Nearly a dozen new Instagram features were added in 2016, which means businesses have to step up their marketing game even more. Learning all the Instagram hacks, both secret and obvious, can make you a power user on the app.

As more people flock to the visual app, brands continue to look for new ways to entertain users and get more followers on Instagram. But it’s not just about the follower count–instead, brands have to learn how to successfully engage and interact with people on Instagram.

Because when your brand can pull it off, Instagram suddenly turns into a serious traffic funnel and brand awareness tool. It’s time to take it up a notch by learning these 12 Instagram hacks to become a well-rounded social media marketer:

1. Reorder & Prioritize Instagram Filters

With 40 different Instagram filters to use on your photos and videos, it’s tough to remember your favorites. Typically brands should stick to a limited amount of Instagram filters to ensure there’s cohesion across your content. Mixing up too many filters can seem clunky and unprofessional.

Instead, try using Instagram’s filter management button to not only prioritize your best filters, but delete the ones your brand doesn’t need. Simply scroll through the end of the filters after you choose your content and click the gear manage box.

instagram filter management

Easily drag and drop your favorite filters to the top of the list and uncheck any others you don’t want on your Instagram. While this trick might seem a little obvious and mundane, it actually saves you a ton of time and increases collaboration efforts between team members.

Make sure your team only publishes with the correct filters by managing and editing them in the app.

2. Hide Your Hashtags

By now you should know that hashtags and Instagram are the perfect pair. Not only do hashtags help spread awareness, but they can sincerely get your audience engaged. One of the most popular ways to get people engaged is through branded hashtags.

In fact, 7 out of 10 hashtags are branded on Instagram. But that doesn’t mean you always have to use just branded hashtags. However, some of the general hashtags can be a little boring for users and many brands have simply hidden their unbranded hashtags to avoid taking up too much real estate. Easily hide your additional hashtags by adding a second comment with the tags or by following these steps:

  1. Click the 123 button on your mobile keyboard (iOS).
  2. Click return and add either a period, dash or bullet.
  3. Hit return again and repeat the process a few times to hide your message (Instagram hides after three).
instagram outbound hashtag performance

Once you’ve used a few branded and non-branded hashtags, use an Instagram analytics tool like Sprout Social to easily track, monitor and benchmark your company’s hashtags.

3. Receive Notifications from Competitor Content

Brands should always measure their efforts against the competition to know what’s working and things that could improve. Using social media competitive analysis truly gives you an advantage to increase the quality of content and better reach your core audience.

For brands on Instagram, it’s smart to see what type of content your competitors publish on a regular basis. Then you can choose which methods could work for your brand and help build inspiration for future posts.

turn on instagram notifications example

To set up notifications of a specific user, simply go to one of their posts and click the three dots in the top right. From there, click Turn On Post Notifications to receive immediate alerts.

You do have to allow notifications on your mobile device to receive the alerts, so check your settings first. Additionally, you can adjust your notifications to only come from those you follow to limit the noise of your notifications.

Go to your profile, click settings and then Push Notification Settings to select how you receive updates.

4. Make Your Bio Link Dynamic

You get one clickable link in your Instagram account, but you can change it as many times as you please. Instead of using your home page URL and never touching it again, use the link in your bio to promote your latest content or special promotions.

Create a post (or a series of posts) on Instagram with a call to action for people to click the link in your bio for more information. This is perfect for running special promotions, preparing customers for a product launch or new feature to your site.

Instagram hacks like this make it easier to measure social media traffic to specific pages from the platform. And to make sure your links are simple and trackable, use UTM tracking parameters or a link shortener like Bit.ly.

instagram link in bio example

Another great way to use the link in your bio is to gather email subscribers. You can split test different landing pages and offers to see which gives you the best results.

5. Regram & Tag Influencers

Sharing content from other users is a great way to build relationships on social media. Twitter has Retweets. Pinterest has Repins. Instagram has regramming. However, Instagram doesn’t have a built-in feature to regram posts by other users. But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.

There are several Instagram apps such as Websta and Repost for Instagram that will let you repost photos from other users without having to take screenshots and cropping.

When you repost another user’s photo, make sure you tag them in the caption so they receive a notification and also to credit the original source. This practice of user-generated content creates long lasting relationships and helps increase engagement among other users.

6. Geotag Content for Higher Engagement

To get your content in front of a larger audience, it’s smart to geotag your images and videos. Users commonly scope tagged locations to follow other people in the same area. By tagging multiple areas with your various content, you spread out your social casting net.

geo-locations street view example

In fact, Instagram posts with a geotag receive almost 80% more engagement than non-tagged content. However, this doesn’t mean you should tag a bunch of random locations that don’t make sense to users.

Try to tag locations where the content belongs, but don’t just limit to your main headquarters. It’s also smart to create a custom location for users to check in when they’re near or at your business. If you don’t have a custom tag, follow these steps:

  1. Switch to your mobile Facebook app and click Check In on a new post.
  2. From here, start typing your specific custom location in the Where Are You? field.
  3. Once your location is correctly set, click add to create the location and select an appropriate category to your brand.
  4. Lastly, insert an address to your location by clicking Home and entering an address.
facebook unique geotag

Your custom location will populate anytime users search for your brand. Make sure you encourage users to start using the location 24 hours after you create the address.

7. Insert Line Breaks in Your Bio & Captions

Have you ever scrolled through your Instagram feed and noticed a post with an extremely long caption, without any line breaks? Chances are you kept scrolling without giving it a second look.

Huge blocks of text on Instagram are difficult to read and skim. Luckily, there’s an Instagram hack that lets you turn that ugly text block into organized paragraphs. For Android users, tap the return button on the mobile keyboard to create line breaks. But for iOS users, you have to write your content in a different app.

copy text from notes example

Don’t worry, it’s still extremely easy to do. Go to your Notes app and type the full bio or Instagram caption there. Then copy the text and paste it into the appropriate field on the app. Any line breaks you add will show up in the post. The end result is a caption that’s a lot easier on the eyes and has a better chance of being read.

If you’re using an Instagram scheduling tool like Sprout, click Compose and add your image and text. If you’re working with a larger social media team, you can select the publisher and send for approval.

After the content is approved, you’ll receive a link at your scheduled time to easily transfer the content to Instagram’s native app. To learn more on how to schedule Instagram posts, read here.

instagram management gif

8. Resize Photos for Instagram

Do you have a photo that you took a while back that would be perfect for Instagram? Don’t just rush to post it.

First, make sure that it’s sized and correctly cropped. You can do this manually by cropping your pictures to fit Instagram’s dimensions, but a better solution is to use Landscape.

Landscape is our free tool that resizes your photos to fit perfectly on Instagram and other social networks.

First, upload the picture you want to resize, and select the social networks you want to upload to.

landscape stage 1 example

Then choose the size you want your image to be.

landscape stage 2 example

Finish it off by cropping your picture to get the right look, and you’re all set!

landscape stage 3 example

If you have photos you took a while back with a digital camera and want to share them on Instagram, this hack will make sure you don’t lose quality when you upload it.

9. Quickly Add a Border In the App

One of the most important Instagram best practices to follow is making eye-catching content for your users. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to ensure your brand follows visual guidelines.

Some users prefer to add borders to their content to make the post stand out in the feed. But doing this is a bit tricky. Follow these steps to quickly add a border to your image:

  1. Select your image and click next.
  2. Once you choose your filter, click the filter again to get to a new window.
  3. Click the small box to the right to add a border to your image.
  4. Click the check mark once you’re finished to move forward.
instagram border example

Again, this is a simple but effective Instagram hack to give your photos a unique look in users’ feeds.

10. Find Influencers to Connect With Through BuzzSumo

Doing outreach on Instagram is a great way to grow your audience. The mistake a lot of people make is reaching out to the top tier accounts with a much larger following. Instead, try to find influencers that have similar audiences to your own.

You don’t need celebrities or major athletes, but instead Instagram power users who have engaged audiences. You can connect with influencers by searching for them through BuzzSumo. Simply enter the keyword or your industry and select what type of influencers to connect to.

buzzsumo search example

Connect with them on Instagram to hopefully not only increase your audience size, but slowly build relationships in the future. Don’t add a person and immediately ask for help on a co-marketing effort right away.

This will just seem spammy and likely lead you to an unfollow. Try to engage with users for awhile so they recognize your brand and then propose a collaboration. Professionalism can do wonders for your brand on Instagram.

11. Know the Best Times to Post to Instagram

Finding the best times to post on social media doesn’t have to be a guess in the dark. We recently broke down the best times to post for each social media channel to help brands reach their core audience.

Some of the findings showed that Instagram has its own unique publishing times, so take note of the results here:

  • Weekdays are the strongest days to post to Instagram
  • Mondays typically have the highest level of engagement in the week
  • Highest recommended posting times include 2 a.m., 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
  • Everyday around 3 p.m. seems to drive the least amount of engagement
  • Safe posting periods (excluding 3 p.m.) include most times between Monday and Thursday
best time to post on instagram graph

With the Instagram algorithm change, it’s harder to reach your core demographics. Following these posting times could give you a bit of an advantage to hitting your audience at a more optimal time.

12. Manage Multiple Instagram Accounts

If you have more than one aspect of your business, you may need to add another account. For example, a major company like Target has its original company account and a Fashion profile to highlight its clothing department.

Whatever the case is for having multiple accounts, you have to manage them correctly. You can do this on Instagram by doing the following:

  1. Go to your Instagram profile and click settings.
  2. Find Add Account near the bottom and insert the username and password of the second account.
  3. Access additional account through your account name and arrow at the top of your profile.
instagram integrations collaboration

At the same time, users can gain helpful insights and data on each of their profiles by using an Instagram management tool. With Sprout, you can connect, manage, analyze and even schedule posts from our single-stream software.

Having the ability to access user information and post scheduling capabilities on the fly can make all the difference for your business. Stay on top of your accounts and track key metrics through Sprout Social today!

Do you have any Instagram hacks you want share? Feel free to comment below!