Social Media Best Practices for Instagram

Social Media Best Practices for Instagram

By Hadley Stecker

We’re back with another post in the “Social Media Best Practices” series. This one is all about navigating the colorful world of Instagram.

Anyone can snap a quick pic, slap on a nice filter (“#hudsonfilter by the Hudson River! LOL!”) and upload to Instagram. But what does it take to capture moments people will love, engage with and share? What’s the difference between a good photo and a bad one? And how do you stay true to your brand while not being too pushy or promotional?

There are no cut-and-dry rules to creating a successful Instagram account, and even if you’re rolling in “likes,” with new advertising capabilities, collage tools and filters being added on the regular, it’s always a smart move to regularly reevaluate your strategy. But if you’re just getting started, here are 6 basic things you need to know to set up a killer ‘gram:

1. Keep the caption short.

People tend to scroll through Instagram quickly, and on their phones. Whether they’re waiting for the subway, walking to work or watching TV, that thumb is working. Aside from those captivating Humans of New York captions (in which case length is not a factor), people don’t go on Instagram to read. If you want people to read the caption, your best bet is to keep it short.
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2. Tag others.

Who is that person? Where are those cool shoes from? Where’d they get that ice cream? These questions can all be answered with a simple tag. Personal accounts, brands and stores are all likely to have an Instagram account. With tagging, your photo will end up in the “tagged photos” section of the users’ accounts, which means they’re prone to new eyeballs (which translates to new followers for you).
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3. Use #Hashtags.

No one wants to read a caption that has a #hashtag in front of every word. But unlike Twitter and Facebook, adding on relevant hashtags to Instagram posts boosts visibility of that post. If the account has under 1,000 followers, the magic number of hashtags averages out at 11. #hashtag #your #heart #out.
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4. Don’t post a blurry photo. (duh)

With all the amazing photos on Instagram, a blurry photo could result in an unfollow. Because in a world where the power is in the hands of the user, beggars can be choosers. And when your followers are also following hundreds of other users, a poorly curated account won’t be missed.

[ No photo for this one, flattery only! ]

5. Establish brand consistency.

Change is generally a good thing. But when it comes to Instagram, proceed with caution. Your followers likely follow you because they like whatever it is that you have going on, whether that’s sleek, clean photos, user shots, press hits or landscapes. If you have a little bit of everything, that is a type of consistency. So don’t start posting only cat photos if you usually post a variety of species. If you must change, or if you want to implement a new look (#whitagram), do so gradually.
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6. Engage with your followers.

Everyone likes a compliment. Repurposing a fan photo on your own page is flattering to the user and helpful to you. It shows the brand is active, checking out mentions and genuinely interested in the customer experience. Just make sure you ask their permission first (a quick comment will do).
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What do you think makes a good Instagram post? Leave us a comment below or send us a tweet at @LaunchSquad and tell us! And of course, follow us on Instagram.

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