Two things you should know about Instagram is it very good for taking pictures and communicating and it is keeping its mobile restrictions in place making it one of the trickiest platforms to use for your business.
Instagram was started as a mobile app and after a lot of reluctance the popularity of the app paved its way towards the desktop usage. Even today the desktop version isn’t very versatile, you can like and comment on posts from a normal browser but that’s it, you can’t do more. The one thing that really matters is that you cannot post anything on your Instagram account. If Instagram keeps it that way you will never be able to make any post.
This is the primary problem. The other side of this problem is Instagram doesn’t allow posting through Its Application Program Interface which means that all the fancy desktop applications and social media dashboards you’ve set up to make posts are in vain. What they do is send them to a phone linked to the account and requests to approve the posts manually.
That being explained enough, the usage of Instagram is pretty easy. You can send your posts to your mobile device from your desktop and schedule posting. It’s not a surprise if you’ve already set it up and now looking for promoting your posts.
One of the most easily overlooked aspects of Instagram post is Hashtags. Its importance is undeniable and cannot be ignored. Hashtags are needed to attain publicity and promotion on Instagram.
By using appropriate hashtags, you can get acquainted by new communities, get the attention of more users, and build yourself up as the provider of great and productive content. On other sites there is a limit on the number of hashtags you can use, but on Instagram you can use as much as you can. I have seen more successful posts having hashtags between 5 to 20 so it’s safe to say that the ideal number of hashtags in between 5 to 10.
There are two types of hashtags
Branded tags they are usually your brand name, product titles and tags related to you or your brand personally. They are really effective when you include them in your posts.
Generic tags these tag are of very generic nature, for example #happiness, #rain, #beachfun etc. There is a wide variety of these generic tags and they include tags of variety of topics and audience.
Generally, you should look for these generic tags that are narrower than the broad terms.For example, like any tag #awesome has millions posts in it, which means a lot of people are using it, on the other hand there is a crowd of people using it too.
One other thing you should keep in mind as well, that people have different definitions of the word awesome. A suggestion is that you can use something of a narrower spectrum like #awesomness or #awesomeproduct to get to more targeted users. They might be smaller in numbers but there will be more people interested in your post. You can get higher rate of engagement from these hashtags. You can use the generic hashtags as well to cover up the foundation.
You can use 30 hashtags in your posts, which is a lot of room for you to include tags of your choice. I wouldn’t post 30 tags on 1 post. 15 are more than enough you don’t want to portray your post as if it has surplus tags or as if it is a spam.
The trick of the trade is to mix it up a bit, make 3 of tags your branded tags, turn 5 of them broad tags like #awesome, now use the rest to be a bit narrow.
Edit Photos Before Posting
There are many features that make a picture a perfectInstagram post for example there is the main subject, composition, colors and editing. You might have some text on top of an image.
It’s not very hard to believe that almost all of the pictures you see on internet, TV, magazines and newspapers are heavily edited. You must be familiar with celebrities editing their pictures and getting caught later. Nothing is posted on anyone’s account without editing. At least I do some cropping and some color correction before I post them. There is so much good a perfectly cropped photo can do to your post.
As for color correction I have observed many opposing option.Some studies show that cooler hues get the attention of audience and some says warmer tones attract the audience more.The liking of a picture varies from post to post and from the type of audience.
Many people like warmer tones and others might like cooler tones, there is no absolute way to knowing this but to take your time and experiment around and find which post got the most engagement. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a High-Tec DSLR camera or a smartphone, there are some set rules to help getting you most out of your posts.
You cannot take one picture and assume it’s good enough, you have to take multiple photos and find the best one. You won’t get the same setting later so it’s better to take numerous photos at the time so you can select the perfect one and work on it.
While take a picture you should always keep your subject centered, most people don’t get out of focus pictures and its proven that these centralized photos work best for Instagram’s square layout.
You should never leave the frame unattended, always fill the complete frame with something really catchy, or crop the uninteresting part. The sole purpose is to help your audience see your subject better, nobody likes zooming in to see what you mean to show them.
Another significant point you should keep in mind is while taking a photo you should always think of symmetry, it doesn’t mean you have to be obsessive compulsive about it. I am talking about horizontal and vertical symmetry. Its more pleasing to the eye if they are centered. Last but not least, Colors; they are the most important part of each post. Always choose vibrant and colors that catch the eye of your audience. Don’t edit it so much that it starts looking fake. Never put too much HDR filter to try to make your subject prettier, there is nothing bad in keeping it a bit raw in this artificial world.
User Content: Feature it!
These guidelines are about gaining more audience and producing better content for your posts. now this topic is about how to reach out to your audience and you don’t have to use entirely passive sources.
The purpose of featuring content is to gain attention from your users.
You might have more marketing budget than your users and you do have larger audience but it doesn’t mean you start advertising content submitted by them.
You have to implore content on your page and then feature it. I am going to give an example of how a contest might look like.
How to set up a contest?
First decide what you can give out as a prize, it should be somewhat valuable to your users. I always find gift cards a bit tacky for giving out as a prize. Now the next step is setting up a theme, for example ‘Your selfie using our new selfie stick’. Determine a deadline and some basic rules, do check them out on Instagram contest guidelines.
During the contest promote it through making comments on images people have submitted. Make sure that you leave comments and acknowledge them. You can also ask them to use a specific branded hashtag to have their submissions counted. It will also be a place where the contestants can check all submissions.
Now once you have chosen winners, two three or how many you want them to be. Start featuring them, repost their content on your page and include tags or the user, use other hashtags to boost them, you also can add a small description to match the post.
While posting always give credit to the original creator, this will help drawing in comments and engagement from your users.
Last but not least, be honest in judging the contest and always feature really high quality user content.
These type of contests cannot be run every week or month. Doing this over and over again will get really monotonous after a while and your users will stop posting. Nevertheless, you can run low level contests from time to time.
Another kind of contest that boosts engagement is ‘Caption This’ type of contests. The thing to do here is post a picture and ask your users to caption it. It can be an interesting picture of someone using your product or it can be something whimsical, people on internet have a really good sense of humor and there is a chance you can use the caption to your good use as well.
Request Your Readers to Comment
The easiest and most efficient way to engage your audience is by asking them to comment on your post. You can simply ask for them like ‘Leave a comment and inform us about your opinion’. That’s a simple example, although there are numerous ways to ask them to post comments.
You can ask your users to give feedback regarding your product or services. By posting a statement saying ‘How do you want our XYZ product to improve?’ or ‘What’s the effect of XYZ product on your skin?’
By posting these kind of question you can get a lot of engagement. Some feedback you can use to improve the quality of your product and some you can ignore.
You can also ask and unrelated question that will engage your audience. For example, ‘What’s your favorite beach in the world’
Or ‘who was the best Batman- Christian Bale or George Clooney?
It will get you a lot of engagement on your posts, avoid posting about controversial topics.
posting consistently is the reason of success on any social media platform. When you have a relatively smaller audience posting everyday seems a lot of work. if you’re not getting a lot of comments or likes then what’s the point of putting in so much effort? Well the answer of this question is people although in small number are appreciating your posts, but they are. Even if you’re getting only 8 out of 200 people to like and comment on your posts that’s still pretty good.
You can start off with this 8 people and build a foundation on it. Each image or video you post increases your chance for more users to view and comment.
it gives your followers a chance to go through your content more and provide the necessary inspiration for future posts. if your quality is high and consistent volume will bring success to your page.
The thing to consider here is never to overdo things. I used the phrase posting frequently but not post as much you can. Posting frequently means you are posting maximum once a day because people don’t want to see the same old names in their newsfeed over and over again. If I see a page’s name more twice there I either click unfollow or unlike the page.
Videos have the highest engagement rates especially vines. Still video surpasses images on the popularity list.However, there is a technical issue, images on Instagram are easy to take and edit on the other hand videos are quite tricky, they require tools, software and skills to be made.
If you don’t know how to make proper videos on Instagram you shouldn’t post rookie videos on your account, you can use images to your best advantage and use them to get engagement.
There is marketing and then there is tasteful marketing, shoving your products all over your page is easy for your users to view butTastefully and skillfully advertising them is the key to getting more engagement. I don’t want to see my newsfeed slathered in bottles of an organic skin lotion. If its presented in an innovative way yes it would be more appealing.