As Instagram grows into the next Facebook (and into a second Snapchat), I thought now would be a good time to write down some of the tactics I use on the platform here at Spirit. So whether you’ve hit some growth snags with a client or you’re just looking for a way to liven up your personal account, here’s what we would do:
1. Put Time Into Engaging With Others
This one’s simple: don’t talk at people, talk with them. This means engaging with commenters on your posts, interacting with other content and even letting your followers influence your content ideas. Put time into your schedule for this.
If you’ve heard of Instagram automation, my advice would be to steer clear for two simple reasons: firstly, it’s inauthentic and will only attract similarly inauthentic users (i.e. bots). Secondly, automation is against Instagram’s Terms of Service which means your account can be deleted without notice.
2. Use Stories
As an aspiring Instagram aficionado, you should be using every functionality the site gives you. Some say it’s best to treat Stories as a separate app to your well-crafted feed, but I view it as an opportunity to show off the day-to-day lifestyle of your brand.
3. Prioritise Quality…
In the midst of getting your timing right, your copy tight and a schedule nailed, it’s easy to forget the basics. Remember that if all else fails quality will not.
So just make sure whatever you’re sharing is visually pleasing or disruptive enough that it grabs users’ attention.
4. …But Make Sure You Can Keep Up The Quantity.
There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to how many times a day you should be posting. Take a look at competitors’ pages and and see what they’re doing. Is it working for them?
As for when, simply put yourself in your followers’ shoes. There’s a good chance that commuting hours along with lunch/dinner times will be their most active time.
Whatever the case, remember that it’s the first 10 minutes of a post’s life that determines its success. If those first 10 minutes see lots of engagement you’re on to a winner, but if not then you might well be relying on some smart hashtagging to carry you through.
5. #Smart Hashtagging
Hashtags are basically Instagram’s way of categorising content, allowing users to easily discover what they’re interested in. Consequently, you should be using hashtags to make yourself discoverable.
I’ve put the full details of my hashtag plan over on Spirit Media here, but these are the fundamentals:
– Stick to relevant hashtags that have been used between 1,000 to 1,000,000 times
– Instagram lets you use up to 30 hashtags per post so aim to use all 30. Put these as a comment on your own post.
– Try not to repeat hashtags in a 24hr period. This means that if you’re posting three times a day using 30 hashtags on each post, you’ll need 90 hashtags overall.
Having seen likes on a several accounts jump from single figures to triple digits with this tactic alone, I strongly recommend putting time into the research required to pull this off.
6. Don’t Forget The Copy (& Emojis)
If you think a few words can’t make or break a picture, you’ve never seen a Gary Larson. Or been to /r/roastme.
If you employ these tactics you’re well on your way to becoming the next Kylie Jenner. Wouldn’t that be sweet? And if you hit any hiccups, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blog written by Jack, Spirit Social Media Manager.