3 Simple Ways To Grow Your Instagram Audience

ShootProof is lucky to know a lot of great people in a plethora of incredible fields! This week we tapped Atlanta-based social media strategist Lena Kotler-Wallace of casualfridays.com to share her top three tips for making Instagram WORK for you!

Instagram-Tips-ShootProofPhotos of Lena Kotler-Wallace by
Anne Simone

1. Remember Why People Use Instagram

It’s easy to get caught up in the rush to put content out there, but a million posts won’t do you any good if it isn’t content that users are going to respond to. Instagram is an “aspirational” platform – it connects your audience to what they aspire to be, do, or have. Users are on Instagram to discover a lifestyle they wish they had for themselves.

Because of this, remember…

  • Instagram is NOT the place to use images that look like traditional ads.
  • Avoid images with more than 20% text on them.
  • The best content will evoke an emotional reaction, give a sense of being “behind the scenes,” or inspire your fans in some way.


2. Use Hashtags Wisely

There’s a debate about whether or not there is such a thing as “too many hashtags,” but it’s important to use these strategically. It’s a little known fact that Instagram now uses an algorithm very similar to Facebook’s – i.e., the proper use of hashtags can help users discover you. When plotting out your content calendar (you’re using one of those, right?), take a few minutes to search Instagram for the hashtags you’re thinking about using.

Then, ask yourself…

  • Are there a lot of other posts under that hashtag? It’s important to strike a balance between tags with too much competition and tags that are so obscure no one else is going to find them.
  • Are the other images with that tag in-line with your brand’s voice? If you don’t know the answer to that one, it may be time to take a step back and figure out your branding.


3. Use Your Bio!

The biggest obstacle in using Instagram to turn passive fans into paying clients has always been the inability to post clickable links in your captions. The good news is that there’s a simple workaround! Use your bio to your advantage here.

Instead of leaving your website’s home page as the link in your Instagram bio, this is a prime place to direct traffic to…

  • your most recent blog post
  • a special booking page
  • whatever page is the most pressing for your brand at that moment!

Simply add the text “Click link in bio!” to your caption. With many national brands using this trick, Instagram users are trained to expect it. This is one place where you can get around the typical user’s “click lazy” mentality.


Bonus Tips

  • If you’re running ads on Facebook, select Instagram delivery as well. This gives you two platforms for the price of one!
  • Instagram is slowly rolling out Business Accounts in the same vein as Facebook Pages. Check to see if your profile has access to this, and you’ll be able to see how users are interacting with your content.
  • Instagram Stories is an interesting new feature. There’s potential, if you already have a solid following, to do something fun with your fans. As with Snapchat, you’re creating content in real time, so this is strictly for behind-the-scenes content. This can be a fun way to connect more deeply with users. However,  just like with Snapchat…
    • The content is most easily discoverable for people who are already following you; it’s possible (but not probable) for others to find it.
    • The content disappears after 24 hours.
    • If you share a story you think you might want to use again later, make sure to use the “download” function to capture it!

Thanks, Lena, for sharing your brain with us!


We want to know: How are you using Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter? Share your ideas (or questions) in the comments below!

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