Instagram has hit an important milestone this year — 500 million users. From marketers and brands to celebrities, and your next-door neighbor, it seems that everyone is on Instagram, given it’s one of the world’s most widely-utilized social networks.
As a result, you may wonder what strategies you can use to increase your presence (for business or for pleasure).
Grow your Instagram brand
First, you need a clear goal. For instance, if you’re growing brand awareness for your business, your goal and subsequent strategies will be very different than that of an individual who uses the app for entertainment and personal reasons.
Your goals will also impact the type of followers you wish to attract (i.e. your vibe attracts your tribe). So, once you have a goal in mind (e.g. brand awareness, product launch, inspiration and education, etc.) the following tips will help you get noticed and attract your tribe.
Connect your Facebook account
Once you connect Instagram to your Facebook account, you can immediately share to both platforms with a simple click. When you share Instagram posts, your Facebook fans or friends can find you there with ease. Facebook offers a built-in feature which helps you identify which contacts have Instagram as well. Hubspot shared a useful article on how to do this. It’s easier to build your network with those you already know.
Don’t over do it with #hashtags
Hashtags are a cultural phenomenon. You may have seen this Jimmy Fallon skit starring Justin Timberlake. It’s hilarious, and it’s true: We are obsessed with #hashtags.
Too many can surely be a bad thing, but using the correct hashtags will make your photos much more easy to discover. Just don’t go overboard. Not sure which hashtags to use? Besides the classic #wcw, #tbt and #mcm, should consider industry and related keywords that your target audience would likely be using and following.
Consistency is key
If you want to create a strong following, you’ll need to be consistent with your posts. Decide how often you’re going to post, and then stick with it. This way, your followers know when to expect new photos. Social Media Examiner shares some good tips for scheduling Instagram updates, including ScheduGram, a schedule app for Instagram to plan and schedule posts.
Develop your brand style and personality
Do you have a consistent personality or voice? If not, this is a key next step. By deciding what sort of messages your posts will contain, you’ll determine the brand image your followers will have of you, and thus develop trust with them. Adding extra likes and followers to your account is easier with a cohesive brand presence that isn’t all over the place.
Support others on the gram
Reciprocity is important in virtually all social networks. If you want others to follow you, make sure to support them, too. Instagram users will often follow back accounts and people who follow them.
Creating Instagram engagement
Instagram is not just about your followers, it’s about engagement, too. Here are some instagram tips which will help you get users to interact with posts of yours more often.
Post quality photos
This might seem obvious, but good photos go a long way. Not all of us are professional photographers, of course, but we can do our best to make sure our photos look great before hitting the share button. One way to instantly up your photo game is to make sure you take advantage of natural light. There are filters and apps you can use, but there is definitely no true substitute.
Edit photos with the right apps
Even if you start out with a good photo, you can make it better with photo editing apps. Try out popular apps, such as:
Pic Stich: Quickly combine multiple photos into one beautifully framed picture! Be creative and get all the angles, capture all the looks, see all the faces together in one layout with the Pic Stitch collage maker. (Google Play / App Store)
Over: Edit photos, add text and captions to your pictures. (Google Play / App Store)
Squareready: Format pictures to fit into Instagram’s square frame. (Google Play / App Store)
FaceTune: Use this powerful portrait and selfie photo editor that allows you to retouch and add artistic flair to your photos. (Google Play / App Store)
VSCO: Shoot and edit your images with their superior mobile presets and advanced camera controls. Publish images or curate others to your VSCO profile. (Google Play / App Store)
Faded: Use this all-in-one photo editing app to get film-inspired looks. (App Store)
AfterLight: Afterlight is the perfect image editing app for quick and straight forward editing. The apps’ simple design, paired with powerful and snappy tools, will give you the look you want in seconds. (Google Play / App Store)
Interact with others
Make sure to share and curate content, make relevant comments on other posts, create content and use giveaways to build your following. Also, “‘Tag a friend’ has been one of the most engagement-inducing uses, using digital word of mouth to drive virality,” according to AdWeek.
Use relevant hashtags
By now you should know that you can find photos tagged with certain hashtags by searching a specific hashtag, like #YFSMagazine for example. Be strategic and targeted about your choice of hashtags or you may attract followers that do not align with your brand. And of course, there’s always #instadaily, #follow4follow, #followfriday, and #like4like.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Cormac Reynolds works and writes for a variety of marketing and internet blogs. He loves all sorts of different aspects of blogging and also has a big interest in bludgeoning the culinary arts. Connect with @brightoncormac on Twitter.
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