Instagram is booming now more than ever, and now is the perfect time to capitalize on it. With more than a billion active users and new features and functions for business being rolled out regularly, the hype is real. However, their ever-changing algorithm is challenging for brands looking to maximize engagement. Although it isn’t as significant as Facebook’s recent updates, this is a prime opportunity to double-check your Instagram best practices. This list of Instagram tips will help ensure that your presence isn’t stuck in the past. Whether you’re an IG newbie or just want to double-check your playbook, all of these Instagram tips deserve your attention.
1. Be creative with your presentation
Social media shouldn’t be a catalog. It’s okay to highlight your products every now and then, but there needs to be a good balance. Highlight your solutions, not your products so much.
2. Optimize your profile
Focus on your most important and unique service proposition, your up and coming product/service with a slogan or short sentence (think Apple promoting the next iPhone). Update your profile often, and always include branded images and or a hashtag.
3. Use Stories
Stories are very in. They are essentially the new Snapchat though with stronger features for businesses. The great news is unlike content you put on your grid, no one expects Stories to be well-produced, so creating them on the fly is more than acceptable. They are great for showing personality behind the scene engagement.
4. Don’t forget videos.
Video content is still king. Instagram provides great tools to make video creation easy, like Boomerang and Hyperlapse. You can find a great list of video creation tools here!
5. Know when to post
Sometimes the oldest advice is still the best. Though the algorithm isn’t chronological like it used to be, there is still some common sense when it comes to posting times. Generally, lunch time, evenings, and weekends are great times to post. If your audience is asleep when you’re posting, you lose.
6. Include a call to action
It is important to include a CTA, but it’s just as important to be smart about your ask. You don’t want to hook them with a buying ask in each post. Rather, ask for engagement. It’s the little “yes.” When you can get someone to like or comment on something, they are telling you “yes.” Enough little yeses can add up to a bigger yes over time when you do ask for a sale. Try asking questions like, have you done this? Have you tried this? Do you agree? You can also ask them to click the link in your bio or visit your website.
Speaking of the oldest and best advice… engage your audience, always. If you can’t answer every question that comes across, hire someone who can. Respond to comments. Make social media marketing a conversation, not a billboard.
8. Use hashtags – wisely
Believe it or not, posts with the fewest hashtags get the most engagement. That doesn’t mean you can’t use multiple hashtags in a post – 3 to 5 is acceptable – but keep a leash on it whenever possible and choose them wisely. Branded hashtags and community hashtags are usually best. Here is a post we wrote explaining the reasoning behind this strategy as well as best practices for using hashtags.
9. Take them backstage
Behind-the-scenes posts give the public glimpses they wouldn’t otherwise get into your business and your people, and they add a sense of intimacy and authenticity that builds loyalty and credibility.
10. Identify and build relationships with influencers
Make sure they’re actually influential, not just people with a large following. These are essentially celebrity endorsements, and they work. We suggest starting with micro-influencers, which you can learn about here.
11. Make sure they know you exist elsewhere
Cross-platform promotion is huge. Maybe someone finds you on IG but they spend most of their time on Twitter or Facebook. Let everyone know where they can find you, no matter where they wander.
One great way to do this is to share your followers’ images. It’s high flattering to them, and these days there are plenty of individuals creating content as good as any professional. When you regram someone else’s content, they will likely share back, putting your name and profile out to a whole new audience.
13. Be human
You are human, right? Make sure they know that! Minimize canned responses, generic comments, and too many in-your-face advertisement posts. It makes worlds of a difference!
14. Stay on track
Use a content calendar with all your content marketing to plan ahead and make sure you don’t squander a single opportunity.
15. Analyze, rethink, adjust, analyze again
Even if your campaigns are taking off, they can always do better. If they’re not taking off, figure out why. Always improve.