to our users.”

8. Look at Your Competition

Just like many other sectors, the social media realm is ultra-competitive. Studying fellow Instagram users who specialize in things you concentrate on is a good strategy. Look at their engagement metrics, see which hashtags they use, when they post, and what they post.

Examine the type of content they use to attract followers and generate the best interactions. It's even helpful to see which posts fall flat when it comes to making an impression. These insights will help you optimize your own content to help you stay ahead of your closest rivals. You can also benefit by curating your posts and videos in the most cohesive way possible.

Using Instagram to Get Noticed - Final Thoughts

Instagram has grown into a social media powerhouse across the world and if you follow the best social media strategies, you can use Instagram as an effective promotional and engagement hub.

There are always new features coming online to help brands engage with and influence Instagram users, so it's wise to keep an eye on any news from Meta. This year. Instagram's one-way broadcast channels will allow creators to share text, images, and more with followers.  While in the footsteps of Twitter, a new verification service will be available known as 'Meta Verified' to creators and brands.

Use Instagram to Build Your Brand

Social media offers marketers and brands an effective channel to attract, engage and influence customers. Being able to use if effectively will help you to grow brand awareness, generate leads and drive sales. Our certified Social Media Marketing course will give you the knowledge and skills to conduct social research, create great social content, use social commerce and leverage the key social platforms and apps on the market today.  

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