Instagram has around 1 billion monthly active users, and more than 50 billion photos have been uploaded to the platform since it was created in 2010. Instagram offers a great opportunity for businesses to share products, engage with customers, and keep their brand relevant in the 21st century.
Not sure where to start? No problem! Here is all you need to know about how to effectively use Instagram for your business.
Choose Great Photos
Choosing high-quality photos to post on your Instagram is extremely important. Some images perform better than others, and knowing the secrets to picking the best photos can enhance your social media presence exponentially.
Here’s what to look for when selecting or creating a great photo for Instagram:
- Brighter images - Images that are on the lighter side tend to stand out more on an Instagram feed.
- White space or background space - Having white space or background space around the subject of the photo will help make the image pop out!
- Low saturation - Photos with too much saturation can look fake or garish. Opt for photos with more natural colors, or edit them using the Instagram photo editing feature to decrease the overall saturation. Don’t be afraid to try out Instagram’s pre-made filters to enhance your photos. It can be easy to get carried away with filters and editing, so just make sure the edits still look intentional.
- Relevant photos - Post photos that are relevant to your industry! This might seem obvious, but it is important to remain consistent and relevant with your posts so your audience knows what you offer.
The image below was captured from Sun & Ski Inn and Suites (@sunandskiinn). The Instagram for this family-friendly hotel in scenic Stowe, VT aims to post photos that capture the natural beauty of Stowe. This creates a consistent feel to their Instagram postings and is relevant to the hotel industry as it shows off the area in which they are located.
- Photos with faces - A study from Georgia Tech has found that photos with human faces tend to earn 38% more likes on Instagram than those without faces. Faces are channels of nonverbal communication that exhibit emotions, identity, and familiarity that humans are hard-wired to recognize as soon as we are born.
- Add graphics or text - You can also post photos that include graphics or text content. These can get the point across very quickly and can make the post stand out in a sea of pictures.
The photo below is a snapshot of a post by Sarah Harrington Real Estate (@shre_kwvermont). By including text placed over the photo, the viewer can quickly understand that it is a post of a new listing for sale. The post stands out as the green text pops against the darker photo and holds the viewer’s attention while the caption invites them to learn more.
Posting high-quality video content that isn’t too long and is visually interesting can earn twice as much engagement than photos on Instagram!
Videos on Instagram auto-play and are a great way to catch followers’ eyes as they scroll through their main feed. It also gives you a chance to be creative and have fun with video editing. Creating time lapse, Boomerang, and stop motion videos are a few exciting ways to enhance the contents of your video library.
Hashtags are certain words that are used to identify specific themes, topics, or content in a post. Instagram users can search for a hashtag and results will yield all posts that have been tagged with that hashtag. They can be simple and straightforward, or creative and unique.
Hashtags make it possible for users to search through hashtags and view posts as they categorize content and make it more discoverable.
For example, Nike’s slogan “Just Do It” translates to an effective hashtag. The #justdoit Instagram hashtag has been added to 15.4 million Instagram posts by users. This strengthens the use of their slogan and is a way for both the Nike company and its consumers to promote the brand’s products and lifestyle.
Always be sure to research hashtags before you use them to make sure they are relevant to your industry and lead your audience in an appropriate direction.
Instagram stories are posts that last for 24 hours on the platform and later disappear unless they are archived and saved onto the main account. Although they are temporary, stories are a great way to share information on Instagram.
A user is able to view all the stories that have been posted by accounts they follow. Stories are featured at the top of users’ main Instagram feed and typically play one after another automatically until the user decides to stop viewing them. This means that there is a high chance that your followers will see your story content even if Instagram’s algorithm does not show them your most recent post.
Don’t forget to have fun with Instagram stories! You can post photos, videos, add text, use filters, include locations and hashtags, and add fun emojis. It’s also a great way to feature content that’s on the lighter side, such as what’s happening in the office or if your co-worker brought in their adorable new puppy.
Including this type of content on Instagram stories shows the human side of your business and increases customer trust.
Posting testimonials on Instagram can be a sleek way to promote your business. Create posts that are visually appealing, easy to read, and include honest testimonials of happy customers.
The post below is a snapshot of a testimonial post we have uploaded onto our own Instagram account (@breezyhillmarketing). The text stands out from the photo, the testimonial is the highlight of a customer’s positive experience, and the caption adds additional information that provides insight into what the business can do!
Instagram is not just for individuals anymore! The platform has a lot of great features that can work to your business’s advantage. It is popular, user-friendly, modern, and an important social media platform for user engagement.
Don’t be afraid to create an account and get started with your social media marketing strategy if you haven’t already. Whether you decide to take on Instagram yourself or outsource to a digital marketing agency, there’s nothing to fear, and a lot to gain!
Thanks for reading,