Instagram has become one of the most used and popular social media platforms over the last few years. You know Instagram was on to something good when Facebook bought it for a billion dollars. Instagram has provided businesses with a new way to promote their brands and messages by visually representing who they are. Just like there are different strategies, types of content to post and ways to reach your audience between Twitter and Facebook, Instagram is no different. Here is your list of key ways to properly use Instagram for your business:
1. Use the right hashtag
The number of hashtags used — and making sure they are relevant to the post and your social media voice — is important. Hashtags are a great way to stay up with current trends and be active in your audience’s conversation. Using hashtags that aren’t relevant to your brand will result in low traffic. Not all posts need hashtags, but when used, don’t use more than five. Using too many hashtags in a post will make the viewer swipe right past your content.
2. Tag your location or city
Tagging your location or city creates relevance to your post and visually shows who is viewing your post where you are. It can help create foot traffic to a business or provide credibility for a potential customer knowing where the business is. Instagram users can search for photos and people by location or city. If you tag the city in your post, your post will appear in that city’s timeline, resulting in more ways for your post or page to be found.
3. Utilize Instagram Insights
Instagram provides page and individual post insights similar to Facebook Insights or Twitter Analytics. It provides how many impressions the post got, how many unique accounts saw the post and the number of total engagements. With this data, you can tell which posts get high versus low engagement — to determine which posts resonate best with your audience.
4. Instagram ads through Facebook
Facebook has made it easy for businesses to run ads and campaigns for both Facebook and Instagram in one place. When creating Facebook ads or setting Facebook campaigns, you can select whether the ad or campaign is to be run on Instagram as well. Running Instagram ads and setting up campaigns are the best ways to increase your following, reach your target audience and create a call to action.
5. Real photos over graphic design or promotional material
Although graphic design work and infographics are a great way to inform your followers, they are best used on other platforms or through different tactics. People use Instagram to see real photos and how a company brands itself visually. Whether you are using a professional-quality camera or your iPhone, posting real photos makes your company look like real people are behind the screen. Take clear photos, experiment with the Instagram photo filters and be creative!
6. Add multiple photos to a post and make a mini-album
Recently, Instagram added a feature where you can add up to 10 pictures or videos to each post. The worst types of people or brands to follow are those that post 10 different times a day and are flooding your timeline with their content. This new feature allows you to create a mini-album and make a post that people will actually spend time looking at.
7. Engage with your followers and start conversation
Don’t just create posts that are throwing your brand on their timeline or using it to promote your services; create posts that allow for two-way communication between you and your followers. Ask them questions, start conversations, respond to their comments and create engagement. It allows you to personalize your brand and build a relationship with your followers and potential customers.
8. Newer Instagram features
Instagram has continued to improve its platform and allow the user to do more. Using different features such as Instagram Live, Story mode and Boomerang adds variety and creativity to your post and page. Posting in the same style using the same type of content gets repetitive, and the way you use Instagram becomes very one-dimensional. Instagram encourages its users to post new content all the time.
9. Mix of photos and videos
Similar to No. 8, posting a mix of photos and videos creates a new experience for the viewers, and makes your page and company look very social media savvy.
10. Don’t just recycle your Facebook and Twitter posts on your Instagram
Many businesses that have Instagram accounts simply repost the same images that they used on Facebook, with the same copy. Different platforms have different audiences who want to see new content and material. Strategize how to differentiate your Instagram from your Twitter and Facebook, while conveying the same message and brand image.
11. Make sure content is sized for IG
Fuzzy and blurry images on Instagram stand out in a bad way from all the other content. Sizing between platforms varies, so what looks good in a Twitter picture may not look as good in an Instagram post. The ideal Instagram photo size is 1080 x 1080 pixel resolution. You want your Instagram images being crisp and vibrant, and not out of focus.
About the Author
Soon graduating from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with a degree in Advertising & Public Relations, Lane Davis already has years of experience in the industry. He has gained his professional experience in social media and digital media marketing. He focuses on SEO, analytics, digital content strategy and running social media campaigns. Connect on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davislane/