This week in Introduction to Social Media, we learned about how to create and write for social platforms such as Blogs, Facebooks, and Twitter. Instagram being my personal favourite platform to use, I was curious about what makes a great Instagram post. Instagram is a photo-sharing social media network for personal and professional use. Instagram is an extremely effective tool for capturing audiences through the use of pictures; after all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Like facebook, Instagram can be used to share pictures of your everyday life, or for businesses to gain a following to ultimately sell a product or service. According to Business Instagram, there are 400 million users who use Instagram every day, and of those 400 million users, 80% of them follow a business. Here is what I believe to be the best practices for marketing on Instagram:
1. Posting Great Photos
Since Instagram is a photo sharing platform, taking great pictures is critical. With those statistics I shared above, it’s important for your image (or video!) to stand out. Using a professional camera, rather than your iphone will create a higher quality image. Creating an image that will captivate users, will ultimately lead them to either like, comment, tag their friends, follow you, or buy the product you’re selling.
Like Facebook and Twitter, choosing the right time to publish can increase your chances of people viewing your post. The goal is to publish your post when users are most active. According to CoSchedule, the best time to post is generally during off work hours. You can also use tools like HootSuite to schedule and automate your posts.
Creating a common theme will produce an attractive look and feel for your profile. Posting pictures using similar colours and the same ‘filter’ will make your profile look more appealing. Doing this will also keep your brand consistent. One of my favourite Instagram accounts is Lauren Conrad. Notice the similar colours and photos?
4. Branding Your Profile
Like with any social media platform, making sure your profile is complete and aligned with your brand is crucial. Using your logo as your profile picture will allow users to find and recognize your business. Ensuring your website link is included in your profile will drive people to your site. You should also include a description of your product/service for people who don’t know your business. Many businesses will also create their own hashtag for a social media campaign and for people to use when sharing a picture of your product.
5. Hashtags and Geolocation
Within Instagram, you can search via Hashtag. Hashtags are words with a pound sign (i.e. #socialmedia). People use hashtags to search a specific topic or category. You can use hashtags on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. By using hashtags you can increase your reach and make your account more discoverable. Remember to use hashtags that relate to your product. As mentioned in tip #4, businesses also use their own hashtag to help brand and see the content users are sharing.
With Geotagging you can tag your location where the picture was taken. This is another way for people to discover your photos/videos. It will also allow users to geotag when they are at your place of business, resulting in more exposure.
6. Connecting With Your Followers
There are several ways you can communicate with your followers on Instagram. Doing this will create a trusted and reliable brand. Many businesses will reply to their comments when a question is asked. You can also like your follower’s comments. Many companies will do ‘shoutouts’ or ‘repost’ their fans photos. This will encourage followers to post pictures of your product. Personally, I love it when companies respond to a question or concern I have on Social Media. It saves me time trying to find the answer and it shows that they care enough to answer me directly.
7. Instagram Insights
Instagram Insights is a built-in tool used to help you analyze your followers and drive your strategy. Using this tool will allow you to gain insights about your follower’s activities and demographics. This is a powerful tool that can help you tweak your posts to cater to your followers, or show you areas that you can improve (ie. Posting at times your followers are online). Other companies such as Sprout offer a similar service.
Instagram can assist in building your brand and engaging with your followers. Do you have anything to add to these top tips? Do you use Instagram? If so, why, and do you follow businesses or just your friends?
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