When it comes to engagement on social media, when compared to other social media channels, Instagram and Snapchat top the charts.
Instagram sees approximately 3.5 billion likes per day. Thats a LOT of engagement.
Why does Instagram dominate when it comes to social media engagement?
One of the reasons can be attributed to how easy it is to engage on the platform.
Double tapping (which is how you like a photo on Instagram) is just about the easiest thing we can do on our smartphones.
Instagram is smart; the double-tap is quick, making it extremely easy for individuals to engage on the social platform.
Due to the high levels of engagement, Instagram is an incredibly powerful platform for those looking to build their community.
For example, brands can send direct messages to individuals they want to connect with.
Before you get started on Instagram, you need to think strategically about your visual hook.
Asking yourself questions such as: what’s the look of my brand? What type of brands do I want to follow me on Instagram?
These questions will help drive your look so that you’re using Instagram to connect with, and invite, the right people into your community.
Finding ways to grab, and hold, people’s attention on the platform will be critical to driving engagement.
Below are some best practices for marketers that are looking to boost their engagement on Instagram:
- Be thoughtful: Instagram, unlike Twitter, is a thoughtful platform. People are selective about what they post. If you want to build a community of followers, you need to be just as thoughtful. Think about ways that you can inspire, entertain and engage your audience visually. Get creative on what you can create that will grab people’s attention and stop them from scrolling. Lastly, be thoughtful with your captions and use of hashtags.
- Quality first: Because it’s a visual platform, the quality of your photos is critical to your Instagram success. Emphasize high-quality graphics; pair those great graphics with thoughtful captions and industry-specific hashtags, and you’re on your way to success. Keep quality in mind first and foremost. This means that even if you team creates a stellar marketing graphic, if the text on the graphic is too small to read on mobile (the place most individuals consume Instagram content on,) you aren’t going to post it. Keeping a commitment to quality is going to be what keeps your Instagram credibility high.
- Cue connections: Since Instagram only gives you one link (in your bio,) you want to use it wisely as a way to cue connections. Placing a friendly-looking URL (using a tool like bit.ly to shorten it) that drives people to your website is a great way to increase engagement on your profile. Change up the bio link as often as needed to ensure you’re sending people to the best place for them to connect with you or your brand.
- Plan ahead: Just like with any other social media platform, you want to take a strategic approach to Instagram. Use a content editorial calendar to plan what to post and how often you’ll post. Planning your content ahead of time helps ensure that you’re posting a variety of visuals that make your feed diverse and interesting. You don’t want to post 4 selfies in a row; that gets boring and self-absorbed. However, posting a selfie once every 6 weeks isn’t a bad idea to keep your fans feeling connected to you on a personal note. Planning content ahead of time is especially critical if you are working with a team that involves multiple content creators, as you don’t want to over-post on the platform.
- Get branded: All of your photos on Instagram should have the same look and feel; this makes your feed look like a beautiful, cohesive catalogue. No photo should look out of place. You also want your Instagram feed to seem unique and original; this is done by applying your own style and brand through photo edits. I recommend using photo-editing apps like VSCO to create a color recipe. A color recipe is basically the way you edit your photos; you want to have one so that you apply the same contrast, brightness, temperature and saturation to each photo you post on behalf of your brand. By sticking to your brand colors, applying your watermark to marketing graphics, and editing photos the same way, you will create a brand hue/theme that you can apply consistently to each photo you post. Your style is going to be what attracts people; it’s going to be what makes them feel comfortable when they land at your feed.
- Hashtag happy: Don’t be shy about your use of hashtags. Using hashtags are critical to connecting with the larger community on Instagram; they help you get discovered and find others to connect with. You can use 30 hashtags in each post, and it’s recommended to put those hashtags in the first caption of your post as a comment. You’ll be surprised at how many people start finding your posts once you incorporate hashtags as an integral part of the posting process.
- Curate to connect: You aren’t limited to posting only your own photos. One great way to connect to others on Instagram, and maintain the overall style of your feed, is to curate imagery from others on the platform. Sharing graphics from other individuals & brands helps you save time on content creation; it also helps grow your community. Pick photos that fit your style and theme, and be sure to provide appropriate photo credit so that the original poster knows. Providing credit is critical to curating with class.
- Save time: The best way to save time on Instagram is to use a pre-scheduling tool like Later. Although Later doesn’t post the content for you, you can upload your images and pre-write your captions so that all you have to do is hit a few buttons when Later notifies you on your phone that your image is ready to be posted.
The most important thing to keep in mind on Instagram is that your feed functions as your brand catalogue; you need to take the time to ensure it is inspirational, educational and beautiful.
When it comes to managing your presence on the platform, there are dozens of tools available for you to test.
There are so many tools that can help you save time in creating animated graphics, branded graphics, quote overlay graphics and/or event imagery.
While a lot of these tools can be powerful in helping you either save time and/or create high-quality graphics, no tool is perfect. They all have their own quirks that you need to look out for to see whether it’s a long-term solution for your marketing team.
Planning and scheduling your content ahead of time, focusing on quality imagery, and utilizing your bio link wisely is going to help you save time without compromising the strength of your Instagram strategy.
Creating a cohesive look for your Instagram photos will be the best way to create a feed that is branded, beautiful and inviting.
Curating images from other Instagrammers, and using hashtags, will enable you to grow your community on the platform and skyrocket your engagement.
Do you agree with these best practices? Do you have any to add to the list?
Share them with me in the comments below!