In order to grow your Instagram account in 2018, you need to use every tool at your disposal.
It’s a far cry from how things used to be. In the past, all a business had to do was post great content on a consistent basis and then sit back and watch their follower count grow.
But in today’s social ecosystem (and thanks to omnipotent Instagram algorithm), it’s harder than ever to get more followers… but not impossible!
What it comes down to is knowing what Instagram features have the most potential to get you in front of more eyes, and encourage visitors to click the “follow” button when they land on your profile.
Not sure where to start? In this post, we shed light on 5 new Instagram features that can help you grow your Instagram account. Ready? Let’s go!
Download our free Instagram for Business in 2018 guide for more tips on how to use Instagram Stories, ads, carousel posts, influencer marketing, and more!
#1: Now’s the Time to Switch to an Instagram Business Profile
Instagram just gave users a new reason to switch to an Instagram business profile… and it’s pretty huge.
Previously, accounts that made the switch to a business profile got access to a bunch of great features, like a “contact” button, Instagram Insights, and the ability to promote posts and add links to your Instagram Stories.
But recently, Instagram announced a major change to their API, giving Instagram business profiles the ability to schedule single photo posts to Instagram without the use of push notifications!
You can now schedule posts that will automatically publish to Instagram with Later.
Whereas in the past, when you scheduled an Instagram post with Later, you had to open a push notification, paste your caption, and hit “share” in the Instagram app, with the API change, your scheduled posts will automatically post to your account at the time you choose.
By scheduling Instagram posts, you’re guaranteed to save a ton of time with your Instagram marketing, giving you more time to focus on actually growing your account.
But that’s not the only reason to set up an Instagram business profile.
Take Instagram’s Insights feature, for example. The simple ability to track your impressions, reach, and engagement from within the mobile app is hugely valuable for businesses.
There’s also the fact that business profiles can run Instagram ads, which are a super effective way for businesses to generate sales and build engagement.
And the same is true one of the ability to add links to Instagram Stories (if you have over 10,000 followers). This is a huge Instagram trend right now, and can help you grow your email list, sell products, drive traffic, and more!
#2: Reach More Users with Location and Hashtag Stickers
In 2017, Instagram Stories grew from a casual place to share photos and videos of your night out to a marketing engine for businesses. The fact is that if you want to succeed on Instagram today, you need to have a solid Instagram Stories strategy in place.
Luckily, it’s become much easier to grow your Instagram account with these two new Instagram Stories features: location stickers and hashtag stickers.
Location and hashtag stickers have made a huge difference for businesses. Whereas at first you could only share Instagram Stories with your own followers, Instagram Stories are now searchable by location and hashtag, meaning that anyone can see your Instagram Stories now.
For example, if you’re posting a story from a bakery in Portland, you can tag the location with a sticker, and your story might appear in that location’s Instagram Stories.
The same is true for hashtag stickers. When a user tags a hashtag in their Instagram Stories, it will appear on the corresponding hashtag page.
This offers several huge benefits for businesses. First of all, if your business has a physical location, you can encourage visitors to tag your business in their Instagram Stories, which will give you more exposure on Instagram and potentially lead to more followers.
And if you don’t have a physical location, you can still encourage users to share your business’ branded hashtag in their Stories, which is a great way to build brand awareness and recognition — and also collect relevant user-generated content (UGC).
Learn more about how to use Instagram Stories to grow your business with The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Stories for Business.
#3: Turn More Visitors into Followers with Instagram Stories Highlights
We’ve said it a hundred times, but optimizing the “look” of your Instagram profile is crucial if you want to grow your Instagram account.
Your profile the first opportunity you have to make a great impression and entice people to hit that “follow” button. And by building an attractive and consistent Instagram aesthetic, you can turn casual visitors into devoted, engaged followers.
But there’s another way to convince new visitors to hit the “follow” button… by using Instagram Stories Highlights!
Since it’s debut in December 2017, businesses of all sizes have started to embrace Instagram Stories Highlights — and with good reason. They’re an extremely valuable addition for businesses because they allow brands to easily curate and showcase the content they want users to see.
You can think of Instagram Stories Highlights like a movie trailer for your Instagram feed. They’re a creative way to express yourself, show off products, drive traffic, or market your business!
All in all, using Instagram Stories Highlights is a great way for you to attract new followers. With Highlights, you can quickly showcase what your business does, what you offer, and why someone should follow you.
Learn how to incorporate Instagram Stories into your social strategy with our free Instagram for Business in 2018 guide!
#4: Grow Your Instagram Account by Optimizing Your Content Strategy with Instagram Analytics
In order grow your Instagram account in 2018, you need to really understand your audience and content performance. In other words, you need to start tracking your Instagram analytics.
While Instagram’s analytics tool (Instagram Insights) has been around for some time, up until recently, you could only access these insights from the mobile app. But thanks to a recent update, business profiles on Instagram are now able access their analytics and reports directly from the API.
This means that businesses can keep track of their content’s performance more effectively on third-party analytics tools outside of the Instagram app.
So why does this matter? Well, the new Instagram Insights API offers businesses a more convenient way to track their analytics, improve their content, and ultimately reach more users.
As we’ve said before, one of the best ways to grow your Instagram account is to track how your content performs.
By tracking engagement data such as likes, comments, or clicks, you’ll have a clearer understanding about which types of content perform best, and you can use this data to optimize your content strategy for more engagement.
#5: Grow Your Instagram Account with Instagram Live
2017 may have been dominated by Instagram Stories, but the future looks very bright for live video. In fact, according to our recent survey, while only 22% businesses went “live” on Instagram in 2017, 55% plan to use the feature in 2018.
And it makes plenty of sense! When used correctly, Instagram Live can provide huge value for businesses.
While most businesses use Instagram Live to tease new products and services, or to run Q&As and tutorials, there’s also big potential in the feature to reach new followers. And one of the best ways to do this is to get featured on the Explore page.
Similar to how you can see what photos are trending on Instagram, you can also see trending live broadcasts on the Explore page by tapping on the “Top Live” button in the top left-hand corner of the screen.
According to Instagram, the Top Live videos that appear the top of the Explore page are the ones that are trending due to the amount of viewers, engagement, and proximity to the user’s location.
But unlike the posts that appear on the Explore page, you don’t need hundreds or thousands of viewers to end up in the Top Live section! It depends on a few factors, like the time of day and your location, but it’s possible to get your broadcast into Top Live videos with under a hundred viewers.
That being said, your chances of getting onto the Explore page are much higher if you’re already pulling in a large viewership with your broadcasts.
Bonus Tip: Use the Instagram Partnership Feature to Get More Impressions on Your Sponsored Posts
It goes without saying that influencer marketing has become one of the most effective ways of reaching new and targeted audiences on Instagram.
That’s why so many businesses are moving away from Instagram ads in favor of influencer marketing. By aligning with influencers who have “pull” with your target customers, you can achieve a lot more than you would with traditional advertising.
In light of influencer marketing’s growing popularity, Instagram recently rolled out a new paid partnership feature that helps influencers disclose their sponsored posts more easily.
The feature essentially acts as a branded content tool that allows (and encourages) influencers to identify posts that are paid for by advertisers.
But beyond making it easier for users to identify sponsored posts, the feature offers a secondary benefit for businesses: the ability to get more impressions.
With the paid partnerships feature, when a post is tagged, people will see “Paid partnership with [business partner]” in the post’s header where you would usually see the post’s location.
As a result, even if a user doesn’t actively engage with a sponsored post by opening it, they might still see your business’ name at the top of a sponsored post when scrolling their feeds.
This means you can can build brand awareness and brand recall simply by appearing as a paid partner in a user’s feed.
As updates to the Instagram algorithm continue to impact people’s ability to reach new audiences, it’s becoming more important than ever to find new ways to grow your Instagram account. Luckily, these new features can help. Let us know what you think of our list in the comments!
Download our free Instagram for Business in 2018 guide for tips on how to use Instagram Stories, ads, Carousel posts, influencer marketing, and more!