At the end of 2020, Instagram released a new update that promised to address the limitations the search function had. Previously, brands had to rely on hashtags and precise account names in order to be discovered. If neither was searched for, no one would find you.

The newly improved feature lets users search for keywords and phrases in individual posts, which means that Instagram search now packs the same punch as a search engine.

media update’s Maryna Steyn takes a look at what this update means for brands.

Instagram’s update increases your brand’s discoverability on the platform

Your brand now has a better chance of being discovered than ever before! Previously, if a potential client wanted to find your brand, they had to know your account name to find you. Additionally, if you did not add the specific hashtag that they were looking for in your caption or bio, your posts would not show up in their newsfeed.

The new keyword update solves this issue. Search results now include posts where the keyword is written in the caption. Can anyone say Instagram SEO?

Let's look at an example: A person searches for the word ‘roses’ on Instagram. The results then list the accounts of rose-named flower shops as well as posts that use the word as a hashtag or caption. Users then get to scroll through all the results and choose which ones are most applicable to them.

Previously, you had to know either the account name of the flower shop or search for the hashtag ‘roses’ and find a brand by what seemed to be pure chance. But now, with the ‘keyword search’ update, you can be sure that your brand will be discovered.

Simply put, the update allows more people to access more content. Because a higher number of users are able to find you, brands can increase their reach and grow their online presence.

Instagram’s update helps you identify competitors by searching for accurate keywords

The same tool that helps your discoverability also helps you identify rival brands. How, you might ask? By doing a keyword search of course!

Imagine your company, named Brand X, sells organic produce, and you would like to find your competitor.

You could then search for keywords, such as ‘organic vegetables’, which is a term that both you and your rival brand use. Once you have searched for this mutual keyword, your account — as well as your rival’s account — should show in the results.

This way, brands gain a competitive advantage by seeing who else is using the same keywords.

If you’re still new to the business of social media, don’t worry! We’ve got a couple of tips to help you out. When developing your social media strategy, take the time to investigate keywords. Remember to also target accurate key phrases relating to your business and research the results. This will help your brand because you will see if you are using the right search terms in your social media efforts.

If you have never done this before, start by thinking of who your typical client would be. What does your business provide to your client? Why would your client be searching for you? What keywords would they use?

Use the answers to these questions for searches and pay attention to what competing brands pop up.

Your competitor research can also show you what keywords and tags that opponents are using. If you find any that are different from yours, consider researching those too. In this way, brands can improve the accuracy of the keywords they use in posts and hashtags.

Instagram’s ‘keyword search’ update improves your search results

The new ‘keyword search’ update allows you to strengthen your brand's social media strategies by refining your discoverability. This makes it easier for your target audience to find you when searching for keywords related to your brand.

Once you are confident that you are using the correct keywords, you can optimise your profile by using — you guessed it — Instagram SEO.

Improve your rankings in the search results by making sure your bio and captions contain the relevant keywords that your target audience is looking for. This will make it easier for the search engine to find your content and help you reach new users. You wouldn't want to go through all the trouble of identifying these magic words and then not using them, would you?

Keep in mind that search results are influenced by who you follow and the content that you have ‘Liked’. So in order to ensure that your page is SEO-ready, relevance is key. Keywords and hashtags need to be specific in terms of your brand and products.

Do you know of any other ways that the ‘keyword search’ update on Instagram will impact brands? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media apps, so don’t let your brand get left behind! Stay ahead of the curve by checking out these Three ways to up your Instagram game.
*Image courtesy of Canva