Instagram broke 500 million monthly users back in June 2016.
That’s half a billion.
That’s basically the equivalent to the total populations of the USA, UK, Australia, Canada and France combined.
But wait, this one will get you:
That’s one fifteenth of the entirety of Earth.
With an average monthly growth rate of 16%, Instagram is just one big ocean that’s not-so-slowly, continuously eroding shores. We all know how hard it was to find Nemo, and he was bright orange – how do you expect the world to find you? Well, it’s not easy, and it’s an extremely slow grind for the majority of people, but here’s our suggestions on how to optimise your efforts.
Switch to a business profile. Facebook bought Instagram in 2012, and ever since they’ve been slowly rolling out changes to make Instagram a valuable platform for advertisers. Instagram business profiles have been available since mid-July, with business details transferring from the corresponding Facebook page, a direct contact button, and post analytics.
Yes, having a business profile on Instagram makes it pretty obvious you’re a influencer that may get compensated for something. However, if you have a Facebook page, and have been paid (in any way) in the past to create content, chances are your audience knows. In fact, it’s important that they do know. So, why not make it easier for people to contact you and for you to grow your audience by switching to business?
Along with this update came the ability to switch between accounts without actually logging out of your Instagram. If you manage multiple accounts, head into Settings > Add Account. Once completed, hold down on your profile image in the bottom right to switch accounts, or click the top drop-down menu when on your profile.
Optimise click throughs:
People really do click your link in your bio – in fact, it’s one of the first things users look at. The link is designed for your call to action – as links within posts aren’t clickable. You should be changing your link every time you have an update or blog post for your followers to read. Trust us, people will click it!
It’s all good and well to have the link in your bio, but you also need to prompt your audience. Post an image related to the linked site and ask your followers to click the link in your bio every time it is updated. Throw in an emoji finger pointing upwards too for the slower readers.
Create only the best content:
Instagram is all about prettiness. It’s all about the well thought out and beautiful image, so make the most of it! Use the best camera you own – yes, the process of converting the photo over is just that: a process, but it’ll pay off. If the latest Samsung or iPhone is the best camera you have, even easier! They’re pretty amazing in their own right, and we know that that’s what some of the best ‘Grammers use.
Make sure you are taking photos in the actual camera app on the phone. Some apps (especially Snapchat) really minimise the features that your camera offers. Most social media platforms or apps compress your images when taken through the app due to their own server size and the time it takes to transfer larger images. So, make sure you’re taking full advantage of your camera!
If you are a filter person, did you know you can manage them in your settings? Next time you’re uploading a photo, scroll right to the end of your filters and click “manage”. From there you can order them for preference or delete any you don’t like. #OrganisationGoals
We all know that lighting, when it comes to photos, is key. But we all also know that lighting, especially in New Zealand, is not the easiest to predict or manage. That’s where editing comes into play! Now, you still need reasonably good lighting, because you can’t simply make a black image white by adjusting the brightness – however, there is a lot you can do. We love VSCO for editing our photos, and to be completely honest, the new editing features within Instagram itself ain’t all that bad. We always think it’s key to increase your brightness, even if just slightly, but you should also play around with the contrast, warmth, saturation, highlights and shadows. When uploading a photo to Instagram, click “Edit” in the bottom right and go from there. If you change a couple of settings then tap the image, you’ll see just how much of a difference you have made.
If creating videos on Instagram, check out Instagram’s video apps: Boomerang & Hyperlapse – one is a time lapse app and the other creates Vine-like, looping videos.
Also, one thing to remember: you can zoom in on photos on Instagram now. So, make sure your photos are top quality (and that you don’t have any sensitive information on a post-it in the background!)
Instagram Stories, whether you are a die-hard Snapchat fan or not, are a thing, and they’ll be around, for a while at least. There’s a lot of information to take on board when it comes to them, so we recommend reading this blog post from Iconosquare to get yo info on!
Engage with your community:
Like any other social platform, Instagram is about being social. It’s all about creating a community that you engage with and who engages with you. You should be spending time on Instagram talking with people on your level. Follow them, like their content and comment – it’ll become a mutual thang and you’ll have so much more on the platform!
Create a unique hashtag and use it everywhere. Hashtag your content with your Instagram handle or blog content so you have a growing feed of content out in the Instagram atmosphere. This gives the opportunity for people to use the hashtag also when something relates and bam, you have an awesome community at your literal fingertips. Check out what Nikki Parkinsondid with #everydaystyle!
Have some favourite ‘Grammers (*cough* @weareanthology *cough*)? With the change to Instagram’s algorithm came post notifications. When on one of your fav Instagram accounts, click the three dots in the top right and turn on notifications. Instagram will update you every time that person posts so you’ll never miss a beautiful image again. (Also encourage your audience to do the same for you!)
Grow your audience:
Finding it hard to get on Instagram’s discovery page – especially now that it’s basically all just memes? Well, did you know Instagram offers other “discovery” type pages? Check our Instagram’s Weekend Hashtag Project. It’s a weekly series featuring designated themes and hashtags, announced on Instagram’s own Instagram, and gives you the chance to create content to be featured on the Instagram blog.
Try following the people who follow some of your favourite pages with similar content to yours. Chances are if they like that type of content they’ll like you! Follow them and engage with their content – like and comment regularly and genuinely!
Find the best hashtags to use, but don’t abuse them. For the love of god, please stop abusing them and using every single slightly related hashtag to your post topic – it’s not a professional look. Here’s a list of the most used hashtags on the platform. We’re not saying to use those exact ones, but find some popular hashtags that relate to your content and use ’em! Did you know:
Instagram interactions are highest on posts with 11+ hashtags
Using at least one hashtag = 12% more engagement on average
Using a location = 79% more engagement on average
Using @ mention = 56% more engagement on average
Be weary of automated engagement tools. When you sign up to these tools you give the software access to your Instagram account and permission to comment generic words on images within a certain category. You’ve probably noticed those weird and irrelevant comments on some of your photos that just say “love it!” or “nice!” – more often that not, these are automated. It’s pretty obvious and inauthentic, and we advise against it.
Understand your progress:
For any type of growth, it’s important to record your progress in order to improve. Track your insights and find trends of what has worked and what hasn’t. Rinse and repeat!
Instagram automatically shows video views in place of likes on video content, but if you click the number it’ll take you to a page which also tells you the number of likes. Always important to see how engaging your video content is!
With a business account, Instagram gives you access to simple post analytics, which are great for understanding what content works and at what time. If you want to analyse further, try out iconosquare.com or something similar. BUT, don’t get too wrapped up in the numbers, it’s hard work gaining followers, and it takes a time – plus, it’s really the engagement you should be focusing on. Build a community who you talk to, and who talks to you!
Do you have any more Instagram advice, tips or tricks? We’d love to hear them – comment them below so we all can see your genius!