The 5 Golden Rules of Instagram

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1. Consistency in posting

With the latest Instagram algorithm, posting daily is even more important.  Instagrammers see only a fraction of their feed so if you stop posting for a few days, you will likely fall below their radar.

Using a scheduling app like Later.com or Planoly.com can make it easier to post regularly.

2. Consistency in content

Be clear what are you trying to achieve and remain true to that

·       Showcase your products or services

·       Build a community

·       Increase brand awareness

·       Showcase your company’s culture and values

·       Advertise to existing and potential customers

Select a couple of goals and focus your content efforts toward achieving them.

 

3. Consistency in visual style

·       Make it visually engaging: With over 90 million photos posted each day, you need to stand out from the crowd.

·       Make it exclusive: While it’s ok to have some crossover posts, don’t duplicate your entire Facebook feed. Give readers a reason to follow you on different social platforms.

·       Make it personal: Post photos and videos that give your audience personal insights into the inner working of your company or lifestyle. Take them behind the scenes and make them feel part of your brand.

·       People sell: A 2014 study from Georgia Tech looked at 1.1 million random Instagram pictures and discovered: Pictures with faces get 38% more likes and 32% more comments

·       Stay consistent with fonts too! If you are using motivational or inspirational quotes chose a font aligned with your branding and the image you want to be projecting (sturdy, quirky, fun). This will help create a more harmonious feed.

 

4. Storytelling with hashtags

Using hashtags is a must if you want new followers to find you. But once they have discovered your photo and clicked on it, you still need to engage with them.

Don’t under-estimate the importance of a good caption. This is an opportunity to be witty or informative, to tell the story behind the picture, and ask a question that invites a comment.

Once you have written a caption, try to incorporate a few hashtags. Aim for 3-4 hashtags in the main caption, then release your other hashtags for the first comment for your photo.

Instagram gives you space to write a long caption, however it does truncate it after 3 lines with an ellipsis, so make sure your most important message is within the first sentence. If you do write a long caption make sure it’s easily readable by creating paragraphs.

 

5. Engagement — It’s a two way business

The first 20-30 minutes after your post are crucial to “show” Instagram how engaging your photo is and they will often determine how well your post will do over the next 24 hours. Therefore, once you have posted your photo it’s important to monitor your feed for a little while and immediately respond to any comments.  Instagram wants to see your followers are liking your story but they also want to see you respond to them as well.

Take the time to respond to every comment. If someone took the time to share their thoughts or even a simple emoji with you, show them you care.

Check if anybody reposts your photos and engage with this follower, who is giving you free publicity. But remember commenting on other people’s feeds is much more effective than simply liking their photo, especially if the account already has a large following!

Another way to engage with your followers is to repost their photos (with permission and giving them attribution) if these relate to your brand.

You could also hold contests such as photo sharing contest (asking your followers to post and hashtag their own creative photo of your product) or comments contents (asking your followers to comment on your post to enter). You can also encourage followers to tag a friend in the comments to enter a content.