Here is what I’ll cover
- How to write the most effective Instagram bio
- The best days & time to post on Instagram
- The ideal number of hashtags for Instagram
- How to schedule your Instagram posts for multiple accounts
- Leveraging Instagram to boost your other social channels
- How to connect with Instagram influencers and engagers
- How to increase your following by hundreds and thousands of loyal fans
- How to track ROI from Instagram.
Think about what you want from your Instagram Bio. Maybe your focus is to brand your company, perhaps driving traffic to your website is more important. Let’s take a look at the top 10 brands on Instagram based on the number of followers + posts on hashtag.
Nike keeps it simple with their slogan “Just Do It” and a direct link to their site.
While Nike is more focused about branding, Starbucks wants to track ROI and visits so they use a shortlink to track their Click Thru Rate (CTR) to their eCommerce shop.
You can do things such as center your Instagram bio and focus on driving attention to your call to action. Copy the spaces between the bars ( [ ) and ⌘ below. Only copy the blank white spaces, adding spaces to Instagram with your spacebar won’t work, you will need to copy these.
*note that your name and your Instagram bio appear as the SERP Title and SERP description on Search Engines. By centering you are sacrificing formatting and characters on search.
Like everything in marketing it’s all about testing. It’s all about studying your analytics and your audience. If you are just starting out my experience running dozens of Instagram accounts and studying the top brands has reassured me there is no cookie cutter solution. On average the top 10 companies posted ~ 75.8 photos in the month of October. Nike and Prada with the least, posting only 11 pictures each while NBA posted 373.
As a matter of the most effective times to post, again it’s about what resonates with your audience. 65% of Instagram users are outside the USA so don’t stress too much about what time you post.
As far as days of the week TrackMaven did a study on the Fortune 500 and found Mondays are slightly more effective while most post on Thursday.
Videos perform best after work hours, nobody has time for that during work.
An example posting schedule for a company with ~90 pictures a month
- 7:00am EST as your followers are waking up.
- 1:35 EST as your followers take a mid day Instagram break
- 8:45pm a video as your followers are unwinding from a late dinner post a long days work
- Make sure that the image size is 640 x 640 pixels or risk pixelation
- Add a couple of mission critical hashtags and a nice caption
- Use the first comment feature to add the rest of the hashtags (5-15)
- You can only bulk upload ~ 10 pictures or the system crashes.
- You start at 7:00pm and it’s not intuitive enough to stay at the 6am time you chose for the last picture.
- Once you get into scheduling for the next month you still start at your current day so there’s a bit of clicking involved.
- There is no Buffer like feature. I would love for the service to know I want to post 3 times a day and for it to be intuitive enough to the best times according to my audience.
- The activity log UX is horrible and I can’t sort by client accounts, all my activities are jumbled together.
- The first comment feature works 55% of the time.
- You can’t connect to Facebook, twitter, tumblr. The way around this is using IFTTT recipes.
- You can’t name the location or specify one that you have created.
Ultimately there is no perfect service for it yet but that doesn’t mean there won’t be one in the near future.
If you don’t have Buffer, IFTTT is a great alternative for Instagram automation, but than you should remain mindful of caption length and number of hashtags. The recipe I do utilize is Instagram to Tumblr. Be sure to change the generic hashtags near the bottom.
- Monitor the top 30 hashtags for your industry.
- Let’s use #travelblog, it’s a more specific than travel and has double the posts of #travelblogger
- Within the 200,000+ #travelblog pictures you can find thousand of pictures that are being engaged with.
- Make it a goal to start with 5 comments. The secret here is not to comment on the photos that are being engaged with but to find those that are engaging with the photos and comment on their photos. Adding a thoughtful or witty comment does wonders. Find 1-2 of their pictures and tag them, especially if it’s on an older picture. ie “Amazing shot @commentergal love the way you portray Thai culture.” You are engaging with engagers. These are the people you want in your crowd and they often follow you having to follow them. (+klout)
- Rinse and repeat for 29 + hashtags or what time allots.
- (If you are really pressed for time just engage with your competitors best engagers, your competitor probably isn’t. Making it your time to shine with social customer care)
Have you ever went into your Instagram activity feed and switched from you to Following? Have you noticed that there are 1-3 users that are always liking 8 posts at all times of the day.
Now you can manually do this by typing a hashtag and going through all pictures as you watch TV, eat lunch, talk to your friends. Your fingers will start hurting trust me. Most of these people use an Instagram robot or an autolike tool to follow certain hashtags.
If you don’t have time or a dedicated staff member to manage Instagram using an automated liking software does wonders in getting your brand in front of the right people. There are hundreds of companies selling Instagram Bots or software. If you do decide to use one be careful. The good ones will have safety triggers in place but if you don’t know what you are doing you will quickly get banned.
Imagine that you own an outdoor store and and every time someone posted a picture and #nature or the #outdoors they would be aware of your brand.
If you are going to use Instagram Automation here are some tips.
- Use dummy accounts to test before you try this on any client account or your brand
- Do not use the auto comment features as they leave a huge footprint (you’ll now recognize these folks who instantly comment on your photo when you post a certain hashtag and it often makes no sense or is asking you to follow them or someone else)
- Set up time delays and if running a software don’t go on a like streak on your phone, log off your accounts to avoid temptations
- Engage with everyone that comments on your photos, treat those with 5 followers the same as those with millions
A while back I almost gave up on Instagram marketing. Sure it was great for engagement and branding but clients were not seeing any increased traffic or conversions. Surely this was crazy with averages of hundreds of likes and 20+ comments at least 1 person had to visit the site right? Yet Google Analytics showed nothing.
That’s when I discovered a post by Dan Shure and it reassured me Instagram marketing was on point but it was Google Analytics who was lying. Dan ran into the same situation and found out that App traffic comes in as direct traffic.
So by using a bit.ly link you can track exactly how much traffic Instagram is generating.
If you are a real pro you will create a new link for every new blog post, especially if you don’t have a blog roll. If that doesn’t seem manageable a dedicated landing page for Instagram will do wonders.
Thanks to Antonino Bologna‘s research I know to “noindex” these “Thank You Pages or Landing Pages. If you are on WordPress both the Yoast and SEO Ultimate Plugins make it extremely easy to no index your thank you pages.
For the technical folk you can add
<META NAME=”ROBOTS” CONTENT=”NOINDEX, FOLLOW”>
to the thank you page you don’t want search engines to index.
If you have any specific software or secrets you would like to share please do so in the Google + or Facebook comments.
*disclaimer, I use all of the aforementioned companies, some of them may be affiliate links.