Do you want to gain more followers on Instagram, increase engagement, make more sales, and effectively learn how to use this social media platform for your business or blog? Well, you’re in the right place. If you’re not using Instagram to support your business, you’re missing out. Did you know that Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform with over 500 million monthly active users, and over 95 million photos are shared every single day? With numbers like this your ideal clients are definitely on Instagram, you just have to know how to reach them. Make your blog or business stand out from the crowd by following these essential Instagram tips:
Make Your Profile Awesome
You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make it a great one! Use a consistent profile picture across all of your social media platforms so you are easy to recognize and people can put a face to your name. Remember, people connect with other people, not businesses. In addition to your awesome profile photo, take a few minutes to fill out the bio section. Tell viewers what you do, how you can help them, and what to expect if they follow your page. Lastly, take advantage of the area where you can post a website link and link to your website, blog, or other social media platform (wherever you’re trying to drive traffic to).
Need a little inspiration? Here is how my Instagram profile looks, along with two others that I follow:
Do You Need a Personal Page and a Business Page?
Only you can answer this question, but many people prefer to have two separate Instagram pages; one for their business and one for personal use. On my personal page, I follow my friends and family, post photos of my kids and my adorable puppy, our traveling adventures, and a little behind the scenes of my day to day life. Honestly, I don’t put a ton of thought into what I post on my personal page because for me, it’s just a fun way to connect with other people that I actually know. On the other hand, my business page uses all of the tips that I am explaining in this post. I put a ton of thought into it, and connect mostly with people I don’t know in “real life”, such as other bloggers and entrepreneurs.
Make Your Account Public
On Instagram, you have the option of having a public or private account. If it’s public, anyone can see what you post, and if it’s private only those who you “approve” to follow you can see your posts. If you want to keep your personal page private that’s completely fine, but you MUST make your business page public if you want to gain followers. Remember social media is meant to be “social” and people won’t follow your business if they can’t even see your photos. Whenever I come across a private account, I just move onto the next one. Don’t let your potential clients pass by you.
Have A Consistent Look and Theme
Pages that have a consistent look are more appealing and therefore get more followers compared to other pages that don’t. Instagram is a visual platform, so give your viewers something eye-catching and pretty to look at. So what exactly do I mean by “consistent look and theme?” All of your photos should use a similar color palette. Either keep them all light and airy, dark and dramatic, or bright and cheerful. Some people take this a step further by posting photos that only use their brand colors (so their entire feed is pink and gray and white, for example). Another way to keep your feed consistent is by using the same one or two fonts throughout all of your photos. If you regularly post photos with text on top, you need to use consistent colors and consistent fonts to give your page a cohesive look.
Since people are bombarded with tons of images every day, make sure your photos are high-quality. Whether you use stock photos, take your own photos, or a combination of both, high-quality is key. Make sure the photos are in focus and properly lit (nobody wants to see blurry, dark photos).
If you are going to use a filter on your photos, stick to one filter so you maintain a consistent look. If you’re using your phone to take photos and then edit them, download one of these photo editing apps: A Color Story, VSCO, After Light, Pic Tap Go, or Photoshop Express.
Here is a sample of three quotes that I posted on my Instagram page (notice the consistent color palette and fonts used):
Here is a sample of three blog posts that I posted on my Instagram page (notice the consistent color palette and fonts used):
While there is no hard rule about how often you should post on Instagram, I simply recommend picking a posting schedule that you can honestly stick to. I post once per day on my business account, and other people post two or three times per day. It’s just a matter of preference and how much content you have to share. If you are going to post multiple times per day, I recommend spacing it out so you don’t clutter up your followers feeds. For example, if you’re posting three times per day I suggest posting eight hours apart. The key is to be consistent. They best way to do this is to schedule your posts in advance. There are several great social media schedulers out there, and my favorites are Viraltag and Tailwind.
Post Relevant and Useful Content
So what exactly should you post on Instagram every day? While this will be different for every blogger or business, a good rule of thumb is to have at least three different types of posts. For example, I post about my new blog posts, inspirational quotes, and a little behind the scenes of my day to day life (lots of coffee and blogging, haha!). Your posts should be useful and provide value to your followers. Here are a few ideas on what to post: your products or services, recent blog posts, sneak peaks of upcoming new products that you’re working on, motivational quotes, behind the scenes, shout outs to other business, product recommendations, funny short stories, or create a weekly series (for example: Motivational Monday, Working Wednesday, Funny Friday, etc.).
On Instagram, hashtags should be your best friend. For each post, you are allowed to use up to 30 hashtags that relate to that photo, so use them! Hashtags are used to connect with others and are the best way for people to find your page. Keep your hashtags relevant to your photo, your business, and your ideal audience. I personally have all of the hashtags that I use frequently saved in a note on my iPhone, so all I have to do is copy and paste them into each post. Once you figure out what your relevant hashtags are, write them down so you can easily keep track of them and not have to manually type them in each time you post a new photo.
Include A Call To Action
What do you want people to do when they see your photo? Do you want them to click on your website link to read your latest blog post? Do you want them to enter a contest or giveaway? Are you looking for more interaction? Include a call to action in the caption of your photos to make it clear what your followers should do. I personally like to ask a question to increase engagement and get a few comments on my photos.
Interact With Others
Be social when you’re on social media! Follow other people who are in your same niche, comment on their posts, and engage with your audience. Use Instagram to build a community of like-minded people and businesses so you look forward to using it every day.
DON’T Do This On Instagram
Ok, now that we went over all of the things that you should be doing on Instagram, here are a few things that you definitely should NOT do:
- Avoid the “Follow For Follow.” 99.9% of the time these people are not your target audience, and they will just unfollow you a couple days later. It’s best to build authentic and real connections.
- Don’t ask someone to follow you back. If they like your page, they will follow you. Don’t leave comments on other peoples photos asking for them to follow you. It comes off as desperate and tacky, and most likely your comment will just get deleted anyway.
- Don’t tag someone you don’t know. I’m not sure who started this trend, but most people find it highly annoying. Don’t tag other people unless you have their permission to do so.
- Avoid being negative or complaining. This should be a no-brainer, but I just want to kindly mention it. Everyone has bad days; talk to a friend about it, don’t post it online for the world to see. Remember, people like to surround themselves with happy, positive people.
- Don’t post about anything political or religious. Once again, this should be common sense, but unfortunately it’s not. You don’t want to alienate your clients or potential clients because you have different political or religious beliefs than them. Once again, talk to a friend about it and keep it offline.
- Don’t buy followers. I’m not sure how this even came about, but it’s a horrible trend. When you buy followers, the accounts are fake. Fake accounts can’t like your photos or leave you comments, so they do nothing for your engagement. Oh, and fake followers won’t buy your products or read your blog posts. They’re useless. Remember, quality is more important than quantity.
The key to Instagram is to stay consistent, so don’t get discouraged if you aren’t getting followers as quickly as you hoped you would. Post consistently, provide valuable content to your followers, engage with other people, and build community. If you focus on these main goals, you will continually attract more and more people to your page.
Lastly, if you are looking to learn more about how to use Instagram effectively for your business or blog, I highly recommend Alex Tooby’s Instagram courses. Her courses will take your Instagram success to the next level! Take a peak at Infamous To Influential or Hashtag Hero.
See you on Instagram!