6 easy ways to get more out of your Instagram
Instagram is one of the most popular social networks in the world, with 1 billion monthly active users and the numbers just keep on growing year by year.
The popular photo-sharing social network is not as easy to use or straightforward for digital marketers and businesses as Facebook or Twitter are, however. Finding ways to drive traffic back to your website is more difficult, updates require careful planning and a good dose of fun and imagination and there aren’t as many useful tools to help you publish to Instagram and increase your results.
That said, with the right strategy, Instagram has a lot of advantages for a lot of different businesses. In fact, people are more likely to respond positively to a businesses’ presence on Instagram than on most other social networks.
Here are some essential Instagram tips to help you master this social network:
- Leverage all types of content: photos, videos and Stories
- Use hashtags strategically
- Create a strategy
- Get more out of each photo by leveraging tools
- Maintain brand consistency
- Experiment, analyze and optimize
Leverage all types of content: Photos, Videos and StoriesA good Instagram strategy should employ both photos and video. Video, in fact, tends to lead to more conversion rates than images do, and since their length is so short, an Instagram video doesn’t require that much extra work. And in fact, it can even be a lot of fun to create short videos. Try Boomerang for Instagram to create short videos that loop, Hyperlapse for stunning time-lapse videos and Cinefy for editing videos like a pro. Plus, make sure to check out my list of top video marketing tools for a list of tools that can help you create more complex videos, easily. [clickToTweet tweet="Photo vs Video #Instagram #Marketing tips" quote="Photo vs Video #Instagram #Marketing tips"]
Use Hashtags StrategicallyHashtags are extremely important on Instagram. If you want more likes, followers and conversions this is the first step that you should take – add hashtags. You’ll find that people are searching for anything and everything on Instagram, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if you’re getting likes at 3 am for some obscure band, or hobby, or whatever else you can think of, really. Try to include hashtags in every post you make and experiment with different types of hashtags. This will ultimately help you boost your follower and engagement numbers with very little effort on your part. My best tip is to experiment with both popular hashtags (hashtags with hundreds of thousands of posts - hashtags with millions of posts are a bit too popular) and with niche hashtags. Niche hashtags have considerably fewer posts and followers but they are also highly targeted which means you'll the type of audience that you're most interested in. There are plenty of tools that you can use to find the right hashtags for your posts, such as Hashtagify for trending hashtags and hashtag ideas, and Keyhole and Tagboard for tracking them.
Quick tip: create lists of hashtags based on the topics you usually talk about on Instagram (after also researching these hashtags!) - then, you can simply copy and paste relevant hashtags every time you need to post something up.
Create a strategyA good Instagram strategy requires quite a bit of planning. If you simply leave it be and just take photos and videos when you see something you think might be worth a shot, you probably won’t get too far. Planning your content carefully however can help you get more likes, followers and clicks, while also helping you save time. Try out different types of photos and videos to see what works and what doesn’t, and then adjust your future posts accordingly. By planning your posts, you’ll also make sure you never miss a day and that you’re consistent with your social media. An Instagram content calendar will also help you save a lot of time. Instead of having to stop and think of things to post several times a day, try brainstorming ideas once a week with your team. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should forget about spontaneity. Whenever you see something cool that you think your followers might appreciate, take a photo or video. But 99% of the time, you should rely on your strategy - learn all about creating a visual strategy for Instagram in my guide here. [clickToTweet tweet="#Instagram #Strategy Tips" quote="#Instagram #Strategy Tips" theme="style1"]
Create and share better photosThere are a plethora of tools available (and a lot of them free!) that can help you maximize the potential of each and every photo or video you take. Tools can help you edit your photos so that they are more beautiful, more compelling and more eye-catching. There are tools for photo filters, for creating cool videos, funny gifs or captivating time lapses or for adding text. In fact, I’m sure there’s a tool for everything and anything that means photo editing for Instagram, many of them free or very cheap. Not to mention, it’s a lot of fun to try them out, and they can help give you ideas for more posts. I love using photo editing tools and discovering new ones. These are just some of my favourites: [clickToTweet tweet="#Instagram #Photo Tools" quote="#Instagram #Photo Tools"]
- Canva – This is one of my favourite photo editing tools lately. I use it to create images, Stories and other designs, and it can also be used for adding filters, icons and most anything you can think of
- Pablo from Buffer has over 50,000 royalty-free images that you can choose from, and it also allows you to add text in different fonts and colors and upload your own images and logo so that you can create awesome branded images
- Snapseed from Google is another great one with apps for both desktop and iOS and Android devices. It’s a very powerful editing tool that is surprisingly easy to use considering its capabilities.
Maintain brand consistencyBrand consistency is always very important, whether it’s online or offline, and it’s especially important for a visual medium such as Instagram. Think of what you want your brand to inspire on Instagram and then set guidelines for every member of your team who posts on Instagram. Think of what type of content you want to publish, and what is off-limits, what you want your images to look like, if you want specific filters used and if it’s consistent with your other branding. On Instagram, maintaining a certain visual consistency is particularly important; for example, some accounts choose to mainly use certain types of colours, some use one filter for all their imagery and others are known simply for the type of content they share - the common theme, though, is that many of popular Instagram accounts are easily recognizable by their content.
Experiment, Analyze and OptimizeThe best way to find out what works for you is to constantly experiment and analyze your results. Don't worry - it's not that complicated or time-consuming. The idea is to try different types of updates - both in terms of format (photos, short and long-form videos, Stories) and in terms of the topics and types of updates (for example, how to videos, different types of promotional updates, behind the scenes Stories and so on) - and once you've started publishing them, examining your results closely to understand what works and what doesn't (if you have an Instagram business account, that means you also have access to Instagram Insights). Likewise, as mentioned earlier, you should try different types of hashtags to see which ones help you reach more people and generate better results. When analyzing your results, consider your Instagram marketing goals; for example, if your goal was to boost brand awareness, then try to understand which posts get you the biggest reach; or, if your goal is simply to engage your audience then look to see which types of updates get you most comments and interactions. This is very much a continuous process, something that you should do regularly to continue to improve your Instagram marketing strategy as you go along.
Conclusion: what are your best Instagram tips?Instagram is a great platform for businesses of all shapes and sizes; but if you're not getting results yet, simply follow these simple, basic, but highly effective Instagram tips. What do you do to make sure you make the most out of your Instagram account? Which tools do you use? Let me know in the comments section below!