If you run an Instagram business account, you might have noticed drops in the reach of your publications lately. Sometimes, you’re even unable to reach your own audience, the one that you’ve been building carefully for months or even years. It’s so frustrating!
You may interpret it as an “incentive” to invest in Instagram ads. Or you can play it smart and try to increase your Instagram reach organically. We’re here to help you with the latter.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- What reach means on Instagram
- How the Instagram algorithm works
- What may decrease your Instagram reach
- Tactics on growing your reach organically
What does reach on Instagram mean?
Reach is a metric showing the number of unique users who see (and might possibly engage with) your content.
You can assume that this definition refers to the whole reach of your Instagram profile, but in reality marketers often track different types of reach, such as single post reach, paid reach, or organic reach.
Organic reach is the one that you get for free. Obviously, you need to dedicate some time to it and get your creative juices flowing to create the content, but you don’t need to invest money to grow the number of Instagram users who see it.
Regardless of whether your goal is to increase sales or educate customers, reach is the one metric that should never be overlooked. After all, every business needs to get noticed by as many people as possible, right?
In order to grow your organic reach, you need to generate discussions in the comments, and encourage people to like, share, and save your content. That’s what it takes to please the Instagram algorithm.
How the Instagram algorithm works
Instagram’s algorithm is designed to make the feed interesting, useful, and of high quality. How can you adapt your publications to these conditions?
Forget about shady activities such as mass-following or mass-liking – this will only lead to trouble. Keep in mind that high-quality, engaging content is what you should always be aiming for.
There are six main factors that influence the order in which content is displayed in the feed:
- User’s interest in the content – determined by your past behavior on similar content;
- Recency of publication – how recently the post was shared;
- Relationship with the content creator– determined by your past engagement with the user’s content;
- Frequency of publication – Instagram displays the best content that was published since your last visit;
- Following scope – if you follow a lot of people, Instagram will be picking posts and you may see less of specific authors;
- Usage – if you don’t spend a lot of time on the Gram, you’ll see only the best posts.
If you take into account the interest and relationship factor, you’ll understand that your publications will be displayed more often to those Instagram users who have seen your content before, opened your profile, direct-messaged you, or reacted to your content in the feed. For such users, your posts, Stories, or Reels will rise above others.
What will not boost your Instagram reach
If you’ve ever bought followers on Instagram, you should read this part.
Buying followers is a practice that is, first of all, against Instagram terms of service, but also it’s against the good of your Instagram presence.
A high number of followers means nothing if they’re not engaged.
The followers that you buy are fake Instagram accounts and inactive users. You’re unable to reach them with your message and certainly, you won’t be able to engage them and drive traffic to your website or leads to your business. And these are your goals, aren’t they?
If you have bought followers in the past, you ought to go through the list and delete fake, inactive accounts. No worries, you don’t need to do this manually, tools such as IGExorcist allow you to check for the inactive or spam accounts that follow you.
Posts that contain too frequently used Instagram hashtags (e.g. #sports or #coffee) gain low reach. Such posts won’t help your rankings in the feed, neither will they help you to get likes as they used to.
Your top choice is to stop copying hashtags from notes and pasting them into the post – instead, you ought to do your research and find the best hashtags for each and every post.
One good strategy is to add 10 branded hashtags (e.g. industry, location, or niche hashtags), 15 hashtags specific to your content pillar, and 5 hashtags specific to the post.
Posting at the wrong time
Figuring out the best time to post on Instagram is crucial.
In general, it’s best to post in the evening, but that may differ for different profiles and their target audiences. If you want to know when your Instagram audience is the most active, use NapoleonCat to determine the best days and hours.
If you’re catering to an audience from a different part of the world, it’s crucial to use a social media scheduler. It will help you reach your audience at the time when they’re active (which sometimes may fall outside your working or even waking hours).
Social media scheduler at a reasonable price
Schedule your Instagram posts using NapoleonCat. Try it out for free, no credit card required.
Try NapoleonCat free for 14 days. No credit card required.
Top 11 ideas to increase your reach on Instagram
1. Before and after
No matter what people say, the before and after content is still sure to get to the top. If you’re in beauty, you can take your photo with and without makeup and combine them into a collage or a carousel post.
Show how your beauty products can change one’s image, how radiant one’s skin can become in a matter of seconds. Interact with your readers, ask them to try the cosmetics, and post their photos with a branded hashtag.
2. Showing your true self
As cliché as it sounds, readers want to see people behind the posts. Revealing your face on social media works wonders.
Show your expertise, let your readers trust you – and not an anonymous brand. I know it may be hard to show yourself off, but this will definitely produce results!
3. Coming soon posts
Yummies are going in! Any new services coming soon? Or maybe you’re going somewhere? Make a fun spoiler about new services, future travels, or new courses. Make your readers yearn in anticipation – you may use the countdown sticker on Instagram Stories to ramp up the excitement level even higher.
4. Quizzes and surveys
You’re tired of silence, and you want to increase engagement? Run a survey!
You can simply ask your followers about their preferences like their favorite color or flavor, or make your quiz more niche-specific, just like 9gag did:
There are several Instagram features that will help you create interactive content, improve your engagement rate, and, as a result, increase the reach of your publications. These are polls, quizzes, questions, and the slider feature.
Running surveys and quizzes will not only increase your reach and engagement but will also give you a better understanding of your audience.
5. Imperfect content
The ideality of Instagram has long been an object of discussion: the platform may influence one’s self-esteem and lead to mental problems such as anxiety or even depression.
Instagram users are fed up with perfect bodies, expensive outfits, and tropical holiday destinations. They want authenticity.
Show that you are just an ordinary person or that there are ordinary people behind your brand. Be sincere; it works like a magnet.
6. Sharing inspiration
Talk about your inspiration and ask for advice or talk about possible ways to cheer yourself up in any situation.
One great idea is to share others’ posts that inspire you in your Stories.
Tag their profiles so that they can see you shared their content, and if you’re lucky enough, they may reshare your Story and put your profile in front of their audience.
7. Freebies, cheatsheets, and tutorials
Providing Instagram users with content that they can use and implement into their lives works extremely well. It immediately triggers engagement reflexes: people save these posts, tag friends in comments, and share content on their Stories. In turn, the reach of your post grows.
Think about what kind of useful content you can create for your target audience. For example, if you’re in fitness, record some exercises and create a carousel post, just as Cat Meffan regularly does:
Geotags are a source of traffic, and they allow other Instagram users to reach your profile while browsing through pictures taken in a given location.
The geotags work particularly well when you use them wisely. For example, if you choose a very popular place (e.g. Di Trevi fountain in Rome) or a very general geotag (e.g. Rome or Italy), it’ll be difficult to get your content to the top. Think about a particular street or coffee shop.
Less popular and/or general tags will ensure better chances of extending your post’s reach.
Having an influencer take over your Instagram account is a thing!
Find an influencer or a celebrity with an audience, someone who’s relevant to your niche. To make the collaboration significantly increase the reach of your Instagram publications, you can ask them to recommend your profile on their social media, or suggest that they take over your profile for, let’s say, a day. Most importantly, they need to let their followers know they will be doing so!
But for this kind of content creation, you need to pay.
10. Instagram Hashtags
Hashtags are necessary to quickly navigate to a topic that interests you.
Choose your hashtags wisely. If you use a word in English, your publication will automatically reach users from all over the world.
Don’t use spaces within a hashtag, and if your hashtag consists of more than one word, separate the words with capitalized letters.
This will make your hashtag readable to everyone, including people with visual impairment who use text-to-speech programs for browsing social media.
To make your post aesthetically pleasing, put your hashtags in your first comment. In NapoleonCat, you can schedule not only your Instagram post but also the first comment. As a result, you won’t have to remember about adding the comment at the time of the post’s publication.
Schedule Instagram posts and comments
Add your hashtags in the first comment ahead of time and let NapoleonCat post it when the time’s right!
Try NapoleonCat free for 14 days. No credit card required.
11. Video content
Video marketing is the best performing digital content type. It drives more engagement than any other type of social media content.
There are many free video editing programs to help you get started, and they’re available both for mobile and desktop. Give them a try in the name of increasing your Instagram reach!
Increasing your reach on Instagram is a tedious task, but it’s doable, even without investing in Instagram ads! Having read how the Instagram algorithm works, what may decrease it, and what are some proven tactics to boost the reach of your Instagram publications, you’re all set to get your message in front of a wide audience.