Instagram is a great platform to scale up your small business. From their most recent collaboration update to InstaShop, Instagram has some great features that social-savvy business owners like yourself can use to their advantage. But with so many millions of accounts on the picture sharing platform, it can be hard to rise to the top of your potential customers’ feeds. That’s where learning the ins and outs of SEO can help! 

So what exactly is SEO? SEO stands for search engine optimization. When you search for something on Instagram or any other platform, the accounts that show up near the top of your search results are the ones that line up most with your SEO terms. When you optimise your Instagram content to be discovered in search results, your account will be found faster. So how can you adapt your Insta posts to show up faster on search results? Here’s five tips to help you master SEO optimization! 

Use the Right Hashtags 

It’s easy to see hashtags as a punchline about modern media usage. But they can be an extremely useful tool, especially when it comes to wider conversations around your product or service. But nobody likes to see a huge block of text that’s just fifteen hashtags in a row. Strike the balance by tagging what you need and not going overboard. A good rule of thumb is to only use between three and five hashtags per post. 

Not sure where to start? Well, it’s always a good idea to tag your business name. People can quickly scan through tagged posts, which you can encourage your clients to use on posts of their pictures with your product. You can also add tags about your location, such as your town so people can find your store front. It’s also a good idea to tag your wider industry, such as #hairstylists or #baristalife. Get creative and don’t be afraid to start building some digital community. 

Add Alt Text to Images 

If you’ve read our last blog on digital accessibility, you’ll already be familiar with alternative text and how helpful it can be! But for those who don’t know, alt text is simply a stated description of an image. This can not only be helpful to reach customers who may be visually impaired, but can also improve your SEO results. Instagram will pick up on your descriptions and push your posts forward when people search for similar terms. So being inclusive is it’s own reward! 

Follow Instagram Guidelines 

It may seem like a no-brainer, but Instagram likes to promote accounts that play by their rules. Avoid hate speech, obscenity, conspiracy theories, violent images, and you should be golden. I know what you’re thinking; you’re a small business, not some big vendor or political commentator. You won’t be posting anything that goes against Instagram’s rules. But you can never be too careful. Because Instagram uses software to detect violations a lot of the time they can flag posts that don’t exactly violate their terms of service. So in that case, it’s good to play on the safe side! 

Optimize your Profile 

Make your profile stand out in the age-old way that always works; copy what other people are doing. Sort of. 

We’re not telling you to steal someone else’s work, but you can certainly follow trends to stay up to date on what your competitors are doing. And one way to do that is research keywords and popular search terms! If you’re a small business selling soaps and candles, keep an eye on what big retailers like Bath and Body Works are putting on their feeds. By optimizing your social profiles with popular buzzwords, you can pull more eyes to your page and Instagram will associate your page with your biggest competitors! Imagine showing up on the discover page above posts from major chains. There’s a big push especially among younger consumers to buy from small businesses. This is a great way to put your company in front of eager eyes! 

Research your Keywords 

On that note, make sure you’re doing your homework on what keywords work best for your business. Keyword search is one of the main ways users find what they’re looking for on Instagram. It’s good to know what your consumers are looking for when they search on social media, and tailor your content to suit their search terms. Take some time to look up your most common industry keywords to see what pops up first and what yields the closest results to your competitors. You can learn how to use Google Keywords here, its really easy!