How to Level Up Your Instagram Game

People love images, partly because our brains process them faster than text. Knowing this, it’s easy to understand why Instagram has become such a popular app and social media network with 300 million monthly active users! In fact, it’s so popular that brands are seeing more engagement on Instagram than Twitter, according to data from Socialbakers Analytics.

Maybe you’re thinking, “I’m just a one-woman show, I don’t have the resources like major companies do,” but you don’t need to be a big company to rock at Instagram. Below are four tips to help you level up your brand on Instagram.

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Utilize engagement metrics.

Just like Twitter and Facebook, there are ideal times to post on Instagram. Lucky for you, we have Iconosquare – a website that will show you a variety of statistics on your account, like the best time to post to get most engagement, and even how filters impacts likes and comments. Utilize this free resource to learn the ins and outs of your Instagram account!

Knowing the optimal times for your Instagram posts is so important – especially when posting things relevant to your brand/business. It may also help you understand your audience. For instance, my audience is virtually non-existent around 6pm every weeknight – dinner time!

Hashtags, hashtags, hashtags.

We all love ‘em. Sometimes people use funny hashtags, like #dontjudgemeforeatinganentirepizza. But, you may have noticed that people who are using their Instagram from more of a business perspective are using multiple hashtags. Another great part of Iconosquare, is that it will tell you what hashtags are popular on Instagram, and what hashtags you are using that are popular!

Heads up: sometimes people will put the paragraph of #hashtags in the comments, instead of the picture caption. Instagram recently changed their functionality, and those hashtags in the comments are now said to be void. They did this because of the heavy amount of spammers. Now, some people have said that their hashtags still work in the comments, but that’s not worth the risk of losing traction if it’s not the case.

Edit your photos.

You can’t just post any ol’ picture you take. First, it needs to be unique and creative. Second, it needs to be well-lit, and not pixelated. Take a look at Dunkin Donuts feed:

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Always bright, colorful and creative. (Bonus points to them for also incorporating video!) What style will best represent your brand? What kind of shots will best represent your brand? There are SO many options when it comes to taking pictures – this is your time to get creative!

I remember in the early days of Instagram, I kept seeing pictures in my feed that always made wonder, “How in the world do they make their pictures look that good?!” It was all in the editing. Personally, I love using Afterlight for editing. But, VSCO is also a really popular app for editing. Or, you can just edit within Instagram if that’s your thing. Keep in mind, this is not the time to make your photos overly edited with weird colors and such (unless it goes with your brand). You don’t have to be fancy, just consistent.

Optimize linking.

Similar to Twitter, there’s not a lot to your profile on Instagram, which makes it all the more important to optimize it. Your bio should address who you help and how you help them. Keep the business part short and sweet, so that there’s room for you to add a fun personal tidbit at the end. When I was doing a kickstarter, I changed it a bit to mention my kickstarter, with an arrow emoji pointing down to the URL that directed users to my kickstarter page. Giving away a new freebie? Direct people to it!

Also, if you haven’t figured it out already, links do not work in captions. You have one space in your profile for a live link. Most of the time, mine is straight to my website. But, if posting an image and trying to redirect followers to a recent blog post, I’ll update the link to go straight to the blog. Some people use the location tag on their image to call extra attention to the link in their profile.

Something else to consider for links is using Bitly or TinyURL to condense your link down to just a few characters, instead of a long string of text. You could do this in your bio, but some people do this in the photo caption. Although it’s not clickable, it’s easier to remember a shorter string of characters.

So, there you have it, femmes! Just a few, quick changes to start rocking Instagram and taking your brand to a new level! I’d love to see how you’re rocking your Instagram posts and profiles – follow or tag me: @jesscreatives!

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