How to use Instagram to boost your website’s SEO
We already know that we all love Instagram (data doesn’t lie), but we also know that it can be hard to know how to master using it for business. And beyond that, how to make it work for your SEO.
This summer we’re focusing on social media for SEO, and we’re turning our attention first to everyone’s favorite platform, IG.
We’d love to know how you use IG for business, and if you’re an expert on the topic and have more to share, then we’d love to have you write for us! Drop us a line here with your ideas.
Instagram is Best For…
Instagram is first, and foremost a visual platform. So if you have a visual brand, or are looking to connect with those who have a visual brand, then this platform is a place you need to invest in for business.
Eleven percent of the global population is on Instagram…let that sink in for a second. That’s more than 1 billion users, with 400 million people per day viewing stories, and 50% of all users are following brands. (And a fun fact, nearly 50% of Swedes are on Instagram. Perhaps you should start marketing to them?).
This kind of engagement is more bananas than Bieber winning a Latin Grammy, friends.
Instagram also has 10X the engagement of Facebook (no surprise for most of us who hop on the ‘gram multiple times a day, and Facebook….weekly, maybe?).
The relational, visually forward nature of this platform makes it easy to connect with others on multiple emotional levels, leading to quality relationships and feeling like you really ‘know’ someone, even if you actually don’t.
So if you’re looking to build relationships with potential customers & clients in a direct and authentic way, then Instagram is the platform for you.
BTW, do you have an IG business account yet? If not, then you need one! You might see a drop in engagement, but the benefits you’ll get from having access to analytics is more than worth it, because you’ll be able to tailor content, thus increasing engagement! Win-win.
Your Handle: The Key To Getting Found on IG
While Insta is all about the images, did you know that your handle and name are also essential to the process? And they don’t have to be the same thing, so using them creatively is a great way to optimize the limited character count.
One of the two should be your business name, and you can make the other a keyword relevant to your industry, as people search for things like “stylist”, “makeup artist” “vegan blogger” etc. And if a keyword is part of your name, you’ll show up in the search.
PRO TIP: use emojis in your name! Did you know that people can search for emojis? So use ones that are relevant to your brand, or come up with a ‘signature emoji’ (that phrase is so 2018).
If you’re selling a physical product, keep in mind that your feed is best used if you style it like a magazine, not a catalog.
So, when posting images, use lifestyle shots, action shots, and those that put the customer as the main focus, not the product. The product isn’t the hero of this story, the customer is. So turn back to your customer avatars and pain points, and highlight how your product solves their problems.
If you have a service as a product, then let your images follow the caption. Make your images beautiful and on brand, but the heart of your topic will shine in your captions.
If you’re a service based brand, tell a story with your captions (don’t be preachy!). Share customer case studies, do before and afters, highlight what you’re learning in conferences, etc.
Sharing your expertise and sharing success stories (and failure stories, which can sometimes be even more helpful) are all part of connecting with your audience.
No matter your type of product or industry, use a mix of lifestyle, stock imagery, and your own imagery.
Stock sites we LOVE:
Instagram’s newest feature, a longform video platform within the app. It’s still TBD how people will end up using this feature, as it’s so new. Currently, it seems like people are using it as a replacement for stories, so it will be interesting to see how people use this feature to full effect.
While it certainly won’t replace YouTube (the second largest search engine!), could it be a way to get in front of people in a new way, and to get around the 10K limit for swiping up in stories, and 1 link limit in the profile.
As the new feature develops, right now is a rich time for exploring what the platform could do for you. You can use the standalone IGTV app, or simply use the feature within Instagram.
We see it as a great feature for teaching something and holding people’s attention for longer (which is exactly what IG wants…people in their platform for longer and longer periods of time).
So use the feature to let people in on your life, teach them about something useful, and of course, be sure to watch/comment on other people’s IGTV videos if you’re using it yourself.
We love the stories feature! You’ll find us sharing details about our day-to-day, team dynamics, SEO updates, etc. We use it for all kinds of things, and love scrolling through to see what everyone else is talking about.
Use it to connect with followers, stay top of mind, and to engage directly with people you follow.
Here are a few ways we love to use Stories:
- Repurpose blog content
- Share behind the scenes
- Answer FAQs
- Engage your audience
- Share quick tutorials
- Build excitement about a sale/launch
We love Later’s creative uses for IG stories for business.
Social Media Examiner has great business tips for stories.
Canva has a great article on making your stories beautiful
Yes, you know that you can use up to 30 hashtags, but…should you?
91% of the best performing brands use 7 or fewer hashtags.
So, while you might be tempted to fill your hashtags quota, you’ll be much better off if you think in terms of quality, not quantity.
Here’s what we mean:
- Get specific. If you’re a wedding photographer, please don’t use tags like #wedding #photographer. Those are a waste of space because they’re too generic. Also, don’t get so specific that your tags are unreadable or unfindable like #SEOisthebestooliveeverusedforbusiness. ← you’re allowed to do this….but pretty please don’t. It doesn’t help you, and it’s annoying to the reader.
- Instead, find tags that have a sweet spot of enough people in your niche using them and specific enough that they don’t have 2M posts in the tag.
PRO TIP: Follow hashtags. You can follow tags that are relevant to you, so pick a few specific, curated tags to find people in your niche. They’ll show up in your feed just like any other post, and you’ll be able to see what hashtag it comes from.
We haven’t used this tool, but it looks intriguing: Brand24 Hashtag Analytics tool
Social Media Examiner has a great resource on tools to track your hashtag performance
Growing your presence (and therefore your customer base) is hardddd to do solo on Instagram, especially if you’re in a saturated market. That’s where influencer marketing comes in.
We might be tired of this term (and especially people who call themselves influencers), but building positive relationships with other people in your space is critical for growing your network.
The key to this? Building a reciprocal relationship. You want someone to help you, but what are you giving them in return? Money, a reciprocal post? When pitching, this is the most important consideration: what does this person get from promoting you? Everyone will be different
The benefit for your SEO comes from backlinks to your website. And this element is critical: you want the influencer to link to your website not just your Instagram. If you have a contract for an agreement (and you should in most cases), then you should include this.
TheHoth has a thorough article on how and why to reach out to influencers.
As always, Crazy Egg has an authoritative article on the topic
Not sure what to say? The folks at Ninja Outreach have you covered with templates a-plenty.
Medium has a helpful article on how & why to reach out
Our smart & talented friends at Think Creative Collective have a great quick start guide
Should you be using ads? We know that Facebook ads are hugely valuable because of the data, but what about Instagram?
You can harness the power of Facebook data for your Instagram ads, and that’s a BIG win.
Buffer has a comprehensive article on using Instagram Ads
So, how does Instagram impact SEO?
You should know that Instagram doesn’t directly impact your SEO.
Instagram (and all social media) have a BIG indirect impact on your SEO, and that makes social channels worth your time and attention.
- Drives traffic
- Gets relevant people onto your site
- Distributes your content quickly
- Encourages people to backlink to your website
All of the above are big boosts for your SEO, and that’s on top of the ways that you can build sincere 1-1 relationships with people via the platform.
We’d love to know…do you use IG for business? Tell us in the comments!
Are you an IG expert? Then we’d love to have you guest post! Send us a note with your ideas.
We’re always cheering you on,
Meg and the Clapping Dog Media Team