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Instantly Upgrade your Instagram

An average of 80 million ads are uploaded to Instagram each day. That’s a whole lot of #worthlessposts and #photosthatgetoverlooked.

With Instagram’s ever-increasing engagement rates (according to Forrester Research, engagement on IG is 10x higher than Facebook, 54x higher than Pinterest, and 84x higher than Twitter) you can’t afford not to put your best branding forward. For smoke shops and counter culture brands, especially, Instagram is an important tool for reaching customers because it is where 6-in-10 young adults (18-29) hang out.

Getting attention on Instagram takes more than just uploading #funnymemes #spammyposts. Like any effective marketing plan, IG needs a good strategy — with that in mind, here are two tips to take your Instagram feed from good to great.

Hashtag It

A crowded clump of hashtags is a surefire way to appear spammy. But that doesn’t mean the fewer, the better. Hashtags are an important part of the Instagram algorithm; they’re a shortcut to content tailored to your interests.

Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, but for many brands a best practice is under 10. One study determined that seven hashtags is the optimal number, but finding the right balance between #noteventrying and #spamalert depends on your brand voice, content, and intended audience.

One hashtag to be sure to include is the #brandedhashtag. Branded hashtags don’t need to be limited to the traditional form of a brand name #Cocacola or tagline #haveacokeandasmile. By creating original hashtags that moves beyond product-specific callouts, your brand can attract a wider audience by referencing the #spirit and #culture you represent.

Show Don’t Tell

When you scroll through Instagram, video content doesn’t play audio until the user taps the video for sound. The problem is that by relying solely on sound, important brand messages or announcements never get heard.

Instead, focus your attention on getting users to stick with your video by using captions.

Research shows that captioning videos increases average view times by 12%. Messaging effectiveness is also massively boosted by a rate of 82% compared to 18% with sound on and zero captions.

Adding text to your videos will immediately increase engagement, but it’s smart to use it sparingly. The last thing people wants to see is a bunch of ad text shooting across their smartphone.