Create The Perfect Instagram Profile

Create The Perfect Instagram Profile

The key to creating the perfect Instagram profile is a combination of things – an easily identifiable username, a recognizable profile picture, an informative but interesting bio, a relevant link, and a consistent stream of high-quality photos/videos/GIFs and Stories. Instagram accounts are automatically set to Public, meaning anyone can view your profile, and this is exactly how you want to keep it if you’re using your account for business. Don’t think your profile matters? Think again! Users make a decision about your profile in two-tenths of a second, so if you want to get more followers on Instagram, you really do need to create the perfect Instagram profile.

Username

The best type of username is one that is easy to search, recognize and one that people will remember. Using your business name is a great choice. If your business name is already taken as a username, try various combinations adding in words that represent your brand. For example, if the username @Starbucks was taken, you could try @StarbucksCoffee; or @Gucci was taken, you could try @GucciClothes or @GucciDesigner. Once you’ve decided on your username, stick to it, unless your business undergoes a big rebrand.

Name

As well as a username, which is used in all tags and mentions, your profile requires you also submit a name. Your name appears under your profile picture and when people search for you, it appears under your username. It’s important here that you add in your full business name to help people search for you and know what your full name is, rather than just your username. It makes your profile seem more official but also more personable. Your name and your username are the only criteria that make your profile searchable, so these are really important for visibility.

Profile Picture

Your profile picture is important because it forms a big part of a potential follower’s first impression of you. As one of the first things they see, due to being displayed so prominently, it should be something easy to recognize, and consistent with any other social media outlets you’re using. It can be a photo of yourself if you’re an Influencer, or a company logo if you’re a business. When selecting your photo, keep in mind that Instagram crops it into a circle and a minimum picture size is 110 x 110 pixels. Once uploaded, check that your photo isn’t stretched or blurry.

Profile pictures are more interchangeable than a username, which should remain the same. If there is a special season or trend, feel free to change up your photo to reflect this. For example, during Pride Month or Christmas you can create a temporary picture to reflect the season. It doesn’t have to be the entire photo, it could just be an element, such as adding in a rainbow background for Pride or snowflakes for Christmas.

Bio

The bio is a maximum of 150 characters and should include information to let people know what you’re about and why they should follow you. Make sure to incorporate who you are and what you do, be informative but also add a splash of personality so you don’t seem bland. People are more likely to follow you if you seem like a real person rather than a business. The bio section can also include hashtags, calls to action and a link. Hashtags encourage engagement by giving your audience a hashtag to use in their photo captions. Calls to action could give an incentive for users to tag you in their posts, and the link could be to your website homepage or to your latest update. Many people update the link here each time they post something new on Instagram. This directs consumer traffic more specifically around your website, perhaps to a new blog post or new products you’ve mentioned. Aside from Stories (which disappear after 24 hours), your bio is the only place on Instagram to add links. It’s recommendable to add in your email address, so potential clients/consumers have a way to contact you directly.

Photo Feed

After you’ve decided upon your username, written your bio and created the perfect profile picture, it’s time to think about curating the perfect photo feed. When users are considering following you, after they’ve read your bio and seen your profile picture, they are going to check out your photo feed. If they like what they see, they are likely to follow you. High-quality photos are a vital aspect of Instagram. Anyone with a smartphone can take mediocre photos, think about how to set your account aside from the rest. Creating high-quality posts comes down to three things: being interesting and relevant, a well-shot photo, and good editing.

Subject Matter

To keep the ‘insta’ in Instagram, the subject of your photo has to be relevant. Nobody would be interested in a photo of Christmas Day posted a week late, no matter how beautiful, cute or hilarious the photo was. It’s also valuable to consider your target audience and what they want to see. If you have a young audience, don’t post a photo of bingo night, post a photo of glow in the dark golf or snowboarding stunts. Comedy is another way to go, keep the image high quality but add in a witty caption to match and these are sometimes the most memorable and most shareable, a brilliant way to get more likes and followers on Instagram.

Good Photography

Spend some time learning how to take good photos. Experiment with different perspectives, take photos from up high or down low and see what works best for your subject matter. Creating a focal point can be important, don’t have too many things going on in your shot. The grid option on your smartphone helps with taking better photos. Add this in and place points of interest along these lines for a more balanced photo which encourages people to interact more naturally with it.

Good Editing

There are filters and basic editing tools available on Instagram, but these aren’t usually enough to create images of a high enough standard. Use at least one other photo editing app before you add them to Instagram. It takes practice but once you get the hang of it, it should be a quick process. All your photos should be somewhat similar in form, so they look good together when viewed in your profile. This means once you’ve found the right editing tools, it’ll be a breeze to edit future posts. Keeping the formation and colors similar makes your profile more attractive to users, meaning you’ll get more followers on Instagram.

There you have it, how to create the perfect Instagram profile. The username should come pretty naturally from either your name or your brand’s name, keep it simple and recognizable so people can easily find you and follow you. The trickiest part is writing the bio, keeping that balance of informing potential followers and enticing them in with your personality. Creating the perfect photo feed to complement the rest of your profile is a work in progress and in time should look beautiful and encourage everyone who visits your profile to follow you on Instagram.

Best Time to Post on Instagram in 2018

When is the best time to post on Instagram?

It’s a question we hear all the time as a company that helps brands and influencers grow their Instagram accounts.

The question starting popping up a lot more around 2016 when Instagram switched to an algorithm based feed.

Here’s a graph of the search trends for the phrase “best time to post on Instagram” over the past five years. Notice it started to trend upwards in June 2016 when the new algorithm was officially released.

People knew that once the algorithm rolled out, they’d see dips in engagement, similar to what happened on Facebook. So they began looking for ways to get ahead of it by timing their posts for the highest engagement.

Fast forward to 2018, and post timing is starting to become even more important.

While Instagram’s feed is still controlled by an algorithm, earlier this year they did announce they’d be making changes to ensure users are seeing timely and fresh content in their feeds when they first open the app.

What this means is that if you’re able to start timing your posts to publish when your audience is most likely to be on the app, you’ll have a better chance of showing up in their feed.

So, when’s the best time to post on Instagram? The answer isn’t as clear-cut as you might think.

The Best Time to Post on Instagram According to Industry Research

There has been a ton of research done around the best time to post on Instagram. While the data from these studies shouldn’t be the deciding factor for when you post on Instagram, they can give you some guidance or a place to start—especially if you’re new to Instagram.

Best Time to Post on Instagram According to Sprout Social

Sprout Social’s data scientists analyzed what times and days of the week users received the most engagement on Instagram, then averaged the data. They even looked at the data per industry.

Here’s a summary of what their research found

According to Sprout Social, the best time to post on Instagram is Thursdays between 10am-5pm.

Wednesdays and Fridays in the afternoon also appear to be good times to post for the highest engagement.

The Best Time to Post on Instagram According to CoSchedule

CoSchedule also did some research into the best time to post on social media. Their findings are based on data from 23 different studies.

According to CoSchedule, the best times to post on Instagram are Mondays and Thursdays at 2am, 8am-9am or 5pm.

The Best Time to Post on Instagram According to Later

Later did a survey of social media managers, and the majority of respondents said lunchtime between 11am-1pm was the best time to post on Instagram, followed by 7pm-9pm in the evenings.

We gave you insights from three different sources to show you that there is no single best day or time to post.

The best way to find out when to post on Instagram is to test it out for yourself and look at your data.

How to Find the Best Time to Post on Instagram Through Analytics

If you’ve been active on Instagram for a while, you should have a decent amount of data you can use to determine the best time to post on Instagram for your brand.

The first place we suggest looking is Instagram Insights. This is Instagram’s native analytics built into the app for business profiles.

While you’re logged into your account, click on the stats icon on the top menu.

Then click on the “Audience” tab and scroll down to the Followers section.

You’ll be able to switch between two different graphs. One shows the average times your followers on Instagram on a specific day (Hours).

The other shows which days of the week your followers are most active (Day).

Another piece of data in Insights that’s helpful for determining the best time to post on Instagram is location. You can find this under the Audience tab as well.

Knowing where your followers are located allows you to account for different time zones. For instance, if you’re on central time, but most of your followers are pacific time, there’s a two hour time difference. That might impact when you choose to post.

Using this data, you can start to plan your Instagram posts around the days and times your followers are most likely to be on the app.

Another way to use analytics to discover the best time to post on Instagram is to look at your most engaged posts, and see if there’s a trend in when it was published.

You can do this within Instagram Insights as well. Go into the Content tab in Insights. Under the Posts section, select “See All”.

Then, filter by engagement, and select the time period you want to view. We suggest looking at 6 months or a year

Then, tap on any of the top posts. In the post, you should see “View Insights”. Tap that, and Instagram will show you the stats for that individual post, including the exact date and time it was posted.

Go through all your most engaged posts and see when they were posted. If you notice a trend of them all being shared around the same day of the week or time of day, you’ll have a better idea of the best time to post to your Instagram page.

But What if You’re Starting From Scratch?

Some of you might be wondering, “what should I do if I have a new Instagram page or don’t have enough historical data to use analytics?”

The answer is simple—experiment.

As with any experiment, you need to be strategic with how you test though. There are a ton of different variables that play a role in how much engagement or reach a post gets on Instagram aside from the time it’s published.

The content, caption, hashtags, whether or not you tagged anyone and other factors all play a role in how many likes or comments you receive.

So make sure you’re not posting drastically different content, and keep your hashtags somewhat consistent while you’re testing different posting times.

To run your experiment, try posting three times per day, (once in the morning, afternoon and evening) Monday-Friday. You can make a spreadsheet to track everything.

Download this template

For each post, record the number of likes and comments each post received.

While our spreadsheet has 9am, 2pm and 7pm as the post times, feel free to change the times to whatever you’d like to test out. Just make sure the times are at least a few hours apart so it doesn’t skew your data.

We suggest getting at least four weeks worth of data, so you can potentially spot trends in the best days to post, in addition to the best time of the day.

How Often Should You Post on Instagram?

In addition to when to post on Instagram, you should also think about how often you’re posting as well.

For this, we’ll turn to some research conducted by CoSchedule, where they looked at data from 14 different studies.

As you can see, 1-2 posts per day seems to be the sweet spot. And it tends to be aligned with what we see from most brands and influencers.

There are exceptions to this though. A lot of media sites, for instance, publish a new post every 1-2 hours.

Tailwind found that there’s actually a correlation between the amount you post and the number of likes you receive on Instagram.

Not only that, but posting more also leads to more Instagram followers.

Despite all the data supporting the benefits of posting more, only 5% of Instagram accounts post once per day or more.

This is a huge opportunity to get ahead of your competition. If you notice most people in your industry or niche only post a few times per week, increase your posting frequency to get a larger share of the market.

And in case you’re worried about oversaturating your audience with too much content, you’ll be happy to know that a study of 55 top-performing brands on Instagram found engagement doesn’t drop from posting more often.

The takeaway from all this data is don’t be afraid to post more content on Instagram. The stats show there’s a ton of upside and almost no risk!

Tips for Finding the Right Time to Post on Instagram

In addition to the data and suggestions above, here are some general tips and best practices for when to post on Instagram to maximize reach and engagement.

Post the Most Important Content on Weekdays

While a lot the research and studies about the best time to post on Instagram varies, one thing most of them have in common is they suggest posting on the weekdays.

That makes sense, considering that’s when people are less likely to be out and about. During the week, people spend a bulk of their time at work or school. And during those 8+ hours, they like to take breaks.

One study from the Pew Research Center found that 77% of people use social media at work. And 34% of them do it get a mental break.

Capitalize on workplace boredom by posting the content you want to get the most eyes on during work hours.

Schedule Your Instagram Post

Believe it or not, some brands get the most engagement when it’s 2am in the morning in their timezone. Most people aren’t up at that hour in order to post a photo or video on Instagram.

Even if you plan to post during the day, you might not always remember or possibly not even have your phone on hand.

The best way to get around this and post at the right time is to schedule your posts in advance.

You can use tools like Later, Sprout Social or Hootsuite to plan and schedule all of your Instagram posts ahead of time.

Focus on Your Audience

As we’re sure you’re starting to notice, there is no single best time to post on Instagram. It really comes down to your audience.

In addition to tracking engagement with the spreadsheet we gave earlier, also pay attention to how your audience responds to different posting times.

Do comments on content posted earlier on in the day have a more positive sentiment? Do you get likes quicker when you post in the evening?

All these details give you additional context around the best times to post on Instagram.

Just because an article tells you Thursdays at 5pm is the best time to post on Instagram, doesn’t mean it’s the best time for your audience.

So When is the Best Time to Post on Instagram?

It depends. Test different posting times, dive into your analytics and pay attention to how your audience reacts. That’s the best way to find the optimal posting time for your page.

Need more help getting more engagement and followers on Instagram? Give our service a try to amplify your results on Instagram.

Get More Followers on Instagram using Instagram Stories

Get More Followers on Instagram using Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are exploding in the marketing and social media world, Mark Zuckerberg even hinted that he thinks the use of the Stories format will eventually overtake the traditional newsfeed format. One in five Instagram Stories results in a direct message; this means potential clients are directly reaching out to your business as a result of your post. If you’re already using Stories but not reaping the benefits, here is a guide to get more views on Instagram Stories.

Location tag

Adding a location tag to your Instagram Stories helps increase visibility, even more so if you end up being featured on Instagram’s Story Search. Some reports show that you can achieve five times more views on Instagram Stories when adding in a location. It’s a good idea to experiment with the types of location that work best for your audience. The country or state might be too broad a reach and your Stories could get lost in the crowd. The region or city might be better, depending on where your target audience is, how populated that area is and how big or small the region is. Test out a variety of location tags and see which ones get the most views on Instagram Stories.

Hashtags

Boosting visibility helps get more views, so anything that makes your post more searchable is important. As hashtags are one of the most popular ways users search Instagram, it’s essential to use them if you want to get more views on Instagram Stories. The hashtag sticker used in Stories also helps you get featured on Instagram’s Story Search. Use up to 10 hashtags but keep them relevant so as not to appear spammy or cluttered. If you want to include multiple relevant hashtags but don’t want to clutter your post, here is a hot tip. If there are any color blocks on your post, such as a person wearing a black shirt or a block color background, match that exact color and add the hashtag there. It will be invisible to your audience but just as searchable as a visible hashtag.

Go Live

Not only does this create a feeling of urgency – ‘I need to watch this broadcast now before it disappears!’ – but users are alerted when you start a Live Video. This is immediately bringing it to the attention of your potential viewers. You can also enable replays of your live broadcast for 24 hours in Stories so it still appears in the Stories ‘bubble feed’ after the Live Video has ended. Usage of a Live Video is still fairly low, so users aren’t being inundated by ‘Live’ alerts. This means that they are more likely to click through and watch, so make the most of this while other brands are still figuring out a way to incorporate more Live Videos.

Mixed Media

Stories were designed for videos or boomerangs rather than still photos. Using photos every so often is okay, but mostly a moving post is best. If you are going to use a photo, consider adding in a funny caption because unlike in a video, viewers won’t have to concentrate as much on what’s going on so have time to read a caption. If you turn it into a question or a poll even better because this will help boost engagement.

Add subtitles

85% of videos viewed on Facebook are watched in silence. One can assume that this is probably also true of Instagram; so assuming the majority of your audience has the volume muted, you either need to add in subtitles or create attention-grabbing content which doesn’t require sound. If you can make compelling content without the use of sound, you’re way ahead of the crowd.

Bonus content

If your Instagram account has an official, professional or formal feel to it, you can mix it up with Instagram Stories by posting more casual content like a goofy behind-the-scenes peek to show the real personalities behind your brand. You can also post things irrelevant to your brand to demonstrate who you are as a person, like a hike you took at the weekend. This is likely to help you get more views on Instagram Stories because it is giving viewers something different from your everyday content, and something more relatable which hopefully will entice them to increase engagement.

Timing is everything

Identify the ideal time for you to be posting on Instagram using Insights, and post your Story then. Experiment with this a bit to find the exact optimum time. After you’ve identified this, post your first Story and then continue to add to your Story every 30 minutes for six hours. Make the first one a good one, because this is what will grab their attention and hopefully keep it. Prepare all of the content in advance and save it to your gallery, set a reminder on your phone for every 30 minutes and post the Stories. The reason for this is because it keeps bumping your Story to the first update on the Stories bubbles at the top, maximizing your visibility.

Tell a story

You can only post videos of up to 15 seconds on Instagram Stories. However, using the CutStory app to chop up a longer video, you can add them individually to your Stories. This enables you to tell your complete story in manageable chunks, and is a great hack to posting consistently.

There we have it, the most effective ways to get more views on Instagram Stories. Make your Stories as searchable as they can be by using all the basic tools Instagram provides like hashtags and location tags. Mix it up and try something new like a Live Video or funny boomerangs to show off your casual side, and further engage your audience. Don’t rely on sound in your content, update your Stories frequently and in no time you’ll find your viewing numbers will be increasing so fast you won’t know what hit you.

Get Instagram Followers Using Hashtags

Get Instagram Followers Using Hashtags

Increasing the popularity of your Instagram account is basically dependent on how searchable your posts are. Hashtags are arguably the best way to make your post more searchable to other users. Instagram itself doesn’t categorize posts, so the hashtags you use are essentially defining your post to the Instagram world. For this reason, it’s very important to choose the right hashtags to bring them up in relevant searches.

So how do you choose the best Instagram hashtags for followers and likes? There are different tactics you can take, and using the below three strategies together will help you broaden your reach to the maximum potential audience, as well as bringing in authentic followers.

Three Strategies for Hashtag use

Crazy popular hashtags

Using the most popular hashtags on Instagram has the same pros and cons – tons of people are searching for them. By tons we literally mean millions. They’ll be brought up on more searches but they will also be quickly lost in a sea of posts as the search updates. If you’re looking for general hashtags guaranteed to be popular, try using the following: #love #instagood #photooftheday #happy #cute #beautiful #tbt #fashion #me #picoftheday #selfie #summer #friends #instadaily. #love, for example, brings up over one billion posts and #instagood over 537 million. So keep in mind the positive and negative that these are overly popular.

Hashtags specifically for follows and likes

You can go the shameless route and use hashtags such as #like4like and #follow4follow. These generally do result in more likes, followers and generally widen your audience. This might not result in the most authentic engagement and following though. For the hashtags geared towards helping you get more followers and likes on Instagram, try these out: #follow #like4like #tagsforlikes #instalike #likeforlike #follow4follow #followforfollow #l4l #f4f #followback #instafollow #likeforfollow #followher #followhim.

Targeted hashtags

These hashtags focus on your Instagram niche, aiming for the hashtags your target audience are likely to be searching for. These types of hashtags will give you a higher quality in your likes and new followers, which is generally more valuable in the long run. These, of course, depend on what your brand or niche is. A few ways to discover the best hashtags for your industry are using hashtag generators like HashtagsforLikes.

Suggested Targeted Hashtags

Creating a list of ‘go to’ hashtags to use is a great time-saving tool, as well as being an effective way to get more likes and followers on Instagram. Targeted hashtags help users easily navigate to the topics they are interested in. When your posts start cropping up in their searches, you will have yourself a whole new audience of potential clients simply because you used the right hashtag. Need some ideas? Popular themes on Instagram include food, fashion and travel, to name a few. Here we run through some targeted hashtags for popular Instagram themes to inspire your lists.

Inspirational

#postive #truth #quotes #reality #quoteoftheday #reminder #quote #instaquote #stay strong

Travel

#beach #travel #sun #life #vacation #sunset #summer #sky #amazing #vscocam #fun #nature #traveldiary #lovetotravel #travelgram

Food

#food #yummy #foodie #delicious #foodoftheday #foodporn #nomnom #cleaneating #vegan #breakfast #lunch #dinner #dessert #foodgasm #organic #vegetarian #Italian #pizza #sushi

Business

#social #branding #socialmedia #sales #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #marketing #branding #tech #business #giveaway #discount #smallbiz #success #businesswoman #businessowner #businesstrip #businesscard #launch #digital #career #goals

Fashion

#fashion #dress #swag #style #nofilter #beauty #ootd #outfitoftheday #fashionista #shopping

Fitness

#instafitness #beastmode #gym #instafit #lifestyle #diet #wellness #getmoving

Group Your Hashtags

Once you’ve compiled a list of hashtags, split them into categories to make them even easier to use. ‘Niche hashtags’ for the ones focusing specifically on your target audience; ‘branded hashtags’ for promoting your business/brand/message; ‘general hashtags’ for when you want to widen your audience reach beyond your target audience; ‘location hashtags’ to use when you want to appeal to a specific location; and ‘community hashtags’ for when you want to add a more personable feel to your posts.

Hashtag Limitations

Keep in mind that Instagram enforces a limit of 30 hashtags per post, so keep them relevant and don’t waste precious space. This is likely in place to avoid searches being cluttered with irrelevant posts where people are adding in 100s of hashtags to try and gain popularity. Having said that, don’t use 30 hashtags if you don’t need them. Keep them relevant to draw in an engaged audience. And don’t forget to add hashtags to your Instagram Stories as well as regular posts. It isn’t really possible to add in as many hashtags to a Stories post because it’ll look too cluttered. However, you can post several shorter Stories each with a few relevant hashtags to get around this limitation.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking to use hashtags purely to get more likes and followers on Instagram in a short space of time, look for the more general hashtags that’ll be showing up on big searches, or the #follow4follow types of hashtags. This will build up your initial following. However, these generalized hashtags won’t necessarily guarantee loyal followers or users who will consistently and meaningfully engage in your posts. To form a more authentic group of followers and high-quality engagement, look for more targeted hashtags relevant to your niche. Use hashtag generators (like For Display Purposes Only) to form an easily accessible list of targeted hashtags you can add quickly to all your posts, making hashtags a time efficient and goal effective method of increasing your Instagram likes and followers.

Use The New Video Feature to Get More Instagram Followers

Use The New Video Feature to get more Instagram Followers

Instagram recently unveiled its new video feature – an app that can be used within or outside Instagram that allows you to post videos up to 60 minutes long. This was first announced in the Wall Street Journal, and is said to be keeping up with the demand for mobile video among both consumers and advertisers. Launched as IGTV, users can post high-definition videos and its said that Instagram Influencers are in talks to create original content for the new streaming app.

At the press launch in June, Instagram executives demonstrated the different ways to use IGTV. These included vertical video clips of amateur cooks and wildlife explorers, among others. Initially, there won’t be any paid ads on the service, but this could change once IGTV becomes more established. Instagram’s CEO, Kevin Systrom, stated that paid ads would be a ‘reasonable place to end up’ and at first content creators wouldn’t be paid for their content but that there would be a way for content creators to make a living.

IGTV is looking to take a piece of the online video market

Slated to be a big competitor to Snapchat Discover, which is currently home to daily content from National Geographic and Cosmopolitan, IGTV could be set to tap into the multibillion-dollar TV advertising market. Although marketers are still predominantly using TV to advertise, the spending into digital markets is slowly increasing. With the launch of IGTV, and Instagram’s one billion monthly users, it makes sense marketing budgets will potentially start to make space for digital advertising.

At the moment, the majority of Instagram’s users are in the 18-29 year-old demographic, which is why advertisers aren’t using it as their main marketing tool. They use it to target that demographic obviously, but TV ads are still the main marketing strategy for a lot of brands. However, with the introduction of Instagram’s new long-form video feature, it could bring in a new demographic. IGTV is set up so you can scroll through ‘channels’ and pick out whatever is interesting to you. Once you start watching, Instagram will use this data to recommend content that it thinks you will like, much like how your Instagram newsfeed works. This could potentially entice a much wider audience demographic to Instagram, meaning it’ll have more of an impact on your paid marketing strategy.

How IGTV benefits you

As a business, brand or Instagram Influencer you can use Instagram TV by posting longer videos without having to link back to your website or YouTube for the complete version. For example, if you have a new product launching, you can post up to an hour long video demoing the new product or perhaps an in-depth how-to video. If you are a comedian, you can post your full hour-long stand-up routine. This is designed to be the ‘go to’ place to build your audience. You can create a ‘channel’, much like you can on YouTube. Once users click to your channel (which is basically your IGTV profile) and watch a video, it’ll automatically jump to your next broadcast once the current one ends.

IGTV is designed with the idea of watching content on your phone, and therefore the videos are required to be in the vertical format. Content also starts playing as soon as you open it up, a concept designed to replicate turning on a TV. To find other content, swipe up and you’ll be able to switch between ‘For You’, ‘Following’, ‘Popular’ and ‘Continue Watching’. Users can also send videos in a direct message to their friends, and they’ll be alerted when someone they follow posts a new video on IGTV, which is great news for boosting visibility.

The vertical format encourages users to record videos on their phones rather than professionally via camera, this seeks to make it more accessible to everybody and build more of a community rather than exclusivity for professionals with access to video cameras. To get an idea of expected quality, it would have to be more professional than an Instagram Stories post but less curated than your regular Instagram photo posts. If users get bored they can swipe to move onto the next video, so even though they can be up to an hour, make sure every minute is still adding value. If you have a business profile you will have access to Instagram Insights, so through a few trial and error videos, you can find out which videos are getting the most engagement.

Mobile video consumption is set to increase

By 2021, Instagram expects that mobile video will account for 78% of mobile data traffic, and that the younger demographic is more interested in amateur content than professional. This started with the craze of reality TV, then trickled to YouTube stars and now Snapchat and Instagram. IGTV is designed to be more like YouTube and less like Netflix, with videos from your favorite Instagram Influencers and not the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy. As far as business goes, this is good news as you won’t have to team up with production companies or TV studios to create in-demand content.

Unlike Instagram Stories, every video you post to IGTV is archived and thus users can go back and watch old videos again and again. When IGTV launched in June, Gucci uploaded every runway presentation since 2015 and gained over 400,000 views. Netflix uploaded an old video of a Riverdale star eating a cheeseburger for an hour, and it has over 700,000 views. This shows that there is definitely a platform for Instagram Influencers and marketers to get on board and maximize visibility without really having to do too much.

People don’t need to be following you in order to find you, your videos will be visible to anyone who searches them, as well as ‘videos for you’ which brings up videos based on previous engagement, and lastly, the popular tab brings up the most popular videos from around the world. The best way to use IGTV to your advantage is to think about what you are known for, how you can add value to this through an extended video and if there are any gaps in your current Instagram content that could be filled with an extra long video.

The main ways IGTV is going to affect Instagram is that Influencers and brands can engage even more with their audience, giving more in-depth interactions and content. It’s another way to boost visibility, add links into your Instagram content and ultimately get more Instagram followers and Instagram likes. It’s a concept sure to skyrocket, so get started on your long-form video content now!

How To Use Stories to Grow Your Instagram Followers

How To Use Stories to Grow Your Instagram Followers

While regular Instagram posts are designed for your very best content, Stories are designed to be used more frequently but with more ‘average’ posts. The idea is that it’s a fun way to share off the cuff moments you might not want on your regular feeds and show a different side to your account’s personality. This means you can publish them more often and, therefore, provide the opportunity to engage even more with your followers, and it also gives your posts a real-time value.

Creating Instagram Stories couldn’t be easier. All it takes is a simple tap on your profile picture on the Stories row, located at the top of your Home screen. This activates the camera where you can shoot a video or select something from the last 24 hours from your camera roll and click ‘+ your story’. There are a few options for formatting your posts to Stories, including Normal, Boomerang, Slow Motion, Rewind and Hands-Free. Make the choice of a GIF, a video played in reverse or a standard photo/video and, voila, you’ve created a story!

Stories can help keep your followers engaged

Why, as a business, would I waste time posting lots of substandard content? How can I use this to my advantage? Firstly, the Stories disappear after 24 hours, which forces your followers to log in frequently and check out your profile to see any new Stories before they disappear. This drives users to your business profile more often. It also humanizes your business, because the photos and videos tend to be more raw and relevant to a particular moment in time.

Although posts are technically designed to be of a lesser standard than regular posts, as a business, you’ll still need to think through your strategy. Using Stories during the right moments can be crucial. For example, if you’re having a sale or your business has an exciting event happening, posting some Stories can help your followers feel more connected to your brand and encourage more people to engage. You can also appeal to your followers’ sense of fun here, by posting more casual and witty photos and captions, rather than the more structured, rigid and ‘perfect’ posts on your official feed. This helps your audience feel more relaxed, and again more connected, to your brand.

How to boost the visibility and engagement of your Stories

As a result of Instagram making changes to its algorithm and moving away from its original chronological approach, it is possible your posts aren’t always showing up on your followers’ feeds. The algorithm predicts which posts are of the most interest to users, based on previous engagement, and those will be highest on their feed. However, Instagram Stories do not use the algorithm in this way. As a result, if you post in your Stories, it will show up at the top of their Stories feed at the time of posting. This is important in maintaining visibility with your followers.

To boost engagement and visibility further, you can tag people in the description of your Stories and decorate them with emojis, doodles and text to make them more in line with your brand. 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound so it’s reasonable to assume the same for videos and stories on Instagram, making the extra text on your content even more important. You can also add in your location, and when Instagram creates its location Stories if yours has created enough engagement it could potentially be featured, giving you that added element of visibility. The same can be said for adding in hashtags.

Adding polls to your Stories can boost user engagement while at the same time, give you vital insight into your target audience. There are two options when creating polls; A/B options or a slider option. The slider is more fun, but the A/B choice gives you more data. You can add in a question, such as, “Will you join me for a Live broadcast tonight?” with “Yes” or “No” answers; or to drive more engagement and excitement, you could use it to ask your audience what prize to give for your latest contest with descriptive answers; or to gain insight you could give future blog options or new product options. Just remember to check the results before the story expires in 24 hours.

Use Instagram Stories to drive users to your other content

Perhaps the single most important aspect of how to successfully use Instagram Stories is to take advantage of adding in a link. Aside from your bio, this is the only place on Instagram you can add in links. This is huge. Couple this will the fact you can add in flashy doodles to point out said link, it’s a potential goldmine. This is only available to business profiles, meaning not just anyone can capitalize on this. To add in a link, just click the chain link icon at the top of your story. Once a link is added, a See More option appears at the bottom but it’s a good idea to add in some text of your own to direct people to the link, for example, ‘Swipe up for the full post!’.

Although adding in links is a wonderful opportunity, be careful not to bombard users or post images just for the sake of adding a link. The posts should still add value to your marketing strategy, with the link as an added bonus. For example, if you are using Stories to show off a DIY project, you could include a link to your website with a full tutorial of instructions for the project.

Always make sure you edit!

The amount of flexibility given with posting to Stories is increased exponentially in comparison to a regular post. You don’t just have filters, you have stickers, graphics, texts, face filters or coloured backgrounds. From a psychological standpoint, anything that increases the exposure, warmth and contrast is going to be a winner. According to a group of Georgia Tech researchers who teamed up with Yahoo! labs, un-edited images are a no go, as they give the impression to your audience they weren’t worth the time to adjust. The same team found that the right colour adjustments have a significant impact on your audience engagement. Warmer colours, such as red and yellow, elicited feelings of cheerfulness, fun and excitement, leading to an increase in the number of comments by up to 45%! In support of the psychological colour theory, basic filters like Mayfair, Rise, Valencia, Hefe and Nashville will maximize your engagement, whereas Lo-Fi and X-Pro II are much darker and are unlikely to garner as many likes or comments. When adding in backgrounds or text, keep it light, sunny and colourful as opposed to dark or blue.

Make sure you aren’t using too many filters, emojis, text, doodles, links etc as these can put off your followers or cause them to unfollow or block them. Sprout Social found that irritating brand behaviours such as too many visuals or noises can cause 51% of your viewers to unfollow you.

As you can see, there are so many ways to use Instagram Stories. Whether you’re looking for market insight, higher engagement or a more personal connection with your followers, posting Instagram Stories is a great way to grow your business and influence.

How To Use Live Video to Grow Your Instagram

Use Live Video to Grow Your Instagram

Using live videos is a great way of connecting with your Instagram audience in real time, and seem to be a largely untapped market by businesses. It’s an innovative way of further engaging your followers, and attracting new ones at the same time. Understandably, a lot of businesses are opting to use Instagram Stories instead because you can use pre-recorded footage rather than un-edited live videos where anything could happen. However, among other benefits, going live can help you build trust with your followers as you’re not hiding behind multiple takes or heavy editing.

Engage With Your Instagram Followers

As well as building trust with your followers, Instagram Live can help boost your discoverability. If your Live Video is driving lots of viewers and engagement, you might end up on the Explore page, which will expose your business to a bigger potential audience base. Another way to increase your visibility is to hype up your upcoming live broadcast in previous posts, so your followers become excited about tuning in.

The psychology of Instagram Followers

There is also an interesting psychological element to Instagram Live. The app will let you know when an account you are following goes Live, thus creating this fear of missing out and knowing that if you don’t tune in immediately, you could potentially miss the content entirely and forever. Facebook has reported that its users spend three times the amount of time watching Live Videos than non-live posts and comment 10 times as frequently on Live posts than regular posts. This confirms that Live Videos are creating this sense of urgency and living in the moment, and as a result are a fantastic way to engage your audience.

Humans are naturally inquisitive. Live content feels like it is more real and intimate than a staged or edited post, and fuels our curiosity about how other people act in different situations. We feel like we are seeing something we don’t normally get the chance to see. We also know that anything can happen during a live feed, and we instinctively want to tune in to see for ourselves. There is a reason people tune into to live sports broadcasts rather than taping them; we want to see the events unfold and we want to engage with other people while they are happening, hence the heightened engagement and commenting levels on live social media posts.

The internet and social media culture has created a bit of an instant gratification generation in society today, Psychologist Susan Weinschenk notes that humans are hardwired to navigate our way through the world by seeking out information. This can come in the form of seeking out food or water, or in modern times it more often comes in the form of seeking information about the latest iPhone or red carpet outfits. This need is satiated constantly because of smartphones being able to tell us anything at any time. With an Instagram Live Video post, allowing your audience to instantly engage with questions, thoughts or feelings and as a broadcaster you can instantly respond, satisfying both parties need for instant gratification, sharing an experience and gaining extra information.

How to Use Instagram Live Video

Practically speaking, starting a live video on Instagram is pretty simple. Tap the camera icon located at the top left of the screen, or swipe right from your feed. From here tap the ‘Live’ button at the bottom of the screen and then ‘Start Live Video’. You’ll see the number of viewers will appear at the top of the screen and comments crop up at the bottom. Once you’ve finished your video, tap ‘End’ at the top right and tap again to confirm. Further options from here are to save the video to your camera roll to publish to your Instagram feed later (it disappears once you’ve finished), or you can select to share it to your story. Options available to going Live include hiding your post from certain people (head to Story Settings), hiding inappropriate words from the comments, or turning off commenting entirely. Obviously turning off the comments will disengage your audience somewhat.

Of course, sharing a live feed isn’t as simple as it sounds, you can’t just click ‘Live’ and go, you’ve got to give it some serious thought beforehand if you want to get more engagement from your viewers. On the flip side, it means you have all of the power to decide what you’re posting. It’s not like a live interview on the evening news, where the questions and tone are set by someone else. You are the one making the choices and telling the story. You can be really diverse in how you produce your content, for example, you can launch a new product, or have a how-to demonstration or even a question and answer session.

Plan Your Instagram Live Video to Get More Views

When preparing for a Live Video, it might be wise to plan out exactly what you’re going to say, bullet-pointed or even possibly a script in case you get sudden stage fright. Practising is important too, especially if it’s your first Live Video. You can even record yourself and play it back to get a feel for what your followers will be experiencing when they tune in. Obviously, you’ll want to get as many people as possible tuning into your broadcast, so promotion beforehand is invaluable. You can add a post to your feed mentioning your upcoming broadcast, and then use Stories to tease what the Live Video will be about. Creating a sense of urgency is important as well, going back to the ‘fear of missing out’ which is embedded in our human nature. Perhaps advertise limited time only offers or special promotions, with the details only being released during the live broadcast. If you want to be really business savvy about Instagram Live Videos, ask your audience to submit questions prior to the broadcast and use this as an opportunity to collect email addresses, to add them onto your mailing lists to drive future sales and build brand awareness.

Final thoughts, Grow Your Instagram Business

As you can see, there are so many opportunities to expand your audience and grow your business with Live Video on Instagram. Using the tips here you’ll be able to get maximum engagement and more comments on your live videos. Only a handful of businesses are maximizing this opportunity at the moment, so why not be a trailblazer and start those live broadcasts!

Welcome to IGTV

“IGTV, a new app for watching long-form, vertical video from your favorite Instagram creators”
Kevin Systrom, Co-Founder & CEO of Instagram.

Instagram’s new platform and YouTube competitor is here. As well as being a standalone app, IGTV, you can also watch content from your favourite creators in the Instagram app.

 

What is IGTV?

IGTV is Instagram’s new competitor to YouTube and a new way to watch content online.
eMarketer predicted that 78% of video content will be viewed on mobile devices in 2018. They also expected YouTube to attract two-thirds of all digital video viewers in 2018, though the launch of IGTV may change this prediction.

Unlike YouTube, IGTV is made of all vertical videos – this makes a lot of sense as it’s specifically targeting users of a mobile platform who already create and view vertical content with Stories.

Anyone can create their own IGTV channel in the standalone app with a maximum of one IGTV channel per Instagram account. Most users will only be able to post videos up to ten minutes in length. Larger accounts can post up to one hour of content but Instagram announced that in the future there will be no limit.

Just like with other content on Instagram, channels and videos based on your likes and who you follow will appear in your explore page. Trending videos will show up on the popular channel and, like Instagram Stories, you can share IGTV content direct to your friends through messages.

Right now there are no ads as Instagram are focused on building engagement and creating a user base. However, there will be in the future so that creators can make a living off this new platform and creators will be able to post links on videos as a way to drive traffic to their other online content.

IGTV is also set up to allow you to view your Insights on each video so you can track engagement.

 

IGTV is a YouTube competitor

Instagram is very clearly looking to be an online, mobile content provider and not a new platform to rival Netflix or similar streaming services.

According to TechCrunch, “Instagram is focusing its efforts around web celebrities that made their name on mobile rather than more traditional, old-school publishers and TV studios that might come off too polished and processed.”

The announcement of IGTV also had prominent YouTube celebrities such as Lele Pons showcasing the new platform in what seems like a move to persuade popular YouTube identities to move onto IGTV.
This is great for channels and users already on Instagram.

There will be no pressure to produce super high quality, studio level productions. Focus on content and use simple editing software like iMovie to produce videos for your channel.

 

IGTV only shows vertical videos

Technically you could upload a horizontally shot video but that probably wouldn’t be the best idea. Instagram has been training people to shoot vertical content with Instagram Stories and this is just one step further.

As well as vertical video making a much better viewing experience on mobile, it also makes it easier for anybody to create content from their phone. Building on the points made in the previous section, this allows people to produce content that is natural and doesn’t have the too processed, polished studio look.
However, this will be frustrating to many businesses who may have to shoot video content in two different aspect ratios if they are planning to upload videos to multiple social media platforms.

 

IGTV is an interactive viewing experience

Whilst watching IGTV content, viewers can like and comment on them similar to live videos. Creators can add links to their videos so you can interact with them on other platforms as well.
You can also swipe up to search for more videos by category and swipe across to skip to the next video. We’re expecting many more features to be added that allow more interaction with content.

Like with other content in your Explore tab, IGTV videos are curated to your preferences and likes. The three IGTV categories help you distinguish between videos that Instagram thinks you will be interested in.
“For You” shows the videos that the Instagram algorithm believes you will enjoy. This is based on people you follow, posts you’ve liked or commented on and other data Instagram has on your activity.

“Following” shows the videos from all the accounts you follow on Instagram – if you follow someone on IGTV you’ll also follow them on Instagram too. “Popular” shows the current trending videos on IGTV.

 

This is just the start…

This is Instagram’s first move into long-form streaming content so we’re sure there are going to be new features coming out regularly. We already know ads/monetization and unlimited video length will be rolling out soon and we’re excited to see what is announced next.

The most important facts for your Instagram business

Important facts for your Instagram business

Instagram is growing quickly with reports that they have 800 million users active in May 2018, an increase of 100 million over the last month – 500 million of these users are active daily. When Facebook bought Instagram in April 2012 it only had 30 million users – that’s growth of nearly 2,700%! To help you grow your Instagram account here is some important facts for your Instagram business.

 

7 out of 10 hashtags on Instagram are branded

Every post should have a hashtag – as well as helping Instagram users search for and categorize content, they also drive marketing and account growth. Branded hashtags are essential for user-generated content in campaigns or promotions so it’s no surprise that 70% of Instagram hashtags are branded.

Keep the hashtag simple, catchy, and relevant so that people will be enthusiastic about sharing it. You can encourage your followers to use branded hashtags by tagging their photos for competitions, for your events so that followers can share and track it, and promoting new products or purchases.

Photos of brand products posted by users generate higher conversion rates for purchases than those posted by the brand itself. This rate of increased conversion rises to 9.6% once the user interacts with the post.

 

80% of users follow a business on Instagram

With an Instagram Business profile, you are able to add things like a phone number, address and links to your profile. Instagram states that 80% of users follow at least one business with 60% of users hearing about a product or service through the app. To add to this, at least 30% of users have purchased a product they first discovered on Instagram.

With growth in the platform and more and more people using the app to find new products, it’s worth experimenting with advertising to see what it can do for your business. The powerful insights tool that comes with a business profile allows you to monitor the effectiveness of your ads and posts.

 

Instagram Ad revenue is expected to reach nearly $7 billionInfluencers prefer Instagram for brand collaborations

Influencers are a key tool in marketing your brand. Utilising their vast network of followers to promote your brand is a great way to reach and engage a new following.

Zine found that Instagram is the preferred platform for influencers – 78% of influencers stated Instagram was their preferred way of collaborating with brands. Blogs came in second at 16%. Other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest were way down showing the clear influence of Instagram when it comes to influencers.

 

Instagram photos engage followers significantly more than videos

Although viewing of videos has increased by 40%, photos still generate more engagement – Instagram photos get 36% more likes than videos. There isn’t definitive research on why this is, but some people suggest they don’t necessarily create a call to action or it’s too easy to scroll past stories.

Regardless of the reasons, photos are going to generate more engagement for your account. Stories and videos still have their place so don’t ignore their potential, just ensure you are utilising the power of your photos.

 

The majority of the highest performing posts feature products

L2’s Instagram Intelligence Report suggests that 65% of the top performing posts feature products. This outperforms lifestyle content at 43% and posts from influencers at 29%.

Whilst it’s tempting to feature your product in every post, Social Media Today suggests that only 20% of your posts should be content that deals with your brand. These should be informative call-to-action posts that motivate your followers to learn more about your brand and engage with your posts.

How often should you post to Instagram?

How often should you post to Instagram

Getting the balance of Instagram posts can be a delicate process. Too many and followers can be oversaturated and switched off, risking them unfollowing you. Too few and followers aren’t staying engaged. How Often Should You Post to Instagram?

Previously, the half-life for Instagram posts was 72 minutes – meaning it takes 72 minutes for your post to gather half its total engagement.

The Instagram algorithm recently changed, and now older posts are showing up in people’s feeds or your posts are getting likes days after you uploaded them. Posts now have a longer lifespan. Does this mean that increasing the amount you post will take away from your previous uploads? Or should you post more to increase your reach?

 

Does posting more equal higher engagement and growth?

Tailwind did a study on how often you should be posting to Instagram. The simple answer is – at least once per day. Their research showed that in over three months, people who moved from posting less than once a day to seven or more posts a day increased their likes by nearly 13 times.

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It wasn’t just the likes that increased – Instagram follower growth also increased by 56% when posting seven or more times a week.

People often mistake more posts for lower engagement though this is clearly not the case. Tailwind also found that increasing post frequency by 100% also caused a 19% increase in overall engagement. This is also backed up by a Union Metrics study, stating:

“We’ve monitored accounts that post once an hour, all day long, and they see above-average engagement rates on almost all their content, no matter when it occurs in the one-post-an-hour sequence. Later posts do not decline in engagement.”

According to a Union Metrics study, the average brand posts 1.5 times per day. This backs up the studies done by Tailwind and is an achievable rate to aim for. So how many posts a day is right for your account?

 

Experiment with your posts

Some accounts can post several times a day and keep their followers engaged. Other accounts can post just once without more posts cannibalizing the likes and comments on further uploads.

In order to figure out your strategy, you may just have to experiment with your post frequency to get that perfect balance. You can just add a new post to a couple of days in the week and monitor its engagement. Is it taking away likes and comments from your existing posts or do both posts grow?

You can also use Instagram insights to check what times you get the most engagement and cater to that. Monitoring what times of the day you get the most likes and comments is crucial to know when and how often to post. If there are two, or even three, times of day your posts are getting high levels of engagement, use those as the times to experiment with posting more.

 

How often are people posting about you?

Sometimes, instead of just posting your own content, it’s worth featuring user-generated content between each of your own Instagram posts. As well as keeping things varied on your page, this is also a great way to engage your audience and make your followers feel involved.

Monitor your geo-tags, mentions in posts and captions, and search for you branded hashtags. Pick some of the popular or interesting posts to feature on your page.

 

Keep your posts consistent

When you’ve figured out how often you should be posting to gain maximum engagement and follower growth, keep your posting frequency consistent.

Increasing the number of posts and then dropping that number suddenly can have more detrimental effects than not increasing your posts at all. Forbes writes: “Accounts that abruptly decrease their post frequency lose followers quickly.”

 

Events, promotions and competitions!

Whilst consistency is important, there are some exceptions. When your business or brand has a special event you will likely increase your posting frequency.

Instagram accounts often bump up their posts around new product launches or competitions to generate excitement and additional engagement. During big events such as festivals or international fashion weeks, influencers and bloggers may post up to 10 times day and still maintain consistent levels of Instagram engagement – as long as posts remain relevant to the brand and maintain consistent quality.

 

Final thoughts

If you do decide to post more frequently, ensure you take the time to maintain the quality of your posts. If you have something you want to show your followers but no high-quality content, try posting as an Instagram story. This allows you to uphold the curated aesthetics of your account and create more natural content.

In the end, the best Instagram post frequency is the one you can maintain consistently. Try to post at least once a day and only post more if you can keep up with those levels to avoid losing followers or suffering from decreased engagement.