Part 9: 500 Social Media Tips " Instagram"

About Instagram

Be the Moon of my Night, Be Beautiful, Be Yourself Stuff for Sale
Instagram Tips:
Snap-happy Marketing Strategy Instagram has taken the world by storm since launching in October 2010.

Hundreds of millions of people use Instagram as a way to transform everyday photos and videos with filters and frames, into memory-laden content, which can then be shared with the world.

Be the Moon of my Night, Be Beautiful, Be Yourself
Chances are that snapshots and recordings of your brand are already
on Instagram, and all of this content acts as authentic peer-to-peer endorsements
of you - essentially free advertising.
With a sound strategy of your own, you can only help to compound this effect, increasing brand loyalty and driving sales as a result.

Some have even dubbed Instagram "The World's Most Powerful Selling Tool,"
such is the level of passion its users show.

They’re young, they’re engaged, and many of them are shoppers.
Note: While this chapter references Instagram throughout, many of the tips can apply to any method of photo-sharing on social media
(e.g., uploading images to Facebook and Twitter), as well as apps such as Snapchat, which is in a later chapter.

Understand the "Culture of Instagram"
The top-performing brands on Instagram all have one thing in common:
they understand what makes the app unique compared to other social networks and use this knowledge to their advantage.

Be the Moon of my Night, Be Beautiful, Be Yourself
While the definition of "Instagram culture" will inevitably change over time, at its core are users who are proud of the content the images they post (video can be a different matter, more on this with Stories later) - you won't see hundreds of impulsive selfies and blurry photos from some the most successful accounts, for instance.

As such, there is a definite lean towards quality over quantity, which sees creators taking their time to carefully compose and construct photos and videos,
cropping and editing until they are just right so that when an item does eventually get posted to their Instagram feed,

it is poured over by impressed followers, complemented with lots of likes and comments, and attracts new fans ("Wow, these guys post great stuff and get a lot of love; I'm sticking around for more!") in the process.

Stuff for Sale
One of Instagram's central mantras is to encourage people to "find beauty everywhere."

For businesses, this means showing how your company sees the world, sharing imagery that pushes people's ideas of you deeper than the common perception,
and offering a view into the lifestyle that your product or service makes possible both through your own eyes and those of customers who use them.

Be the Moon of my Night, Be Beautiful, Be Yourself
In short, whereas visual imagery for sites like Facebook and Twitter might sometimes be more ad-hoc in nature or Pinterest simpler, mood board-y or salesy,
your preference on Instagram should be more creative,
arty, and special, with even more of an emphasis on visual storytelling, turnturning ordinary situations into artistic moments and capturing the essence
of your brand throughout.

Immerse yourself in the culture of Instagram by reflecting this more imaginative style of photos or videos in your own feed (clearly expressing a defined personality and voice and mirroring the attitude and preferences of the app's majority audience)
and you'll be in a significantly more powerful position from the get go.

What are the elements of a top quality Instagram image ?
As you now know,
posting any old photo onto Instagram just won't cut it with the app's savvy audience; you have to be much more inventive and selective.

One of the best ways to discover what kinds of photos Instagram
really wants brands to post in order to keep fans happy is to look at its
recommendations for Instagram ads:
No heavy use of image filters as a way to mask the "reality" of a shot,
and no text overlays are allowed.

Brands cannot feature their logo in Instagram ads other than as a natural, non-obvious part of the scene. Images used as ads must be "true to your brand",
i.e., not shocking or cheesy, and no use of gimmicks.

Photos used for ads should capture "moments", not products. In other words, ads must not just be a shot of your product, but something more creative and inspiring. Ads should use ideas and take cues from the existing Instagram community, especially from popular hashtags.

As you read through the rest of the advice in the chapter,
keep these ideas in the back of your mind as you think about how you want
to shape your own Instagram strategy.
As with a lot of social media theory, they won't apply to every situation all of the time, but as a good basis for your activity ?

Be the Moon of my Night, Be Beautiful, Be Yourself
Pretty good stuff. By the way, there’s plenty more information and strategy for Instagram ads at the end of this chapter.
Use the Instagram algorithm to your advantage

In March 2016, and in response to data showing that people miss on average 70 percent of the posts in their feeds,
Instagram overhauled its algorithm from showing all posts from people users follow in chronological order to one that prioritizes what is shown first based on "the likelihood people will be interested in the content, their relationship with the person or business posting and the timeliness of the post."

In short, if you want your Instagram posts to be seen by more people, they need to consistently connect with your audience.

The more fans like and comment on your posts, the more likely Instagram's algorithm is to favor subsequent content - pushing it to the top of news feeds, and limiting the need for paid promotion to get it seen.

The biggest challenge, then, is developing an Instagram strategy
that gengenerates engagement.
As you start testing ideas, listen to your audience and pay attention
to the comments on each post.

When someone takes the time to comment or send you a message, they are telling you they enjoy what you are posting, so continue along that path.
In addition, making personal touches, especially at the start of your Instagram journey, can help you gain meaningful growth.

For example, taking the extra few seconds to like and reply to comments shows people that their engagement matters to your brand.

As a result, next time you post content, they are more likely to engage
with your account again.
Take the time to build a strong relationship with your followers because their engagement will cause more people to be exposed to your activity,
and this can lead to a snowball effect in terms of growth.

Instagram Profile and Content Optimization
Optimize your Instagram bio; add a profile photo that fits a circle
One of the easiest ways to connect with would-be Instagram followers
is to optimize your bio.

Stuff for Sale
Be the Moon of my Night, Be Beautiful, Be Yourself
Use the whole 150 characters allowed to encourage followers: give them
a reason to follow you, tell them what makes you unique,
remind people that they'll be among the first to know about special
offers and promotions,

first to get a sneak peek at new product lines,
and have the first chance to enter Instagram competitions to win stuff!
Don't forget to add the URL[S7] to your company’s website in your bio section
too – the only place on Instagram where a link will be directly clickable.

Keep the tone light and fun, include relevant keywords (for SEO), an Emoji if the mood fits, and a business-specific hashtag.
Interestingly, many companies are deliberately choosing to include a link to their blog instead of a web store, showing how they see Instagram as an opportunity to slowly build their brand image as a whole,

rather than "force" people into buying right away. Instagram also has the option to include additional contact information buttons to Business profiles - Call, Email,
and Directions.

Switch your personal account to a Business one (instructions below),
and add them in.
Equally as important is to add a photo of yourself if you're the figurehead of your company (ideally of your smiley face) or, instead,
your company logo, as this will represent you all across the service.

Instagram (on its mobile app at least) favors a circular profile photo, which suits faces better than it does company logos.
If your logo is square and messily cropped when you upload it to your Instagram profile, use my square-logo-into-circle-fit template as an easy fix.

Grab it via Premium Content Bundle chapter of this book. In late 2012, Instagram rolled out official web profiles for users.

Login to your account; your web profile URL will be
When an Instagram image link is posted to Twitter,
Facebook, and other sites, a user will be directed to your web profile when it is clicked. Web-based profiles mean that these people can comment and/or like the image direct on the web - no mobile app is required.

Stuff for Sale
Marketers can use this knowledge as an opportunity to promote
more interaction among fans.

Lastly, consider converting your Instagram account to an official Business account (via Settings) for access to real-time analytics – not comprehensive, but ideal to keep a close eye on the performance of your posts right out of the blocks,
and for a broader perspective later on.

Be the Moon of my Night, Be Beautiful, Be Yourself
Taking Great Instagram Photos
The types of images and photos that resonate with Instagram users reflect many
of the themes we discussed in
"The Best Types of Content to Post on Social Media" chapter of this book (featuring customers, promoting products, going behind the scenes, etc.).

Here, you'll find advice about shooting and optimizing images especially for Instagram's dominant user base, but it can also be applied to images across all of social media.
Only post your best photos, find inspiration from other users

The best brands on Instagram are extremely picky about the images they post on their accounts - unlike some other social networks
(e.g., a gallery of photos of an event you'd post to Facebook),
quality definitely trumps quantity where your portfolio is concerned.

Take your time in creating a collection of photos that you are really proud of - your very best efforts - as it is this that will catch the eye of users both when viewed as individual pieces of content and when your gallery is browsed as a whole.

Many of the biggest brands on Instagram post just once per day, sometimes even less. Here are some basic photography tips and guidelines that will help to lift the quality of your work on Instagram:
See the world in squares (but don’t fret about it too much)
Traditionally, photos on Instagram have been squares - like an old Polaroid snapshot – and this remains the most popular type of composition on the social network.

So even before the shutter closes on your widescreen camera view,
try to imagine how your composition might appear as a square once
the sides are cropped.

However, if there’s a critical element of your content that a square will frustratingly crop out, you’ll be relieved to know that Instagram,

in August 2015, added the ability to publish photos and videos in portrait and landscape mode.
When uploading content, just tap the format icon to choose the orientation.

The rule of thirds Just as with other forms of photography, the ‘rule of thirds’ is deeply rooted in many of the great Instagram shots. Imagine your viewfinder is split into thirds, both horizontally and vertically

(or turn on the iPhone Camera grid view via Options); now balance your composition between these areas.

Get symmetrical Symmetrical shots look great with Instagram.
You'll finish with a perfect square crop of your image.
When taking your photo, the key is to center yourself perfectly and make sure all your lines are absolutely straight.

Play with angles and lines Instagram is all about encouraging its users
to see the world in a new way.
We're all so used to viewing the world from head height, so experiment with high and low angles, from behind, or at the side, to add interest and intrigue
to your snapshots. In addition,

think about incorporating lines into your photos - natural elements like a line or trees or a road stretching into the distance - to draw people's eyes into the image, or toward whatever it is you want them to focus on.

Zoom in on details
To make the most of the relatively small real estate of mobile devices (where most people will be viewing your Instagram content), make a habit of focusing in on particular details of products or service in order to draw customers in, rather than making blander long or mid-range shots.

For example, a clothing store might highlight the quality dye and material in a garment, while a decorating service could go a bit more abstract and use the close-up shot of a pot of paint and a brush to represent a job well done.

Stuff for Sale
Find inspiration If you are lacking inspiration, use Instagram's
Explore tab (the compass points icon) to see the latest emerging trends on Instagram, and consider implementing them in your own work.

Brand your images with consistent filters and image editing Instagram's popularity blew up, in part, due to the ease with which users can transform ordinary
photos with its vintage filters.

While these overlays remain central to the app's appeal, over the years its image editing tools - in response to competition - have expanded to include a variety of additional options for photo-tweaking, including straightening,
Be the Moon of my Night, Be Beautiful, Be Yourself
lux, brightness, contrast, tilt shift, sharpening, and more.

Instagram allows you to set the strength of each adjustment with a simple slider. Overall, I'd suggest applying them in a way that is subtle
(to align with Instagram's preferred approach for brands,

i.e., natural), and decide on a filter that you will use consistently; one that helps the image to reflect your brand culture and personality (e.g., fun, playful, serious, professional, etc.)
and makes your style immediately identifiable within the feed of fans.

What’s more, this consistent style will be a big, eyeball-pleasing hit to those who tap through to view more content within.
As well as focusing on each individual piece of content, think about cohesiveness that will be created when they all sit together within your full gallery of images.
Ask yourself, does your content look like it belongs as part of a whole,
or was it thrown together in any old style ?

Be the Moon of my Night, Be Beautiful, Be Yourself

In order to create a distinctive branded account on Instagram, learn what your fans like about you and consistently create content around that theme.
By the way, Instagram allows you to manage (and easily access) your favorite filters by selecting the gear icon at the end of the filter list -handy !
Note: Just because the filters are there and everyone is using them doesn't
mean that you have to.

In fact, not using them can be a point of differentiation in a sea of heavily-edited photos. The #nofilter hashtag is often used by people as a way to brag about how they didn't need to rely on one-tap overlays to produce a stunning image.

Of course, some other slight image adjustments might have been made...
but no one need know.
Consider not taking your photos in Instagram If you shoot a photo within Instagram, you are instantly locked into using its filters and editing tools.

As expansive as these options have become, it is often a better option to shoot
a photo with your mobile's native camera app (or any other digital camera).

Doing this will provide you with a 'clean' image that can be imported into whichever photo editing app you like (VSCO Cam or Afterlight, for instance - tools that may provide more unique and diverse filter and image editing options).

Stuff for Sale
When you're done, you can then import the photo into Instagram
for final tweaking and publishing.

This approach is how the pros get such great photos - ones that look so different
from anything that Instagram alone can produce.

Of course, if Instagram already provides you with the look and feel that you want your photos to have, then that is totally fine as well! Stories:
An Instagram game-changer When I mentioned earlier that not all Instagram content doesn’t require the same meticulous care as the photos in your main profile feed,
this is what I meant.

Be the Moon of my Night, Be Beautiful, Be Yourself

In one of its biggest ever updates,
Instagram rolled out Stories in the summer of 2016.
The feature allows users to add a continuous string of photos or videos to their profiles, that get automatically deleted after 24 hours.
If you're familiar with Snapchat and this sounds a lot like Snapchat Stories,
you'd be right... it's very similar.

In fact, the striking similarities mean that the majority of my advice for making the most of Instagram Stories can be picked up from the tips I have written prior, both in the Best Types of Content to Share on Social Media and Snapchat Tips
chapters of this book.

However, one key difference between Instagram Stories and Snapchat that I urge you to take advantage of is the fact that Instagram Stories can be created separate and in addition to your main Instagram content,
whereas Snapchat rolls story content all into one.

With this in mind, think about Instagram Stories as a way to supplement your main Instagram content with bonus info for loyal followers and to hook in new eyes with additional posts.

Stuff for Sale
For example, after publishing something special in your main feed,
go into more depth about the shot or video in a story
- show how the shot was setup, etc.,

talk a bit about it in a casual video, etc.
Alternatively, use stories to remind viewers about your most recent blog post;
find 3-5 key points that will grab your followers’ at attention and turn them into images.

Be the Moon of my Night, Be Beautiful, Be Yourself

Don't forget to tell viewers how to read more (either with a short link,
or by prompting them to click the link in your bio).

Note: Here’s a quick tip to maximize the watch time of Instagram stories. Images play for approximately 7 seconds on Instagram Stories.

However, videos can play for up to 15 seconds.
If you want to keep your text or image on the screen longer, craft your image and convert it into a video.
Whatever your Stories entail, make sure to keep your social media goals in mind.
For example, having a call to action in your Instagram Stories that is not too pushy
- build a message that gently says “this is what I want you to do and why.”

After all, if you’re going to take the time to craft a story, you want to have a reason for doing it that’s going to benefit your business.
Note: In October 2016, Instagram began rolling out a swathe of new features to Stories. Here’s a quick summary and strategy for each:
Live video: Going live on Instagram is easy — just swipe right from the feed to open the camera, select “Live” and tap the “

Start Live Video” button to start sharing.
When you go live, followers may be alerted with a push notification,
encouraging them to click and view it.
If you're lucky, your video may be chosen to appear in the “Top Live” section of Instagram’s Explore section, which could put you in front of
a much bigger potential audience.

Be the Moon of my Night, Be Beautiful, Be Yourself
You can also save your broadcast after it’s over,
to edit and repurpose it on Instagram or other social sites later on.
If you're keen to experiment with it – to answer Q&As, run contests,
give people a behind-the-scenes look at your business, etc.,

let as many fans beforehand know when you're going to go live !
Here are a few best practices (for more tips on succeeding with live video,
check out the Explained:

Be the Moon of my Night, Be Beautiful, Be Yourself

The Best Types of Content to Post on Social Media and the Facebook Tips chapters of this book, where I’ve also included more general advice):
Use a combination of Instagram story posts and ordinary Instagram posts to promote your upcoming live videos - a way to boost live views and replay views.

You can also let viewers join live video streams within the app via the
Go Live With option.
Once the other person is added to the live stream,
the screen splits into two with the host on the top and the guest below.

Stuff for Sale
Pin a comment at the beginning of your broadcast to tell people
what you’ll be talking about.
To pin a comment, type in a comment of your own, post it,
then tap on the comment and choose Pin Comment.

The pinned comment will retain a banner that helps it to stand out against all other comments and it remains at the top of the screen for viewers to see.
Upon ending the live video stream, a recap screen appears.

You’ll see how many viewers watched the video and have the option to let your video be viewed again on replay for the next 24 hours.
Tapping Share will upload the replay to your stories.

Straight Tapping Share wit after a live broadcast, publish a new post to your regular Instagram feed, letting your audience know the replay video is available.

Stuff for Sale
Outline the topic and key takeaways in the video so that they get a taste of what you're offering.

Encourage replay viewers to send you a DM in response to the video to ask clarifying questions, and use it as a way to foster relationships.
Live video stats are available when watching your replay.

You'll see the number of viewers and who those viewers are while reviewing your own video replay (no one else can view this data).

When in your own video replay, you’ll see the number of views in the bottom-left corner.

To get more detailed information, tap on that number of viewers or swipe up on the screen to open a screen with a list of viewers.

As the video replay will disappear after 24 hours, if you want to collect this data,
make sure to do so before the video is removed for good.
Stickers and drawing tools:

Stickers are fun and colorful overlays that can be added to your Instagram stories - time, temperature, polls (allowing you to ask a question and see results from friends and followers as they vote in real time) and crucially - hashtag and location stickers can also be added.

To add a sticker, snap a photo or record a video, then tap the smiling-face icon
to bring up the stickers library.
Drag the sticker around to place it and use pinch-to-zoom controls to rotate
it and/or change its size.

Here's the best bit:
Instagram users can search for a location or hashtag,
and if included - see story posts by you that include that location sticker, hashtag sticker, or hashtag in the caption.

Location Stories from nearby places (but not Hashtag Stories) will also appear featured in the Explore tab.
Only content tagged with a location sticker, hashtag sticker, or underlined hashtag will appear in the associated Stories.

Boomerang, Rewind, and Superzoom modes:
A format picker underneath
Stories’ record button lets you select these playful settings.

Boomerang allows you to stitch together a burst of several photos into a short video that plays forward and backward;
make videos that play in reverse with Rewind, (create visual tricks like drop an object and watch it fly up into your hand; capture water in motion and share a rewind of the flow floating back up, etc.);

while Superzoom adds dramatic and suspenseful sound effects while automatically zooming in on a single subject in three stages (the resulting video lasts 3 seconds but can be extended up to 15 seconds by holding down the shutter button longer).

Mentions: Mentioning people in Stories works the same as in ordinary
Instagram captions and comments.
When you add text to your story, type “@” followed by a username.

The person’s username will appear underlined in your story and, when someone taps the mention, they’ll see a pop-up that takes them to that profile.

Mentions are a great way to give a shout-out to customers (like contest winners or people you regram), influencers you’re working with, or others.

“Swipe up” links: Only available to verified Instagram accounts at present,
this could be huge for businesses if rolled out to everyone.
When a user swipes up during a story,
they’ll see a designated landing page or a specific site page.

In many cases, the “Swipe Up” prompt will be accompanied by text like
“Learn More” or “Shop.”
When you create a story, tap the link symbol at the top of the post to add
swipe up links.
Insights: Instagram Stories also includes useful insights to allow you
to track their performance.

You'll see the number of impressions, number of replies your stories received (tallied when a user clicks “message” while watching a story), and the number of exits made before your story was complete.

You can view story information from the past hour, seven days, and fourteen days. Stories Highlights and Archives Rolled out in November 2017 to offer a way for Instagram users to showcase story content that would otherwise
disappear after 24 hours,
Stories Highlights allows you to group stories you’ve shared into highlights and feature them at the top of your profile.

In addition, to prevent your stories from disappearing forever when they expire, all Instagram stories now automatically save to your
Stories Archive when its 24 hours is up.

These features allow your brand can re-surface the most popular parts of a previous story, showcasing it to your audience as a "new" post.
Some ideas for business-related Instagram.

Story Highlights include producing a welcome message for viewers, promoting a sale, showcasing customer reviews or testimonials, or highlighting a selection of posts that utilize your brand’s own hashtag.

If you want to get clever, you can combine stories and highlights to drive web
traffic – that’s if you have the “Swipe Up” tap-to-view-a-link feature,
reserved for accounts with over 10,000 followers.
Experiment with multiple image posts in Instagram In February 2017,

Instagram introduced the ability to upload between 2-10 photos (or videos, or a combination of both photo and video) to feature together in one single post via a swipe-able gallery, with one shared caption for the lot.

In the app, you’ll see an icon allowing you to select multiple photos and videos.
Once uploaded, you can tap and hold to change the order,
apply a filter to everything at once or edit them one by one.

For brands, this provides yet another way to create interesting and engaging content. Some examples include: Showing a step-by-step process: like a recipe or product demonstration, one step per photo or video.
Asking a multiple choice question:

Feature the question in the first image (such as asking for input on a new business logo), offer several choices numbered 1, 2, 3, etc. in the next few images, and ask fans to comment to vote for their favorite.
Expand a panoramic shot: If Instagram's traditional square format is going
to constrict a really great widescreen image,
why not split it into multiple sections and then upload them together ?
The joined-up result delivers a really nice, smooth effect where users can
swipe from left to right, taking in the full detail.

Showcase multiple products: launching a new product range or just want to showcase a single product from multiple angles ?
This feature is perfect for that.

Tell the story of an event: If you look at Instagram Stories as a way to curate a dynamic tale about your day as it unfolds, multiple image posts allow you to present a more considered overview for your feed.

Pick the best photos or videos to sum up the events over a day and present them to your audience in one succinct post.
Make the most of the photo caption.

The photo caption that accompanies every image on Instagram exists as a small but crucial part of your marketing strategy - never leave it blank.

Use it as a way to anchor the content of the image and to reflect your brand's personality and tone of voice.

Examples of uses for the photo caption include adding a description of the product you are featuring,
asking a question or starting a discussion and adding a call to action or including
a URL that you want fans to visit.

URLs written within Instagram descriptions cannot be clicked on,
so make sure that they are short and memorable, using a service like
to facilitate this if necessary.

Related to this point, another popular strategy to drive click-throughs from Instagram captions to a destination of your choice is simply to include a phrase like
"click the link in our bio."
Your bio is always just one tap away and since the "Website" URL there is active,
it will save people the time and effort of opening up a separate browser
and typing in a URL,
if that is their preference.

Interestingly, Instagram captions do not have a character limit.
Some brands, like National Geographic, use this to make each caption
read like a mini magazine article.
It's a tactic that, combined with high quality images,
keeps viewers immersed in their content for longer,
seeing them as more than throwaway snapshots.
Need to edit a caption for typos or additional detail ?

Tap the "..." icon next to your photo and choose "Edit." Got a physical location? Geotag your Instagram posts Tagging your Instagram posts with your business’ physical location - geotagging - can provide a multitude of benefits - detailed below. First, you'll need to create a Location for it - via Facebook.

Simply go to create a new post on the Facebook mobile app, click “Check In”
and enter your brand’s name.
From here, tap the “Add” button and set up information about your brand and once submitted, you can search Instagram to see your result.
Use the same named location as much as possible to build content around the location so others will be encouraged to share as well.

Stickers in Stories: Instagram Stories allows users to use digital stickers
on photos or videos that are based on a geotag.
By selecting the “Location” sticker, you can set it to the geolocations
already around you.

Remember, you have to create a location first in Facebook if your geotag doesn’t show up on Instagram.
Hashtag Locations: Utilizing the right hashtags on Instagram can give your content more visibility, but you can also use hashtag locations like #london or #miami to give your content the chance of being suggested to people who are near you.

Hashtag locations can also be used in Instagram Stories, making it easy to tag locations through a hashtag sticker.

Find local influencers: Imagine you want to get the word out about an upcoming event you’re hosting, and you want to find local people who might be
the right fit to help you promote it.

In the Instagram search bar, ensure the Places tab is selected and type in your location.
Browse through the results to see which users would be a good match for your brand, then DM them to see if they’re interested in working together.

Comment on location posts: If you have physical store location, it is wise to keep on top of the local location geotags as much as possible; you areas have a plethora of content your brand can use to further engage users.

Encourage sharing content to your location or hashtag Promote your geotag location and encourage users to share content to it.

You can even run contests to get users to engage more with your location.
Set out the rules and make sure entrants tag your specific location correctly.

Double-tap to like strategy As you scroll through the Instagram feed on your smartphone, you can quickly and easily 'like' a photo by double-tapping it;
a white heart icon will pop up to let you know it worked.
To unlike a photo, double-tap again. Encourage fans to use this method to easily 'like' your content. One year Coca-Cola used the slogan "Double-tap to unwrap" alongside a packaged Christmas gift as a way to encourage fans to engage.

When the photo hit a set amount of likes,
Coca-Cola revealed the hidden present.

You can use the same tactic as a method to "unlock" special offers or price discounts on your products or services. Use the right hashtags to boost engagement
and get discovered

There’s a good reason why many popular Instagram profiles use oodles of hashtags (up to the 30-hashtag limit) in their posts.

Through its search and explore options, Instagram gives major weight to hashtags as a way for people to discover things like - more than any other large social network.

hashtags can help put your content in front of people searching for keywords and phrases associated with your business.
Which hashtags should you use ?
Use a good mix of broad hashtags related to your business and industry as a whole (and the post in question):
those that return over 1m results, as well as some more "niche" options - between 1,000 and 10,000 search results returned- as well as some in between - between 20,000 and 100,000 search results.

Find inspiration from auto-completed hashtag suggestions in Instagram search,
in the "Related" hashtag suggestions displayed when you click on a search result, and in the captions of popular Instagram accounts within your industry.
For more ideas, a hashtag research tool like Hashtagify (
will generate plenty.

The reason for selecting a mixture of broad and niche hashtags to include in your posts (as well as some "in between") is for two main reasons: to hopefully get your brand to appear regularly within the Top Posts and Recent Posts sections of the Instagram search results page.

9 "Top Posts" display at the top of every completed search and are "stickied" there for at least several hours - these will garner you plenty of attention.

Meanwhile, Recent Posts refresh near the top of search results in
real-time - for a tiny duration, but seen by more people when a mega-popular hashtag is searched (e.g. #fashion) - and for a longer amount of time, but seen by less people when a less-popular hashtag is searched
(e.g. #greywoolcardican).

For a full explanation of this strategy, as well as a more scientific breakdown for selecting and tracking appropriate hashtags, see the blog post I have written at this link:
Should you max out the hashtag limit ?
A study by Trackmaven, found that using between 5 and 11 hashtags maximized Instagram interactions,
but what works for one business might not work for yours – you’ll need to
play around to find a sweet spot.
One simple idea is to spy at how many hashtags influencers in your industry and your competitors use in their posts.

and to fall into the same kind of ballpark, or to track the engagement of your posts when you experiment with using different amounts of hashtags.

Note: If you use the same group of "base" hashtags often, save the list in your phone's Notes or utilize the text shortcut option in iOS or Android
Settings to pre-populate the list in an instant.

In addition, to keep your posts looking neat and tidy, hide a long list of hashtags in the first comment of your post (simply comment right after posting) - Instagram will still pick them up as if within the post's main caption.

Discover and engage by following hashtags
At the beginning of 2018, Instagram allowed users to start following hashtags, meaning content from people who are using the hashtags you follow will pop up in your home feed. It presents an amazing opportunity to engage organically with other accounts – like current and potential customers – and as well as a way for you to discover more people, it’s also a way they can discover you.

And if you are thoughtful with your comments, they might even reciprocate and check out your account. To follow a hashtag, go to the Explore page, type a hashtag and then tap on the “Follow” button. "Regram" other users' photos

There is no better promotion for your business to new customers than to show photos of existing customers enjoying what you offer.

Ask for photos to be submitted to you by happy customers,
or - even better - proactively track them down using specific hashtags.
When you find an image you would like to use,
utilize apps like Regram for iOS or PhotoRepost for Android to share these images on your own feed, and don't forget to tag the person who originally took the image
so that they are notified.

For example, pen manufacturer Sharpie regularly features sketches drawn by its customers, and Starbucks "piggybacks" on the popularity of Instagram users with large follow bases, reposting images (with permission, of course)
that feature their products.

Schedule posts to maximize the impact of campaigns and promotions
Scheduling Instagram posts will come in handy if you have a lot of stellar content
that you want to post consistently,
but can really come into its own as a way to pace and maximize the impact of campaigns or promotions,

e.g., posting themed photos at exactly the same time every day, or releasing contest details at a set time (having trained customers to come back to view both).

Instagram does not have a built-in scheduling function, but third party tools like Latergramme (at and as an iOS app) will allow you to queue content (including caption and hashtags) for posting on a day and time
of your choosing.

When the moment arrives, you'll receive a notification to open up the official app to complete the publishing process.
If you’re a Hootsuite user, you’ll also be able to publish posts direct to
Instagram and manage multiple accounts.

Instagram contest strategy Instagram contests are hugely popular and can provide
a quick, cheap, and powerful way to encourage fans to engage with your brand and spread the word about you across Instagram and beyond.

Here is a series of simple steps to help ensure your Instagram contest
is a success: Choose a prize:
Choose a prize that is unique to your business,
e.g., a product or gift card so that you will attract entrants who are genuinely interested in your business, not just in winning an iPad or $500 cash, for example. Also, try to make the size of the prize proportionate to the effort it will take to win it, which leads us to...

Decide on an entry method: Some of the simplest contest entry methods on Instagram include asking fans to like a photo, follow your account, or re-post an image (with an app like Regram or simply screen-grabbing your published photo).

You can also decide to advertise a contest held elsewhere, like on your Facebook Page or your website, via your Instagram account, and drive people to those destinations via a memorable shortened URL in your image's caption
or a clickable link in your Instagram bio.

Alternatively, some of the most common entry methods ask users to post a photo
or a video on Instagram in order to be entered; often tied to a particular theme,

e.g., food, colors, seasons, their favorite product from your offering.

Build your contest: When you launch the contest with a post on Instagram, featuring an attention-grabbing title with a short call-to-action will help maximize entries,

e.g., “Enter to Win a $100 Gift Card from Sean's Salon!” A photo of the prize is a great way to entice people to enter to win it.

If you’re giving away a gift card, for example, include an image with the gift card value in text and a product that people can buy with it.

Write the entry method and prizing info in the description - a paragraph with info about the prize, how to enter and any rules or restrictions for your contest, linked to with a short URL or a clickable link in your bio.

Monitor progress:
To help gauge the success of your Instagram contest:
Use hashtags to easily track how many photos are being shared on Instagram that have your contest hashtag (ask fans to use one in the caption for the photos or videos they post as a requirement for entry, but make sure beforehand that your chosen hashtag is unique and hasn't been used by someone else before).

Set up Google Alerts to monitor mentions of your contest across the web.
Use Wishpond or Woobox Instagram contest web apps for real-time campaign reports, which allow you to track views, entries, and conversion rates.

Promote your contest: In addition to organic marketing of your competition, send an email to your mailing list (these are the people most likely to Enter,)

promote your contest on social networks, and add a banner to the
home page of your website.
You may also choose to stream contest entries to your website or a custom tab on your Facebook Page based on a specific @mention or hashtag,
to help spread the word - the latter can be achieved via a service like Woobox.

Follow-up actions: After your contest is over, follow these steps to wrap
everything up neatly: Showcase winning photos on your Instagram account and other social channels.

Share a video showing you choosing the winning photo to create excitement.
Post teasers for future contests on Instagram to keep your followers hooked,
keep momentum going,
and prime followers for future contests on your Instagram account.
Run regular contests on Instagram (weekly or monthly) to get fans into the habit of looking forward to them and entering.

Share your photos across social media
One of the best ways to draw more attention to your Instagram activity is to share your Instagram creations to other social media, including Facebook, Flickr and Tumblr. In Instagram's “Sharing Settings” menu (found under the "Preferences" label of your account options),
enter your social media usernames and passwords for the various accounts offered
to make sure your Instagram photos are seen by your various followers on each site when you publish them.

For added exposure and social proof of your brand's awesomeness, stream and showcase brand-specific photos based on a specific @mention or hashtag to your website or a custom tab on your Facebook Page with tools like Woobox
( or Pagemodo (

Embed your Instagram photos and videos When you view an Instagram photo or video on your desktop web browser, you'll see a share button on the right-hand side (just under the comments button).

Click this button and you'll get an embed code that you can copy and paste
into your website, blog or article.
Handily, the embedded image features an Instagram logo which, when clicked, will take viewers to your Instagram profile where they can discover more of your content.

Link to online Instagram Gallery from your own site or blog Got a website ?
Don't forget to add a link to your official online Instagram profile or webstagram (more on these in a later section) from your website to announce your Instagram presence to your visitors, especially those browsing on mobiles.

If you blog, using your Instagram photos in your blog posts (and linking to your Instagram profile) is another great way of marketing your business to potential followers. Leave meaningful comments

Replying to comments on your Instagram posts with a thank you or a friendly message and commenting on other Instagrammers' work is a great way to pepper your username around the app,
especially if you are complementing a customer who is featuring your
brand or product.

To increase the chances that other users will click through to check you out,
leave meaningful feedback and interesting comments.
Ask questions about how a certain photo was taken, complement the composition, politely provide suggestions to improve a shot, etc.

All of this is good karma and will eventually lead to more followers.
There are two places you can tag (or @ mention) another Instagram user: in the caption before you publish a photo, and in a comment.
To mention someone in a caption, just type @ followed by the username,

e.g., @bobthebob. When you publish the photo, the username will be linked to the corresponding profile, and the user will be notified that they were tagged. If you want to reply to someone's comment on a photo,

tap and hold the username and select "mention user."

Note: Responding to multiple comments within the Instagram app or even on the desktop site can be a cumbersome experience.
To help relieve the burden,
check out the third-party "Instagram for Chrome" browser extension.
This little widget allows you to like and comment on photos or videos, get desktop notifications, and see what filters have been used by users.

Track and analyze your Instagram activity While Instagram doesn’t have a native analytics tool, there are plenty of third party options out there, both free and paid.

Two of my favorites are Iconosquare ( - a free analytics service that provides a variety of metrics for your Instagram account,
including your Top 5 most-liked and followed photos, how often you use filters and which are your favorites, and your most engaged followers,

as well as management tools like the ability to follow or unfollow users,
like and comment on posts, and use Emoji in comments -  and Collect.

to ( – a platform with both free and paid options that provides you with analytics and data to help you run Instagram campaigns and contests.

A paid account provides you with enhanced filtering options for date,
hashtags, locations, etc.
Whichever you choose, sign in with your Instagram details and use the stats to monitor which of your Instagram activities best resonate with your audience and use this as a basis for future content.

Don’t forget, too, that you can use a service like ( to shorten links and track their visits.
Links aren't clickable within Instagram photo captions, but they are in your Instagram Bio, which you can direct people to via a message underneath a photo
or video that you post.

Video Content Strategy for Instagram In June 2013,
Be the Moon of my Night, Be Beautiful, Be Yourself

video recording was rolled out to Instagram.
The feature allows users to film clips of up to 60 seconds to share with the app's huge community and across other social media.

The following selection of tips
Be the Moon of my Night, Be Beautiful, Be Yourself

Plan your shoot, record outside of Instagram
As editing on the fly is so limited within the Instagram video app,
it is wise to plan your video in advance, as well as the shots that you will use.

Without being forced to record within Instagram, you are free to use your phone's own camera and/or other apps to create potentially more compelling content before sharing it to a wider audience via your Instagram profile.

Some good options include combining your phone's native camera with video editing and filter-adding apps like iMovie, Vintagio, and 8mm Vintage Camera (iOS) and Magisto or Videocam Illusion (Android).

Jerky camera work ? Turn on "Cinema" mode
One of the features Instagram is most proud of is
Cinema. With the tap of a finger,
Cinema aims to remove as much wobble from your video as possible, making it seem as smooth and professional
as if it was filmed by a Hollywood camera operator with a Steadicam.

At the same step that you choose a filter for your video,
you will notice an icon of a shaky camera.

Simply tap this icon to turn Cinema mode on.
Choose a compelling cover frame After you have recorded a video and added a filter, Instagram will ask you to add a cover frame.

This will act as a thumbnail for your video in the feeds of your followers
and in search results, so use the slider to choose the most compelling
still shot available from those provided.

The more appealing the image is, the better chance it will catch someone’s eye enough for them to want to check it out !
Instagram video enhancement Instagram video's editing and enhancement
options are basic at best,
but a whole variety of apps exist to add a touch of style and distinctiveness
to your mobile video efforts - if your video creation exists outside of the Instagram app,
that is. Some of my favorites include iMovie (of course),

Videohance (iOS), and Vidtrim (Android).
The Flipagram app can also be used to stitch multiple photos together in order to create a story-driven slideshow video.

Experiment with Instagram's Hyperlapse app In August 2014,
Instagram launched Hyperlapse, an app that allows you to create cinematic,
stabilized time-lapse videos on their mobile device - even if you move around
while shooting.

Simply tap to record (for up to 45 minutes), choose a video speed (up to 12x faster), and share your creation instantly to Instagram and Facebook.

It's worth noting that that 3 minutes of recording sped up at 12x will generate 15 seconds of video, the current limit for videos on Instagram, so plan around this figure or you'll have to trim your footage if you plan on sharing your creation with your

Whether you choose to share right away or not, all recordings are saved to your Camera Roll for, if necessary, further editing and disseminating elsewhere.

Coordinate your use of Hyperlapse with other Instagram marketing strategies (e.g., capturing the atmosphere or story of an event, demoing a product, using filters to create an on-brand vibe) to produce captivating and engaging content.

Note: As Hyperlapse outputs video at high speed, try to keep your mobile device stable while you record so that changes of direction aren't too jerky - there's only so much that its automatic stabilization can do.

Talking of stabilization, the app will crop the edges of your video while achieving
this effect, so try to keep your scene/subject in the middle of the frame.
For more tips about the types of video content that resonate with Instagram users, check out the “Explained:

The Best Types of Content to Post on Social Media” chapter of this book. Instagram Direct: Private and Group Messaging In December 2013, a new function – Instagram Direct – was rolled out to the app.

Instagram Direct is a private and group messaging function that allows users to send photo or video messages to select people – either to a single individual or to groups of up to 15 people at a time.

Whereas in the past, any content posted on Instagram was sent to the feeds of everyone who followed you and was publicly viewable via your mobile or web profile, Instagram Direct messages do not appear publicly.

When you send a message directly (after you take a photo or shoot a video and are finished editing, select “Followers” to share the content with everyone
or “Direct” to selectively choose who it goes to),
you’ll be able to find out who’s seen your photo or video,
who’s liked it and also watch the recipients commenting in real time via the “folder” icon that sits at the top of the Instagram home screen.

Photos and videos that you receive directly from people you follow will appear immediately in your inbox,
but if someone you’re not following sends you a photo or video directly,
it will be held in your requests list until you decide that you want to view it.

If you choose to view it, further private messages from that user will no longer need approval. Instagram Direct is primarily being aimed at casual users of Instagram to share messages privately between one another, but brands and businesses can also take advantage of this added functionality.

Here are just a few ideas on how:
Welcome new followers Record and share a 15-second welcome video,
genuinely thanking someone for following you and telling you what you want them to do next - check out more of your posts, click the link in your bio,
keep following for great new content, etc.

When people can see you and hear your voice, they'll instantly feel more intimately connected to you and your brand.
Depending on the rate your profile is growing, this strategy can be time
consuming – especially if each video is individually tailored to the follower
no Beautiful words has meaning without YOU
(mentioning their name or username, for example),
no Beautiful words has meaning without YOU but could also pay dividends in the long run.

Target your most engaged fans by location and demographics
As you can message up to 15 people privately via Instagram Direct,
you can use this as an opportunity to segment and target your audience based on location and demographics.

To track down your most engaged fans, browse through your photo stream for the people who most comment and favorite your content, or often tag their friends as a way to spread awareness of your brand.

Once you’ve identified your most active fans, you can formulate different group messages to send to various segments of your audience.
Use these as a way to share news on new products, announce giveaways and contests, conduct Q&A sessions, drive traffic to your website, and more.

Of course, since these messages will be largely unsolicited,
you should be very sure, and extra careful,
that sending them will not upset people who are most likely to be your
biggest brand ambassadors.

Conduct customer service Previously, any customer service issues that arose via Instagram were often forced to be dealt with within the comments
section underneath a photo or video.

Now, public disputes can be ushered into the more private setting of Instagram Direct. This prevents your comments from being clogged up by unsightly feedback
and prevents your brand image from being damaged.

To make the transition, reply to a complainant in the comcomments telling them that you will send/have sent a direct message to them to help solve their issue,
and then go from there.
Photos, videos, and text can be used as a way to help solve
problems - choose whichever means of communication works best for you.

To further enhance your customer service via Instagram Direct, advertise in your bio that people can contact you privately and actively monitor negative mentions of your brand via your notifications and Instagram search to jump on and deal with problems before they get the chance to stew and escalate.

You can - similar to Twitter - also explore Instagram for hashtags associated with your product and services, then see if you can offer helpful advice to anyone talking about your area of expertise, as a way to break the ice.

Again, this tactic works best if you are quite sure that your "out of the blue" message will not upset the individual in question.

Offer coupon codes / exclusive deals While occasionally sending coupon codes out to all of your Instagram followers is a sound tactic in itself, messaging them to an exclusive group of followers can be even more effective. Make sure that each coupon code you create is unique so that you can track its success easily and also limit the quantity and set deadlines for their use to encourage their redemption and discourage abuse. Tactics include: Send a direct message including a coupon code to new or milestone followers

no Beautiful words has meaning without YOU
(e.g., 50th, 100th, 1000th).
Send a coupon code as an apology for a customer service issue. Send a coupon randomly to surprise and delight a follower; encourage the recipient to share it with their friends both on Instagram and elsewhere.

Give ultra-exclusive sneak peeks In a very savvy move - and one you can
emulate - Kardashian Kollection offered 15 of its followers an exclusive behind the scenes photo from its latest fashion collection.

To enter, Instagram followers were asked to screen grab the image which told them of the entry instructions and re-post it with the hashtag #KKDIRECT.
The promotion received over 4,000 likes and 650 comments in under 24 hours…

and the really clever part ?
By requesting followers to re-post the entry instructions,

they put their fans to work in helping to drive more participants.
After the promotion, screen grabs of the private messages being sent to the chosen 15 were posted publicly for transparency.
Run Instagram contests.

Private messaging on Instagram gives you the chance to run more types of competitions via the app and enables promotions that can be held "ad-hoc" with smaller prizes.

Example strategies include: Hold a contest where the first person to reply privately with the answer to a question, or post a certain photo,
or tweet with a certain hashtag wins a prize,

e.g., “The first 10 people to send us a photo of themselves wearing a Shawn’s Sweater while standing in a bucket will win a $10 gift voucher towards their next purchase!” or “The next 5 people to post a video eating at Bob’s Burgers with the hashtag #lovebobs will get a very special Direct message from us…”

Hold a "friend referral" contest where the winner is the first person to get 5 friends
to follow you and mention the username of their referrer in the direct message.

Host a scavenger hunt, where a clue is sent out to an exclusive set of followers and the next one is only delivered once you receive the correct answer to the first.

The winner is the user who reaches the end of the hunt - in the real world or virtually (finding clues hidden on your website, for example) first.

Advertising on Instagram Instagram’s history with advertising stretches back to 2013, when it tentatively began to test sponsored content with a select number of big brands, including Ben & Jerry’s, Michael Kors and Mercedes.

Over two years of research and experimentation later, in September 2015, the app’s advertising opportunities were opened up to all businesses.

Instagram ads can be used to build brand awareness, drive consideration and action like website traffic and conversions,
to help buyers discover your products, and optimize your campaigns for your desired business objectives – like driving website leads, app installs sales.

no Beautiful words has meaning without YOU
Ads for Instagram are built via the Facebook Ads tool (Instagram, of course, was famously bought by Facebook in April 2012),
so you will need to have a Facebook account to set them up.
In this section we’ll cover some of the essential information you need to craft successful Instagram ads.

Instagram ad basics Instagram ads (which can be a photo or video) appear among the ordinary stream of content within the app,
identifiable as they are marked “Sponsored.”
Ads can be created in a square or landscape format.

All ads will feature a linked call to action button such as “Learn More”,
“Shop Now”, or “Install App”.

The recommended image size for an Instagram ad in the square
or landscape format is 1080 x 1080 pixels.

The aspect ratio for an Instagram ad in the square format is 1:1. If you use the landscape format, your image or video should have an aspect ratio of 1.9:1.

Video ads should be no more than 30 seconds long or 30MB in size.
The caption you use for your Instagram ad will appear below the content and can include up to 300 characters.
As a best practice, avoid using URLs in your Instagram ad's text. URLs will not be clickable from your ad's text field.

Instagram ads should adhere to the same guidelines as Facebook ads, including the 20% text rule. Instagram ads best practices

As you should now be well aware, Instagram is a place people go to discover and become inspired by the images they see.  

The best practices for ads reflect much of what you have learned about content marketing on Instagram so far – make ads seamless to the experience,
not disruptive. As a business,
it is recommended that you focus your Instagram ad campaigns around 3 key objectives: on brand, concept driven and well crafted.

On brand Like organic Instagram content, your ads should be creative, showing your brand's personality. Find unique ways to incorporate your brand's logo, icon or a color, but stay consistent with your style between organic and paid content to drive familiarity.

Concept driven
When planning your Instagram ad, know what you want to make your audience think and feel, and what your core message is.

With that, you’ll find it easier to apply some of the following ideas:
Tell a story: Take a series of images that tell a story about your brand and share them over a period of time.

Experiment with visual styles:
Use different filters and color schemes to create a visual mood with your images.
You could even use a series of different filters to show a change in mood.
Develop a theme:
Create a series of unique images that all share a common theme,

e.g., different events from a single day or an object in a variety of settings.
Well-crafted With a bit of practice, anyone can create compelling images for Instagram – ads or not. Here are some ad-specific tips.

Strong Focal Point: Avoid making your images too complex or busy.
Instead, focus on one or two places where you want to draw people's eyes.
As a best practice, one focal point should include a brand logo or another brand element that's recognizable to your audience.

Framing & Balance: Straighten out images to make them look cleaner and consider symmetry, the rule-of-thirds, and other composition basics as you're photographing or shooting.
Lighting & Detail: Be sure to use clear and high-resolution images.

Pixelated images and those with bad lighting or other flaws may not perform well.

Caption and hashtags: Don’t forget a compelling tagline and, crucrucial for Instagram, a selection of on-brand and relevant hashtags.

Ad guidelines: To avoid your Instagram ads being flagged and rejected, follow the Facebook Advertising Policies, including the 20% text rule.

You can check to make sure your image doesn’t have 20% or more of its pixels dedicated to text, by using the grid tool to check your photos.

Note: The advice above concerns ads that appear in the main Instagram feed, but as of Fall 2017, Instagram has also allowed brands to run Ads in Stories to help people discover their products and services “through immersive visual storytelling.”

You’ll find the option to advertise within Stories in Facebook Ads platform,
too – either to promote a video or image.

Keep in mind that the casual, fleeting nature of Stories means your approach to designing a photo or video ad with stickers and text overlay is going to be different than ads for the main feed.

Setting up Instagram ads To link a Facebook Page to an Instagram account,
visit your Page and click Settings.
In Settings, click on Instagram Ads and follow the instructions
to add an account for Advertising.
You can also create a new Instagram account here if you need to.

If you use Facebook Business Manager, you can assign an ad account to an Instagram account by clicking Business Settings > Instagram Accounts > Click Assign Ad accounts.

To authorize one or more of your ad accounts to use the Instagram Account, check the box next to each ad account and click Save Changes.

KhD Marketing


Popular posts from this blog