This is Part 2 of a 3 part series about getting started on Instagram. Find the first part here.
Now that you’ve gotten started with Instagram, you have to figure out what to post, how to attract followers, and how to drive sales/web traffic.
What should you post to Instagram? You should create visually appealing images and share them regularly. Look at the images posted by Instagram users and consider what is draws you in.
Tips and strategies to help your photos stand out:
- Add white space around photos
- Make sure photos are well lit and bright
- Consistently use the same 3-4 filters on photos
- Take photos from unique angles
- Use an app to make photo collages or tutorials
- Use the video function on Instagram to share stepped out tutorials or time-lapse videos
- Stick to three to six subjects that are useful to your followers and communicate about your brand
- Avoid photos of food, feet, nudity, and personal photos unless it relates to your brand
- Allow some time to pass between posting photos.
- Use a collage app to share multiple photos from one event versus posting each photo individually
- Post behind-the-scenes photos of happenings in your business or new stock arriving to your shop
- You can post photos from an event at a later date. Consider using the hashtag #latergram
- Center a heart or other icon in the center of the image. This will encourage follows to double tap the image which results in a “heart” or “favorite” being applied to the image. The more favorites an image receives, the more likely it is to be featured in the “Explore” section of Instagram, which suggests accounts for users to follow.
Here are some examples of great Instagram posts:
Tarina Tarantino posted this beautiful photo – of course it has likes and comments in the first few minutes! It is bright and fun and has great detail.
Aida Mollenkamp is a food expert, cook book author, and more so it makes sense that she posted this pic of food. Note she also got 45+ “hearts” in less than 30 minutes. This is how you know you are “doing it right” – your audience responds positively. I am going to check back later because I want to see what she makes with all of these ingredients. That is “good social media” – she has my attention (and the attention of lots of other people).
Great use of white space by Tip Junkie – you can use an app on your phone to add white space to your photos before posting to Instagram or to use the full size photo, which will add white space to the square photos that are posted within in Instagram.
Using text and doing a giveaway — this isn’t the BEST example but an idea of what you can do by adding text to your photos before posting to Instagram. You’ll need another app to add text to your photos before posting to Instagram.
Can you post links on Instagram? if you were posting a photo of a new product in your online shop, it might make sense to paste the url to that product in your Instagram post. You can post urls but they won’t work as hyperlinks, making it challenging for your followers to actually follow your link.
Here are some work-arounds:
- Put a link to your general shop or website in your profile on Instagram. This will work as a hyperlink. You can also edit your profile with the a new link each time you have a new link to share.
- Use a link shortener to make the links easier for your followers to type into their browser
- Even though the URL won’t be a hyperlink on Instagram, it will be a hyperlink on other social networks it is shared to, such as twitter
- In the comments, leave instructions to your followers to copy and paste the url from your comments
For more advanced users, there are several paid and free online tools and apps that interface with Instagram to help users manage their accounts. One of the most popular is Statigram, which recently became IconoSquare. You can access metrics and analytics for your Instagram account as well as easily unfollow and follow other users using Iconosquare. Other advanced tools allow you to repost other Instagram user’s photos.
Always consider what message your posts say about your brand when you’re posting. Start posting photos and then a week or so later, go back and check out what you posted by looking at your profile. Identify what themes and colors emerge the most. Do those represent your brand and the message you want to send out into the world?
Check back for the third part in our series soon, where we dig into building a community on Instagram.
By: Jennifer Priest from Hydrangea Hippo
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