About the Instagram Game: Instagram is all about engagement. Great captures combined with high-quality and meaningful text with a healthy dose of the right hashtags.
If you are wondering how Instagram works here it is: the Instagram algorithm displays posts in a user’s feeds “based on the likelihood [of a person] will be interested in the content.” Read more about the Instagram algorithm in this post by HootSuite.
1. How to create the perfect IG post
Let’s start with the basics. First of all your pictures should be excellent and full of real meaning. Showing your personality (brand or company or product or service) means that your pictures tell something new about your philosophy, values, and life story.
The text content is as important as the pictures. Unless you wish to use only photos and a couple of hashtags as part of your marketing strategy, it is not the better approach for Instagram communication. Your posts can have up to 2,200 characters (clicks) in length and a maximum of 30 hashtags. Always use location and at least one brand hashtag.
Be real and human. You are talking to real human beings. Yes! After all, it is about communication and engagement. Try to keep people close to your story with a certain quality and quantity of posts. Try to be more of a joy giver and entertain your audience. In case you wish to prompt your followers to take action, please be polite and less salesy.
2. Find your Tribe
There are millions of Instagram users out there! But not all of them are relevant to what we are offering. Define what you are doing, who you are, what is your goal, and which people can be your perfect audience, and start posting for the connection between you and them. Find your people, your audience, and your tribe. Have patience, because it takes time.
I have a client who sells a handcrafted product with only 3000-4000 potential clients all over the planet. I can not reveal the product or the name due to contract restrictions. But, I can share with you that through Instagram Marketing he has reached successfully the 95% of this niche market of tiny handcrafted DIY art lovers. It took 15 months but now he has a steady clientele with extremely well-paid daily orders.
The power of Instagram Marketing is astonishing! Of course, there is no shortcut to success but it is worth all the effort and time.
Instagram Analytics can help you clarify how close you are to the right audience.
After six months of intense use ( 2 posts per day ) you should be able to answer the following questions: (hint: use analytics from all platforms)
- How old are they?
- Where do they live?
- What sorts of jobs do they have?
- What are their interests?
- Will my audience understand this?
- Are emojis appropriate to use here?
- Do I need to add more or less text to this photo?
- Should I mention that or not?
- Should I tag her or him or this brand?
3. Find Your Voice
Be the face of your voice. Show yourself. Expose. Be vulnerable. Put yourself out there… open up and admit your humanity. And when you find the perfect balance, stick to that.
Always use a similar tone and quality of language. Please, avoid copying the style & texts of other Instagram accounts. We have enough of almost the same Instagramers in this world.
If you are a Digital Marketing and SEO Expert like me, talking like a 16 years old teenager, won’t get you, too far. Try to accept your position in real life, and form your reactions according to your market and age. Losing your nerve on social media could be the end of your career!
But if you are a brand ambassador for a nail polishing “XXXX” company and you are in your early 20s, it’s ok to get crazy for ruining your last mani-pedi.
We can see a great example of targeting communication on Fiorello Photography IG feed. It is stylish, to the point, and easy to the eye but with the personality of the creator.
4. Size and Length Matter
The internet time offers a window of attention for about 3-5 seconds. This is called the Economy of Attention. Try to remember that users scroll rapidly through their Instagram feeds. Only your best photos and context can stand the test of scrolling-down attention. Keep your captures to the point and define through analytics/insights when it is better to use long or short versions.
- Use different types of context
- If the picture is strong enough then keep your text short
- If you have to choose between a photo and a video, ALWAYS choose video.
- Use multiple photos
- Use stories
- Use Highlights
- Your posts should have a flow or connection
- Recycle your content every 30 days
- Pick the right set of hashtags for each capture
- AVOID banned hashtags
If you have a valuable story or info to share, then add it to your pictures. Otherwise, stay laconic.
5. Position Rules
Have you ever met a person that tries to tell a joke that takes too long to get to the fun part? Remember that feeling of boredom each time you are creating your Instagram posts.
Start with the most important part of your post at the beginning and just give a hint of what to expect if a visitor wishes to view more on your Instagram.
See this example: “Are you a blogger struggling to cope with SEO optimization but you keep hitting the wall? “
The target of this post is a Seminar about SEO optimization for bloggers. And the picture supports the same target. The What, Who, Where, How, and Why are covered in a blink of an eye.
SEO tactics apply to Instagram Marketing best practices. SEO has become a 360 strategic way of thinking and composing a set of inbound and outbound marketing actions.
6. Hire a Pro Digital Copywriter
If you are struggling to put together two sentences for a whole week, please hire a Pro DCW and concentrate on other aspects of your brand.
Great copy comes with practice and time. You must write and rewrite and edit and rewrite one more time before you hit OK PUBLISH.
Make your research before you publish your next Instagram post. Double-check the value and audience of every single hashtag.
Avoid all the banned hashtags if you don’t want to end up shadowbanned by Instagram.
Hashtags are streams of interests and categories. If you add the hashtag football in a post with a wedding dress will look irrelevant to the audience and to the Instagram algorithm. Everything can affect your Instagram ranking and engagement score. Quality and relevance are very important!
The text should be clean and free of hashtags. Keep them at the bottom of your post. Some Instagram users prefer to add their hashtags in the first comment. I would advise you to avoid this practice.
In some cases credits are obligatory. Add them after the text and before the group of hashtags.
8. Mentions are Important
When you mention someone you compliment this person and the Instagram account he/she has. Especially in a collaboration or to express your admiration or support, mention is a must-do practice. But tagging a person is not polite if you don’t have his/her permission.
9. Engage their Attention
Try to make your audience participate in your posts. Ask their opinion or pose an open question. Invite people to participate in your IG feed by encouraging them to use your brand hashtag. Hey! Do not neglect to answer all comments.
Call-to-action tactics are a great way to attract the attention of your audience. In some markets, a contest could be a good element of communication. Or offering some free benefits or gifts.
For example, I am offering through Instagram, complete SEO optimization for a blog or website once a year.
I hate emojis. But my clients and audience love them. So I use them. But I still hate them.
Use them for the benefit of your brand. And if you are like me, bite the bullet and use them. Again and again and again… 😜
You can even use them in your stories or pictures.
They are lovers and haters of Quotes. But accept the solid fact that they bring great numbers of engagement. Add Quotes relative to your brand mission and attitude. At least once a week add one inspirational quote.
12. Turn The Tables
Use your imagination and show different aspects of the main topics of your brand. If you are a professional speaker share the process of making a speech. If you are a pastry chef, show us how many times you failed before the perfect recipe. Be open and let the suit in the closet.
It is nice to have moments of success but it is way better to also share the effort before the success. You can inspire people and really connect when you are not afraid to be exposed.
In all cases keep your message simple, human and direct.
The History of Instagram
Instagram was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and launched in October 2010 exclusively on iOS. Two years later a version for Android devices was released, in April 2012, followed by a feature-limited website interface in November 2012, and apps for Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 in April 2016 and October 2016.
After its launch in 2010, Instagram rapidly gained popularity, with one million registered users in two months, 10 million in a year, and ultimately 800 million as of September 2017.
In April 2012, Facebook acquired the service for approximately US$1 billion in cash and stock. As of October 2015, over 40 billion photos have been uploaded to the service.