Tips for Maximizing Your Instagram Reach


Instagram and other photo hosting sites offer designers a way to have their work spread and admired. However, the best picture does not necessarily receive the most engagement. This is especially true after considering how Instagram’s algorithmic post structure has made old strategies less successful. Here are some tips to ensure your image is getting a level of reach worth investing in.

1. Use Smarter Hashtags

When tagging your posts, it is important to be strategic about what hashtags you use. If you tag #Design, your post will be buried in seconds. But, if you tag #EclecticDesign, your post will have a stronger chance of reaching people who are looking for work like yours. This slightly more descriptive tag can result in your post being at the top of the tag page if it receives enough engagement, furthering your reach and influence. 

It is important to keep these tags diverse across every post, and refrain from using the same ones over and over, as Instagram might shadowban your posts. Hashtags should be posted either in the comments, or a couple of lines down from the main caption to present a less cluttered post. Locations should also be added, as they help others in your area find your work and profile.

2. Post at Peak Times

Posting in the morning or early evening all result in a good amount of engagement. The Insights feature on your Instagram Business account should let you in more specifically with when your followers are active, and when are the most optimal times to post.

3. Brighten Your Images

Most Instagram users are viewing content from their phones - and most phones are not on 100% brightness. By increasing the brightness of your photo by 2 or 3 notches, your images will not be too strikingly bright or too boringly dim to your viewers.

4. Post to Your Story

Stories are a more personal way to engage with your audience. But, these stories should also be an opportunity to increase your reach as well as grow your relationship with your audience. By tagging locations, partners, or using hashtags, your story will see much more external engagement.

Polls, question stickers, and emoji sliders will help you engage with the audience you have already grown. Use this disappearing post as a moment to show some behind-the-scenes action, what kind of coffee your team prefers, or some of the things you do on your down time. You can really connect with your audience in this medium, so it is important to use it to your advantage.

5. Comment, Like, and Follow Similar Accounts

Engagement breeds engagement. Liking, sharing, commenting, and following accounts that have an audience you wish to reach will help you reach them. The algorithm will also start to promote your posts more if it sees you interacting before and after you post a photo. This means you will be at the top of more of your followers’ feeds for longer - AKA maximum exposure. 

6. See Where Your Audience Is Based

Posting when your audience is awake and online is a very common sense tip. But knowing where your audience is located, be it more urban, coastal, or rural, is important too.

The Insights feature on Instagram lets you in on these analytics. It can help you feel confident in knowing who is drawn to your work. Noting which kinds of seasons or trends your followers may be seeing will help you remain in touch with them and help you relate to similar people. 

7. Write Strong Captions

Instagram favors longer captions, and so do most audiences. Asking questions, sharing processes or recommendations, or discussing seasonal shifts all garner more engagement from followers.

The more comments you receive, the more the algorithm promotes your post. This also means you should respond to comments if you can and tag other people where possible. These do not have to be long-winded excerpts. They simply have to show your audience that you are considering them and appreciate their engagement.

Final Thoughts

Instagram is a platform that you can both curate and engage in, and it works best when it is used as such. Using these strategies and keeping your images at a high quality will help your Instagram get the most exposure it can.

Erin Gilbert