In this step by step Guide, our Guest Contributor and social media expert, Olivia Fairhurst, provides 5 amazingly effective tips to help you increase your Instagram reach!
Whether you’re starting from scratch and diving into the deep end with social media, or you’re a seasoned professional, there is always room to reach more people. The reach your posts receive can be optimized by using the right tools and techniques with every post you create.
Social media, and any marketing platform for that matter, is constantly evolving, so you must adapt in order to keep up with the trends.
Just like Tiktok has its own unique factors that place your videos on the For You Page, Instagram focuses on unique elements which get your posts trending on the Explore Page and in Hashtag Pages.
In 2021, the Instagram algorithm is not what it used to be. It is in fact harder to reach people than ever before.
The Instagram algorithm now focuses on different elements of the post. While it used to be likes that were prioritized, Instagram registers saves as the most important factor. This is followed by, in order, post shares, comments with four or more words and then lastly, likes.
This means the more saves, the more accounts that follow you will see your post, the more people that search a hashtag you used will see your post, and the more your post will appear in the explore feed. The additional elements will have similar effects although the less the elements are prioritized, the less effects they will have.
As you can imagine, posts tend to receive a significant amount less attention after these changes due to the fact that posts receive less shares than likes.
So, you are probably wondering how do you boost your Instagram reach amidst these challenges? Here are 5 tips to increase your Instagram reach.
How to Increase Instagram Reach in 5 Easy Steps
#1. Utilize highly ranked and relevant hashtags.
Posts that trend under hashtags will reach a larger audience than through any other technique. You simply aren’t going to reach a large amount of new audiences if you don’t utilize hashtags.
In fact, according to Later.com, “a post with at least one Instagram hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag.” So, it’s worth your while utilizing hashtags.
Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags on each individual Instagram post. To fully optimize your post and ensure the caption still looks appealing, it is best to include 30 hashtags in the first comment of your post directly after you have posted.
One easy, efficient way to have the right Instagram hashtags readily available is by saving one or multiple lists in your notes and copying before you click post, allowing you to instantly paste after.
Each list should have hashtags that are relevant to the post. For instance, travel could have #explore #travel #travelphotography #wanderlust and similar words. The key is to use hashtags that have a high amount of posts, meaning these are ones people tend to search. Simply search a broad hashtag on your Instagram and you can see the number of posts directly to the right of the results. Google is also helpful in revealing the best hashtags to use for specific post categories.
It’s important to note – you must post the comment instantly after you posted. Even if you wait three minutes, Instagram will place your post at the bottom of the “most recent” where the additional posts that were posted three minutes ago are. If you post your hashtag comment instantly, your post will appear at the top of the “most recent” in the hashtags you have chosen, reaching a significantly higher number of users.
The aim with hashtags is to get a larger amount of engagement from your followers, the explore page and users looking at the “most recent” area of your selected hashtags. If you receive enough engagement in the first few hours, Instagram will register that your post is of interest to users and will place your post in the “trending” section in each hashtag page.
#2. Create shareable content of value to users
The Instagram algorithm changes increase your reach on posts that have more saves and shares. For this reason, it’s even more important to create valuable content that users instinctively feel the need to save and share to either stories or friends.
In order to create shareable content, there must be value within the post which resonates with people enough for them to want to look back on or share with others. It could be that the content teaches audiences new information, or shows them a new travel experience. Some users may save it if they like your outfit and need inspiration.
The reason for the resulting engagement is in your hands. However, there must be a link between your Instagram focus and theme. Let’s look at it this way – if your Instagram focuses on travel and adventure, show viewers unique and aesthetic places to explore. Viewers will respond by saving and sharing posts of locations they are interested in visiting.
Enabling a connection between each post to your overall theme, will encourage users to click into your profile, become interested and then follow. Once your followers increase, you will receive more engagement and increase your reach. It’s essentially an engagement circle.
#3. Post and engage with followers consistently
Posting sporadically will directly cause less engagement. You will notice if you post after not having posted in a lengthy period of time, your post receives less likes. This is because the 2021 Instagram algorithm prefers you to post a minimum once a week, with the ideal amount of consistency being three times a week.
When you follow Instagram’s preferences, your posts will appear on more of your followers’ feeds. Whereas, if you only post occasionally, your account essentially becomes shadowbanned to your own following, hindering you from reaching new audiences.
This doesn’t mean you should lessen your quality – consistent posting of high-quality content will drive engagement. Users will expect a specific level of quality and follow along to continuously see weekly posts displaying this same valuable content.
Create content that speaks directly to your audience and sparks conversation in the comments or messages. Furthering on from the algorithm mentioned above – the resulting comments will help please the algorithm. And responding to all comments with four or more words will boost your reach even more.
#4. Tag relevant accounts
Tagging additional Instagram accounts is another easy, effective tool to increase exposure of your image, reel or video. These accounts with high followings can share your post to large audiences if you feature their product or service, or simply because you tagged them and utilized their hashtag.
For instance, some travel accounts with millions of followers function by posting images they were tagged in, in exchange for crediting that account that tagged them. When you tag these accounts, your post will also appear in their tagged images. Many users go through tagged images of accounts with large followings and often engage with those posts.
The third reason for tagging relevant, popular accounts is that it increases your likelihood of appearing in the explore page of that account’s large number of followers.
Whether it be fashion brands, makeup accounts or travel accounts that reshare content, only tag accounts that are relevant to your theme.
#5. Post at peak times
Posting at peak times is crucial in reaching your own following which then enables your post to reach new audiences. It’s important to remember not all of your followers will actually see your posts on their feeds and this number dramatically decreases if you post when they aren’t online.
Analyze your audience insights to see the time each day when you have the most followers online. You then want to only post at these times to fully optimize your post and reach as many people as possible.
While your own followers are more likely to see your posts at peak times, your target audience who have the potential to engage with your post and follow your account will too. As your followers grow, check back in on your insights to see any changes with your audience and adapt as necessary. You can also see additional useful elements such as location, age and gender which will alter the type of content you should post.
With every content decision you make, always have your audience type in the back of your mind as these are the users you want to please.
How to Increase Your Instagram Reach – Your Turn
Increasing Instagram reach has a range of positive effects. Whether you’re a business owner, social media manager or content creator, boosting your reach should be in your social media marketing strategy. On that note, here are some other techniques for winning social media strategy.
Imagine you’re a singer – when the crowd is bigger, you are spreading your key messages to a wider audience. The income you bring in is directly related to this audience. Not only are you able to spread your message but you can earn a larger profit, too, to help fund your dreams.
I always like to think of it as a circle – when your reach is boosted, your engagement increases, and likewise, when your engagement increases, so does your reach.