Posted: 27 Apr 2016 Contributor: Kristina Petrick
Essential Instagram Tips For Brands And Bloggers
Want to increase your Instagram followers, likes, appearance, consumer interaction, and impact? Social Media is a huge player in B2C success, SEO, and the overall emotional connection to the consumer and lifestyle of a brand. Instagram in particular is home to over 300 Million active users, making it one of the most important platforms. Whether you’re a brand or a blogger – these are some valuable tips I’ve learned along the way as a professional on both sides of the spectrum.
Here’s an inside look at the essential pieces that make the difference between static social pages and viral content with these Instagram Tips.
Please understand, you cannot just “start” an account and expect to be successful. Sure you might get lucky, but the majority of cases will end up in failure. You need to do your research first. And this is not a small side project you can have a temp worker do (if you’re a brand) or that you can do while you’re catching up on your favorite TV shows (bloggers).
Set aside a significant (I’m talking at least several days) of time to do your research first. Define exactly the niche your content will be centered around, and explore the terrain of users similar to your end goal. If you don’t have the time – there are digital marketing agencies that handle research.
Take it seriously, and get it done right. If you don’t understand the target audience, their passions, their other hobbies, where they go, how they talk, what they do (you get the point) how can you expect to connect with them and receive their interaction on your account? Social media is about a personalized connection, and you need to be on the same page. Here are some things to consider when doing your research:
People communicate using their voice, and digitally there is no difference. If you want to communicate and connect with your audience, you need to develop the tone which best relates to them. Hitting up the Millennials or Gen Z? Be sure you’re up to date on the latest idiosyncrasies of their casual language. Be descriptive, without being cheesy or sounding too much like an infomercial. Looking for a more professional approach? Make sure you’re providing valuable information in clear concise manner which is still appealing. A bit of humor never hurts when tastefully integrated.
Instagram is a visual experience after all. Define your color palette, whether popping colors alternating every post, monochrome (like mine), earthy undertones, neons, pastels, etc. you get the picture. The look of your feed should be consistent and appealing – and make sense to your target audience. A great photo will get likes and comments, but a cohesive feed is what will bring in (and keep) followers.
Mix up your content. While your feed should be consistent – it shouldn’t be boring. There are several “types” of photos on Instagram, and you should be sure to include as many as you can that relate to your target audience. Product photos, flatlays, scenery, inspirational quotes, even selfies have their place in this world. The exact formula varies greatly business to business – so again if you’re not sure, seek the help of a professional.
Location matters, and no matter what product, service, blog you may be promoting – you need to be able to identify with the geo target of your audience. Are you a ? You’ll need some shots in a clinic or hospital to reinforce your identity. Selling sporting goods? Get outdoors #propsrequired. Lifestyle blogger? Where do you spend your life – in your home, social spots, office? Include the story behind the most direct approach for a deeper, more layered account that can maintain your audience’s very short attention.
Starting to see why this is not just a second-thought project? Do your research and master these – you’ll be well on your way to the start of getting Instagram followers pouring in your doors. If you’re just building a brand (or even a personal account) find out who you are, and who you’re trying to reach. And remember, don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a professional. Aumcore is one agency that has experience in many different industries and offers services from Social Media scheduling to content creation and brand identity. Their research team can help give you a head start to your Instagram account.
TAKE HIGHEST QUALITY PHOTOS
Of all the Instagram tips, this was one of the most defining of my blogging success. Notice this doesn’t read “high” or even “great” quality. Instead, I challenge you to re-think what “highest” quality really means. Take your best photos for example. All great, and you’re ready to post. Stop. Trash the bottom half (50% at least) of those great photos, and only post the highest remaining after the chop. Sounds like a waste of time? If you’re not having agony and a few tears over which photos to trash and the beautiful photos that are going to waste, your top 5 probably aren’t good enough to go viral. That’s not being aggressive, that’s a fact.
Over 70 Million Instagram photos are posted every single day according to Instagram’s press update. The market for top posts is extremely competitive, and one of the biggest contributing factors to growing your account is to achieve the “top posts” of Instagram’s search where you’re highlighted for all to see. If you want yours to stand out in the crowd, they can’t just be the best – they need to be the best of the best.
BE (VERY) ACTIVE IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Coming from the fashion industry, I had the opportunity to often frequent one of the largest fashion tradeshows in the U.S. – Magic. During one of the conventions, they held a Social Media conference, bringing in several guest speakers and successes in the industry. After attending the string of events, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with a few of the more famous Instagram bloggers who were giving presentations. Their Instagram advice: stay active in your community. And I don’t mean meeting up for blogger brunches and attending key events (though those can play a helpful role as well) this advise transcends bloggers and plays an equally important message for brands. What I’m talking about is borderline spamming.
Sounds cheap? It works. It’s not spamming if you’re connecting with the right audience who is looking for the media you’re posting. More specifically – like, comment, and follow people with interest similar to your own, or those you feel are your target audience. Not as they pop up in your feed – actively. Instagram has limits on all of these actions by the day and hour – and are pretty illusive about them to avoid people maxing out all the time.
If you’re looking for some serious growth on a new account – max those limits out. (without taking a risk of getting blocked of course) The key to this is a targeted approach. Don’t go crazy on every account you see. Make meaningful, personal interactions with people you honestly connect with in your line of business.
Side note: Instagram users are a bit like high school. Make sure your follow to following ratio is under control. Following too many people makes you look desperate – and you’ll scare away the users you actually hope to attract.
Consistency is key not only in content, but in your posting schedule as well. Having a regular schedule considering time and regularity keeps your users engaged, interested, and aware.
FIND THE TIME
Research your demographic, and find when they are most active on Instagram. Make an effort to post during those times. Posting in the middle of the night may seem cute at the moment for your evening event – but the fact of the matter is, your target audience is likely out themselves (not checking Instagram) or… in bed. Either way, just don’t do it.
Posting regularly (without over-posting) also has a huge impact. Posting 1X daily is the key recipe to success. Posting less – your followers may loose interest, and thanks to Instagram’s new feed update – they may not see you when you do post. Posting more than 1X daily – you’re going to start loosing followers. No one wants to be spammed. You can read on the details of Instagram’s change as well as the impact on social marketing here.
UTILIZE A PLANNER
Using a social scheduling platform can be helpful to maintain your content calendar in a few ways. Will some applications like Hootsuite, you can create media in advance and schedule posts to safe you from being glued to your mobile devise during inconvenient times of the day. Another benefit to pre-scheduling is the whole-picture approach – in which you’ll be able to spread out the other Instagram Tips we’ve discussed above (content, voice, location, etc.) in a way that’s evenly distributed, and makes a nice, cohesive feed.
For layout, I use VSCO which provides a 3-column layout similar to Instagram, allowing you to arrange photos and see how they’ll look as a whole. This also you to complete editing ahead of posting, so posting itself is a quick export, tag, and post process. VSCO also has several editing filters which may or may not be beneficial to your cause.
The maximum hashtags (#) used per photo is 30. While there are some tricks to working around this system (including editing your description a million times) I recommend avoiding these types of “tricks” in the system – which can get you blocked off of Instagram entirely. 30 hashtags are more than enough to give your audience an idea of what you’re talking about.
Keep it simple in your descriptions, using one or two that best describe that particular photo. If you need an extra push (especially for new accounts) do use the 30, but place them in the comments rather than the descriptions. This saves you from (again) looking too desperate.
The advantage to using multiple #’s – if your photo in those designated keywords strike a lot of likes, Instagram will give you the coveted “Top Posts” placement. This should be your ultimate goal for hashtag use to go viral, so be sure they’re relative to your post. Why is this so important? With the amount of photos posted per day (70 million… remember?) your photo may quickly disappear in your hashtag search results – which are where new users can find your account. Receiving placement in the Top Posts will freeze your photo to the top of those hashtag feeds, giving you exposure for hours or even days rather than just a few moments.
Not sure which hashtags to use? You can use a topic generator like All Hashtag which will give you the top 30 hashtags based off of one keyword selection. Instagram itself also gives you suggestions within each hashtag search, suggesting similar “Related” tags at the top of the app search results.
Bonus Tips And Stats:
There are so many details in the world of Instagram affecting interaction that I could write for hours on the matter, but hopefully this encapsulating article gives you a few new insights in how your can grow your brand or blog account. Here are a few more small tips that might help you along the way:
- Looking for some great editing tools? Here are the ones I’ve found to be the most helpful for professional editing results within an app: VSCO, Facetune, Snapseed
- Don’t forget your followers. Be sure they make it to the list of your interactive community.
- Posts that include outside user hands (@sample) get 56% more engagement. Tag influential people in your community – they may even repost you giving you additional exposure.
- Use geo tags. It’s one more way for people to find you, and posts with geo tags receive 79% higher engagement.
- It’s important. Instagram’s top brand engagement is 58X higher than Facebook (and even more than other social platforms) Don’t miss out on this opportunity for your brand growth.
Thanks for reading, and hope you found these Instagram Tips useful for your Social Media growth. If you have some more tips please help your community and share in the comments below how your grow your Instagram followers, likes, and interaction. We would love to learn from you other pros out there how you’ve grown. And if you’re looking for some help, be sure to get in touch with Aumcore – where a team of experts and myself can help you achieve Instagram success for your brand.