With the constant changing social sphere and algorithm alerts hitting your news feed every few months, it’s a bit challenging to keep up with it all. Especially when you’re trying to grow your own profiles and unsure what actions make a difference on your likes, comments, or follows. At Viking Social, we’re here to help ease your mind with our social management and creative teams. However, there are some simple things that you can do to really start maximizing growth and leveraging the tools social profiles like Instagram give you.

First, Instagram rewards your page with more impressions when you engage with their community on an organic level. This doesn’t mean liking 1,000 random posts until Instagram blocks you, but rather finding the people that match your audience and comment, like and vote on their IG stories. So how do you do that?

Find Other Brands Similar to Yours to Engage With: If you’re looking to grow your personal profile, you still have a BRAND you’re trying to portray. Is it lifestyle, foodie, or traveler? You can find like-minded influencers and engage with their audience. However, it works on businesses just as well. If you run a bakery, engage with other bakeries, bakers, foodie influencers, and large fan pages. You want to be in front of the right audience, and this is one way to do it. Find accounts to follow by using Instagram’s suggested follow feature, and by looking at top posts on relevant hashtags. This can also be considered competitive research. Look at your direct and indirect competitors and see what their feed is like. What’s doing well for some might also do well for you. Another reason to do this is that the more you engage, the more you’ll be seen, and this will help bring users to your profile. If you’re interested in partnering with like-minded brands, or influencers, this is an opportunity to capitalize on.

Engage Within the First Hour of Posting: By doing so, the algorithm notices that post is likely to be interesting to your followers, and brings it higher up on people’s feed. This is how the algorithm works. Always like comments on your posts and comment back! But also, engage with other accounts so that when visitors check out your page they see your new post!

Second, be organic and unique to your voice and brand. It’s 2019, people are used to the sales-y posts and consistent ads in their feed. At this point the majority of the user base is numb to these tactics, so you need to bring something new to the table, and what’s more unique than your personality? Here are three steps you can take to help you navigate what to post:

Use Strategic Hashtags: This is something we always stress. The hashtag #fashion is tagged on 631 million posts, whereas #modernfashion is on 115k. Since there are way fewer posts with #modernfashion, this would make your post more likely to be seen, liked, or commented on, since the #fashion hashtag is being added to so frequently.

Write Strong Captions: Let’s repeat – write strong captions! It’s been proven that captions generate more engagement than a post without a caption, but don’t just say “chocolate cake” on a picture of chocolate cake. You can be serious and make something thought-provoking, depending on the content, but often brands like to keep it light-hearted and funny and give people a positive reaction to their caption. Don’t forget to include a regular call to action on your post, for something you’re trying to promote, if you want more followers ask users to tag a friend, or to make a sale.

Targeted Content: You can’t appeal to every demographic using the same content. Customize your content to connect with users in different user groups. The more you learn what they want, the more you can deliver it to the right audience. Users who are served content that's specifically tailored to themselves have a higher probability of engaging with your content because it speaks to them. They're going to more likely comment, like or even purchase from something that is relevant to them and their life than a generic ad. So if your product is developed for a Millennial male audience, target that audience where they are, using the language they use, and with visuals that appeal to them.

Third, use the tools Instagram gives you to engage and distribute your content with your audience. It’s important not to just throw them on everything all at once, but be strategic with what you use.

Credit: Courtesy of Viking Social

Credit: Courtesy of Viking Social

Stories: Stories are becoming more and more popular, and are a great way to bring attention to a new post or product. You can add fun filters, backgrounds, emojis, and a whole variety of stickers. Through these stickers, you can get free insight on how people feel about your product, or their wants and needs. It gives you an immediate answer to what you want to know from your users. This is great for your business, but if you want to know how people like your feed, this is a chance to get feedback on that too. Don’t forget to save your most relevant stories onto your page. This is super helpful to new visitors who may have missed important information, and can refer back to it, or to see your highlights! The more you know, the better!

IG TV: We don’t always recommend Instagram TV because it doesn’t make sense for everyone or every business. However, it’s a great way to share longer-form videos with your Instagram audience. This is a great tool for people who have YT channels and want to share the footage across platforms, custom TV content – make it feel like fans have to follow you on Instagram to know when the next IG TV video uploads.

DMs: Slide into those DMs! Well, this is one of those tools you want to make sure you’re using effectively. Don’t just blast everyone who follows you a Thank You DM or a promo code to get a discount – those are spammy and can cause users to flag your account which hinders all the great work you’re putting in. Instead, save it for those who really enjoy the content of or want to collaborate with. Collaborations are a relatively easy and effective way of getting the attention of audiences of similar brands.