Instagram is one of our favourite social media platforms, and as of September 2015 (when it surpassed Twitter), the world agrees with us! With over 400 million monthly users, we decided it might be nice of us to share some of our most powerful Instagram hacks with you so you can get in on this massive market of potential customers or blog followers. So without further adieu, let’s jump right into the top 6 things you should be doing daily to make your Instagram account stand out!
This goes perfectly with our latest blog post! Today we posted 10 Phrases Successful Entrepreneurs would Never Say, along with 10 Things They Say Daily to keep being successful! Link is in our bio, be sure to check it out! And don’t forget to DOUBLE TAP if you agree with this saying and let us know what you say to keep yourself positive and motivated! ?
1. Create Original Content
Since you guys are such so great,
While it does differ from the original form of blogging, Instagram still has one major thing in common with it’s cousin, the fact that content is king. Creating original content for your Instagram account is an essential step when it comes to creating a brand and a community. While it’s great to post the odd re-gram to show your love and support for fellow Instagrammers, most of your feed should be made up of unique, eye-catching and engaging images.
So just what makes up an image like that? Essentially, it could be anything that appeals to your specific audience. Say you’re an entrepreneur (like us), we like to fill our feed with inspirational quotes that encourage our fellow entrepreneurs or show a bit of “behind the scenes” magic with a few photos of us playing ping-pong or riding our hoverboard.
As for our regular quote posts, we try to stick to a single theme that our audience will recognize instantly. Of course we switch it up with different imagery, quotes and layouts but we consistently have three things. The Data Nerds signature colours (white, black and gold), our manly Moustache logo and a basic white or black background. While we are only one example (and we all know there’s WAY bigger Instagram accounts than ours) it all comes down to finding what works for your brand and your audience.
2. Link It Up
Another little trick we use to increase exposure is to link our Instagram account back to all of our other social media accounts. This is one of the simplest ways to quickly bump up your traffic and follower count. Many times, blogs or brands have one social media account with the vast majority of their followers – for us, that’s Twitter (although ours are all pretty even). That’s why every time we post a photo on Instagram, we take advantage of the “share” buttons before finishing and push it to our Twitter accounts as well. By doing this, we are able to reach almost double the amount of people with our Instagram post that we regularly would.
The same goes for posting your original Instagrams to Facebook or Pinterest. A handy tool that we like to use is If This Than That (IFTTT for short), where you can set up “recipes” of how you want to share. One of our favourite recipes is If I post to Instagram, Then Also Post to Pinterest. With this, we are able to keep a Pin Board of all our recent posts so our Pinterest followers can easily find our Instagram account.
You want to make sure that everything is linked up to each other for the optimal effect. Facebook has a link to Instagram, Instagram has a link to your blog, your blog has links to all your social accounts and so on and so forth. Make it as simple as you can for readers or fans to engage with you, and don’t forget to engage with them too!
3. Utilize Hashtags
Do you ever find yourself with an awesome photo to share only to end up staring into a blank caption box for six minutes while you try to think up hashtags? Yeah, us too. Luckily, there are some awesome apps and websites out there that are specifically made to help with this hashtagging dilemma.
[pullquote]Use all 30 of the allowed hashtags to get the most bang for your buck.[/pullquote]
One of our all-time favourite sites for uncovering the most relevant and popular hashtags to add to our photos is Hashtagify.com. It’s super simple and easy to use, all you have to do is enter the topic your photo is most closely related to (above we chose Back To The Future) and it will automatically generate a group of hashtags that are commonly related. The red circle shows the original topic while the blue circles show the hashtags that are most closely related. If you want more, you can click on one of the blue hashtags to show even more related topics.
Another way to go about picking engaging hashtags is to choose the ones that are most frequently used across the whole of Instagram. Top-Hashtags.com is a great one that shows you a list of the most popular options. You can use these when tagging your posts so more people have a chance to see it. But remember, don’t use irrelevant hashtags like #cats when your photo is clearly a picture of #whales. No one likes to be let down like that.
Above is a photo of our Iconosquare “likes” section. Just look at all the love we’ve been giving out to our fellow Instagrammers! Since Instagram is, in fact, a social networking site, it goes without saying that in order for you to become popular you’ve got to put yourself out there and get noticed. With Instagram having over 400,000,000 monthly users, it’s easy to see why your photos can get lost in the shuffle.
[pullquote]Follow, Like & Comment regularly.[/pullquote]
One way to make sure you’re seen (and heard) is to like and comment on your favourite posts, regularly. Not only will this get you seen by the user of the photo your posting on, but all the other people who come and see and like that photo will see your Instagram handle in the comments list as well. If they like what they see, they may just click your name and like some of your photos as well.
This works best when you find users in the same industry as yours. Many times, people want to support other Entrepreneurs, Mommy Bloggers, Beauty Bloggers etc. by following them back and seeing what they are up to. This works well with brands too, since it’s a good way to connect with their customers and hear their feedback.
As we mentioned in step #1, its best to post what your audience likes, but just how do you know what that is? Of course you can go by number of likes or comments but if you want to see things from a deeper level, we highly recommend utilizing Iconosquare.
Iconosquare is a Instagram management tool that gives you access to a lot of essential features not found on the original Instagram app, like analytics, comment management and the ability to promote your account. Our favourite, and most used feature by far, is their incredibly comprehensive analytics page.
As you can see from the photo above, it gives you a great overall idea of how your campaign has been doing since the day you started. But that’s just the small stuff. After that it dives so deep into the who, what, where, when and why of things that we couldn’t show you all the different graphs in just this one post. We will, however, give you a few samples of our favourites:
One of our top picks is an obvious essential, a graph showing which of your posts has the most likes, ever! Ours just so happens to be a pretty powerful image of Donald Trump’s giant frowning face with a pretty thoughtful and inspiring quote beside it. Second place, in contrast, is a mouth-watering plate of french fries in celebration of “Fry-Day”. Honestly, we’re surprised it isn’t in first, because everyone loves fries and I’m not sure we can say the same about Trump.
The next most interesting (to us anyway) graph on the analytics site shows you exactly which filters are getting the most likes and comments. Yes, that’s right, it even documents how well your chosen filters are doing. Clearly, our audience is a big fan of Crema with Hefe not far behind.
We use all this information to make better choices about the content we post, which filters we use, what time of day it’s posted at and what hashtags get us the most engagement. The best part about this site is that it’s free so you can get all these stats too!
Last, but certainly not least, we schedule everything. We also make our posts in batches (see more about how that can help you here) so we are all set up for a week or two at a time. Since there aren’t a lot of scheduling applications out there for Instagram, we recommend (and use) the newly released Hootsuite extension. This app allows you to add your photos, insert captions and hashtags and determine what day and what time they will be posted – with one catch.
No Instagram scheduling application can actually push posts to your account. What they do is send you a message along with the photo and caption to your phone where you open Instagram and press “post”. While it might not be a home run, it helps us more than you can imagine because half the battle is remembering to post your Instagram photos. It also cuts out the hassle of staring at a blank caption screen because you’ve already inserted them previously! Bonus!
Another great app for this is Latergram.me. It works the same way as Hootsuite and is free for one account. If you’re a social media manager or have more than one Instagram account, you’ll have to go with the pro option which costs about $19/month, but trust us, it’s worth it!