Creating a successful Instagram can be hard work.
Believe it or not, people have done studies on how to get more follower interactions with their posts, and so much more.
This is why advertisements on Instagram exist, because it is so hard to be seen by your audience even if you're posting awesome content consistently (or what you feel is awesome).
You might be thinking, "why should I care about my social media?
That's not the focus of my freelancing work or start-up business."
Well, it is a good point. But lets face it, social media is a necessary evil. It can be tedious, time-consuming, and stressful, BUT the return on investment is huge.
And the thing is, it doesn't need to be a money investment. You can put time into your posts and generate clients from it.
Of course, it doesn’t happen overnight and I’m still finding out new things about Instagram every day.
The reason I'm stressing the importance of Instagram is because it is the current and most popular platform for people to be on.
Everyone from the baby boomer generation, to the generation that doesn't even have a name yet is on Instagram. You can fuel your Facebook and LinkedIn from Instagram. You could fuel your Twitter from Instagram too but let's be real, unless you're a news station and already have 500+ followers, you don't need Twitter.
And the quality and type of content matters.
Need more convincing? Take a moment to ponder some of these stats.
An Estimated 71% of US Businesses Use Instagram.
But more importantly…
80% of Users Follow a Business on Instagram.
That’s a huge opportunity for businesses to get in front of potential clients.
70% of Instagram Posts Don’t Get Seen.
Source: Social Sprout
So are you ready to be let in on few behind the scenes secrets to having a strong Instagram game that converts? And while you’re at it, learning a few pro tips that help simplify this otherwise mystifying platform?
Then read on dear friend.
9 steps to using Instagram like a pro
Research. Who is your audience? Is it everyone?
It should be focussed if not niche. This creates a better level of engagement if you are posting relevant content. It’s difficult to do when casting the net too wide.
Get EXCELLENT photos.
You don’t need to take the photos yourself (although it’s always handy). You can post beautiful stock images, or re-generate content from followers.
Tip: re-using followers content is a great way to get more traction. Everyone wants to feel important. Just make sure you’re checking with the owner of the content to make sure you get permission from them before re-posting.
Know your brand’s voice.
Let’s say you want to target newlywed couples. Maybe your brand voice will be cheesy and romantic. Or maybe your brand is targeting introverts to get out of their house. Then you might use a sophisticated, witty brand voice.
Put yourself in your consumers' shoes.
If you saw the photo you're planning on posting, would you stop scrolling to either double tap, read the caption, or both? If you wouldn't, then don't post it. And I'll take this opportunity to stress again the importance of the image that you are posting (no matter who your target audience is, it has to be visually appealing).
They seem like hard work. But to be truly effective we need to take advantage of every feature we can. Plus they are great for user generated campaigns.
First thing; do not use more than 7 hashtags on a photo!
No one likes the person that copies and pastes their essay of hashtags. Side note: if you do copy and paste your hashtags, Instagram will mark you as spam and we don’t want that. So stick to a solid 5 hashtags that are popular and relevant to your post.
Use a location.
Why not up your chances of being seen even more? Especially if you’re in a beautiful place, on vacation, at a local coffee shop, or whatever else. Throw your location on a photo and people that didn’t know about your business but happened to be looking at visiting a specific city might end up following you. Also it helps that posts with a location get 79% more engagement. Just sayin.
Follow people, like peoples posts, comment, slide into people’s DMs (don’t do anything weird). I have found the best way to gain followers is to like peoples posts and follow them. Please don’t worry about your ratio. If you have good content no one will be upset if you’re following 301 people but only have 300 followers.
Sharing Instagram pictures on Facebook.
This method is great. Facebook typically has more 35+-year-old people while Instagram will be a younger crowd. Be careful with this, if you post more than about 3 posts on Facebook a week (from your business page) Facebook will mark you as either unfavourable in showing up in your followers Facebook feed, or you'll be marked as spam.
Another thing is, remember to get rid of the extra stuff. You don’t need your mentions (@someone) to show up on Facebook because that mention is not hyperlinked anywhere but Instagram. You can keep the hashtags on your Facebook posts although again I feel they aren’t always necessary.
LinkedIn is the platform I would caution people the most in when sharing their IG content. It is a professional platform and you need to appear in this capacity. You also don’t need posts that are as aesthetically appealing. You will have to use your brand voice though. Create a catchy first few words then give a short and effective spiel about your business or an event or whatever you’re posting about.
Don’t just take our word for it when it comes to these tips and tricks for upping your Insta game. There are a number of businesses and startups of all sizes who are doing this incredibly well.
Take Air BnB for example.
Yes, obviously AirBnB is already a well established brand, but for the sake of simplifying my points, they’re a perfect example.
AirBnB does such an effective job in enticing the user to want more. The user is left with a cliff hanger and therefore is more likely to search for more information.
AirBnB uses a unique approach because they don’t offer a CTA (call to action), there simply just informing the users and allow for their imagination to take off.
This is a great example of “Here are some possibilities of working with me so you should contact me asap” without saying those exact words.
A picture says 1000 words and AirBnB’s pictures always say “look what we can provide, why are you wasting your time?”
Now, GirlsWhoSayFuck has a different approach.
Instead of showcasing what they do or have done in the past, instead they create a personality around their Instagram which makes the user think “I could totally work with them because we have the same values”.
In the example post you can see that they emphasise one of their core values.
This isn’t an “in your face” CTA, it’s a relationship and personality builder.
The more you build a personality around your brand, the easier it is to trust. Plus they incorporate beautiful imagery and always tie in them in with the caption which is majorly important.
Irrelevant images don’t say 1000 words. They don’t really say much at all.
Now, these are just guidelines. But if this has helped you that is awesome. The goal is to get some more pretty pictures out in the world that will make consumers stop, take a moment, and connect with you.