Instagram Best Practices

Instagram. Ever heard of it? You’re living under a rock if not. This platform is quickly becoming one of the most popular social channels around, with more than 600 million active users. That’s a lot of pictures and videos to sort through.

For businesses, Instagram offers some unique opportunities to connect with potential customers and participate in genuine, engaging conversations. Plus, the addition of Instagram advertising makes it an even more critical space for businesses to be. It also gives businesses the chance to reach a younger audience, as Instagram’s primary demographic is between the ages of 18 and 29 years old.

But the question remains: how do you get the most out of your business’s Instagram page? Below are a few of our top tips for optimizing your Instagram. If you’re still stumped, our team can help.

Make sure your timing and sizing are just right.

Based on Instagram’s algorithm, it is extremely important to pick the right time to post. If you post at a time when most of your followers are online, you’re more likely to get more immediate engagement, which will help your overall rankings in your audience’s news feed.

While the time you need to post varies based on your audience, it is generally better to post during lunch (between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.) and in the evenings (between 7 and 9 p.m.). If you have an important post, save it for either Wednesday or Thursday. These days tend to see the most engagement, while Sunday sees the least amount of engagement.

It’s also important to make sure your images are the right size for Instagram. There are now three image orientations you can use, which allows for greater versatility in the images you create:

Instagram Image Guide
Image courtesy of Dustn.tv

Hashtags are your friends — use them.

Hashtags are a great way to get in front of your target audience, but it’s important to know how to use them properly. A few things to keep in mind when using hashtags:

  • You can use up to 30 hashtags per post.
  • Make sure you are using hashtags that are already in use but try to avoid using hashtags that are too broad (like #TBT) or ones that are too unique (like #OhYeahILoveTheWeekendSoMuch).
  • Save your list of hashtags for the first comment instead of for the caption.

Instagram now allows you to follow specific hashtags, which makes it easier for potential customers to find more content they are interested in, including content generated by your business. If users are interested in a specific hashtag you are using, then they’ll be able to see it on their feed and your post is more likely to be shown on their Explore page, too.

Tag, you’re engaged!

Instagram is all about making connections. And one of the best ways to connect with other individuals and organizations within your community is through tagging.

When tagging someone, make sure you tag them within the picture, because this will add your photo to their tagged section on their profile. So, if potential customers are browsing that person’s Instagram page, there’s a greater possibility they will see your post.

If you just tag someone in your caption, it will only notify that person that they have been tagged, and you’ll miss an opportunity to expand your reach.

PRO TIP: Connecting with social media influencers within your industry can really help you expand your reach. If you’re interested in exploring this option, Convince and Convert recently shared a comprehensive breakdown of influencer marketing that is definitely worth a read.

Stories and videos make the Instagram world go ‘round.

Instagram Stories is an ideal way to create a compelling narrative and share fun content with your audience. Instagram Stories also allows you to archive your stories through its highlights function, so your audience can view your stories for longer periods of time.

Because of how Instagram’s algorithm is set up, the more your audience engages with your stories, the more likely they will engage with your organic posts as well. And as an additional bonus, the audience who engages with Instagram Stories has doubled since it was added to the platform about a year ago. In other words, if your business is looking to expand its reach, Instagram Stories is the way to go.

Instagram Live is another ideal way to engage with your audience beyond the typical organic post. In addition to providing businesses with new promotional opportunities, Instagram Live posts are displayed more prominently in a user’s feed as well as within the Explore page.

Plus, with the new ‘live guest’ option that allows you to go live with another person, as well as the ‘live request’ feature that allows viewers to ask to join a stream, there are more opportunities for users to engage organically with businesses than ever before.

Keep it consistent and authentic.

Consistency is key when it comes to any form of communication surrounding your business, and that includes your social media communication, too. Below are a few best practices when it comes to remaining consistent on Instagram:

  • Have a clear visual strategy and determine which layouts/formats work best with your business’s brand identity.
  • Use a consistent color composition, filter or text overlay.
  • Post at least once a day, within the same time frame.
  • Use consistent language to tell a cohesive story.

A great way to maintain consistency across the board, especially if you have multiple people within your company posting on Instagram, is to create a social media plan and guidelines. That way, everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goal.

Need help creating your own social media plan? We’ve got you covered. Give us a call and we can help you elevate your Instagram, expand your reach and achieve your social media goals.