FEATURED IMAGE - MODEL // JACQUI B
Chances are you already have an Instagram account, but are you crushing it or just cruising?
You may be cruising if you spend time on the 'gram but always end up with low engagement and lacklustre results. Or maybe you're not getting much attention at all!
If that's the case, this article will show you the Instagram tips and tricks you need to take your Instagram account to a whole new level.
First of all, let’s start with the basics: what is Instagram?
First thing's first, what is Instagram?
You're an IG pro, so we'll make this recap quick (and get on to the good stuff). Instagram is a social media app that lets you take photos or videos and share them on your profile for followers to see.
You can also use key Instagram features for purposes like following people, going live, sending Instagram direct messages, and liking or commenting posts, but you're probably here because you already know the platform's functionalities so we won't bore you with these details anymore.
Allow this beginner's guide to Instagram to serve as your quick reference for all the tips and tricks you need to transform your Instagram account from averagely engaging to brilliantly executed!
What to post on your Instagram account
So you've created a new account and you're probably wondering what to post on your Instagram profile. Well, there are a few key things you can do to increase your chances of getting great results:
#1 - Post interesting and engaging content
Start with high-quality photos that evoke emotion. There are no real rules on what you should post - so try thinking about the images or videos that make you click on the 'like' button. This will help get you thinking about content that's fun, engaging, and easy to click on.
You could also try posting curated content that aligns with your interests or brand. If in doubt, remember this IG mantra - always try to contribute something valuable, don't just constantly promote yourself.
Looking for more ideas? Try posting quotes that have inspired you, talk about your travels, share your knowledge, give tips on what you're good at or how you made something happen. Whatever it is, make sure the post makes sense for yourself and for your audience.
Furthermore, here are some ideas to ensure quality when uploading content on your Instagram app:
- Post photos and videos of your work - this is a great way to show off your skills and attract potential clients.
- Post some behind-the-scenes photos or videos - give followers a sneak-peak of what goes on behind the scenes, and they'll appreciate being a part of your journey.
- Post content that highlights your personality - the last thing an Instagram user wants to follow is someone with a bland profile. Get creative and have some fun!
#2 - Use creative and interesting captions
Adding a caption to your Instagram post can help to engage your followers and add context to your photo or video. Try to make them interesting and engaging, and always relevant to the image or video you've posted. Hashtags also help to boost engagement, so don't forget to include a few relevant ones in your captions.
#3 - Develop a unique, consistent aesthetic
It’s important to develop an aesthetic for your Instagram account. Use consistent filters, layouts and colour palettes to keep your feed cohesive and make sure that the content you're sharing in future posts remain true to who you are as a person or brand.
#4 - Create Instagram Stories that encourage people to engage with you
Instagram Stories has become increasingly popular over the past few years, and for good reason. They're a great way to share snippets of your day-to-day life with your followers and to keep them engaged. You can also use Stories to promote your latest blog post, new product or upcoming event. To encourage followers to engage with you, use questions and prompts in your Instagram Story that will encourage them to respond.
#5 - Interact with followers and build a community
Instagram connects communities of people with shared interests, so jump in and join the conversion to build your profile and network. Find and follow accounts that share your interests, comment on others’ posts, tag people in posts they're in. Try replying to comments and messages where possible; it'll make users feel appreciated and could lead to some fruitful conversations.
Some Instagram users run weekly themed challenges or competitions, while others "regram" posts or use the S4S (or shoutout for shoutout) technique. Build your network and flex your creative flair by participating in these activities. The more visible and active you are, the more likely others are to find and follow you.
#6 - Personalise and optimise your profile
Your handle and your bio tell all your followers who you are and what you are about when they land on your profile page. If you haven't got this nailed down, then it's time to hit "Edit Profile" now. Keep your bio concise, catchy, and memorable. Add your blog or website URL to your bio if you have one. If you don't, we suggest adding a link to your profile on theright.fit!
If you have a blog, Twitter, Facebook page, Tumblr, Pinterest, Snapchat or use any other social media platform as a promotional tool, your handle (name) should ideally be the same, or at least similar, across all of your accounts.
#7 - Creativity is key
Some of the popular styling techniques on Instagram have been flatlays, latte art, and poolside legs, not to mention the always popular selfie. But don’t let your creativity be bound by the latest Instagram trends AKA what everybody else is doing on the platform.
Creativity can be as simple as the angle, location or styling of your picture or video, to the complexity of how it’s enhanced with editing. Instagram has many inbuilt features to enhance your photos and videos but there are hundreds of third-party tools that allow you to do even more. Flex your creative muscle beyond the capabilities of Instagram or your phone with apps like these:
- Create time-lapse videos with Hyperlapse or inspirational quotes with Instaquote
- Edit photos with greater control using Lightroom or Photoshop Express
- Shoot in B&W with Simply B&W and use many more filters and effects with Afterlight, Hipstamatic or Fotor
- Control shutter speeds and exposures for greater depth and quality images with Manual and Hydra
- Resize and add borders to pictures and video with Instasize or create collages with PicStitch
- Apply trendy filters and effects with VSCO or post pictures that can serve as branded assets with Canva
With so many apps to explore there’s no need to limit your creativity, so think beyond what Instagram can do and give your photography skills a boost with these 8 tips for improving your photography.
How to find inspiration for Instagram content
One of the most important parts of content creation on Instagram is knowing what type of content to post. And this all comes down to research, really. Once you know your target audience and what they're interested in, it'll be a lot easier to create posts that will inspire them to take a certain course of action. Here are some specific things you can do:
Keep an eye out for trends
See something popular? Jump on the bandwagon and join in. You can't guarantee that people will like or comment on posts, but you can increase your chances by doing this (while still maintaining authenticity and staying in tune with the real you). If opening your photos library or clicking the camera icon is the key to posts and stories, the magnifying glass icon and the search bar is your friend when it comes to finding inspo.
Follow accounts that are related to your niche. This is a great way to find out what's popular right now and it can give you some ideas for posts that you might not have thought of before. Use search engines to find trending topics that might be related to your niche. Chances are, there'll be loads of articles and images that you can use as inspiration for your next post!
Use #hashtags effectively
Instagram is a place for discovery, so using relevant and unique hashtags can help you gain Instagram followers who are interested in your specific niche. You can use hashtags to find user-generated content (UGC). This is a great way to get inspiration for your posts as it's coming straight from your target audience. All you need to do is search for a relevant hashtag and then take a look at the posts that come up.
Get inspired by your competitors
It's also worth having a look at your competitors to see what kind of content they're sharing. This can give you some great ideas for your own account and help you differentiate yourself from the competition.
How to grow your Instagram app followers organically
Now that you know how to find and post content that's inspired by your target audience, it's time to think about how you can grow your following organically. This means building a following through genuine engagement with your target audience, not through some dodgy methods that some account owners are guilty of. Here are some tips that might help:
#1- Follow and get followed
Start off by following a few people every day. These should be accounts that are related to your niche, of course. If you follow too many people at once it'll look like spam and could get your account disabled for violating Instagram's rules.
#2 - Use hashtags to attract followers
The use of hashtags can't be stressed enough. This is an incredibly simple but effective method for increasing visibility and potentially gaining new followers. Simply search for relevant hashtags and include them in relevant posts. This will make it easier for new users to find your content as Instagram will use individual tags as keywords, which is great for visibility.
#3 - Share user-generated content
Repost user-generated content that you're tagged in. This is a great way to show appreciation for your audience and it can help you to build trust and credibility. Don't ignore loyal followers who constantly tag you in their photos or slide into your DMs.
#4 - Host contests and giveaways
Tapping into the power of giveaways and contests is a great way to increase your following and engagement on Instagram. People love free stuff, after all. This is a great way to increase engagement and it can also help to attract more followers. Just make sure you're following Instagram's rules and regulations when hosting contests.
#5 - Geotag your photos
Geotagging your photos can help you to reach a wider audience. When people view your photo on Instagram, they'll be able to see the location it was taken and if they're nearby, they might just check out your account or give you a follow.
Avoid mistakes Instagram users commonly make
Now we're done with the obvious, let's get into the nitty-gritty of things to avoid. There are some dos and don’ts when using this app especially if you want your account to stand out from the hordes of other individual and business accounts flooding people's feeds these days.
✘ Don't overdo filters
Most people, especially the younger users of the app, tend to overdo filters when editing their photos. This makes them look unreal and the whole point of showing your true colours in the app is defeated. You need not be artsy or creative all the time. Take an unaltered photo with good lighting if possible and put some effort into your captions.
✘ Don't resort to hijacking hashtags
Using popular yet irrelevant hashtags on posts to increase exposure is another no-no that's commonplace. Don't add hashtags that don't go with your post or give off a spammy vibe, i.e., adding #toykoolympics, #saturdaynightfever, or #cincodemayo for your OOTD on a Monday morning in December. Instagrammers will be able to tell what hashtags are relevant based on their searches, so they'll just keep scrolling once they see that your post is irrelevant or unrelated.