Digital Marketing TipsSocial Media

Instagram For Beginners

Instagram for beginners

Instagram is definitely a favourite social channel for most of us but many businesses are still yet to understand its relevancy as a marketing tool. Have a read of my Instagram for beginners guide to understand the basics.

For the love of Instagram

Admittedly, Instagram isn’t right for all businesses but if you’re consumer focused rather than targeting businesses specifically, then I’d say definitely give it a go. It can be addictive, especially if you have a little creative flair! I personally love the ‘gram’.

Besides being visually appealing and easy to access on the go, it’s also pretty simple to use once you get started.

Here are some tips to help you make the best out of your own Instagram account to increase followers and encourage engagement.

Keep it interesting, relevant and eye-catching

Instagram is a creative and visual social channel. It’s all about capturing your audience’s attention by providing value and relevancy. But not forgetting curiosity. Plus, it’s a great way to showcase your visual branding as well as your brand voice and ethos as a business.

Think about what captures attention. For example, research shows a much better response rate to photos of people rather than just creative graphics. Your goal should be to post photos and videos that encourage a sense of emotion. In other words, think about how your post will make someone feel. Happiness, humour, motivation or love, to name but a few.

Choose quality photos and videography with a clear focal point. Use colour and consistency in what you create. As well as each individual post, don’t forget about Instagram’s grid. How will that image sit with what’s surrounding it? Do the colour tones work together?

Use hashtags, but don’t go crazy

Hashtags are a great way to increase your reach on Instagram. Depending on the post topic the right hashtags will encourage more engagement and hopefully attract new followers.

Unfortunately, some people take it way too far with captions over-run with hashtags. You can use up to 30 but I’d suggest sticking to 10-15. Just make sure to only use keywords that are relevant and on topic for the post. Don’t repeat using the same hashtags in all your posts, and I’d suggest opting to use the first comment rather than incorporating into your post when you’re posting in real-time.

Post consistently

If you want to keep followers engaged, you need to post new content on a regular basis but also consistently. That doesn’t mean you need to be posting loads everyday. In fact, instead post once a day or once every other day. It needs to be frequent enough for your followers and frequent enough for Instagram’s algorithm. Make sure you check your insights (an analysis tool you’ll have if you have more than 100 followers) so you can determine best times and the best days to post.

Be direct with a DM

Although it’s a good idea to post frequently to keep your followers engaged, sometimes it’s not always necessary to publicly post something to all your followers. Instead you can target accounts  by sending a private direct message (DM) with a photo or video. It’s a great way to connect and target specific groups of users with your content all at once.

Interact and engage with your audience

Always respond to comments. Make sure you ‘like’ comments and respond as a reply to direct questions and statements. Your followers want to hear from you.

Whether it’s via your own posts or through commenting on the accounts you follow. Never ignore your most loyal followers who regularly like and comment on your photos! It’s important to not only help your followers feel valued, but also to make sure that you get noticed further by accounts who have yet to follow you or visit your profile.

Instagram posts

Instagram’s algorithm will want to see that your posts are relevant to your audience. Think of it as the more you interact the more likely you are to appear more regularly in your followers’ content feeds.

Never purchase followers

Purchasing followers on social media used to be a big thing. Many users would pay to increase follower numbers so that basically they a) look popular; and b) so they can achieve ‘the blue tick’ for stature and to add links in posts. The problem with buying them is that they’re likely to be fake accounts with no value.

Instagram and in fact all social platforms now penalise accounts where there is suspicion. So my advice is stick to real engagement. Don’t focus on the number of followers you have, but instead focus on how interested your followers are in your content.

Don’t be afraid to tag others

You want to cast your net as far as possible. Your existing followers are majorly important, but the more people you reach out to, the better. Make sure you use other accounts’ handles/tags in your posts which are relevant and on topic. For example, if you’ve been collaborating with another business don’t be afraid to mention them. They’re highly likely to do the same if they’re an active account. You can even DM them before the mention so they’re aware. Or you can ask them if they’re happy to do a little reciprocal social marketing. It’s a technique that many Instagram users conduct to grow their audience.

Watch trends in your marketplace

Using hashtags and other account holders’ handles is great, but even trends like these will eventually have an expiry date. If you want to be a successful Instagrammer it’s so important to keep up with the latest trends. That way you’ll avoid being left behind and putting yourself at risk of losing valuable followers. Trends this year, so far include things like:

  • Instagram shopping
  • The no-edit approach to imagery and videography
  • Influencer marketing
  • Brand voice (where average caption lengths are around 65-70 words)
  • Micro-blogs where users post mini blogs in-line with their brand and business topic
  • IGTV vertical videos.

Post stories and add to highlights

Stories have opened up a whole new focus for Instagrammers. Stories are ‘in the moment’ content that you can post for your followers to see. They can be both photos and videos, or an item of existing content which can be shared again in story format. They add an extra element of fun. As they disappear after 24 hours. They are more light-hearted and are perfect for adding more visuals for a post topic. These can be viewed at the top of the feed (in the form of a circle).

Stories are all about capturing the moment in real-time and simply offer a more casual way to connect, share and interact with your followers. They may only last 24 hours as a story feed, but they can also be saved as highlights in categories of your choosing which appear above your grid. Highlight the best ones as a way to document what’s happening and use as a reference to look back as past activity.

If you need any guidance on any of the topics I mention in my marketing blogs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Visit my contact page and complete the online form, ping me an email to maginn.sarah@gmail.com or send me a DM on any of my social media platforms.