Instagram is a very popular social platform for sharing photos and images. With more than 400 million users, it has become a critical social media platform for businesses in the last couple of years. Businesses, even small business entrepreneurs, have seen the amazing way Instagram can add value to their brand.
If you are thinking of using Instagram, or would like to see more success in this social media network, follow these tips:
How to Use Instagram
- Read and follow Instagram’s display guidelines
- Be sure to complete your bio, including call to action, most relevant and connected hashtags and links.
- Be authentic: Instagram followers value authenticity. Don’t come across as fake and trying too hard that over promise yet cannot deliver.
- Give your brand a unique voice. Sharing your passion can help you gain people’s loyalty, love and yes, follows!
- Be clear as to your reasons for being on Instagram, whether you want to share your working culture or strengthen your relationship with customers, and this will help you focus the content you post on the site
- Use Instagram to collect user generated content – e.g. collecting photos of regular people using your products. Showing how your customers are using your products — not just your stock photos — can be a powerful testament to your brand. Let your customers be your advocate.
- Study your specific niche to know your target market and the types of users you want to reach
- Use tools to schedule your Instagram posts
- Always be on the lookout for tips and research on what’s working well in terms of Instagram marketing and what’s not working, what your competitors are doing differently and effectively so you can improve your own strategy
- Track and measure engagement to your photos in order to better understand what your audiences like – and give them more of those!
Types of Content to be Posted on Instagram
- Make sure your images are related to your niche, as well as to the overall image that you want to project. If you sell an auditing software, do not post figure skating photos that are totally off-tangent to what your business is all about.
- Have a content plan and be consistent in posting photos.
- Go beyond simply uploading stock photos of your products. If you’re a fashion business, show how customers are wearing your products.
- Post images of other things that your target demographic has an interest in and can relate to (e.g. for a clothing store targeting female teenagers and young adults, include images of music concerts or foods and not just your clothing and accessories).
- Experiment and do trial-and-error to find the content that works best for your company.
- Be sure to state your name or website URL in your content. When other users share your photo or other websites post your Instagram image, having your URL on the image can help spread the word about your website and ensure that the image is attributed to you.
- Offer sneak peaks at what is going on in your business – textile you will be using, staff meetings, images of your office to show how you work, as this could allow your brand to be more personal and increase interest in your business.
- Complement your photos or videos with compelling copy or captions. Include additional details that can help explain your visuals, or write inspiring captions that match the mood of the photos.
- Consider writing long but well-written copy, instead of the just-the-facts short captions. This will allow you to better describe the photo or image and share your thoughts about it
How to Get More Followers
- Let your existing customers know that your business is now on Instagram. Announce it to your email list, include Instagram in the social buttons of your site, invite your current social media followers and fans
- Connect your Facebook and Twitter with Instagram account, which will allow your Instagram activity to get streamed to Facebook
- Partner with Instagram influencers.
- Reach out to popular accounts, and reach out to them if they will be willing to do a shout out for you. Some will oblige, others will require a tit-for-tat arrangement (you do a shout out about them), while others will require payment.
- Follow others especially those related to your business and like their photos.
- Be active: like and comment on other people’s posts to get more exposure on Instagram
- Use relevant hashtags. Hashtags allow users to navigate easily to topics they are interested in, so using hashtags allow your content to be discovered even by people not following you.
- Establish your own hashtags especially if you are looking for user generated content from your community
- Consider “share for a share” arrangements, which offers the opportunity to show your content on other pages if you do the same for them and post their content
- Following and unfollowing people who did not follow you back, though be careful with this strategy as many frown on this approach.
- Buying followers and likes can increase your numbers; though be careful as many find it slimy, less authentic and a form of cheating (and yes, those are probably robot accounts)
How to Increase Engagement
- Increase engagement by having a clear call to action
- Post engaging content that grabs emotion, unique and relatable; or images that trigger questions that elicit some thought
- Add call to action in your posts, such as “Double tab to like!” so users will know what you expect from them and help you gain more followers.
- Initially experiment on posting on different days and times, and then take note of when you get the most engagement
- Post regularly. From 1 to 7 times a day depending on your brand
- Avoid posting a whole bunch of photos in one sitting. This is considered as spammy and people may unfollow your account. Space out your postings.
- Use contests to engage your audiences, make it fun for your followers and generate leads for your business
- Ask questions in your photo captions to help increase likes and comments
- Respond to comments or questions you get from your audiences
Quality of Photos and Images
- Make your photos even more beautiful by using filters
- Use photo-editing apps to improve and personalize your photos
- Pick the right time to share your photos — at the time your followers are available. After all, timing is everything.
- Run contests to share your photos with customers/ potential customers
- Track and measure the engagement generated by your content so you can know what really impacts your audience
- Create a strong visual tone and maintain consistency to help increase recognition
How to Use Instagram Videos
- If you can, use the 15-second Instagram videos as part of your content marketing strategy on Instagram. Use videos to entertain, announce upcoming events or product launches, educate your customers, drive traffic to your site and engage your audiences.
- Keep your videos short and simple. Given Instagram’s 15 second limit, break up your longer videos into a series of clips.
- Make sure that you have goals and metrics set for your Instagram videos, and measure the results.
- Be bold, adventurous and be willing to experiment to help you know the content, style and approach that your users like.
Do you have other tips that you use on Instagram? Do share it with us.