Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms, with 15 times more user engagement than Facebook, and 40 times more engagement than Twitter. Instagram allows users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters, and share them on social networking services. Instagram is a great addition to your social media lineup and a powerful tool in brand building. It’s a wonderful way to reach influencers and customers and an invaluable opportunity to turn them into fans of your brand.
If you haven’t yet obtained an Instagram account you should get one as soon as possible. If you already have an Instagram account, we’re going to provide you with some nifty tips to help you substantially grow your account in a very short period of time.
1) Boost Your Level of Engagement
Use whatever tactic you can think of to increase the engagement level within your community. There are various ways to do this:
- Ask questions: Asking questions increases interaction by a significant percent.
- Like photos: Search for photos that are in your niche. Start by clicking on hashtags that have to do with your industry. Then like photos that are similar to yours. This will pique the content creator’s interest and lead them to your images & profile.
- Comment on photos: Yup, it’s that simple. Use the same tactic as the like tactic above on likes, but go above just a like. Comment on those images. Engage with the community in your niche by liking photos AND making relevant comments. Skip those “nice” or “great picture” and add comments that are well thought out. We have found that this is the best way to gain a targeted following. People appreciate praise from others on posts they have taken great care in creating.
- Follow others: You can also spend time finding new prospects to follow. Again, make sure they are targeted to your industry. When you find someone who you think could convert, take the time to like their images, comment on them AND then follow them. This will result in a much higher conversion rate.
2) Stay In Your Niche
Make sure to maintain whatever theme you’ve chosen for your brand’s niche. In addition to posting product photos, you could also post photos in the niche related to your product or service. Do not post images that are unrelated to your niche. For example, if you’re a Social Media “Guru” you may not want to post pictures of your kid at the dentist. This offers no value to your community. If you’re a financial company, do not post pictures of your dinner. Think your photos out carefully and make sure to always keep your audience and goal in mind.
3) Use Carefully Chosen Hashtags
The selective and intelligent use of hashtags can seriously add to the success of your Instagram account. Hashtags on Instagram serve as the means by which your content is found, and are the equivalent of Instagram SEO. You should spend time choosing hashtags uniquely associated with your product, and ones that compliment your selected images. There are those who say to not use hashtags at all, or to keep hashtags down to a minimum. From our experience they are wrong. Hashtags are Instagram SEO…it takes a LONG…LONG time to get to the point where you don’t need to include hashtags. Hashtags should always be used…and they should always be used if you’re just getting started. You want your hashtags to be targeted, but not so targeted that nobody searches for them. Here are some example of bad hashtags:
Too Generic: These hashtags will get you followers who are not targeted and will not convert. These hashtags are also incredibly popular, so your image will soon drop off the search: #followforfollow #likeforlike #me #instamood #photooftheday
4) Contests and Giveaways
Contests and giveaways can be powerful ways to bolster engagement and grow your Intagram account. You can run a contest to get new fans, keep fans engaged, expand awareness of your brand, or to generate fresh user content. A well designed contest with a reasonably valuable prize can land you contact information on hundreds of potential customers.
5) Comment and Like Other Photos
By exploring and liking other people’s photos and even commenting on some, you may stumble upon some great accounts to follow, and you will also gain followers. We touched on this before, but wanted to emphasize the power of a good comment.
6) Include Your Logo on Photos
As long as you’re posting images that may be shared by others, why not include your business logo on your photos to promote your brand, as well as links to promotional articles and downloads. You can do this with apps such as WordSwag (one of our faves), or add it on Photoshop and then use a scheduler like Socialdraft to schedule these posts.
7) Use a Photo Editor
The more impressive the quality of your images, the more Likes you will receive. In order to enhance the caliber of your photos, you should use a photo editor such as Afterlight, Aviary or LunaPic. With a photo editor you can add extra flair with graphics, fonts and text layouts that will really make your images stand out.
8) Track Your Followers
Use a tool such as Unfollowgram to track your Instagram followers. You can use it to easily unfollow any people that are not relevant to you, or people that are inactive or who do not follow you back. Remember – the key is to have a targeted audience. Keep in mind that you can only follow 7,500 people on Instagram and that engagement is key – so you need to keep your follows in check.
9) Find and Follow Influential Accounts
By following big, influential accounts you can learn some professional tricks on Instagram, and you may even end up being followed by them which would influence others who consider following you.
10) Only Post Top Quality Images
If you want people to return to your Instagram account on a regular basis, only post the best photos you can manage to supply. Photography and the production of high quality images is an art, so you should at least learn the basics.
11) Use Images That Elicit Strong Feelings
Photos that are inclined to bring forth an emotional response will spark more engagement with your audience. Now obviously there’s no emotion associated with some products, like say furniture, but a photo of an attractive couple sitting on furniture with a plush rug in front of a warm fire with hot chocolate may trigger feeling of comfort and security.
12) Post on a Regular Basis
The majority of the world’s top 100 social brands post at least once per week, and 28 percent post at least 5 times per week. If your images are always of high quality, your followers will be looking forward to your next post so don”t disappoint them. We recommend that the minimum be 1 time per day, although others say that 3 times per day is best. We suggest you stick with 1 high quality image per day with some high engagement for optimal results. You can use Socialdraft to schedule posts to Instagram. It’s super easy!
13) Unique URLs and Phone Numbers
Including custom landing page URLs or phone numbers in images or post text lets you track call-to-action conversation rates for particular images or campaigns.
14) Promote Your Instagram Account
Mention your Instagram account on other social media, your website, on printed materials and your email signature. Drive traffic.
15) Keep Your Profile Current
People do check profiles, so make sure your bio is up-to-date. Plus, bio sections are the perfect place to leave a link back to your webpage or blog. A few things to check off:
- SEO – use key words for your industry on the first line of your bio
- Call to action – include a call to action
16) Socialdraft’s Instagram Photo Search
Use Socialdraft’s Instagram photo search. Let our Instagram photo search help you find the people who are talking about your brand so you can engage them, amplify their content, and build brand advocates. You can also monitor your competition and their fans to try and convert them.
The use of emoticons in your descriptions can be an effective way to trigger curiosity in your audience. You can also use emoticons to draw users to your profile link or to draw attention to a call to action in the comments section.
18) Use Multiple Images
Some experts claim that by combining multiple images into one image you can get around 25% more likes and comments than single images. Be sure to maintain a high quality of images in your combination.
19) Be Selective With Filters
Instagram audiences reportedly respond to certain photo filters more favorably than others. Using these preferred filters can help to increase engagement on your account.
According to Populagram, the 10 most popular filters on Instagram are:
You can use IconoSquare to measure the performance of the filters you have been using. Then you can determine more accurately what the best filters are for your particular audience.
20. Run a repost campaign
Craft a custom hashtag and ask your community to tag their pictures with it for a repost. When you do repost, give them full credit and push out all over your social media channels. Others will want to participate and follow you as well. This can easily be done in the photos area of Socialdraft.
Have questions on these? Let us know in the comments.