10 Tips to Take Your Instagram Campaign to the Next Level in 2017
Joshua Davidson wrote this article
You are reading a guest blog post by Alex Richardson.
At just six years old, Instagram is one of the newer social media platforms – and one of the fastest-growing. With over 400 million monthly users across a broad demographic, Instagram is growing every day. Learning to harness the power of Instagram can help your brand portray a strong visual identity, telling your story with photos and videos. It’s the perfect way to ‘sell’ the magic of your brand, without turning people off with heavy-handed sales pitches. And most importantly, it gives you the opportunity to engage with your audience at a rate that far outweighs other top social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Whether you’re new to Instagram or looking to raise your game, try these ten tips to take your Instagram campaign to the next level – and see the benefits for your business!
1. Set up your business profile
First things first, set up your Instagram business profile. By using Instagram for Business rather than a standard Instagram account you get access to a range of useful features. Your business profile can include additional information, such as a phone number or email address, to enable people to contact you. You also get access to Instagram Insights, a tool that gives you information about your followers and your content.
Your bio should introduce your brand and link up with your other social media platforms, website, or recent blog posts. URL shorteners, such as bit.ly and tiny.cc, not only keep your bio from looking cluttered but can track how much traffic your Instagram account is sending to your website. Traveling Vineyard has a great business bio if you’re looking for inspiration.
2. Nail your descriptions
When it comes to the descriptions that accompany your photo, take some time to get it right. Browse through Instagram and you’ll find that many big brands write descriptions that either tell a story to draw the reader in or instead go for a short and snappy caption. Don’t be afraid to show your human side with humor or heartfelt messages, but keep your tone in line with your brand’s style.
Using hashtags on Instagram allows users to search for and view all photos with that hashtag and are a key trick to making your content, and subsequently your account, more visible. Do some research and find the hot hashtags to use in your business’s area – or take advantage of general trending hashtags, such as #selfiesunday and #tbt (that’s throwback Thursday to you and me!). While some accounts go for long lists of hashtags, many successful brands find it better to stick with three or four key ones in their description and then post a comment with an additional list below. It’s also worth tagging relevant brands in your description using the @ symbol.
3. Engage with your followers
Instagram is all about interacting with a community. This means you have to put in the hours and build up your relationships. Follow other accounts, follow back your followers (no need to play it cool here), like and comment on their posts, reply to people’s comments or questions on your posts, promote your partners and generally share the love! Find out who are the other major influences in your area of business and align your brand with them. If you can build a relationship and get your brand showcased on their account, you can find yourself tapping into massive follower bases! You can also try running competitions for your followers to boost engagement. Ideas like giveaways where followers have to tag a friend in your comment section can be really successful.
4. Quality photos
At its core, Instagram is all about the photos – so you need great ones! With around 80 million photos shared on Instagram per day, it pays to get creative and find your brand’s standout aesthetic. Play around with filters, learn some basic photography skills (the rule of thirds, look into it), and try downloading some free editing programs, such as Snapseed. If you can, try not to get too heavy-handed with filters and aim to find a consistent style that you and your followers love. The best thing about Instagram is that with a little know-how, anyone can produce beautiful, professional-looking photos!
5. Shareable videos
Make use of Instagram’s video feature to take your visual storytelling to the next level. Videos often provoke more engagement than photos, as they really bring your brand to life. Have some fun with it and if you’re feeling camera-shy, remember a video can capture anything you like, it doesn’t have to involve you chatting away to the camera!
6. Try out the apps
Get acquainted with the range of Instagram apps available. Not only are these fun to play around with but they give you a wider range of tools for creating engaging and unique content. Add doodles and words to your photos, get airbrushing, create silly gifs, make eye-catching short-loop videos, and put together photo collages – the options are endless!
7. Create an Instagram-style guide
This one is especially important if you work as part of the team. Creating an Instagram-style guide will help your account to feel cohesive. Your guide should define things like your preferred color palettes, filters, photo composition, backgrounds, subjects, themes, and include guidelines for descriptions and tagging. Of course, you want to allow space for creativity, but you also want to keep your account consistent with your brand’s look and feel. It’s also a good idea to carry your chosen style through to your other social media platforms to build an instantly recognizable aesthetic for your brand.
8. Get organized with a content calendar
Save yourself the stress of deciding what to post each day by creating a content calendar. This should schedule content to coincide with holidays, events and important milestones in your business, while also leaving room for some flexibility to take advantage of trending topics and news. Always keep in mind your aim of creating quality content that your followers will love and want to share.
9. Curate content
A great way of easing the burden of content creation, and engaging your followers at the same time, is to curate content shared by your followers. Some successful accounts are simply a collection of posts created by their followers, with the community using a specific hashtag for the chance of a ‘feature’. Other accounts periodically ‘regram’ photos from their community – it’s best to ask permission before doing this and always give credit. Lush Hair Extensions make good use of this technique on their account, featuring hairstyles of both their followers and influencers.
10. Don’t get stuck in a rut
Instagram is a creative social media platform, so keep your account from becoming stale by building in time to explore and experiment. Monitor the success of your posts and use this information to be responsive to your followers’ likes and interests. Take the time to follow the conversation about your brand (try searching common misspellings of your brand name as well as your official hashtags), as this is valuable marketing feedback.
But above all, have fun with it. Share your love of what you do and chances are your enthusiasm will be contagious!
About the writer of this guest blog post: Alex is a social media consultant and content creator who works with clients from a range of industries, including Focus Clinics and Travelling Vineyard, to help boost their online presence and social reach.
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