I honestly think it's a blessing and a burden to have our lives integrated with social media. If you have followed my blog at all over the past year and a half you would know that nothing makes me more upset than friends hanging out and checking their Instagram.
That said, don't get me wrong, there is a time and a place for people to enjoy their social networks. There is so much value in the different avenues of networks in terms of enjoyment, but even more important is the leverage they can provide you as a business owner.
I get a lot of questions from people that don't use Instagram. They wonder what the point is of this service. Why would you just want to post pictures and nothing else beyond a few words?
It's actually the specific nature of Instagram that makes it so valuable. Because you're not filtering through so many different types of media, you don't get overwhelmed. It's easy to explore yet simple to get back to your feed. At the end of the day I often find myself looking through my entire feed to get to where I left off. That's exactly where the value lies in Instagram: "users are much more likely to see your content." unlike Facebook.
How to Achieve Instagram Success
1. Pretty and Engaging Content: Take photos that are nice to look at. People are naturally attracted to nicer photos. These photos also should be something people find it worth double tapping. Although, your meal may be great, it is not too engaging to take a photo of your amazingly delicious burger and fries. You want to make people smile, laugh, comment on, feel inspired, relate to, and LOVE the photo.
2. Find a balance of Business and Personal: Too many selfies can be a turn off. Too much all business can be boring. Finding that perfect balance is so important. People are noisy! ;) We love seeing glimpses into other peoples homes, lives, and workplaces. Sharing what your personal life is like is fun for people to see. Then, sharing business photos allow your followers to recognize what you do! I really like 2:1 ratio. For every two personal, I will share a business one. There are times when that obviously changes, but I find it a good framework to follow!
3. Post frequently but not too much: Have you ever unfollowed someone because they post too much? I sure have! I think that posting once a day is enough to get the exposure. I know some weeks may be more or less, but having a goal to how much you plan to post is great!
4. Sharing Through Instagram: The easiest way for a user to share an image in Instagram is for them to "tag" one of their friends in it. That says, "Hey Bob, check this image out." Bob will come to that image and possibly like it, may he will check out the other images in that feed, maybe he will hit the follow button on that account, and maybe he'll click on to your website and become a client. This version of sharing is very important. When you post content that relates to a lot of people whether through being inspiring, or pretty, useful or interesting, people will send their votes to your picture through tags.
5. Hashtags: I am so bad at these, but when I do have hashtags, I get way more likes on a post than one without. Hashtags are the thing that connect you to other people with the same interests. #weddingphotographer connects me to all other wedding photographers! I love it. But it also allows people to find you and your photos! Create your own hashtag as well that people can find you with. A VERY new one I have is #blpbrides. It puts all my brides under one "album". No one else has this hashtag so all the photos there are mine!
6. Liking Photos: Like photos other than the people you are following! Like pictures based on relevant hashtags to show other people in your niche that you exist. Without this simple gesture they may never had heard of you.
7. My BIG Secret: Well, here it is and it's something that has really saved me so much time in building a following on Instagram, painlessly. I don't have time at all to like lots of photos, but I really wanted to get some exposure for my Instagram account since it is my business one as well. Being the programmer that my husband is, he decided to make a program that would do it automatically on pictures with hashtags that I would normally like. It just likes it FOR me! #weddingplanner and a ton a wedding planners follow my account because I liked all their photos. #weddingphotographer and like minded professionals follow me because I liked all their photos. You get the point! It's SUCH a timesaver!!! We used it on my account for a month before it officially launched as RoboLike.com and has gained me over 700 really cool people that now follow my Instagram. These followers RoboLike helps me get are real people that share the same interests as me! It's been so much fun engaging a larger crowd that interacts... it keeps me motivated. You should give it a try if you are trying to build your following!
That's all for now, if you have any other Instagram tips or trips I would love to hear!