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5 min read
How to Rock on Instagram
Posted in Social Media on 21st June 2017 9:00 am
Instagram is a social media platform (owned by Facebook) designed for sharing images. It’s a fun platform to use and works extremely well for many businesses, especially ones with engaging imagery to share, such as in the travel, home and consumer retail sectors.
Instagram is one of my favourite social media platforms, but it’s also the hardest to grow in terms of number of followers and engagement. Over the last few years, it’s seen the development of several internet robots that automatically generate likes and comments. As a result Instagram have toughened up their algorithm making it harder to secure likes, comments and followers.
So how can you ace Instagram marketing and increase your followers organically to gain exposure for your brand?
Using robots or automated likes will probably go against you rather than in your favour. You can risk getting your account closed by ‘buying likes’. When you purchase Instagram likes, many of those accounts will be inactive, fake or robot automated. Instagram can see if you have a high number of these following you, and if it is a major concern, they could flag you as spam or even close your account.
Also, automated comments can make your account look spammy and not authentic. When people can see that you have a low engagement rate and fake followers, it questions the integrity of your brand. I recently saw an automated comment saying ‘Wow, looks so much fun!’ on a picture of Auschwitz. How inappropriate can you get
Don’t be tempted to pay for likes or automated comments on Instagram – build your account organically. The next few points in the article show you how to achieve this, through posting of high quality images, frequent content, using #hashtags and @mentions and commenting on other people’s posts.
The odd iPhone selfie can gain interest on Instagram of course, but it’s better to promote high-quality images, for example a photograph of a beautiful view or a close-up product photograph.
It is beneficial to consider having a theme running through your images or branding on certain ones. A theme could be a certain lifestyle or product theme (e.g. make-up and toiletries). Branding your Instagram account could include having your logo in the bottom right or using a colour filter. It will make your account look professional and stand out from the rest.
Your photographs should be your own original work, and if not, you must always credit the photographer. If they are on Instagram, you can credit them using an @tag (precede their username with the @ symbol and it will tag their account – see #4).
A final thought for the advanced social media manager is to upgrade from smartphone photography to a high-quality camera. Nikon and Canon are good brand choices. Many also have an inbuilt WIFI card, which means that the images can be sent directly from your camera to your phone for immediate social media posting.
Your followers will expect regular updates, so don’t disappoint! I would always aim to post daily, but remember that quality is key, so ensure that you have enough strong imagery to make a daily post interesting and add value to your followers.
Many, travel and product based companies post daily, but not all. Booking.com post approximately twice weekly. Coca-Cola post two or three times a week.
However frequently you choose to post, make sure that posting is regular and consistent. The key is consistent strong images that represent your brand. Avoid bombarding your customers with posts over a period of 24 or 48 hours and then posting nothing for a week or two. Your followers will be very confused!
Using #hashtags will increase the searchability of your post on Instagram. For example, if you are posting about a travel destination, you might use #travel #holiday #Spain #CostaBrava. This means that anyone searching for those hashtags will land on your post and hopefully like or comment on it.
It is possible to use between 10-20 hashtags per post on Instagram, depending on the situation and aim of the post. For example, if you are posting a view of a lake (let’s use Bala Lake in Wales as an example) for a travel business, you could use several hashtags e.g. #lake #view #summer #countryside #Bala #Wales #uk #pic #photo #sailing #holiday #vacation. It combines activity hashtags, destination hashtags, and seasonal hashtags.
You can also mention other people or other brand accounts by using the @symbol. For example, if you wanted to mention me in a post, you can mention @amytrumpeter, or the company that I work for @elephantdigi. You can tag more than one account on an image, so tagging relevant businesses or accounts can sometimes get more interaction.
So here’s the secret – it’s not all about you! By liking and commenting on other people’s posts you can increase your exposure and encourage others to follow you and interact with your account.
Let’s say that you are a housing developer with a customer base close to your local area – ‘like’ images of the town or city where you are building or images of local businesses such as restaurants. If you are a travel agent wanting to promote a certain destination, search for images of that destination and get liking!
Overall, the power of Instagram marketing should not be underestimated. If you have a visual brand, I encourage you to incorporate Instagram marketing into your overall marketing strategy plan. If you would like to learn more about using Instagram for business, or you would like help with your social media, please contact us.
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