Instagram Marketing Secrets
Have you ever searched a hashtag and noticed that there are not one, but two columns of posts that appear in the search results? This is a feature Instagram released a couple years ago and it’s been helping users worldwide discover awesome new content. The question is, how do you get into the coveted “Top” Column?
The “Top” column in particular is where Instagram features the best performing posts. Unless you hop on over to the “Recent” column, you may miss out on the not-so-viral content… Or, worse, your posts may be appearing in the “Recent” column, where not as many people are searching! Instagram set this up to automatically default to the “Top” posts column, so most people are looking there and only there. So, how in the world do you make sure your post ends up there and only there?
How To Get In The Top Column
Figuring out how to get your posts to show up in the “Top” tab in hashtags shouldn’t be so confusing and unclear! It’s really quite easy, but like all platforms, Instagram doesn’t reveal it’s secret reasons why some posts appear there and others don’t. No worries 😉 I’m revealing exactly how you can make sure your posts get there each and every time, and stay there for a minimum 24 hours (sometimes up to days) at a time.
It’s time for your Instagram account to get the exposure it deserves! Now, I’m going to assume that you’ve already read my previous post about which hashtags you need to use to make sure your posts stay in the “Recent” tab the longest, but if you haven’t read it, click here to read it now.
Using the best hashtags for your biz is critical to your success!
So, now that you know how to stay in the “Recent” column the longest, how exactly do you get in the “Top” column? Two factors determine which content gets this prized spot: engagement and speed. Re-read that last sentence again.
While it may seem like the number of “Likes” is the critical piece, it’s not. Sure, lot’s of likes are great for our ego’s, but realistically Instagram is promoting posts to the “Top” column because they are getting the most engagement in the least amount of time.
These two factors are what Instagram is looking for because they signal that the content is AWESOME. Instagram wants people to find new, awesome content as easily as possible! Can you blame them?
So, what counts as engagement? Basically anything that signals people are interacting with the post! For example:
- Commenting on the photo/post
- Clicking on “…more” to read the caption under the photo/post
- Sharing the photo/post
- Saving the photo/post
- Swiping to view more photos (if there are multiples)
So as you can see, “Likes” only count so much in Instagram’s algorithm!
Next, the speed of which your photo/post gets engagement is also a critical piece. If your post gets lots of engagement in the first hour or less of posting, Instagram recognizes this as high quality content and pushes it to the “Top” column.
I feel like it’s also incredibly important to mention that the ratio of followers to engagement really matters to Instagram. How so? Think about it. Anyone can buy likes and followers, right? But if you have a truly amazing content, and are promoting it correctly to reach the best audience possible, people will naturally follow you and engage with your posts! Meaning, you can have less followers and high engagement and end up in the “Top” column before another account with more (purchased) followers who ultimately get less engagement!
See where I’m going with this? Instagram wants the best, most unique, useful, engaging content to go “viral”!
This is why you should never, ever ever buy “Likes” or “Followers”!
Instagram is onto this, and they won’t promote accounts that aren’t authentic! The proof is in the “Follower/Engagement” ratio, literally.
The Lucrative “Top” Column
So, when will you see it appear there? Typically within 1 hour – 24 hours after you post. And, depending on the hashtags you include, up to days later! This is when you’ll really start to see your content start to become more discoverable. People will be finding it days after you posted, and if they love it, they’ll start engaging with you and following your account. Win-win!
Here’s a screenshot of my post appearing in the top column today. I only posted it a few hours ago and it’s already appearing! Take note that the hashtag only has 113k posts too 😉
How To Boost Authentic Engagement
Now, like I mentioned in my previous post about Instagram Hashtag strategies, I don’t recommend including any hashtags that have more than 500k posts. However, in this case I do – but just a few! What you’re going for here is high engagement, right? So, if you include just a few hashtags that are in the 500k+ category you’ll increase your chances, albeit briefly, of others seeing it and commenting on it right away. The key is right away, because again we’re striving to meet that speed goal.
The more engagement you get right away increases the odds that you’re post will be pushed to that coveted “Top” column!
And, realistically the accounts that use bots to “like, comment and follow” other Instagram users will likely be targeting the hashtags in the 500K+ category. Got it? Good.
Small Hashtag Categories
The rest of your hashtags should all be highly targeting the audience you’re hoping to attract and fall well under the 100K posts category. Seriously y’all, the lower the number the better.
If you’re consistently posting and including hashtags that fall in the 1K-100K range, your content will quickly appear in that “Top” column!
Easy peasy. Now you’re discoverable and real people are loving and interacting with your account daily. See how these strategies are much more important than simply “likes” alone? Ego, stand aside. 😉
Test It For Yourself
Go ahead and take a look at the posts that are appearing in the “Top” column for your favorite hashtags. What you’ll likely find is that the ones that appear are the one’s with the highest engagement ratio and that generated the most engagement in the quickest time! Make sure to double check how many followers they have too, I’m willing to bet it won’t be as high a number as you might expect.
To calculate engagement ratios, simply total the post likes + comments and divide that number by the total number of followers. Then, times that number by 100. Ie. 150 / 2,500 x 100 = 6%
The only problem I personally have with this strategy is that it goes against our nature. Algorithm’s aside, people are psychologically driven to “Follow” or “Like” accounts that have lot’s of followers and likes already. Why? It’s innate. We subconsciously search for clues in our environment for safety and when we see that LOTS of other people are following an Instagram account we’ve just come across and LOTS of people are liking their posts, our brains take that as a sign that it’s safe to do the same!
In other words, we like what other people like. The opposite also holds true, if we come across an account with little followers and likes, even if they have amazing content, we became naturally suspicious and are less likely to follow them or like their posts! Crazy but true.
Instagram Marketing Secrets
Strive for Speed + Engagement
The best instagram marketing secrets I know of to get discovered rapidly is to strive for high quality, engaged followers and to target “small” hashtags. This will get your content in the “Top” column very quickly. Try it for yourself and remember to check out my previous post on finding the best hashtags to target here.
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