Say hello to Instagram SEO

Instagram SEO is more relevant than ever for us business Instagrammers.

Aren’t we on Instagram to build our employer brand and share about our company culture and people to grow our employer brand awareness and affinity?

Yes, we are!

Growing employer brand awareness requires your target audience to discover regularly and want to consume your content.

What is Instagram SEO?

Instagram SEO – Instagram Search Engine Optimisation means you purposefully optimise your Instagram content from captions to audio, hashtags (used as keywords), places, and even your bio text and handle name to the Reels format to be discovered in search results on the platform.

If you are familiar with search engine optimisation in blogging, for example, then you know what search engine optimisation is. The same idea applies to Instagram SEO.

Screenshot of the Instagram discovery page that feeds the user recommendations based on their behavior on the platform. The search bar top of page is used for keyword search delivering results based on Instagram SEO.

When Instagram users go to the Explore page (the one indicated with a magnifying glass at the bottom of the app page), they either look at the content the Instagram algorithm recommends or use the Explore search bar at the top of the page to type in a specific keyword for what they are looking for.

According to Instagram, the content suggestions on this page are based on posts from accounts like the ones you follow and posts similar to those you like or save.

Gen Z has been using TikTok and Instagram as search engines for years – instead of Google

A couple of years ago, I first encountered news about younger people using TikTok as a search engine instead of Google.

The New York Times wrote then:

”TikTok’s rise as a discovery tool is part of a broader transformation in digital search. While Google remains the world’s dominant search engine, people are turning to Amazon to search for products, Instagram to stay updated on trends and Snapchat’s Snap Maps to find local businesses.”

The article continued to state how Google had noticed TikTok entering their domain:

”In our studies, something like almost 40 percent of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram.”

Since 2020, a lot has happened in the digital search domain. It is no longer about looking for places to eat or make-up tutorials. I notice myself using generative AI for research, as I use Google. And I’m not Gen Z, just to let you know.

How Instagram SEO works – for your target audience, too

Your target audience, the people you ideally want to find and follow your employer branding account, enjoy and engage with your content and eventually become infatuated with your organisation see posts on their Instagram feeds based on the following:

  • The accounts they interact with the most, and who follows them.
  • The types of content they most watch, like and otherwise engage with.
  • Reels from new accounts who post similar content they interact and engage with the most.
  • What they search for on the Explore page is based on relevant keywords, accounts, hashtags, content and places.

What this means is, your employer branding content must match with what and how they consume Instagram.

Ask some of your employees on Instagram if they can show you their Explore page on Instagram and share what type of accounts and content they consume the most.

If that matches what you post on your employer branding account, great job!

The thing is, I doubt it does, and that means you have to reassess your employer brand’s strategy and content plan.

How you use Instagram SEO to help your employer brand’s content be discovered

As an employer branding Instagrammer, you can do certain things to improve your content’s ranking on Instagram.

You can help the Instagram algorithm to correctly identify your content with these Instagram search engine optimisation strategies:

  1. Add keywords related to your employer brand to your Instagram bio.
  2. Change your account’s handle to @lifeat[your company name].
  3. Write descriptive captions with keywords relevant to your post and your account to all of your posts.
  4. Include your account’s @lifeat-handle in your captions.
  5. Use hashtags as keywords that help your content be discovered.
  6. Add descriptive Alt Text to your posts with accessibility as the priority, then search engine optimisation.
  7. Follow these tactics consistently to teach the algorithm what your account is about.

Here are two great posts with more detailed information on hacking Instagram SEO and boosting your employer brand’s discoverability on Instagram.

Instagram SEO by Later.com

Instagram SEO by Hootsuite

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Need a sound employer brand content plan for Instagram? We want to help you!

Book a discovery call with us to discuss your employer brand content marketing needs and find out if we are a perfect match for your employer branding success!

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