Instagram has over 400,000,000 users. Let's face it, that's a massive number to say the least! Users share a lot of videos and photos on Instagram, 80 million photos a day to be precise.
Instagram is one of the most powerful social media platforms out there. If you are not using Instagram for marketing, you are just losing a huge chunk of potential customers. Want to know what works with Instagram? Let's dive into some tips and tools to help you posting like a pro.
1. Building a community based on a specific hashtag
If you are aiming for social media success, you should be building a community. We are not talking about any type of community, but community that are interested in a specific topic.
You can start a topic around your own hashtag and post about it daily or weekly. I currently run a weekly #EpicAussie hashtag where I feature awesome Aussies I find on Instagram and I share their post and story with my followers. Check out the search results here > #EpicAussie
When you are uploading an image to Instagram, using the right hashtag could increase your visibility significantly. But don't post all the hashtags in your caption, post them after you posted your image in the comments section - this way your photo post looks neat and clean.
If you have no idea which are the popular hashtags to use, take a look at this link. It is updated every hour or so, therefore you are constantly getting the latest and updated one.
2. Staying active on Instagram
Nobody loves to follow an inactive Instagram account. It doesn't matter if you are Kanye West or a superstar; an inactive account is never the public's favorite.
Staying active on Instagram would mean that you are required (yes folks, r-e-q-u-i-r-e-d) to publish on a constant pace. It can be once a day or a different interval that fits your need. The trick here is to be consistent and there's no two way around that.
Draw up a content calendar for yourself and mark out special days like Christmas, local sport events, Valentine's Day, New Year, your book or course launch date and so on - then you can start planning content around that. You can build out content ideas around Friday's - everyone is happy that it is #TGIF OR you could start your own Instagram feature where you feature other's content or pick someone from a personalised hashtag you created to feature.
Once you have a basic calendar of content ideas and concepts laid out you can use tools like Hootsuite or Latergram.me to schedule your Instagram posts in. This way you will get the notification daily to post your scheduled post for that day - this will help you with consistency and consistency is key.
3. Avoid over posting
You don't have to publish every 30 minutes on Instagram. I still see tons of people that post 5-10 images in less than an hour - this is the quickest way to get yourself unfollowed!! DON'T DO IT! This action doesn't represent 'staying active' and it opens a whole new world of 'spamming' instead.
Instagram marketing is all about posting images that matters most at the right time, with the right consistency. My schedule at the moment is one image in the morning before 11:00AM and then one image at night at about 9.30PM and I have a consistent growth in my followers - plus my engagement per post is really high as my audience is not flooded with updates from me.
4. Cross-promotion is important
By default, Instagram allows you to publish the same image over to Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Foursquare. This simple action would basically open up your brand's visibility to much more potential markets instead of just (solely) Instagram users.
I recommend not posting each and every graphic you make for Instagram to Facebook as this is just duplicating content, remember you need to alter your content per platform - each audience is different depending on the platform they are using.
If you know an image is going to resonate with your audience on the other platform then cross promote by all means, but if you are just duplicating maybe it is a sign that you need to focus on Instagram and scrape the other platform you are just duplicating to?
5. Use Instagram filters (carefully)
Instagram filters are created for a reason – and that is to help us (beginners in photo taking) to create beautiful images.
If you want Instagram marketing to work for you, take the time to understand Instagram filters and special effects to create powerful images that tickle the brain.
Some Instagram users may be looking for more filters outside from Instagram's default. If you are one of them, check out Apple or Android store (if you are using smartphones) for more applications to enhance your image creation.
Some apps I enjoy using on Android are:
6. Interaction is the key to Instagram success
Are you talking time to interact with your followers on Instagram? If you are not, you should – right now!
Small actions such as liking and commenting could easily boost your engagement rate on Instagram. Plus, Instagram users are more tempted to engage back with you when you initiate the first step.
It is also important to tag the original sharer in your comment as this will send notification over to them.
A tool that makes engagement easy is Iconosquare.
I recently discovered a fantastic Android mobile app for Instagram management called InstaFollow. The extra features like engagement stats and user insights are around $1 each which are absolutely worth getting. I am really impressed with the detailed and useful information you get from this app as affordable useful software for Instagram analytics doesn't come cheap at the moment.
7. Reposting when you are out of ideas
Most Instagram-ers would face this situation sooner or later. You are bound to cross path with the 'out of ideas' days.
So, what do you when you are out of ideas?
Take the opportunity to share other people's work, of course. This can be done easily using smartphone apps such as Repost App. It allows you to repost images shared by your followers. Also take a look at Latergram.me - you can search for your liked posts and or hashtags and repost them easily.
And in return, you are automatically tagging them for credits.
If you are starting out on Instagram, or just lack the time to create a graphic for the day - reposting your follower's work on Instagram is a great way to double your engagement rate.
8. Description Marketing
This is probably the biggest and most common mistake. The description box on Instagram is there for a reason – and that's for you to share information related to the image you are sharing.
Crafting the right description is an art. When writing the description, make sure it is complete and avoid using jargons. On average, anywhere from 15 to 30 words is a pretty good range and adding some hashtags are also bonuses you can leverage. I try to not add more than 3 hashtags in my description if any. I add hashtags in the comment below the image to be discovered.
Instagram has some of the best engagement numbers out of all the social media platforms currently and an interesting fact is that Instagram has the highest engagement numbers at the moment in sunny Australia! Do you use Instagram? Share your tips with us below 🙂