How’s your Instagram account doing? Getting lots of new followers? Mine has been steadily growing but VERY SLOWLY. As such I’ve done quite a lot of research and here are some of the best tips I’ve found. I’m ready to start auditing my account (and possibly changing what I post). Care to join me? Or if you’re doing well – let me know your tips!
Know your brand (and understand your audience)
It’s vital that you understand your brand and what you want to achieve. What are your goals? Is your account about raising brand awareness, is it about directing people to your website, are you trying to sell a product? Think about what you want to achieve with your Instagram account and who is your target audience.
Once you understand your brand you need to think about your audience and what you should be sharing with them. Do they want to see pictures of your beautiful product, are you selling them a lifestyle? Remember Instagram is about images first and foremost. What kinds of images resonate with your target audience?
Sort out your profile
Whether you use a profile picture of yourself, or your logo, make sure it is consistent across all social media – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. If you want to establish yourself as a personality use your own picture. People like to know who they are talking to. If your business takes priority use your logo or company image.
You also need to tell people exactly what you do. Say who you are, what you do and include any awards or accolades – people are more likely to follow you if you’re deemed credible.
Include a call to action – what do you want people to do? To go to your blog? Your shop? Your LinkedIn page? Include a link to your website (this is the only place on Instagram that you can put clickable links so use it well and link wisely). You can refresh the link as often as you want (eg if you’re having a flash sale, or have a new blog post up).
Improve your photos
Why do you follow accounts? It’s the great images right? We like accounts that consistently post great photography around themes that we’re interested in whether that’s interior design, food or babies. So think about what you’re key themes are and stick to them. It’s also worth thinking about how they look as a collection – do they sit together well or does it all look a big higgledy piggledy? Pick themes, colour tones – anything that gives your account a distinctive look.
Also take the time to make your photos as good as they can be. It sounds obvious, but Instagrammers with thousands of followers often edit their photos in external apps such as VSCO or Snapseed and think carefully about the composition and how the picture will work as part of a collection. What do your followers really love?
Top Instagrammers will often spend as much time researching hashtags as they will editing their pictures. Hashtags enable people to find you and and also makes you part of a community. To see which hashtags are current in your area (they change constantly) see what your influencers are using, see who they are following. You can try Tags4Likes if you want help finding relevant hashtags for your account.
Analyse what works
Aside from WHAT to post you also need to think about WHEN. Most people post 1-3 times a day. Any more than that can become annoying – and you still need to focus on quality. Go back and see what pictures work well for you, and if you have a business account look at the analytics for each post. Do some do better at certain times of the day?
Upgrade to a business account
Instagram has just launched business accounts, which allows you to add your location, your contact information, business address and industry information to your profile. However you can only get all this if you have a linked Facebook fan page – so make sure you have one of these set up first.
Once your business account is live you’ll be able to promote individual posts and view insights on each post. You’ll also be able to see who is following you.
Start telling Stories
Stories is Instagram’s new feature that allows users to post a series of unedited photos or videos. You can publish straight away and they only stay live for 24 hours. After that they disappear. They also don’t appear in your timeline but you can download them if you want to keep them. They aren’t supposed to be high quality so don’t shoot the same kinds of things that you put on your feed – show your followers behind the scenes at your photoshoot or you preparing your favourite meal.
As they are new, lots of people are trying them out and Stories appear at the top of your feed with users profiles in circles. This means it’s an easy way to get new people looking at your content as not many people are yet on board with them. Engagement at the moment is high – make the most of it.
Get people involved with competitions, giveaways and regraming
If you want to increase your number of followers or make people more aware of your brand, run a competition or giveaway. There are many ways of doing this – you can ask followers to regram a picture with your hashtag to win, or you can simply ask people to comment on and share your post. If you have more followers you might want to work with a partner so you both benefit.
You can also ask followers to tag their friends in your comments which can get more people looking at your account. For example if you create a poster or Meme picture that might appeal to sisters, or best friends, encourage people to share it by suggesting their friends in your comments section. You can also regram other people’s images by suggesting a hashtag for a certain period of time – just remember to credit appropriately. You’ll need to use an app such as RePost or Skippr.