Written by Sarah Jane Dunaway - Social Media & Website Development Director | Business by Barnhill
Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media outlets with 40 million photos uploaded daily and over 90 million monthly active users.* If you’re a business owner or brand, there’s a good chance you need to be on Instagram. But, it isn’t just about posting pictures regularly—the look and feel of your overall account plays a big role in the success of how you perform on Instagram.
1. Decide whether your account will be personal, professional or both
Depending on the nature of your business, you may want to keep your personal life out of Instagram. But, there’s no rule saying you have to! It’s all a matter of your business model and what makes sense for your brand. If you’re a blogger for instance, it may be relevant for you to post about both your work and family. But either way, commit to what you decide and be consistent. For me personally, I use Instagram for my blog Clean & Proper and not my business, Green Rain Design. It just makes more sense for my Instagram to represent my lifestyle etiquette blog—which also incorporates family.
2. Be consistent with layout
You’ll notice many successful Instagram users take most photos from the same angle or offer a consistent variation in the layout of their photos. By this I mean some photos are always of big spaces with the subject matter small, or the photos are always taken from the top, overlooking the subject. Try to be consistent with the layout of your photos. They don’t all need to be the same, and it’s best if they aren’t. But there should be a pattern you follow so that it creates an appealing aesthetic that remains consistent over time.
3. Be consistent with colors and lighting
The most successful Instagram accounts follow a pattern when it comes to the colors shown and the lighting of the photos. Of course, it always helps if you have a professional helping you out! But if this isn’t the case, you can still be consistent by taking your product shots during the same time of day, or looking for photo opportunities that offer the same color scheme. Some Instagram accounts focus on darks and blues and grays. Other accounts keep their photos light with brown and white neutrals. And then there are some accounts that really focus on a rainbow of shades and looking for ways to make each picture super colorful and playful. Whatever direction you decide, just be sure to offer consistency with the colors you use and the natural lighting of your photos.
4. Turn off the flash.
Speaking of natural light—never post a photo on Instagram that was taken with a flash, unless all of your photos will be professionally taken with proper lighting equipment. But honestly, natural lighting is always the best way to go.
5. Don’t go crazy with the filters
We love VSCO and they offer a wide range of filters and presets that are perfect for most users. But, don’t use more than 1 or 2 filters and always edit your photos! Your pictures should be consistent in both content and editing.
6. Be consistent with your posting frequency
Ideally posting at least twice per day is best. Less than 2/day can keep your account from staying fresh and more than 2-3 times per day can start to overwhelm users. But, it is also a matter of what’s best for your users. Some large brand lifestyle accounts do best posting at least five times per day, whereas others do best posting just once. Go with what works for you and how easily you find new content to post. The most important aspect is the content, and if you find you struggle to gather enough to post more than 1-2/day, then the 1-2/day limit might be what’s best for your Instagram strategy.
7. Research your hashtags
Personally, I’m a huge anti-fan of the “#letmethinkofcrazyphrasestohashtag-kind of thing. Be consistent with your hashtags and do some research on them. Look up various hashtags on Instagram, that fit the theme of your company and brand, and see who else is using them. If you find a wide-range of non-relevant users are also using that hashtag—skip it. If you find you share a similar target audience with other users posting a particular hashtag, then keep it. I like to use Notes in my iPhone to keep track of all of my hashtags. Then when I post a new photos I simple copy and paste those hashtags into a comment under my photo. Easy as pie.
If you’d like to talk more about your Instagram strategy or your overall Social Media strategy, we’re happy to help! Reach out to us for our consultation or management services. Because at the end of the day, your social media strategy should not stress you out!
*Source: Likeable Media