It’s getting more and more difficult to be seen on social media such as Instagram.

Those of us with accounts already have noticed over the past couple of years that it’s not just a case of posting a pretty picture on social media and leaving it there. You’ve a staggering 1 billion monthly users* to wade through, but also see that as a potential of 1 billion users viewing YOUR account.

Instagram is nearly 8 years old and its monthly users are growing close to 5% per quarter. Compare that to Facebook’s monthly growth at 3.14% & Snapchat at 2.13%. If you’re not on Instagram then you need to seriously consider opening an account. The visual format enables you to promote your business, engage with your audience and increase customer loyalty. It could be the most lucrative platform for you.

Following these tips will help give you the best start on the ‘gram.

Create a Business Account

Business accounts give you all the insights to enable you to find out: who you audience is, age, gender and when your followers are online.

If you have a personal account already then you switch to a business account by >>> clicking the 3 lines top right on the homepage > settings > switch to business page. You’ll need 100+ followers to receive the insights.

>The Feed<

Still Photos

Use high quality, edited photos like I have on the Muddy Creatures feed to the left here. There is the ability to crop your photos within Instagram as well as rotate, increase brightness, contrast etc. If using the filters within Instagram stick to the same ones so that your feed is coherent. Make your feed look eye-catching by either using brand colours throughout, similar style of photo and/or a theme such as checkerboard grid or vertical lines. Or go all out like I have on @365DaySocial ( the brightly coloured feed in the photo above) and use Illustrator to merge the squares to create a unique look that stands out.

Top Tip> Consider using a third-party app such as VSCO for your filters to keep your feed looking coherent.

Multiple Photos

Getting people to interact with your posts is very important and the algorithm favours this. Using the multiple post feature is an easy win as you need to swipe to see the next photo. Instagram will remember who interacted with your post and push your post higher on their feed the next time you post.

Video Content

Video can be more effective in stopping viewers to take a closer look when scrolling through their feed than photos. It’s believed that Instagram’s algorithm spots this then pushes your posts higher on the feed for future posts. Video also appears larger on the Explore page and therefore gets noticed more.

Here are a few simple but effective ideas for video >>>

Boomerang

This is where the video runs, then reverses in a matter of seconds with eye-catching and unique results. Great in Stories (see more details on Stories below). The Boomerang app is available to download to avoid needing to go into Instagram each time you want to take a quick Boomerang.

Talk to Camera

Don’t be afraid to film you

rself on camera so that we see the person behind the business. It gets much easier the more you do it.

Words over Images

Use apps such as Wordswag for moving text over plain backgrounds or images. A quick way to add movement to a still image to stop viewers in their tracks.

Top Tip> Plan and save images & video to post later, you don’t need to post in real time if you don’t want to. Planoly or Later will show you how the feed will look before you post.

>Copy<

Instagram isn’t just about the images. It’s a storytelling tool and many accounts that have leapt to Influencer realms craft their copy with heartfelt prose. Whenever you create copy think about your target market. Imagine you are writing for them. Your writing will become more personal and more persuasive. Don’t just talk about the business or process, focus on the benefit of your readers. Sell the benefits which, if you are selling furniture for example, may be the time taken to create each item, the process, where it was found, what it means to you. Think about answering questions people might have and make them smile. Have some fun. Show the passion for your business and what they will get out of that passion.

It also helps to have a question to help engagement on the page. A call to action if appropriate – ‘click website link in my bio above’. If you are scared about no-one answering the question then get a friend to post an answer to get the ball rolling. You’ll soon have people naturally wanting to engage with you.

>Stories<

Instagram isn’t only about the feed anymore. Stories have really taken off since the launch of them two years ago – 400 million accounts use them every day**.  One of the reasons they are such a bit hit with the Instagram community is because whilst your feed is a great place for gorgeous images, Stories are good for having fun with some of the less than perfect pics. Stories are also a fab way to connect with other accounts and be creative without leaving a permanent mark – they last 24 hours (unless you make them a permanent highlight).  You can share music, rewind footage, create stop-motion, use polls – all to help improve the visibility of your business and engage with others.

 

Top Tip> Engage with others on stories. Find accounts you like as well as those that you are more strategic about to help your business grow. This will make your time more enjoyable on Instagram which will become obvious to those that follow and engage with your account.

>The Power of the Hashtag<

Instagram allows the use of up to 30 hashtags within comment to enable new followers to find you. Mix them up for different posts and make sure they relate to the post.  Much debate surrounds the optimum amount of hashtags. Some say 10 though there is no real proof about this. I can only think that some users may see you use 30 hashtags and may be put off. The solution to this is to hide them in your first comment or add dots between your comment and the hashtag (my preferred way), for example:

 

.

.

.

.

#SmashYourSocial

This also ensures that you are posting your hashtags at the same time as your post and not losing any precious seconds to add them to a second comment. Remember, you want your post to be liked and engaged with as soon as you post so that the algorithm acknowledges a popular post and presents it in front of more accounts.

Top tip> save groups of your hashtags in your notes on your phone so that you can easily cut and paste.

Also, check out my monthly hashtag collection to help you find innovative hashtags to help you get seen here. If you’d like more monthly hashtags sent to your inbox you can sign up to receive the blog then sign up on the pop-up below.

>Engagement<

Don’t just post and go. Be social on social. Engage with other accounts where your customers may be found. Engage around hashtags. Not only will others then notice you but the algorithm will be in your favour and promote your posts more. Be genuine. Don’t write things on the accounts of others such as ‘check out my feed’ or ‘like for a like’. Find influencers to engage with and have fun!

If you have any more questions about Instagram or if you’d like to find out more about the services I run to help you #SmashYourSocial then please come and say hi on Instagram @365daysocial or email fayemorgan@gmail.com

Be the first to receive blog posts from me by signing up to the newsletter.

 

 

*https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/20/instagram-1-billion-users

**https://instagram-press.com/blog/2018/08/02/happy-birthday-instagram-stories/