Let’s talk Instagram for a bit today. Right now, Instagram is my favorite social media platform. It’s a creative entrepreneur’s dream because it’s driven by images. At last count there were over a billion people on Instagram every month. That’s a lot of eyeballs on your work… if you do it right.
There is a lot to take advantage of if you want to do Instagram marketing effectively. This series will only skim the surface of the topic as a short primer on building and promoting your brand through Instagram.
The key to success on Instagram is in the images themselves. You must create shareable images and content that resonate with your target market and get them to engage with your content more frequently. In that respect it’s the same as any other social media platform, really. You want to always be sharing content that provides value for your audience.
You’ll notice that I said “engage with” and not share. Instagram is different from other social media platforms in that they really only want you to share your own content. And no more than 2-3 times per day at the most (according to this report). You have to have a separate app to re-share Instagram posts, so unless it’s something that will really benefit your audience, my advice would be don’t do it.
Here are three tips for creating engaging Instagram content:
Tip #1 – Use a professional camera if you have one
I’ve seen some great images taken with a smartphone camera… That’s what I use because it’s all I have. My regular camera is so outdated that the one on the phone is more powerful. But if you follow the influencers in your niche you’ll notice that most of their photos are taken with a “proper” camera and carefully edited to get their brand's feel.
That’s not to say you can’t use a smartphone camera (especially if that’s all you have). It’s more important to start now than it is to wait until you have the perfect camera.
Besides, you want to connect with your audience, so showing images of the real you and your life gives your brand more authenticity than a feed that full of nothing but carefully orchestrated images. Those are the types of accounts I usually bypass.
Tip #2 – Optimize your captions
Instagram has a limit of 2200 characters per caption, but according to this article from Sprout Social, you really don’t want to use any more than 138-150 of them. It’s best to let the image speak for itself, and if you must add a caption to share extra information, make it as concise as possible for the best engagement.
Tip #3 – Optimize your hashtags too
The hashtags you choose for your post are going to be instrumental in getting your content found. Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per post, but again the Sprout Social article suggests that less is more and you should only use between 5-10. And don’t use the same ones in every post. That could get your account shadow-banned and reduce your visibility to just about zero.
These tips are pretty basic, but if you follow them you should start seeing some engagement on your Instagram posts. Create engaging photos, add relevant captions and hashtags, and above all respond to people when they engage with your posts. After all, your goal is to build your audience, get the back to your blog where they can sign up for your mailing list and buy your products and services.
Are you on Instagram? Share your account in the comments and let’s see what you’re up to.
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