How to Grow Your Brand on Instagram
Building your brand on Instagram goes beyond mere aesthetics. Sure, a stunning grid can help you grab a few eyeballs, but you need more than that to fuel your brand’s growth.
Since its debut in 2010, Instagram's picture grid concept brought a fresh perspective to how brands showcase themselves online. Instagram introduced a visually driven approach that entirely banked on the appeal of aesthetics to capture and engage users.
But over time, Instagram evolved beyond its visual-centric roots. As it began to push for the strategic use of the platform as a whole, it started to pick up on the importance of other factors beyond aesthetic appeal.
Beyond the Grid
Instagram is currently the second-most used marketing tool, favored by 79% of marketers worldwide. The social network has gone the extra mile to become a holistic digital marketing tool that brands can rely on—not just a mere digital gallery (Statista, 2022).
Featuring built-in analytics, product tagging, and in-app promotional features, Instagram has vastly expanded its capabilities to become a reliable digital marketing platform. In fact, it’s now geared towards rewarding brands for the strategic use of the platform in its entirety.
Instagram has implemented several criteria to reward brands that leverage the app's full capabilities. But as new factors come into play, it’s becoming increasingly challenging for brands to get noticed.
Many marketers may not know that Instagram has its own built-in search engine optimization (SEO) guidelines that brands must follow to be successful. We’re here to let you in on the basics!
Ways to Grow Your Brand
Insert Keywords in Your Profile
In the race to compete with TikTok and its killer search algorithm, Instagram has also evolved into a search engine in its own right, actively improving how it delivers content to its searchers. And this includes how it delivers results.
Instagram now serves up accounts that exactly match people’s search terms. So if they search using keywords like “linen,” they’re served with accounts that carry this word on their profile.
So to drive valuable traffic to your Instagram page, it’s extremely critical to optimize your profile field. We’re not only referring to your bio but also your Instagram name and, if possible, your username.
For starters, you’ll want to insert keywords associated with your brand or business. Say you’re a small-town bakery in Perth—you can insert words like “bakery,” “Perth,” “pastries,” or “pastry shop” in your username or name field to make you more searchable.
The same goes for your bio details. Make sure to add the most important information in your bio, but don’t forget to include relevant keywords to help boost your overall discoverability. So incorporate keywords you want to rank for, just like typical SEO. This is easily one of the best ways to make your account discoverable to your target audience. You can add secondary keywords (e.g. “homebaked,” “desserts”, or “fresh”) anywhere in your profile for an extra boost.
Create Keyword-Rich Captions
Gone are the days when captions could be short and simple (*sigh*). With Instagram’s new algorithm, brands are encouraged to be more descriptive and infuse their captions with relevant keywords.
By adding targeted keywords in your captions, you’ll increase your chances of showing up on the Explore page of your target audience. Similar to your profile, use a combination of primary and secondary keywords that you’d like to rank for within your niche.
Limit Your Use of Hashtags
Instagram has also completely flipped the script on hashtags. They now have a new purpose—helping to contextualize and categorize posts, which enables the platform to serve up the most fitting content to searchers.
So avoid injecting too many of them, as Instagram may label you as spam and keep your content from appearing on users’ feeds. The ideal number of hashtags is between 3 to 5. A mix of popular and niche hashtags is recommended to add some context to the post.
Leverage Alt Text on Images
The use of alt text has long been a way to add richer descriptions to your images. Initially intended to enhance web accessibility, it’s also a handy tool for driving traffic and growing your brand.
By default, Instagram produces alt texts for all images. But you can take it a step further and manually create your own. Doing so enables you to easily optimize your Instagram content.
You can add keywords and further details to your Instagram images to become more discoverable to searchers. Just go to Advanced Settings and under Accessibility, hit Write Alt Text, and viola! Make sure to keep it within 2-3 sentences.
Add Location To Your Posts
The mere act of adding a location into your posts, not just your bio, can help you significantly grow your brand on Instagram.
In case you haven’t heard, Instagram has a searchable map, making it easy for users to search for profiles based on proximity and/or location. So leveraging this feature can help you become more discoverable in location-based searches.
Adding a location to your content is effective at boosting your content’s visibility within your locality and capturing users interested in your content (related to that location). To activate your location, Instagram requires you to connect your Instagram to your Facebook page and add your address.
Interact with Related Profiles
If you use Instagram to simply post content and not engage with other profiles, you won’t see significant growth with your brand.
Instagram encourages brands to use the platform to connect with its large community of users, which makes engaging with different profiles an absolute must. Doing so also helps the app determine which corner of the online world you belong to, making it easier for your content to reach the right audience whenever you post something. So connect with others. It’s not only a no-brainer, it’s kinda the whole point, right?