If you’re on Instagram – whether that be in a personal or professional capacity – you’ll want to do it well. With Instagram’s minimalist layout, the success of your post relies on you getting some Instagram basics right. So, if you’ve already created an Instagram account, how do you go about filling it with perfect posts?
Here are a few tips to help you play the Instagram game like an expert.
What’s Your Goal?
Before you dive headlong into posting pictures of your lunch, you need to spend a moment thinking about what your Instagram aims are. What do you hope to gain from it? Are you a photographer looking to create a portfolio? A business wanting to give your customers a behind-the-scenes peek? Are you just looking to show off to your followers?
Making a ‘follower persona’ can help you answer these questions. Think of an embodiment of your ideal follower, and imagine what sort of post would please them. This can give you an insight into what will be your best way to utilise Instagram.
Stick to a Style
Once you know your overarching goal, pick a style that fits well with it, and stick to it. This allows potential followers to know exactly what they’re signing up for, and can help you get more engagement on posts. Whether it be through a focus on certain subject matter, or the use of a specific filter, being consistent on your Instagram feed is a really good thing.
Take Plenty of Photos
Think that you’re looking at an Instagrammable moment? There’s no such thing as too many photos. Take a whole mess. It may be one of the not-so-obvious shots that looks the best. A stockpile of photos simply means more choice when you go to post one.
Post with Purpose
Does your post either entertain or educate? If it doesn’t do one or the other, it’s not worth posting. You need to offer value to your followers. They’ve taken the time to follow you, so be sure to repay them by offering posts that either inform them, or entertain them.
Or even better, do both.
The Editing Process
Filtering and cropping are probably the most important parts of making an Instagram post. While the standard Instagram app offers plenty of functionality, a third party app may be worth looking at if you want to create your own unique style.
Your Profile Style
When someone looks at your Instagram wall, they’ll see your back-catalogue in the form of a three-thumbnail-wide grid. The very best Instagrammers will take this grid layout into account. Michelle Phan, for example, colour-themes her back-catalogue amazingly well, drifting through different colour themes effortlessly. Make your Instagram slideshow something to remember.
Hashtags are the motor of your Instagram post. Without them, your photo is going nowhere. You can use up to 30 per post, and if you’re interested in your post being visible, it’s advisable to use as many of those 30 as you possibly can. The best way to do this is to use a handful in the description, and then post the rest as a comment.
Use trending hashtags to attach yourself to current Instagram events. Use cult hashtags (#tbt, #firstworldproblems) to gain access to the masses. Use more specific hashtags (that are as relatable to your post as possible) to get in with other groups. Once you’ve got a solid list of hashtags, save it somewhere so it’s only ever a quick copy and paste away.
Build Your Fan Base
By following the steps above, you should already see some form of organic growth on your Instagram account. But there are ways to turbocharge that fan base building.
By doing some research, you’ll be able to find the sort of hashtags that similar accounts to your own use. By using these hashtags, you’ll gain access to more like-minded fans. You also want to be active. Follow a whole heap of accounts. Be generous with the like button. Being an active member of the Instagram community will do wonders for your followership.
Instagram is still in its infancy, and there is no clear science to creating the perfect post. But if you have a clear idea of what you’re aiming to do, and remember a few basics, you’ll be well on your way.
Now that you are an Instagram expert, try our Social Wall for Instagram to display posts at events!