If you want to excel in social media marketing, it’s important to constantly be learning about its newest updates and features. Being an early adopter is key to staying ahead of the pack and keeping things fresh.

Instagram is constantly evolving and it’s important to keep on top of their features as soon as they’re released. Besides their recent updates, Instagram has many existing features that most people simply don’t know about or aren’t taking advantage of. The following are 6 Instagram hacks that’ll make you a stronger social media marketer.

  1. Research the right hashtags for your posts

Hashtags are used within a caption to identify a topic of interest. It becomes indexed by the social network and allows it to be searched by users. Hashtags increase the possible reach and visibility of the content you’re putting out.

To maximize this function, though, you need to be more creative than hashtags like “fun” or “cool”. If you’re trying to decide which hashtags to use, don’t go with the overly obvious. The obvious ones tend to be overused which means your post will likely get lost within a few seconds. For example, if you use the hashtag “travel”, your post will be competing with about 185 million other ones. If you narrow it down to something more specific, like “TravelBlog”, that number drops down to only about 6 million. Don’t get too specific though. The hashtag “TravelBlogWrittenByAGirlWhoLovesHotsPlacesButNotTooHot” probably won’t get a ton of hits.

The key is finding hashtags that are popular but not too popular. You can find these by going to the magnifying glass at the bottom of your Instagram screen, searching a common hashtag (like “fashion”), and scrolling down to find alternatives that don’t have 385 million posts.

  1. Hide hashtags on Instagram

Instagram has brought back the caption format that lets you hide those spammy looking (but important) hashtags at the bottom of your photo. Using caption spaces and line breaks forces Instagram to compress the comment which hides the sometimes-desperate looking list of hashtags.

To do this, post your photo with the caption only. After it’s posted, comment on your photo with 5 dots (with each dot on a separate line) and your list of hashtags on the line after the 5th dot. Another useful tip is to have these dots and hashtags saved in your notepad so that all you have to do is copy and paste it whenever posting a photo.

  1. Post more than 30 hashtags

If you’ve read our past posts on Instagram no-no’s, you’ll know that we’re not fans of over hash-tagging. It’s attention-seeking and no one likes attention-seekers. If you use our previous trick to conceal them, though, using a lot of hashtags can widen your reach and help populate your Instagram.

There’s a small loophole that allows you to add more than the current maximum of 30 hashtags. Post your photo or video without hashtags (this is important). After this, use our above trick to conceal 30 hashtags in your comments section. Once that’s done, edit your original caption to include up to an additional 30 hashtags.

Okay. We’re done with hashtags. Promise.

  1. Save drafts for later

If you have trouble keeping a posting schedule, using the “Save Draft” feature may be helpful to you. After deciding on your photo, filter and caption, you’re able to save the draft to post at another time. Instead of sitting down to edit and properly caption a photo each time you want to post, carve out a few hours each week to prepare or “draft” a bunch of content at once. Having a week or two worth of Instagram posts prepared and ready to go allows you to keep a schedule and frees up your time to focus on other things.

To save a draft, proceed as you would normally (select photo, edit it and write caption) and click the “Back” arrow. This will prompt you to choose “Delete” or “Save Draft”.

  1. Record video hands-free

If you’re alone, recording yourself for your Instagram story can be challenging and awkward.  Instagram now gives us the option of recording our videos hands-free. This allows you the freedom to move about freely and use both your hands.

To record hands-free, click on the camera icon on the top left hand side of your screen and slide the arrow at the bottom to “Hands-Free”.

  1. Get free analytics

If you want analytics for your Instagram but aren’t willing to shell out cash for it, switch over to a business profile. This type of profile comes with the “Insights” feature which allows you to gauge whether your marketing efforts are working. It also tells you a lot about who’s following you and how your individual posts and stories are performing.

To switch to a business profile, go to the “Options” section of your Instagram and click “Switch to Business Profile”.

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