Instagram has grown exponentially from a basic picture sharing service into a serious content marketing and audience building tool. It has built brands and spawned its share of influencers along the way, allowing people to become self-made social stars.
Celebrities, entrepreneurs, models and other professionals have even gotten paid thanks to the platform and sponsored posts. Engagement rates for brands on Instagram blow other social media channels out of the water. Brands are receiving nearly 60 times more interaction per follower than they would on Facebook, and double that figure when compared to Twitter. As a result, there are over 25 million active business profiles and two million advertisers on the platform.
If you're looking to promote yourself on Instagram and achieve a large and loyal following, these tips should be useful.
When it comes to Instagram, aesthetic is crucial. It's a picture and video-sharing website at its core, so image is everything.
First, you need to adopt a general brand aesthetic on your account and stick to it. If you're running a fashion brand, you want clean and sleek imagery. If you're trying to promote a lifestyle brand, you should use brighter, eye-catching photos.
If you're following someone on Instagram, you're doing so because they have excellent photography and interesting images. Upload your highest quality photos to your public profile and make people take notice as soon as they surf your page. Make sure the aesthetics you choose are directly and authentically tied to your brand. Avoid changing up your filters too often so that you can establish a consistent style and theme which people can follow.
To effectively boost your following, you need to understand your target demographic. Gauge who your ideal followers are and how you want them to interact with your social media and brand.
It's good to be multi-faceted, but if you have a travel blog, you should be tailoring your content to entice fellow travellers. If your focus is on fitness, then you'll be looking for exercise and sports enthusiasts with your fitness videos and diet tips. People will unfollow you once they either see content that doesn't relate to them or don't see consistency in your focus. Keep these things in mind before you start uploading content.
Furthermore, keep your professional page professional, and leave your personal or random photos for your private, non-business account.
Looking at pictures without knowing what you're looking at can be frustrating when surfing Instagram, especially when you see something interesting and want to know more. So why would you leave your followers in the dark?
Keep your followers engaged with witty, sharp captions that still explain with clarity what they're seeing. Captions are a great way to show your brand's personality, because people like to feel connected to those they follow. Talk to them through captions. Keep your captions informative and descriptive but not too wordy. People like simple, short and intriguing bits of text to read on social, and captions should embody that spirit.
To accelerate likes, views and shares of your posts, hashtags are a smart way to go. Instagram limits how many hashtags you can use in a single post to 30, but you can use as many as possible that are relevant to the post.
You don't have to outright avoid the really popular ones, such as #instadaily and #instagood, but know that it's very competitive to rank for these tags as hundreds of millions of people use them. The more popular and generic a hashtag is, the harder it is to get noticed by the people who you want to interact with your posts.
Choose hashtags that are relevant to your interests and industry. You can also make your own hashtags or put a spin on a trending topic. You can type a hashtag into or below your caption and Instagram will suggest other hashtags for you to use.
Customize your hashtags for each post to the subject of each post, and that will help more of your posts to get seen by the right Instagram users.
The best way to attract followers on Instagram is not just through posting, but posting at optimal times when you get more impressions and interactions. Though Instagram uses an algorithmic timeline, optimal posting times are still relevant to the algorithm.
You can check your Instagram insights to know when the majority of your followers are online. Click on the profile tab and then the bar chart icon to check out those insights. If you know your followers are online more in the morning, post something to brighten their day. If they’re scrolling at night, you can save your networking for after work hours.
You should also space out your posts as much as you can. Posting multiple things at the same time won’t get you any more attention, and you don’t want to inundate people with several posts, even if your following is large.
If you have multiple photos to share, combine them in one post with the slideshow feature. If you're eager to post and have an Android, you can save posts that are ready to publish via drafts within Instagram. This way, you can post whenever you're ready with the caption, hashtags and edits you had in mind.
Followers will want to visit your profile more if they know you are interested in talking to them in the comments, through direct messages, or even in a live stream. Reply to comments you get on your posts, and tag people and places in your posts, as long as those tags are relevant to the picture or video that you're posting.
You should also interact with some of your followers who share similar content by commenting on their posts, as that could spark a conversation and an exchange of ideas. You can also follow Instagram hashtags that are relevant to your niche. Using this feature, you can filter, like and comment on relatable posts and even gain some new followers.
Another way to be interactive is by using Instagram Stories. Much like Snapchat, you can post video and photo statuses that your followers can see, allowing them to send messages if they like them. It's spontaneous, unpolished content that lets people know what you are promoting and the personality behind it. You can also post links to your website, which looks less clunky on a Story than it does in an individual post or your bio.
The best way to utilize this feature is by going live. Instagram Live permits followers to comment and join the conversation in real-time. Don't use your Live sessions to just sell your services or whatever you're promoting. Make it fun and something that people will want to watch from start to finish, for the 24 hours that the video is available.
People can send in their questions for you, so it's a great way to introduce a product or conduct an interview. There are also options where someone will send a request to be in your live video, creating a split-screen live conversation.
Just like many other sectors, the social media realm is ultra-competitive. Studying fellow Instagram users who specialize in things you concentrate on is a good strategy. Look at their engagement metrics, see which hashtags they use, when they post, and what they post.
Examine the type of content they use to attract followers and generate the best interactions. It's even helpful to see which posts fall flat when it comes to making an impression. These insights will help you optimize your own content to help you stay ahead of your closest rivals. You can also benefit by curating your posts and videos in the most cohesive way possible.
Instagram has grown into a social media powerhouse across the world and if you follow the best social strategies, you can use Instagram as a true promotional hub.
To become a successful social media marketer, you need to be well-rounded on Instagram: take a social media marketing course, learn from the leading brands in your industry, and know the right strategies to promote yourself and achieve a large and loyal following.