Instagram is considered as the king of social media engagement. It has accumulated up to 1 billion active users and research suggests that the number will continue to grow.
People also spend more of their time on Instagram compared to other platforms. A study by Yotpo found Instagram traffic stays for 192 seconds, which is is considerably longer compared to Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
It’s obvious that brands would want to maximize its growth out of their Instagram strategies. Here are 12 tips you need to follow.
1. Take high-quality photos
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t do it.
You don’t need expensive DSLR to make amazing Instagram posts – pay more attention to your lighting and that everything is in focus.
You can achieve these using modern smartphones with capable camera and you’ll start taking amazing photos in no time.
This will help boost your likes and the more engaged your posts become, the higher Instagram will push your posts in feed.
2. Use a consistent filter scheme
This may sound ridiculous, but, it’s also important to create a consistent visual identity of your Instagram posts – and you can achieve this by using set of filters.
By posting updates with consistent color and tone, your audience will be able to recognize your brand instantly on their feeds which helps increase the brand recognition and getting more likes – eventually followers too.
Start selecting a set of filters by Instagram that complement your content and consequently, your brand.
3. Write Great Captions
Agorapulse conducted a research by comparing posts with and without caption. They found that posts with caption have 53.03% more likes – which is not surprising.
They even found the rate of comments almost doubled 0.91 times more than posts with no caption.
In addition, they also found the amount of reach increased for posts with caption up to 873.77 from 678.49.
It is undeniable that caption is a crucial element in order to maximize the potential of every post you make on Instagram.
Caption is something you must not overlook. It’s your opportunity to tell a story about your business and to be able to emotionally connected to the market.
Create a message, provide expertise, or a heart-warming story – become a valuable source to your audience. People will be more incentivized to like your photos and probably to follow you too.
The study concluded that brands with over “100K followers have posted an average of 241 posts this year, while accounts with under 5K followers only published around 50 posts.”
It is obvious this could be related to the resources available to smaller brands versus big brands; however, it’s also important to note that by posting regularly, you ought to gain more engagement and likes – which gets recognized by Instagram algorithm.
In addition, posting content consistently also increases your brand awareness – since more people are engaging your posts on daily basis.
6. Time of Day Matters
It’s also crucial that you pay attention to the time and day you post.
The easiest way to determine the best time of day is to use the existing date from Insight which Instagram provides.
Tap on ‘Audience’ and scroll till you’re at the bottom where you’ll find ‘Followers’.
There are two tabs; Hours and Days. Go ahead and study them.
This is where you find out which days and time most of your Instagram followers are typically online. Schedule your posts based on the information.
Finding the optimal time for your target market takes some research, along with trial and error. Always tweak with every data you obtained to determine the best time to post.
7. Share behind-the-scenes photos
Instagram is another platform to be emotionally connected with your audience at another level.
This is your opportunity to share intimate moments from your business with your fans.
What better way to do this, none other than to share behind-the-scenes of your business. Give your audience a preview of your upcoming product, show off your employees hard at work, or even take your followers on an office tour and how things are done.
These are unique ideas and potentially engaging for the viewers, which would most likely help to attract more people to follow your account.
Just be creative with your content; and try your best to connect with your audience with each post you upload.
8. Run a like-to-enter giveaway
Running a simple giveaway is popular for a reason; it is a great way to encourage your market to participate with your company’s activities.
Everyone loves free items – which you can leverage to your advantage.
Try running a like-to-enter giveaway product which your business offers to attract people into engaging your posts.
Since barriers to entry are low, people are likely to like your posts. Who doesn’t like the idea of getting free item in return for a like?
Take it further by awarding to special winner(s) who leaves a comment related to your post; such a motto, or best caption.
Having lots of engagement will lead Instagram to help push your posts to more people as it is algorithm-friendly.
9. Partner with an influencer
There is a reason why big brands often collaborate with famous personalities to promote their product or service; because it’s considered as an efficient ‘word of mouth’ platform which is able to tap into the vast market.
This method does not only help your business extend your reach in the target market, but also acts a tool to increase credibility through social proof.
Celebrities or even online influencers’ followers will be more open into buying a product from your business – as they trust the people your business collaborate with.
Videos are often more engaging than photos since the feed is saturated with photos.
A study by Hubspot and Mention found that posting videos on Instagram doubles your engagement rate compared to photos.
Posting videos featuring ‘how-to’ of one of your products, a sneak-peek of upcoming event or product; or some other engaging content that you feel represents yours brand has great potential of creating excitement for the audience.
Just keep in mind to create videos with no or little audio – as people often become reluctant to view your videos since they normally browse their feed in public areas.
If you feel the video requires explanation, then, include subtitles so people can watch and understand the video without having to be too concerned about their surrounding.
11. Join Engagement Groups
Engagement groups work similar to support groups.
These are groups who have come together to support each member with likes and comments.
These groups have rules and restrictions which are key for your to abide if you want to be a part of it.
It’s simple but definitely worth the time for you to look into.
The way it works is simple. You just need to share the link to your post on the group, and the members will start pouring into your account – as long as you obey the rules.
When you get an influx of likes, your content is given a boost by Instagram’s algorithm. It’s a win for all members.
“Your best teachers are your failures.” I thought I’d like to start with this quote.
Seeking criticism is tough. It’s an exhausting process.
But if you do it right, it will lead to many long term benefits.
We, humans, find comfort in compliments – but comfort often leads to complacency.
The only effective way of moving forward is by learning – and what better way to learn other than criticisms, or essentially from your failures.
By constantly seeking criticisms, you (or your team) will relentlessly become pro-active in the search of ‘perfection’.
Your team continues to innovate, making products work better – or reducing service time for customers and so on.
More quotes by Elon Musk regarding the topic:
“When I spoke with someone about the Tesla Model S, I didn’t really want to know what’s right about the car. I want to know what’s wrong about the car.
When my friends get a product, I ask them to please not tell me what they like. Rather, tell me what you don’t like. And if I’ve asked that a few times of people, then they will start automatically telling me without me having to always ask the question.”
“You should take the approach that you’re wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.”
– Elon Musk
Challenge reality (by understanding the fundamentals)
Elon Musk is a pro when it comes to breaking the norm.
While many argue that batteries will always be expensive – hence, electric cars will never become cost-effective, Musk did not bother.
He challenged the so-called industry experts by breaking down batteries into their basic components, and build it on your own – the cost of producing batteries could drop dramatically.
This discovery also led to the founding of Tesla Energy, a challenger of status quo in sustainable energy story for homes and businesses.
Obviously, we are mostly not capable of challenging the status quo in similar sense as Musk. The idea here is often question and challenge yourself whenever someone says “It can’t be done. That’s just hot it is and how it’s always been.”
“Boil things down to the most fundamental truths. Then reason up from there.”
– Elon Musk
Focus on signal over noise
Most successful people are relentless on stressing the importance of focus – including Musk himself.
Mr Musk simply has no time to entertain ideas other than product development.
This approach is synonymous to Mark Zuckerberg’s, “I will not entertain any idea unless it helps Facebook grow the total number of users.”
It’s a well-known fact that most companies love to invest lots of money into marketing than they do product development. This is something that Musk is against, as he believes promoting an incredible product requires less promotion – a good product speaks for itself.
“At Tesla, we’ve never spent any money on advertising. We’ve put all our money into R&D, engineering, design, and manufacturing to build the best car possible. When we consider spending money, we ask, ‘Will this create a better product?’ If not, we don’t proceed with spending the money.”
“Will this activity result in a better product? If not, stop those efforts.”
– Elon Musk
Make failure an option (by defining a contingency plan)
This goes back to my first point.
Becoming successful is not by avoiding mistakes. That never happens. If you look at Elon Musk’s success stories, it was all with pains and sufferings from failures. What Musk stresses importantly, is to continue learning from mistakes which leads to success.
Starting a space exploration company takes guts. The possibility of failure seems not too far out.
While most of us would surrender, Elon Musk carried on, anticipating failure while creating a contingency plan for SpaceX.
“If we don’t get the first SpaceX rocket launch to succeed by the time we’ve spent $100 million, we will stop the company. That will be enough for three attempted launches.”
We all know what happened. It took him the third attempt to succeed at SpaceX – which he finally managed to win a contract from NASA worth $1.6 billion.
So what can we learn here?
Accept failure as a possibility. Be smart when you take on high-risk situation by creating contingency plan when things go south.
“Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”
– Elon Musk
Remove worries (by living the worst-case scenario)
When Elon was 17 years old, he experimented with himself to live off $1 per day. He managed to do it with just eating hotdogs and oranges.
Why did he do this? He wanted to become an entrepreneur.
He did so because he wanted to see if he has what it takes to become a business owner. Having successfully go through the experiment, he knew money would not be an issue.
He has removed that fear by living the worst-case scenario.
“I figured if I could live off a dollar a day then, at least from a food stand point, it’s pretty easy to earn $30 a month.”
– Elon Musk
Solve Problems Beyond Yourself
If you haven’t noticed it yet, Elon Musk rarely talks about profits in interviews.
He often prefers to talk about how SpaceX can achieve the goals he set out making humanity into a multi-planetary species.
When he started Tesla, he never talked (or none I could find) about how much money he’s making from the growing trend of consumers buying electric cars. Instead, he pointed out how the tech can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels; and make the world a better place to live in, still, in the future.
Musk solves problems not to improve his world, but the ‘world’.
“If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.”
Everyone loves a good social media hack. They save us time and usually show us some interesting things we didn’t know were possible.
Whether you’re a business using the social network or an individual using Instagram, these 15 hacks you can do to ‘up’ your game in the space.
Get notifications when your favorite people post. Leave witty comments early on to have better chances of being responded. Getting responses and high number of Likes is a good way for your account to be spotted.
Tag photos of other accounts in similar space. People do still go through tagged photos of a public figure – this is your chance to be discovered too. Have their permission first, of course.
Look at the posts and comments the people you are following. Like and comment on their comments to start conversations. This is a great idea to be spotted by them.
When you write caption, make sure the first line that appears on the post attracts people to read more. It’s not only about storytelling – but it’s about the ability of being able to pull people to your account through captivating caption is just as important.
Search hashtags which are trending and include them in your caption. You can just Google ‘trending hashtags Instagram’ to find countless websites that offer this service for free.
Design your posts that best represent you or your business. Don’t forget to always include your website url on each post. This helps drive traffic to your website.
Don’t go overboard with your editing of photos. Be genuine and relatable to people.
Insert line breaks into your bio and captions
Add links to your business on bio – it helps to drive traffic to your account.
Create Groups in your DM and invite people in similar space to participate. Talk to them first before inviting. Give yourself a good impression.
Tell people what you do in the first line of your bio link.
Reaching 10K followers, post more Stories that link to your website. Be creative in your approach. Do not oversell.
Exchange shoutouts with another social media account(s). Tell them that you will promote his/her account on feed or Stories for similar return.
Post more videos with subtitles and don’t forget to include your website url in the videos.
Post long videos on IGTV to provide information for people who are interested to know more about you. Add subtitles too.
Something different I have for you guys this time. I’ve finally compiled 20 strategies to grow your Instagram followers in form of list. Here it goes:
Promote your own hashtag(s) on your other social profiles, on your website, business cards and your email blast.
Get creative with your hashtags. Be relatable. Be memorable.
Pay attention to relevant and trending hashtags. Join these conversations to get in front of more people.
Use your bio link to drive traffic to your newest or most popular content.
Write descriptive captions. Storytelling will help generate engagement and potentially more sharing.
Have conversations with top influencers in your space and become one of their favorite people or brands.
Don’t want a tagged photo of you or your brand on your profile? Edit Tags to hide images from your profile.
Change settings if you do not want to be tagged by embarrassing photos.
Develop your own unique, recognizable visual style. Make sure people know your brand the moment they see your posts.
Visit the Places tab to see what’s happening locally – your neighborhood, a city you’re targeting in ads, or an event in a certain location.
Use a call to action to tell people what you want them to do with your posts. Be creative to get people share your content.
Post videos on your feed with subtitles. This enables your audience to watch the videos without fearing of loud or annoying sounds.
Post multiple clips on Instagram Stories & add locations near your business to attract people from outside your city.
Create two accounts for your business; Account 1 promotes your product, Account 2 displays behind the scenes. Each account support one another to extend your reach in market.
Add polls on your Instagram Stories; ask them what they’d like to see next, or what do they think about latest post – the opportunities to open up conversations are endless!
Create Q&A session on your Instagram Stories! Let your fans get to know you more by answering questions about you (the owner) and the business. These sessions can seriously catapult your engagement.
If you travel frequently (even domestic destinations), make full use of Instagram Location each time your post on feed, or your Stories. This allows your business to extend its reach in the market.
Request a shoutout for a shoutout to important figures in the industry. Don’t approach the big players yet if your account is small. It won’t make sense for them to exchange shoutouts with a small Instagram account.
Create 3 Highlights that best describe what you or your business does; I’d recommend to create ‘Website’, ‘Testimony’ & ‘Behind the Scene’ Highlights. These can help translate your business somewhat relatable to people – which is a big plus for your business.
Link your Instagram account with other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter etc.