In 2018, Instagram has officially become a billionaire. We’re not talking about the revenue, we’re talking about the number of users. In June 2018, the number of active monthly Instagram users has finally reached 1 billion, which was a huge increase compared to 800 million in September 2017.
This ever-increasing number of actively engaged users has led the platform to shift from just personal to both personal and business use. That’s why it’s important, now more than ever, to position yourself (i.e. your product or service) well on Instagram Search.
With more than 1 billion active users worldwide and 250 million pieces of content shared every day, Instagram’s marketing potential is immense. These huge numbers, alongside with the fact that 35% of adults in the U.S. use Instagram, can mean only one thing – no matter who your audience is (in terms of gender, age, occupation, etc.), with the right approach, you’re likely to reach them via Instagram.
Not only does Instagram have tons of users, but they are actively engaged as well. Instagram users like to interact with brands – in fact, 62% of them follow a brand, while 70% of them have looked up a brand on Instagram.
So, how can you avoid getting lost in the clutter of 250 million photos, videos, and stories? Even more importantly, how do you get found in this clutter? We’re going to show you how to dominate Instagram search.
But first, let’s briefly explore the Instagram Search & Explore feature.
What is Instagram Search & Explore?
Instagram’s own Help Section says…
“On Search & Explore you can find photos and videos that you might like from accounts you don’t yet follow. You may also see curated topics we think the Instagram community will enjoy.”
Okay, but how do you search on Instagram?
“You can search for people and hashtags using the search bar at the top of Search & Explore. To search Instagram, tap > Search then choose whether you’re looking for Users or Hashtags.You can search people by their name or username. The search results you see are based on a variety of factors, including the people you follow, who you’re connected to and what photos and videos you like on Instagram.
Most importantly to our topic here, how are photos and videos chosen for Search & Explore? According to the Instagram Help Section:
“We’re always working to update the types of photos and videos you see in Search & Explore to better tailor it to you. Posts are selected automatically based on things like the people you follow or the posts you like.”
7 Tips on How to Dominate Instagram Search
Tip #1 – Create (an image of) a lifestyle around your brand
No one really wants to see a million posts of professionally taken images of your product. But if you place that product in a real-life environment (in which other people could easily imagine themselves enjoying your product), all you have to do is sit back and watch the likes and comments flood your post.
A case study involving Nike and Adidas shows that lifestyle content does make a difference. The study compared a year’s worth of social media posts from Nike and Adidas in terms of lifestyle content use. The results?
60% of Nike’s posts featured lifestyle content, as opposed to Adidas’s 32%. Does more lifestyle content mean better engagement? According to the case study, Nike had 8x the engagement Adidas did. So, yes, people tend to react much better to lifestyle shots.
Extra Tip – Faces = Engagement. Studies have shown that Instagram posts with faces are more popular than posts containing just products or scenery.
Tip #2 – Reward your audience’s loyalty (run promotions, contests, giveaways, etc.)
One of the best examples of how a brand can dominate Instagram search results is a clothing brand Sunny Co Clothing. Before they’ve run their promotion, they had around 7,000 Instagram followers. They posted an image below and 750,000 people shared it in a day! How?
A promotion. They offered to give away the swimsuit to everyone who tagged someone, re-posted the image, and covered the expenses of shipping and handling. The results?
346.1k likes and 124.3k comments, leading to 750,000 new followers. It’s amazing how simple it is but how immense the results were.
Tip #3 – Create Awesome Captions
According to some studies, the ideal length of Instagram captions is 138-150 characters. Also, the ideal number of hashtags per caption should be 5-10. Other studies have shown that 50% of all Instagram captions contain at least one emoji.
To increase your Instagram search visibility, you need to create a catchy caption and make sure it includes your website and location. For more engagement, you should also use @mentions. Some data has shown that the combination of your location, a mention, and hashtags can lead to a 79% higher engagement.
Tip #4 – Use all the right hashtags
Creating your own hashtag is an excellent idea, but only if you manage to get it trending. However, if you’re the only one using your made-up hashtag and if the only hashtag you’re using is that same one, all your hopes of being found in the Instagram Search are doomed.
Using hashtags on Instagram isn’t (only) about being hip and trendy. They have a huge marketing potential. A lot of people actually utilize the power of hashtags to find new content or new accounts.
While it’s always a good idea to use your own personalized hashtag, nobody will really use it to explore new content, right? So, in addition to it, you should use other hashtags relevant to your product or brand. Online tools like Webstagram keep track of most popular hashtags so you know what’s trending in your niche at any given moment.
Using the most popular hashtags must be a good idea, right? Not necessarily. The thing with those hashtags is that your content will get lost in a never-ending stream of related Instagram posts within seconds.
The solution is to treat hashtags like keywords and apply the basics of SEO (for example, instead of using the most popular hashtags, find some of the related long-tail keywords, and use those instead).
Tip #5 – Post at the Right Time for Instagram Users to Find You
With 71% of brands being on Instagram and 57% of them publishing at least one post a week, you’re bound to encounter some tough competition. How to make sure you come out on top? Well, there are no guarantees, but posting at the right times of the day can certainly increase your chances of engaging with the right audience.
What are the right times to post if you want to be found in the Instagram Search?
At the request of The Huffington Post, Latergramme analyzed more than 61,000 Instagram posts to find out the exact times of the day when posts receive the most engagement.
The study has shown that the best times to post on Instagram are 2 am and 5 pm, EST. The worst times, on the other hand, are 9 am and 6 pm When it comes to days, Wednesdays have the greatest, while Mondays have the least amount of engagement.
Tip #6 – More Engagement Means Better Instagram Search Position
The more engagement (in terms of likes and comments) your posts have, the more likely they are to show up on the Instagram Search page.
That being said, you need to do everything in your power to boost your post engagement. How to do it?
- Create quality content
- Interact with users
- Do adequate promotion
Tip #7 – Create Demand
In some cases, it may be difficult to show up (or keep your place for some time without getting lost in the stream of similar posts) in Instagram Search for keywords relevant to your product or service.
So, what’s the most efficient way to dominate a market (and Instagram Search)?
Of course, this is not as simple as it sounds but if you manage to do it, you’ve hit the jackpot. You need to offer a product or service nobody else is targeting – this way, you’ll have virtually no competition. Believe it or not, this was the basis behind the Red Bull marketing strategy years ago.
Extra Tip #1 – Utilize the Power of Instagram Stories
Extra Tip #2 – Team Up With Instagram Influencers
Following these 7 tips will enable you not only to get more followers, comments and likes, but also to position yourself better in the Instagram Search results, which is expected to contribute to your business (if you’re using Instagram for business purposes) in terms of higher visibility and more sales.