You may or may not be aware that Instagram is the fastest growing social network, with more than 800 million monthly active users and many experts believe it could reach one billion by the end of 2018. That’s more than double the monthly active users of Twitter and over three times as many users on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger
We are all becoming increasingly aware of the power of social media, however, there are still so many of us who don’t know how to utilise it to its full potential or don’t know where to begin or simply don’t have the time. The constant tool updates, changing features, and arsey algorithms have, even the pro’s struggling to keep up with what works and what doesn’t. So, I thought I would share some of what I’ve learned on my social media journey so far. Read on for 6 top tips to help you smash your Instagram game and grow your social presence.
There’s no magic cure for the algorithm, but there are strategies and tools to help you build your feed to function to the best of its ability. I’ve picked up these tips via a trial and error (mostly error) method and take it from me, you do not need to buy followers (rip off, doesn’t work), follow/unfollow (what is with this? Instagram etiquette, people!), or have a sculpted backside, golden locks, or spend hours taking the ‘perfect’ Instagram-worthy photo, to grow your following.
Having said that, Instagram is, ultimately, a visual platform and whilst the ‘perfect’ image is not essential, it is important to lead with your best photo forward. But by this, I don’t mean airbrushed, modified, flawless selfies. I am referring to posting a relevant image at the right time to engage with your audience. Instagram used to be about ‘insta’ moments, but now Instagram is about curating a story using images & building a community that shares your interests, style, lifestyle…you get my drift.
Bottom line: Consistency is king on Instagram. You want your photos, editing, content, and voice to remain consistent so that people get what they signed up for and stick around. Look at your wider grid and consider your feed as a whole and your brand image before posting images. Posting randomly is not your friend. Make sure you keep your editing consistent from picture to picture by using the same filters or editing apps, for example, you can develop a colour scheme for your feed that aligns with your branding. The more aesthetically pleasing your feed is, the more followers will love you and engage with your images. Also, post consistently! Whether it’s the same a day each week, everyday or 3 times a day, try to keep a consistent rhythm. You will lose followers if you don’t post regularly and consistently, this is a hundred times easier now that you can schedule posts on apps like Buffer.
stories top tip: there are some great apps to help you plan your feed, for example Preview, which allows you to see what your feed would look like with your new images before you post them.
Social media, irrespective of the ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ and ‘my life is perfect’ endemic is still about ‘real’ people connecting over something they have in common. I don’t know about you, but seeing how a skirt looks on a ‘normal’ person as opposed to a size 6 model or how a sofa looks in a real person’s house helps me envisage it in my life. This is a really powerful concept and an opportunity that is still fairly underused. So many top brands and businesses encourage their customers to take pictures of their products and tag their handle when they share it, this is a quick win to increase your brand exposure through that customer’s audience.
stories top tip: Create a relevant hashtag and put it in your profile to let your followers know to use it in their images. For example, ASOS has 7.7m followers and they state on their Instagram bio: ‘Tag your looks #AsSeenOnMe’.
If you’d like further help with social media strategy, scheduling or management, please feel free to get in touch!
Do not relentlessly hashtag everything in your images. Hashtags have become a much more strategic too and when used correctly can really optimise your reach on Instagram. Use appropriate and varied hashtags, so do your research! Find out what hashtags your followers are using by looking at similar feeds or brands that have the same audience as you and copy them! Instagram also provides you with related hashtags if you click on one you use a lot it will offer up other tags that are related to that. Or else, you can easily google search for quick results, e.g. ‘top fashion hashtags on Instagram’. Assuming you have a business account, use Instagram analytics to find which ones work best for you and what boosts your engagement by checking out our content engagement.
I recommend saving your hashtags in your notes on your phone for easy access, so you can copy and paste them each time you use them. Instagram has a maximum of 30 hashtags applied per image, but remember that no one wants to read a caption chockablock with tags. List your hashtags in a comment below your caption, and it won’t appear as spammy or affect the user experience.
stories top tip: Users can follow specific hashtags. This means that if a user is following the #fashionblogger hashtag on Instagram, your image with #fashionblogger will appear in their feed even if they don’t follow your account.
What’s a social media content calendar? Only the most helpful tool you could ever add to your social media marketing toolkit. You’ll be surprised how managing all your content in one place like this takes away the social media fear and helps you feel more in control of your social media strategy.
If you need help in creating a summary of everything you plan to do and hope to achieve on social media then you are in need of a planner. It guides your actions and lets you know whether you’re succeeding or failing. Every post, reply, like, and comment should serve a purpose. The more specific your strategy is, the more effective the execution will be. Keep it concise. Don’t make your plan so lofty and broad that it’s unattainable or impossible to measure. Just like a regular content calendar, you’ll decide what and when to publish, but with the added specificity of social platforms.
If you need help creating an easy to follow social media calendar, just drop me a line to discuss your needs in further detail.
stories top tip: Add a key events calendar to your social media planner and you’ll never miss #cheeseloversday again!
By this I mean, know them. Like, REALLY know them. Who? What? Why? If you know the answers to these then you’re on the right track.
Who are your followers?
What do they like?
Why are they following you?
stories top tip: Use your Instagram analytics to see the age, gender and location of your followers. You can find this out by clicking the 3 lines icon on the top right of your profile page and going to ‘Insights’, providing you have a business account.
The last stat I read claimed Instagram Stories now have an audience of 300 million – which is nearly half of their active users! Instagram Stories is about moments, so share all those hilarious (but kinda unphotogenic) snapshots & videos there and keep your feed a curated representation of your brand. People know that life is never as perfect as, sometimes social media portrays. The dreaded ‘perfection’ that everyone strives for is frustrating and quite frankly unhealthy. Instagram stories are the ideal platform to show the ‘real’ face behind the brand and what goes on in your day-to-day business. People love to connect face to face, and it’s the perfect place to do it. Make yourself relatable and likable by showing some real life behind your branded image. Go backstage in a photoshoot, give your followers a tour of your working space, take them to the shops with you, give them a glimpse into the life of a business owner! The best bit is that they vanish after 24 hours so there is a limited risk of a no makeup selfie going viral or infinitely tarnishing that perfected feed you’ve worked so hard to build. The options with Instagram stories are endless, and with so many editing features available you can make them as beautiful as you like. Keep it fresh, keep it fun, keep it relatable. You can also now cross-post your IG stories on to your Facebook stories for double exposure AND AS OF TODAY (date of post) you can share IGTV videos to your Instagram Story. Tapping the paper airplane icon will open up an option to ‘Add video to your story,’ and your friends can tap the preview to watch the entire video in IGTV.
stories top tip: Been eyeballing those sleek-looking stories on Instagram? Here’s the app to use to get Storying like a pro! Make sure you geo-tag your location on all of your IG stories. Instagram curates stories for specific locations, so yout story can be watched by those watching the stories of that particular area, which in turn can attract more followers to your account. You can add your geo-tag by selecting the location sticker from your sticker menu (top right hand corner) on the story.
Want to discuss your individual business needs in detail? Get in touch to see how I can help you grow your business even further!
Watch out for my blog on my favourite Instagram tools, coming soon!