How to increase Instagram reach? [2021 update]
This post was updated on January 16th, 2021.
How to increase your reach on Instagram to target and convert new audiences? Building Instagram reach can help you achieve your business goals — increase brand awareness, build an online community, or even sale your product or service.
A few years ago, building an Instagram marketing strategy was relatively easy. Instagram displayed the posts chronologically, so if you had discovered the right time to post, the only thing you had to do was stick to it.
But Instagram has changed since its early days and it has become harder to increase your reach and deliver your content to your target audience.
This post will help you increase your organic reach and boost your Instagram presence. Here’s our itinerary for today:
- The Instagram algorithm
- What is important for the Instagram algorithm?
- Instagram reach vs Instagram impressions
- What does reach mean on Instagram?
- How do your increase Instagram reach?
- Benefits of an increased reach on Instagram
The Instagram algorithm
Because of the rapid growth, Instagram had to introduce an algorithm. The Instagram algorithm chooses which photos and videos will rank high in users’ feed. The higher your post ranks, the bigger Instagram reach it will generate.
But how exactly does the Instagram algorithm work?
For many users, the introduction of the algorithm meant a decline in organic reach. Far fewer Instagrammers could’ve seen individual photos and videos. As a result, the conversion rates had plummeted.
For a long time, Instagram keep the rules of the algorithm a secret. Recently, the social media platform shed some light on the algorithm and debunked many myths.
If you want to increase your organic Instagram reach you have to know how to use the algorithm to your advantage.
Here’s what Instagram has revealed so far:
- the Instagram algorithm is based on machine learning and it is constantly updating. All the updates are based on users’ engagement.
- Instagram does not favour photos over videos or the other way around. Some users might see more videos because they engage with that type of content more.
- The type of Instagram account (Personal, Business, or Creator) has no influence on the reach of you profile.
- Do not buy Instagram likes!
- Receiving a lot of engagement in the first 30 minutes of posting has no extra effect on the overall performance of the post.
Since you’re familiar with the rules of the algorithm, you can use them to your advantage and build a strong, organic Instagram reach.
How can you use the Instagram algorithms’ rules to your advantage and increase reach?
In this post, I present a few social media tips to boost your Instagram reach, attract new followers, and increase your conversion rates.
What is important for the Instagram algorithm?
We already know a bit about the works of the Instagram algorithm. There are 3 key factors Instagram algorithm takes into account when ranking posts. Try to implement these insights into your social media tactics, and you will see a rise in the Instagram reach.
Social media channels are now all about meaningful interactions between users. That’s why it’s so important to publish content your target audience will find interesting.
Encourage your followers to interact with your Instagram channel by posting carefully curated photos with captivating descriptions and strong calls to action. Try to grab their attention right at the beginning so they will spend more time on your account.
Instagram doesn’t display content chronologically but the timing of your post is still important. Instagram announced in March 2018 an update in the algorithm in order to:
ensure that newer posts are more likely to appear first in feed so your feed will feel more fresh, and you won’t miss the moments you care about.
Figuring out the best time to post and sticking to it, is still an important part of increasing your organic reach on Instagram.
3. Meaningful interactions
After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, social platforms had to change. Instagram algorithm analyses the depth of the relationship between you and your followers. If someone likes and comments on your Instagram posts more often than on content from other Instagram users, that users will be more likely to see more content from you.
What does it mean in terms of increasing your reach on Instagram? It’s better to have a steady flow of engagement, even if it’s not the highest rate than to have a few spikes of likes and comments under different posts.
Instagram reach vs Instagram impressions
Many marketers claim that in order to be successful on Instagram, you need to follow two metrics — Instagram reach and Instagram impressions.
Those marketers are right.
We’ll define Instagram reach in the next paragraph. Let’s focus on Instagram Impressions for now.
Instagram impression is the total number of views your Instagram post receives.
Let me explain with an example.
If someone scrolls down and see your post, that counts as one impression. If the same person sees the same post for the second time it’s one more impression. Bear in mind, that you still have reached only one person on Instagram.
That’s the difference between Instagram reach and Instagram Impressions.
Reach refers to individual users and impressions refers to the total number of views. That’s why the count of Instagram Impressions will always be higher than the number of Instagram reach.
What does reach mean on Instagram?
If you want to increase Instagram reach, you first have to define what does reach on Instagram mean.
Reach is the number of unique people who see, and could possibly interact, with your content.
There are two types or reach – organic reach, where you create engaging content, hashtags and other techniques to appear high on your audience feed.
The second type of reach you can get is paid reach, where you buy Instagram ads to sponsor your content.
Organic reach is much more difficult to achieve, but it is also much more beneficial when it comes to maximizing your conversion rates from Instagram or, in fact, any other social media channel.
Do you want to calculate the reach of your Instagram hashtag? You can do it with a media monitoring tool, for example, Brand24.
Brand24 collects only publicly available mentions and is 100% compliant with Facebook regulations and GDPR.
To collect the data about your Instagram hashtag, create a project.
Enter the hashtag you want to track in the project creation wizard and your job is done. From that moment on, Brand24 starts to collect all publicly available mentions containing your hashtag across social media.
To analyse only the Instagram reach, choose the Instagram icon from the top bar in the Mentions tab.
The tool will also analyse the posts and give you information on:
- the total number of posts containing your predefined hashtag
- the total number of interactions
- reach of your hashtag(s)
- number of positive and negative mentions.
And that’s just the beginning of the perks of media monitoring.
So, how do you make sure that your Instagram reach increases over time?
How do you increase Instagram reach?
There are several easy Instagram techniques to increase the reach of your posts. This tips and tricks will help you combat the effects of the algorithm for Instagram as well as reach and influence brand new audiences.
Let’s dig in!
1. Time is of the essence
When it comes to Instagram reach, the number of likes and comments received right after posting is extremely important. If the initial round of engagement is high, it is more likely that Instagram will push your post higher in the feed.
Spotting the right time to post on Instagram should be a piece of cake if you have Instagram Business account. Take a look at Instagram Insights and check when your followers are the most active.
Don’t worry if you don’t have Instagram Business account. There are Instagram analytics tools that will help you. Take a look at Iconosquare, Buzzsumo, or Sprout Social. The tools will analyse when your target follower group is the most active and present the data in a neat table.
2. Use the right hashtags
There’s no increasing your reach on Instagram without using the right hashtags. Hashtags are everything on Instagram. They help other users discover your content and help you to analyse the performance of your Instagram marketing campaign.
Hashtags can be divided into:
- trending hashtags
- general hashtags
- industry-specific hashtags
How to find popular hashtags on Instagram? With a social media monitoring tool you’ll not only find the most popular hashtag to boost your Instagram reach but you’ll also be able to track all the publicly available mentions on the Internet containing your predefined keyword.
Using the right hashtags will help you reach a wider audience and, ultimately, increase your organic reach on Instagram.
Moreover, you should take a look at the Instagram analytics metrics that can be helpful for analyzing the impact of your Instagram posts. The most important Instagram metrics you should take into account are:
- estimated Instagram reach – the estimated number of people who could have had contact with the post
- Instagram interactions
- Instagram likes
- Instagram comments
- sentiment of your brand — whether your potential clients are talking positively or negatively about your brand, product, or service
Want to see a list of trending hashtags for your business niche? With a media monitoring tool! Brand24 will analyse the hashtags used within your niche on social media. Based on the results, you will receive a list of 100 trending hashtags you can use to boost your Instagram reach.
3. Explore the social side of Instagram
Instagram is a social network, after all, that’s why it’s vital to interact with other users if you want to increase your organic Instagram reach. The changes made to social media algorithms after the Cambridge Analytica scandal was set up to encourage genuine, positive behaviours.
What does it mean when it comes to Instagram interactions? You can sum up Instagram best practices to these critical points:
- quickly reply to questions asked by your followers
- thank people for liking and commenting on your post
- explore other people’s post and engage with their content
Thank people for all the positive mention to build brand awareness and associate your brand with positive emotions.
Negative comments can be a blessing in disguise. First of all, negative comments are a goldmine of knowledge when it comes to your followers’ needs. It will give you an idea of the direction you should develop your Instagram presence.
Secondly, they give you a chance to prevent escalation of a social media crisis. Try to address the queries promptly, so you show your followers that you care about them.
4. Curate user-generated content
That’s a great way to boost Instagram engagement rates. It will encourage users to interact with your photos or videos and share it further. And Instagram is making content sharing even easier, especially when it comes to Instagram Stories, which I’ll discuss in more detail later on.
User-generated content is 35% more memorable and 50% more trusted than traditional media and other non-user-generated content.
Posting user-generated content will help you build relationships with your followers. And fruitful relationships with your followers can have a positive impact on the Instagram’s algorithm.
5. Explore Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories are important for two reasons.
Stories give you a chance to show the human face of your company. Record some behind-the-scenes footage of your company, run a competition or create a separate content. It’s a great way to have some additional exposure for your brand.
Instagram Stories are also great for brand’s exposure because they are above the news feed. Your company logo will be the first image people see when they log into Instagram. That’s an opportunity not to be missed!
The same applies to Instagram live streams. According to Social Media Examiner the more you go live, the more exposure your non-live content will receive.
The Stories are also based on an algorithm, so it’s vital to post regularly and deliver informative and inspiring content.
6. Use geolocation
Apart from Instagram hashtags, the geolocation is another great way to increase your Instagram reach. Some Instagram users search not for a hashtag, but for a specific location.
You can also discover images that feature your brand but you aren’t tagged in. That’s a proactive way to find new followers and expand your Instagram reach.
7. Take a look at Instagram Ads
I know that Instagram Ads and organic Instagram reach sounds like ice and fire or day and night. However, having a great Instagram Ad strategy in place can help you develop a sound organic following. How does this sorcery work, you might ask? Let me explain!
Choose an already existing post and promote it with Instagram Ads among the carefully chosen audience. The engagement rate for this post will rise and it will organically rank better on your followers’ feed.
The question remains – which posts to choose from? Take a look at your Instagram analytics and identify a post that generated the highest engagement rate.
8. Collaborate with Instagram influencers
Instagram influencers are your secret weapon. They will help you with:
- finding new audience
- producing new content
- authenticating your product or service in the eyes of others
- generating leads
- raising brand awareness.
Most social media marketers think about collaborating with top influencers who have tens of thousands of followers. But take a look at micro-influencers as well.
Micro influencers usually have up to 100 000 followers and are considered much more trustworthy than Internet celebrities. Your followers will relate more to micro influencers. Their posts also generate much higher engagement rates.
9. Engage with your audience
Instagram gives you a possibility to ask questions, runs polls and tag other users in your posts and Instagram Stories. Running a giveaway will certainly generate a lot of online buzz that will help boost your Instagram organic reach.
Apart from engaging your audience, you get a chance to show the funny face of your business. Just remember to post questions and polls every few months, so you will keep the effect fresh and interesting.
10. Explore IGTV
IGTV, or the Instagram television, is another way for brands to increase their Instagram reach.
Brands can publish longer video content on IGTV which is another way to engage with your followers. IGTV gives you another way to reach brand new audiences and increase your brand awareness.
Benefits of an increased reach on Instagram
To increase your Instagram organic reach you have to comply with the Instagram algorithm. And the top concern for the algorithm is high user engagement.
Think about your account as a whole. If you have lots of views on Instagram Stories but not many likes and comments under your photos, that’s perfectly fine. It means your target audience is more interested in video content and you should focus on creating engaging short clips.
Get to know your audience and try to fulfil their expectations. Building an organic reach on Instagram is not something you can do overnight but with the right attitude, you will succeed.
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