Instagram is one of the hottest social networks right now. It’s visual, it’s quick, it’s mobile and it’s pretty simple to use.
There’s no better time than now to get started with Instagram. The following 10 tips can help you make the best out of your own Instagram experience so you can grow your followers and increase engagement.
1. Post Interesting, Colorful Photos and Videos
Instagram is all about providing value to your followers, especially if you want more engagement. In this case, your goal should be to post photos and videos that evoke some kind of emotion – happiness, humor, motivation, nostalgia, love or anything else. High-quality photos with a lot of colors tend to get the most action on Instagram.
2. Try Not to Overdo It with the Filter Effects
Instagram provides you with a bunch of filters you can apply to your photos to automatically enhance the look and style, but that trend seems to have already hit its peak. People want photos and videos that are colorful, but relatively natural looking. Although filter effects may be tempting, try to limit your use of them to keep the color and contrast normal in most of your photos.
3. Use Hashtags Sparingly
Using hashtags is a great way to increase you reach on Instagram, encourage more engagement and even attract new followers. Unfortunately, some people take it way too far. Their captions are often bloated with hashtags – many of which aren’t even relevant to the topic of their photo. If you do decide to use hashtags, make sure to keep it to a minimum, and only use keywords that are relevant.
4. Use the Explore Tab (Popular Page) to Find Great New Content
The Explore tab on Instagram is where some of the most popular photos and videos get featured. The photos that are shown here are tailored to you according to the photos and videos that have been liked or commented on by people you follow. You can find new users to follow or engage with by checking out this tab regularly.
5. Post Often to Keep Followers Interested
If you want to keep followers engaged, you need to post new content on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean you need to be posting 10 photos a day. In fact, posting once a day – or at least once every other day – should be frequent enough to keep your current followers interested. If you go long periods of time without posting, don’t be surprised if you lose a few followers.
6. Use Instagram Direct to Contact Specific Users
Although it’s a good idea to post frequently to keep your followers engaged, sometimes it’s not always necessary to publicly post something to all your followers. Instead. you can target one or more specific users by privately direct messagingthem a photo or video. Instagram Direct is a great way to connect with specific groups of users without needing to broadcast your content to everyone all at once.
7. Interact with Your Followers
Never ignore your most loyal followers who regularly like and comment on your photos! That’s a surefire way to eventually drive people away. Instead, you want to make your followers feel valued. Reply to their comments or even go check out their account and like a few of their photos. You can use a third party tool like Iconosquare (formerly called Statigram) if you want, to track comments and see which users are interacting with you the most.
8. Don’t Be Tempted to Purchase Followers
There’s a lot of hype around buying Instagram followers. And it’s true that you can get some big numbers for pretty cheap. The problem with buying them is that they’re often mostly fake and inactive. Your account may look a little strange to users who see that you have 15K followers, but almost no likes or comments on your photos and videos. Stick to real engagement. It’s not all about the numbers.
9. Experiment with Shoutouts
Interacting with your current followers is always recommended, but the more people you reach out to, the better. Doing a shout out or s4s with another account in the same follower range is a very fast and effective way to reach more people. Two users basically agree to give the other a shoutout post on their own accounts. This is actually the main technique that many Instagram users have used to grow their accounts by the thousands.
10. Stay On Top of the Latest Instagram Trends
Hashtags and shoutouts are great, but even trends like these will eventually have an expiry date. If Instagram is a major social networking platform for you, it’s important to keep up with the latest trends to avoid getting left behind and putting yourself at risk of losing valuable followers.