Instagram has never really been my strong suit nor is a platform I currently utilize for Studio Krystal. While I experiment with the platform for beauty related content (in specific, my beauty blog) I've never translated this knowledge into my business.
Instead, I will simply leave Instagram to the experts and focus on building Studio Krystal in other social platforms. However, don't underestimate Instagram just because it doesn't work for me.
Today I've invited Molly from Molly Marshall Marketing to chat with us about 23 Powerful Ways to BOOST and build your Instagram account for all levels of online creators.
You have a lot of options for social media, and if you aren’t already active on Instagram, it might feel like one more social platform to add to your already full plate of to do’s. The simplicity of Instagram combined with the strong content and non-diluted information makes Instagram the best place for businesses to be.
Content creators utilizing the Instagram platform, tend to stay on Instagram and be dedicated and loyal to bringing their audience the best content. Engagement is also another key factor and tends to be higher on Instagram than on other platforms, making it the ideal place to connect on a personal level with your fans and customers!
If you are just getting started on Instagram, then this list of 23 powerful tips I’m going to give to you is going to be perfect to help you be successful. Remember, general social media marketing practices still apply! Things like treating other users the way you want to be treated, not oversharing, participating in the community and sharing high-quality content are key.
Are you ready for the tips? Let’s begin:
Before You Start
One: Niche down and get specific
Instagram works best when you narrowly focus the content that you share. It’s not difficult to find large, successful accounts dedicated to things like: cooking, fitness, knitting enthusiasts, quotes, and other topics. As a business owner, you probably have many interests, but when it comes to your Instagram, you want to keep things on topic. If your Instagram is dedicated to helping promote your business and gain new clients, then you want to make sure your personal selfies or family vacations sitting on the beach don't make it on your account.
Two: Know who you are talking to
As a smart business owner, you already know that “everyone” is not your customer. Even if your product has mass appeal (food, fitness, quotes, etc) you should still have an ideal audience that you are trying to reach. Being aware of who this ideal audience is will help you focus your content.
Don’t Forget Your Biography
Before someone decides to follow you, they will most likely click over to your biography (description) to see what you are all about. This makes your biography content a critical first impression, so make sure yours is in tip-top shape!
Three: Pick a good username
Stay simple here, folks! Your username should be your business name or your real name, without extra characters or weird punctuation. It should be easy to remember, pronounce and spell. If someone is already aware of your business, they should be able to find you easily on Instagram by simply typing in your business name.
Four: Use a great profile picture
Your picture should be clear and close up. We want to see your face! Some people choose to use their logo, and that is up to you. However, I feel that ultimately people want to connect with other people on Instagram, and your face is clearly the more personal choice. Make your photo pop by wearing a bright color (bonus points if it’s one of your brand colors) or using some kind of prop that is related to your business. For example, if you are a food-related account, hold an apple
Five: Answer questions with your description
I’m a fan of keeping things pretty simple here as well. You only get 150 characters, and the most important thing is to answer your potential customer’s questions. Critical information like: what type of business you are, location, hours of operation and how they can contact you. If you still have room after you’ve answered the basics, you can add something personal, creative, or intriguing!
Six: Spice things up with Emoji's
We are visual creatures. Adding some emoji's to your bio can break up the text, and make it more readable for people. Depending on which characters you pick, they can be small visual cues about the words you have typed.
Seven: List vs. paragraph
When you type out your profile description inside the Instagram app, it will appear as a paragraph, but some people prefer that their description appears in a list format (I’m one of them, I think it makes it easier to read). To do that, try typing out your description text in your phone’s note pad or something like Evernote adding spaces or entering to give your description more of a flow. Then copy and paste into Instagram.
Eight: Track your link
You only get ONE live link on Instagram, and it appears in your biography. In order to keep an eye on exactly how many people are clicking through to go to your website, newsletter sign-up, or shop, use Bitly.com to shorten your link. When you put the Bitly link in your bio, you can log back in to Bitly at any time, and see exactly how many people have clicked on that link. Being able to know how many people are following your link helps you measure the effectiveness of your Instagram marketing.
Content is Key
Nine: Visuals matter
Instagram is all about pictures, which means you can’t get away with grainy, poorly lit, messy photos. You also don’t have to be an expert photographer! Being a lifelong student, and always working to improve your photography skills is enough. If you aren’t strong in this area, start working on it today.
Ten: Tie your look together
There are many ways to create a “cohesive” look. Think of Instagram as a magazine. All of the pages should look like they are part of the same magazine. Some ways to tie your visuals together are having a consistent color palette, using the same backdrop for all your pictures, or having a certain lighting setting or filter that you use. Find your style and stick to it!
Eleven: Planning ahead keeps you consistent
While the best Instagram accounts look spontaneous and free-flowing, they aren’t. Great Instagrammers are meticulous planners! I recommend coming up with 10-15 types of content you can post in a rotating pattern, so you never run out of content. An example is something like: a quote, behind the scenes, how to, customer testimonial, audience engagement question, etc.
Twelve: Batch process your images
Along with planning ahead, try to prepare the content, including the images, in large batches. Edit 10 photos at a time instead of one, and write your descriptions for the week and pre-schedule them, instead of trying to do it on the fly from your phone. When you don’t batch process, it can start to feel like Instagram is taking over your life, so do yourself a favor!
Thirteen: Stop the scroll with a great “hook”
When people are scrolling through their Instagram feed, they will only see the first 150-ish characters of your description. Make them want to pause and finish reading by grabbing their interest. Say something provocative and curiosity-inducing, or ask a question.
Fourteen: Use apps to take your visuals to the next level
There are hundreds of great apps out there for both iPhone and Android that can amp up your visuals by adding text, frames, and other effects. In fact, I’ve rounded up my favorites in a freebie which you can find right here:
Hashtags Are There For a Reason
Fifteen: Use 30 per post
Yes! You can use up to 30 per Instagram post. I always use all of the tools that I have available to me, by using all 30 this gets you in front of your audience plus those who might be interested in being part of your business journey.
Sixteen: Put hashtags in as a comment
So as to not muck up your awesome description with a mess of hashtags, paste them in as a comment immediately after posting. They still work, but it keeps your description clear. An added bonus is that after you get a few additional comments, the comment containing the hashtags will be hidden.
Seventeen: ‘2-Word Hashtag Rule’
Often, hashtags that have two words in them, like #graphicdesigner are more targeted and bring in better traffic than #graphic and #designer listed individually. Remember this when using your hashtags, as Instagram is all about targeting the right people.
Eighteen: Check for spam
Before you use a hashtag for yourself, search it on Instagram and see what results it returns. If you see a lot of spam posts, you will most likely get spam comments. Skip these and find new hashtags!
Nineteen: See if you get what you expect
As you are checking for spam, also look to see if the results are relevant to your business. Sometimes hashtags have unexpected meanings! If you don’t see what you were expecting to see, this is another sign that you should look for a different hashtag to use.
Strive for Engagement
Twenty: Follow at least 10 accounts in your niche
You might call them “competitors” but you need to become friends! Instagram is a community, and you can greatly benefit by connecting with others in your niche. You can also learn a lot from people that are already being successful on Instagram in your space.
Twenty-One: Always ask questions
Every time you post, try to ask a simple question. Particularly when you are starting out on Instagram, you may not get many comments. By asking simple, easy-to-answer questions, you are inviting more responses. This also gives you a great opportunity to engage with your followers
Twenty-Two: Respond to all comments
As you are trying to build engagement on your account, be sure to respond to all comments! Instagram should be a two-way conversation. When you personally respond to a comment, it makes it that much more likely that someone will comment again, build your engagement over time!
Twenty-Three: Seek out ideal followers
Don’t just wait for people to come to you! Spend time each day looking for your ideal customer. What hashtags do they use on Instagram? Search those hashtags and spend some time liking and commenting on their photos. When you have your Instagram strategy dialed in, and you’re reaching out to the right people, many of these people will pop over to your account and follow you.
Instagram is a fun and rewarding platform to be on for any business, but it takes planning, coordination, and the right tactics to grow an engaged audience.
Which of these tips were new to you? Do you have any to add to the list?
Molly Marshall has helped thousands of small business owners to build masses of adoring fans on social media, particularly with Instagram. She is the creator of the Instagram Marketing Course, Amp Up Your InstaGame, and you can find her slinging serious social media advice every day on Instagram or on her blog at Molly Marshall Marketing