7 Straight-Forward Ways to Be Better at Instagram
Social media… You love it, you hate it, either way, you probably can’t live without it (especially if you’re a creative or small business owner). Despite all of our various feelings on the pervasive platform, there’s no denying the fact that social media is a pretty powerful tool. Wielded well, it can propel a single individual, small business, or upstart studio to a degree of notoriety previously far out of reach. If you’re on a mission to grow your following, there’s a few simple tactics we’ve found should serve you well. Read on.
Find your voice.
An early step of almost every branding project involves a discovery phase. We’ll help a brand or individual hone their individual aesthetic and voice. To do this for yourself, spend some time surveying the landscape. What accounts are you inspired by? Who is a kindred spirit? What are some things you like, and dislike, about what they do? Think about creating a branding profile of your business. What are some words you would use to describe your brand? What colors are important to you and your brand? If your brand were a movie, what movie would it be? From these thoughts and conversations, develop a few do’s and dont’s as well as a visual style. Through all of this make sure you don’t forget to be honest and human. More than anything social media is a wonderful place to connect with others.
The cardinal rule of social media, posting consistently is just a good idea, plain and simple. The big bad Instagram algorithm (which does away with chronological post order and instead prioritizes posts Instagram believes you will like) rewards loyal users. So, post often and stick to it. Pick a time (or times) of day and post around then every time you post. If you’re a brand, once a day is a good goal. If you’re going about it in a more intimate way, aim for 3x a week.
According to Forbes, “Under Instagram’s new algorithm, influencers who are consistently engaging with their audiences will be ranked favorably in user’s feeds.” So, get chatty! Engage with your followers and follow accounts and users who you vibe with. Join a community or get to work building one of your own with collaborators and friends. Are you running a business-related account? Make sure you answer questions and are reliably communicative with your followers.
Use a hashtag or two.
“Discovery” hashtags, hashtags that call out themes, categories, and/or related ideas (ie #travel #inspiration #exploremore on a photo from your most recent trip abroad) can be helpful in attracting people from outside your network of followers. Just be sure not to overdo—hashtags can veer into the poor taste pretty quickly (looking at you, #follow4follow). Instead, pick a few that make intuitive sense to include, then add them in a comment, rather than in the main image caption, of the image in question. A nifty site, Focalmark, helps you find hashtags that are tasteful and sure to attract likes.
Use the right tools.
There are tons of tools out there designed for the sole purpose of leveraging Instagram successfully for your business. Read up on what’s available and use what’s right for you!
Instagram values engagement and buzz. But how to drum up some of that magic in an exciting, but also authentic way? The answer is different for everyone, but a fun way to get people talking is to host a giveaway. If you’re an artist, consider giving away a print. The call-to-entry is simple. Ask people to comment + tag a friend for a chance to win. The higher level of engagement means more people will see the post, leading more people to your profile.
Get some press.
Your profile is looking good. You’re even developing a little bit of an organic following. Now, the challenging part—how to go from 250 followers to 2,500 and beyond. Because Instagram is a social place, it affords users the possibility to be bold. Reach out to publications or aggregators with the simple goal of introducing yourself and what you’ve been up to. Are you an illustrator? Reach out to @ballpitmag with a photo of something you’ve been working on. The worst that can happen is a total non-reply. No harm done, if you ask us.