Instagram just turned five years old so I thought it would be fitting to write a blog post about this amazing social media platform. Believe it or not, I am very new to Instagram, and just created my account this past week, thanks to a suggestion from a good friend. As a newcomer, I’m thrilled to share my top Instagram tips, with the goal of helping you successfully launch your own Instagram presence.
Tip 1: Create Your Account Immediately
I’m surprised it took me so long to go for it! Long ago, I realized that the best way to success in digital marketing is investing in your own skill set, during your personal time. I am now following my own advice again, spending a little bit of time each day testing new digital marketing opportunities. Don’t get so involved in your day-to-day operations that you forget to expand your horizons and learn new things! The biggest of opportunities often start as incredibly small, scrappy tests.
If you’ve been around social media for a while, you know that building a great presence takes time. There is no substitute for time. Did you know that in the world of investing time can be a more powerful force than the amount of money you actually invest, due to the miracle of compound interest? I look at social media the same way. Start as soon as possible to get that compound interest working in your favor. Time will always bring you more followers, and you can only accelerate things so much through hard work. We’re being scrappy here, so let time do the hard work for you!
Tip 2: Share a High Quality Photo a Day
There are two concepts I’d like to stress here. First, it’s all about consistency. Rather than flood Instagram with a ton of photos at once, I recommend a slow and steady pattern (one or two posts per day). Second, I’d like to stress the word “quality”. I’m a firm believer that great content yields great results. Dig through your photo archives for your best photos. If you don’t have good ones, strive to capture great photos going forward. Leverage Instagram’s filters to refine your photos. Experiment with the different filters. After all, you don’t want all of your photos looking the same. I’d rather post nothing than a poor quality photo.
As an aside, I have found Instagram’s filters incredibly useful. The photo editing alone is worth your time. I’m proud of the photos I have edited and feel like they look so much better.
On the horizon, I’m going to experiment with a quote series on Instagram. I have a lot of quotes and wisdom from my 11-years in digital marketing and look forward to sharing. As a big fan of quotes, I have noticed these perform incredibly well on Instagram.
Tip 3: Find Your Niche
With so many social media platforms available, marketers need to determine the role that each plays within their own social media strategy. Whether you’re managing social media for your business or your personal reputation, I recommend having a clear ecosystem of purpose for each platform. My personal strategy: Instragram is all about photo sharing (one or two per day), Twitter is about real-time updates and conversation, Facebook will house personal updates, and LinkedIn will focus on strategic, business-oriented posts. Each platform has a clear purpose. Of course, I’m missing a few platforms here, and I’m still refining on my own ecosystem.
Once you have your ecosystem mapped out, I recommend having a specific strategy on Instagram. You don’t want to just post a random group of pictures with no consistency on a thematic level. Rather, you want to carve out a niche for yourself and stick to that niche. You’d be surprised that you can really include a diverse set of photos within a niche, especially through the power of clever captions (next tip).
Tip 4: Leverage Relevant Captions With Hashtags
When posting photos, make sure to invest time in quality captions with hashtags. I personally leverage captions to bring all of my photos back to business and digital marketing. I try to tell a story and include helpful pieces of advice with each picture. While my photos are dissimilar, I bring them all together through captions.
Additionally, I have invested time including multiple hashtags per photo (sometimes quite a few). Hashtags help your photos surface in Instagram, with more users finding, liking, and sharing your content. While the captions and hashtags take extra time, you will not be disappointed in the results that they drive.
Tip 5: Build Relationships and Be Supportive
While you will gain likes and followers via your content alone (especially if you follow all of the tips above), you can accelerate things by being supportive. Find people that are posting great content and follow them. Like their photos and comment. Just don’t comment too frequently. I have found that a slow, steady approach works best, and try to post only a few comments per day.
The commenting serves two purposes. First, by being supportive, people will want to follow you (and comment on your own content). Second, it gets your name out there and makes it easier for others to find your account and like your content.
Tip 6: Avoid Risky Strategies, You Don’t Need Them
Being a relatively newer social media platform, you see some strange stuff happen from time-to-time. The one that has been most annoying to me are the accounts that follow you and encourage you to purchase followers from them. They claim that you can invest very little money and receive thousands of followers. While this may be true, the followers are likely to be of low value and low engagement with your brand. I recommend avoiding these “get rich quick” type of strategies in favor of the slow, steady approach. These types of shortcuts rarely pay off.
Thanks for reading, and I hope these tips help! While you may be late to Instagram (just like I was), you still have an amazing opportunity. After all, Instagram is only five years old, and I’m sure the next five will be even more exciting than the last! Do you have any favorite Instagram tips?