Instagram is often touted as the most effective social media channel for marketing and brand reach, particularly for its clean interface and highly engaged user base. Yet with more than two billion monthly active account holders, competition for businesses has never been steeper—right when the platform is the most valuable.
Whether your business has an established social presence or you’re just getting started on Instagram, brands looking to get noticed, drive sales, and cut through the noise will need a proactive, strategic approach to reach their target audience.
The throughline of a strong Instagram strategy is made up of two key components: Reach and relevance. To increase both, you’ll want to create content that stands out, consistently communicates your brand, and tells a compelling story. And in this post, we’re going to go over 6 ways to get noticed on Instagram so you can do exactly that.
Why It’s Important to Focus on Reach and Relevance
While there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for effectively marketing a business, reach is one of the most critical metrics to watch.
Increasing reach puts your brand in front of more people—an especially important factor for companies looking to gain exposure, grow their client base, or introduce more users to new products or services.
However, reach is only impactful when it creates awareness or connection for the right people—your target market. Otherwise, you might as well stand on the corner with a sandwich board and hope for the best. And it isn’t enough to put content in front of the right audience, you have to serve the right content to them too.
This is where relevance becomes so important—you want your Instagram content (and the rest of your content, for that matter) to speak directly to consumers. There are lots of ways to do this and still remain true to your brand identity, from creating valuable industry resources to shining the spotlight on other makers and businesses to jumping on a funny Reels trend.
Want to learn more about how to get noticed on Instagram and drive real results? Check out our short Instagram marketing course.
Below we explore some of the most effective options when it comes to brands who are trying to find ways to get noticed on Instagram.
6 Ways to Get Noticed on Instagram as a Brand
To stand out and get your brand noticed on Instagram, you’ll want to embrace a few different types of content for the best chance of fostering a genuine connection with your user base.
1. Start Creating Reels
Reels are one of Instagram’s newest features—a move that elevates the platform to rival TikTok’s rapid growth and wild popularity.
They also helped inspire the company’s shift to rebrand IGTV and other video formats into a streamlined feed: Instagram Video. Reels remain their own distinct, snackable form of video content, and as of mid-2021, Reels can take advantage of an increased run time of up to 60 seconds.
The Reels tab along with the navigation row functions as an explore page for Reels, enabling users to scroll through fresh short-form video content regardless of their following status with the creator. This presents an explosive opportunity for a brand to grow their reach. Adding customizable elements like captions, hashtags, and music help influence the algorithm to account for that other key element—relevance—as well.
A few suggestions for optimizing your Reels content:
- Remember that you’re telling a story with every video, even if it’s only 15 seconds long!
- Hop on fun, funny, or sweet trends only if you can still be authentically yourself.
- Film and edit natively within IG Reels whenever possible.
- Add captions (or summary statements) to keep your content accessible and easier to consume (this is pivotal for reaching viewers who scroll without audio).
- Include a CTA at the end, such as a directive to follow your account, visit your site, subscribe to your newsletter, read your caption for more info, or watch another video.
2. Work With Influencers
Of all the most-used social media channels, creators carry significant influence on Instagram, including micro-influencers, who typically have between 10K-50K followers within a niche interest.
While their platforms may be smaller, working with micro-influencers can have its advantages. Consider micro-influencers if you’re working with a smaller budget, if your business is in a niche market, or if you’re hoping to develop a longer-term brand partnership.
Influencers (of any size) can capture a sizeable portion of your marketing spend, so if you’re pursuing influencers for a campaign, keep these tips in mind:
- Narrow your search by building an outreach list of influencers who your target audience (specifically the portion using Instagram) is already highly invested in.
- Do your homework—look at their content, engagement, and community management on Instagram, and also take a look at their other social accounts and internet presence before making your pick.
- Create a clearly defined campaign with a timeline and realistic goals.
- Make sure the influencer fits both your brand aesthetic and your brand values.
Once you’ve selected a few good influencers to work with, you can harness their reach in a few different ways. Consider paying influencers for promoted posts of your services or products, set up branded partnerships within Instagram to run ads, or have an influencer takeover your brand account for a specific amount of time.
Remember that influencers have their own creative process too, so come ready to collaborate!
3. Go Live
To engage with users in real-time, go Live on Instagram. Going Live bumps you to the front of the Stories feed and also pushes an in-app notification to your followers.
Even if they don’t tune in, your brand has a better chance of staying top of mind through this feature. Additionally, going live can help your content find its way to the Explore page, which elevates your reach even further.
Some businesses use this feature to show off new products, make company announcements, or document events. Depending on engagement, you might also find that it makes sense to go live regularly to share resources or host user Q&As.
To maximize engagement when you go live, announce your plans ahead of time to build interest. (This also gives you an opportunity to plan—just because you’re capturing a Live stream doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prep or practice ahead of time.) And you can always save your videos right after your broadcast ends to repurpose content for a newsletter or another social channel.
4. Create High-Value Resources that Inspire Sharing
People are on social media to connect with others, build community, learn new things, and be entertained. Your content should always fall into one of those buckets, and the opportunity to create high-value resources for your audience can have a big impact on both reach and relevance for your brand.
Think about some of the biggest questions your industry faces, common points of confusion, or interesting data your audience might like to have. By creating infographics, explainers, video tutorials, or bite-sized insights, you’re also generating a bank of content that’s highly shareable, memorable for your brand, and—by providing a give before an ask—useful for converting followers into leads.
5. Host a Tag-a-Friend Contest
If you’re looking for ideas that will get you noticed on Instagram while also potentially filling your funnel a bit more quickly, consider hosting a giveaway. One of the most common and successful ways to structure a contest is by asking participants to tag a friend in the comments section of your post.
Consider setting up your contest so that anyone who tags a friend in the comments section is also entered. This can increase engagement while also providing an avenue to expose potentially good-fit users to your brand. Alternatively, if you want to capture more in-depth information about potential leads, you may find it beneficial to direct users to a third-party app or landing page specifically designed to capture contest info and select a winner.
This initiative is most effective when it’s used sparingly, and you can stand out from other brands that are utilizing this same tactic by designing a giveaway of a product or service that’s especially popular, unique, or substantial. You can also typically drive strong engagement when there’s an altruistic or community-building aspect to your giveaway, such as asking participants to nominate someone for receiving a prize.
Remember to keep your giveaway simple, clear, and transparent to promote brand loyalty and trust. The rules should also be abundantly clear and follow any legal guidelines your country sets to keep things fair and honest.
6. Pay Attention to What’s Already Working
Before you adopt new strategies for getting noticed and achieving growth, take a look at what’s already working. Dive into your Instagram analytics and review posts, hashtags, or campaigns that have achieved the most engagement and the largest reach. Remember to also look for any clear patterns around popular times of day or days of the week for certain types of posts. This varies by industry and audience, so your best bet is to experiment with different schedules to see what works best.
Next, take a look at the social media pages of your direct competitors. What are they doing on social that’s working especially well, and what can you take from that model while staying authentic to your brand identity? Look at the types of content they're creating, what they're sharing, and what their audience says about it. You can learn a ton without even having to start from scratch with your own testing (though you always want to test everything).
4 Mistakes to Avoid When Trying to Get Noticed on Instagram
Brands on Instagram and other social media platforms are hungry for reach and relevance, and just about everyone is looking for the secret formula for building a popular account overnight. While you can sometimes get lucky, the better long-term strategy involves consistent effort with a dynamic approach.
If we can help you avoid learning some of these mistakes the hard way, that’s good news for us. Here are a few things to avoid as you build your Instagram presence:
- Being too provocative or controversial. Strong beliefs are one thing, but being edgy just for the sake of "going viral" can backfire quickly; it can actually do much more damage than good.
- Hopping from trend to trend without considering what makes your brand identity authentic and recognizable. Have fun but stay true to your brand values and brand voice, too.
- Creating click-bait content or sensationalizing information and data. This often works at first but has long-term negative consequences, and it can cause your followers to lose trust in your content.
- Partnering with other brands or influencers who don’t align with your brand. You always want to vet potential partnerships carefully and thoroughly; do a deep dive into older posts to make sure there's nothing you need to avoid.
It can take time for these strategies to be effective, so stick with regular content creation and posting—you definitely can’t grow an audience if you aren’t around. Create a strategy that draws from your own experience and account data, careful analysis of your competitors, and what you have the most fun doing (because yes, it shows).
Incorporate Reels, Stories, influencer campaigns, trends, valuable industry assets, and contests into your IG efforts, but only when these methods fit within your brand’s broader vision and identity. This way, you’re only getting noticed on Instagram for the right reasons.