Instagram, a social media app owned by Facebook, is one of the largest social platforms today. The feed of this social app is image-based. So, rather than focusing on words, such as Twitter’s tweets and Facebook’s status updates, users post images with captions. A social media app focusing on images was a very different concept at the time of its creation. But, this new concept was and is highly successful. Instagram is now a social media giant and is highly effective for individuals and business owners alike. However, many people aren’t sure how to use Instagram, whether it be for business purposes or for individual use. So, in this blog post, we explain how to use Instagram and the best practices for growing on the app.
Why Use Instagram For Marketing?
Before we cover how to use Instagram, we need to discuss why you would want to use it. For business owners, starting a profile on a brand new platform can feel overwhelming. After all, maintaining a presence on social media can take a lot of work. But, in our opinion here at Joshua Lyons Marketing, we think joining Instagram can be beneficial for many businesses. The platform offers a great way to share the behind the scenes of your company. It also enables you to give faces to the name of your business through photos. Not to mention, Instagram’s location tags and hashtags can give you more exposure to potential customers. So, using Instagram is a great marketing tactic for business owners.
For individual users, Instagram is a fun platform to be on. It gives you the ability to see into the personal lives of users through Stories or the home feed. Also, you can follow your favorite celebrities, follow different hashtags, and even stay up to date on the news. This platform is excellent for individual usage as you can make your feed entirely your own, unlike Facebook, where your feed is up to who you are friends with. If you are considering joining the app for personal use, you won’t regret doing so.
How to Use Instagram
The way you use Instagram is entirely up to you. The algorithm of this platform focuses primarily on individual experience. Through analyzing which types of images you like, the accounts you follow, and how often you log into the app, the algorithm will show you a feed specific to your preferences. With that being said, your posts and profile will be shown to people who will like your feed. So, you will want to keep this in mind when posting. This brings us to our first tip.
Know Your Audience
For businesses and individuals who want to make it big on Instagram, knowing your target audience is very important. When you post for your target audience, you are more likely to keep them interested. Additionally, you are more likely to attract more people from your target audience. So, when you’re coming up with images to post on Instagram, think, “Would my audience enjoy seeing this?” This will help you become worth following and keep your audience interested.
Take High-Quality Images
As mentioned above, Instagram is an image-based platform. This means the primary way in which you provide content to your followers is through images. So, you will want to only post high-quality images to your profile. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you need to invest in the newest Canon camera to use Instagram. Your smartphone, such as an iPhone or an Android, will do the trick! But, you will want to post images with a clear focus and with great angles. When posting on Instagram, think to yourself, “Would I think this is a great image if I were a follower?” If the answer is “No,” or even “Maybe,” you shouldn’t post it. Your profile should only have top-quality content because your followers deserve nothing less.
Plan Out Instagram Captions
Once you have taken your images, it’s time to plan out your Instagram captions. Your captions should relate to the image, but also provide more insight and answer questions. For example, if you are a business, you could take a picture of one of your products and say, “Did you know this product does…” And answer some common questions about the product. This will make your Instagram content highly valuable to your followers.
On the other hand, if you are an individual, you can talk about things you greatly care about, through your captions. For example, if you care a lot about vintage fashion, you can give fashion advice to your followers. Or, if you care about great coffee, give some tips about how to brew it in your caption. The goal with Instagram captions is always to inform, engage, or provide value to your followers.
Use Relevant Hashtags
Hashtags are a great way to get more exposure on Instagram. Not to mention, they’re incredibly easy to use! You can put your hashtags in your captions, or in the first comment of your post. We recommend putting them in the first comment of your post so you can delete them once your exposure dies down. Hashtags are based on recency on Instagram. This means, after about 24 hours, your exposure will be very limited. So, rather than leaving them in your caption, you can delete the comment from the image.
To choose your hashtags, you should think about what your target audience will be searching. Say you are a local coffee shop in Pensacola, Florida. When your audience is searching for a local coffee shop, they would likely search, “#Pensacolacoffee,” “#Pensacolacoffeeshop,” and “#coffeeshopsinPensacola.” These would all be excellent hashtags to use. But, using “#coffee” would likely be ineffective for attracting a local audience, as this is a frequently used hashtag.
Are you enjoying this post? If so, be sure to subscribe for occasional email updates from our team!
For business owners, it is vital you stay on-brand with your Instagram. For example, if you have a specific brand color, it is best to work that color into your images. Or, if you sell a specific item, such as bikes or clothing, work those items into your images as well. You also want to maintain the same voice for your captions, whether it is funny, informative or serious. This will make your posts easily identifiable, which will help with your engagement rate (the rate in which people interact with your posts).
If you want to run an account for yourself, but have the goal of getting a significant number of followers, staying on-brand is important as well. Now, you may be thinking, “I’m just a person. I don’t have a brand!” The truth is you do have a brand! Your brand is what people associate you with. This could be a certain topic, your fashion style, and even a specific color. Sticking to these associations will further develop your brand, which can help keep people interested. So, even if you’re an individual, try to stay on-brand to keep your followers engaged.
Interact With Your Followers
No matter if you are planning on running a business account or an individual account, be sure to engage with your followers. Responding to comments, direct messages, and even following your followers back are great ways to interact with them. If you think about it, you are less likely to interact and engage with a person who doesn’t interact with you. When you feel your comments or messages are ignored, you probably won’t interact with the person again. Your followers feel the same way about you! So, be sure to respond to their comments and messages so they are likely to interact with you again. Give engagement to them, and they’ll want to give engagement back to you. And engagement is a good thing!
Time to Get Started!
We hope the tips above helped you know how to use Instagram. If you haven’t already, and if it makes sense to do so, be sure to create your profile by downloading the Instagram app to your phone. After entering a few pieces of information about you or your business, you will be ready to start posting! Keep our tips in mind, you’ll be effective with Instagram in no time. As always, feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.