Updated: Dec 14, 2021
Instagram has swiftly taken over the social media world. Instagram has evolved from a network of close friends exchanging images to a worldwide community of consumers and companies sharing experiences and telling stories as they happen, with over 300 million active users uploading more additional than 70 million photos and videos each day.
Like its successful peer networks, Instagram has increasingly introduced advertising to the mix. The ad-free feed is no longer available, much to the dismay of early adopters. However, you don't have to join the sponsored social bandwagon to get the most of Instagram for business. At least not yet.
One thing has been constant. Instagram is a visual treasure trove. As an early adopter, I appreciate the app for this precise reason. And I can think of countless locations, blogs, and things that I first found here – and now follow or own with enthusiasm.
It's not unexpected that Forrester identified the greatest level of brand interaction on Instagram, at 4.21 percent. To put that figure in context, Facebook and Twitter had 0.07 percent and 0.03 percent, respectively.
Here are three older methods to locate and engage your target audience on Instagram that are 100% ad-free.
1. Hashtags can be used to target niche groups of people.
Hashtags have been a key form of user discovery since their inception. In June, the platform improved hashtag findability by launching a new Explore section intended to make discovery "quick and simple."
Identify and leverage popular hashtags to achieve awareness among your target demographic. Finding the proper tags may require some investigation, but using the most pertinent and frequently used will get the greatest results. Here are a few examples:
Look for rivals and comparable firms to see what they're utilizing.
Use Instagram's search tool — enter keywords and concepts and see where it takes you. One hashtag will frequently lead you to the next.
Determine the number of active users in your target audience. Are they employing tags that are relevant to you and your business?
Many niche organizations utilize hashtags to connect within the worldwide Instagram community. If you can discover them, they're worth a fortune.
2. Show Your Appreciation Through @Mentions
Interacting straight with your peers and target audience via @mentions is ideal for getting into the already thriving Instagram community. Find prominent accounts that your audience already follows and @mention them in a genuine and relevant way. The indicated account will likely share your content with their followers. You've just reached your target audience and strengthened your ties to the community. Rinse and repeat as needed.
3. You may add contextual information about a location and a brand with location tagging.
If your company or the photo you're sharing has a local component, make sure to tag the location. When images taken at your location gain extra exposure and play in popular hashtag feeds, tag them to deepen the connection between the content and your brand/business name. Tag images shot in prominent areas to boost visibility among people looking for memories and events documented in certain locales.
You've got it now—three simple strategies for growing your Instagram followers and increasing interaction. Of course, like with any marketing venture, you should have a social media plan in place to guide you. Keep track of how you're doing and what works for you.
Despite the introduction of advertisements, Instagram's shining star attraction remains — a real-time newsfeed that enables 100 percent organic reach and no limiting newsfeed algorithm. Yet. We'll see if the Facebook-owned network follows in the footsteps of its parent. For the time being, let us appreciate the reach and exposure possibilities.
4. A little DM never hurt nobody
There's nothing wrong with asking a new follower why they chose to follow you and what they anticipate seeing on your account in a direct message. Especially if you find that someone appreciates your work regularly or, even better, often comments on it. So, send them a casual note in their DMs!
5. Make a straight question in the feed
In advertising, the power of asking is sometimes undervalued. It is unfortunate because you will never know what your audience is interested in if you never inquire. Finish your captions with a question and ask your Instagram followers what they want to see on your profile. What type of stuff is it? What format are you looking for? Feed or Stories? Is there no caption? Don't be scared to inquire!
6. Utilize Instagram Polls.
Instagram polls are also a good method to find out what sort of material your audience loves to see in their feed. You may already have some ideas about why individuals observe your performance in the top place, but it never harms to ask again to obtain confirmation — or an indicator that you're not — that you're on the right road.
Make use of Instagram Polls to do usability tests. In the same way that you use CTAs in your captions, ask questions. Please inquire about the things that they are interested in. Inquire as to which format, they prefer. Are these brief videos? Carousels? You may also inquire why they are following your account in the first place. In other words, request important information that will assist you in refining your content strategy and creating it more attractive to your target audience.
7. Examine what has been successful and repeat it
Suppose you've been blogging for a while. In that matter, you should start measuring the engagement rates of your posts to determine what kind of material your audience finds most fascinating — and then reproduce that content in the future. Those truly interested in your material and keen to connect are your ideal Instagram audience. The aim is to identify that comparable, lookalike audience by sharing the types of posts previously shown to be effective.
8. Post at the appropriate time
To grasp your Instagram target audience, you should post your material when they are online. If your intended audience is in the Los Angeles time zone, it makes no sense to post your material in Central European Time. You should be able to examine your followers' location, per nation and per city, from your demographic overview.
Instagram research for your desired target audience is not a one-time task, and there's no way to figure this out once and then go right into content production and advertising without having to think about it again.
Instagram's target audience study is still in the works. The better time you devote to it, the more you will understand your target audience – and, as a result, your content strategy will become more polished and focused.