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How to Grow Your Business Using Instagram

Whether you're new to the platform or looking to grow your presence, below are five ways you can take advantage of Instagram.

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With over 1 billion daily active users, it’s safe to make an argument for Instagram as the hottest social network of 2018.

Unlike rival Snapchat and parent company Facebook, which both recently announced a decline in user growth, Instagram has grown by over 300 million users since Q2 of 2017 compared to 15 million by Snapchat and only 9 million by Twitter.

Related: How I Got 13,000 Instagram Followers in One Month

According to Social Media Examiner’s annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 69 percent of marketers surveyed indicated they would increase their advertising spend on Instagram while 74 percent expressed interest in learning more about how to best utilize it.

What exactly makes Instagram, a social network that not too long ago was where one would go to post that perfect filter-altered selfie or photo of your lunch, the go-to for not just millennials and Gen Z but big brands too?

Simply put, Instagram combines some of the most popular features from Snapchat with disappearing Stories including face filters; YouTube with archived video content; and Facebook’s newsfeed minus the political banter. Most importantly, Instagram continues to innovate by rolling out new features as seen recently with IGTV -- Instagram’s answer to YouTube with vertical video that goes beyond 60 seconds.

Whether you’re new to the platform or looking to grow your presence, below are five ways you can use Instagram to build your social media following and business, too.

1. Hashtags 

As seen in the video above, hashtags work like categories on Instagram. You can use up to 30 hashtags in a post, which will effectively expand your organic reach. However, the key is to mix up your hashtags with both popular, commonly used tags and ones that aren’t nearly as saturated with content.

Related: 7 Marketing Tips to Help Grow Your Brand on Instagram

2. Stories tools

Looking for a cheap way to get more engagement on your Instagram content? Tap into the all-new "Questions" and "Poll" features within Stories to add an interactive component to your content. If you’re a freelancer, imagine leveraging a Q&A or AMA (ask me anything) session on your story where real potential clients are getting advice from you -- for free. Once you’ve given upfront value, you can then proceed to form a dialogue privately through direct message (DM).

3. Geolocation tagging

For any small-business owner on Instagram, location tagging at your place of business is critical. Imagine having a scrapbook of your place of business on everyone’s iPhone within your city or town. As a business owner or operator, ensure that whenever you post content from your business account, you add the location of your business in the post or tag the city where you’re located so others in the area can see posts from your account which might not be following you.

4. IGTV

YouTube’s answer to long-form video uploads albeit in the form of vertical video. Although IGTV is a newly added feature that has primarily been used by creators and influencers to repurpose video content that doesn’t fit within the standard 60-second range, IGTV can be leveraged to showcase professionally produced video content by brands or businesses as well as a place to archive Instagram Live Stories which disappear after 24 hours.

Related: 15 Ways to Optimize Your Instagram Profile

5. User-generated content (UGC)

It’s Instagram’s answer to the retweet: Whenever your account is tagged in someone else’s Story you have the option to add his or her Story to yours, which is a nice bonus for any business that has a significant amount of daily foot traffic to encourage their patrons to share their experience with the brand on Instagram.

Watch more videos from Carlos Gil on his YouTube channel. Follow Carlos Gil on Instagram @CarlosGil83.

Related: How to Avoid Time Wasters by Asking the Right Questions Up Front

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