Tips and tricks to improve your business's Instagram, inspired by the bestselling book, Read This if You Want to Be Instagram Famous.
As storefronts across the world sit idle until it’s once again safe to open their doors, we’ve been inspired by independent shops and artists who have shifted their business onto social platforms like Instagram to take orders, keep in touch with their customers, host virtual events, and and keep fans busy and inspired with fun creative challenges like this short story competition.
If you are an artist or small business owner who hasn’t spent much time on Instagram in the past, there’s no time like the present to optimise your profiles and build up that online brand.
Below are some actionable tips from the bestselling book Read This if You Want to Be Instagram Famous by Henry Carroll to help you get started.
Post pics that pop
The key to making an image work on Instagram is to make it immediately striking. If a photo doesn’t have impact straight away the viewer will just carry on scrolling to the next one in their feed. A well-composed image will have immediate ‘pop’ and stop them in their tracks. Learning some basic compositional techniques (symmetry, lines, negative space, unusual angles, foreground interest, etc.) makes all the difference.
To hashtag or not to hashtag
Hashtagging isn’t about reaching the biggest audience possible, it’s about reaching the most relevant audience possible. Let’s say you’re in Hoxton, London’s hipster hotbed. Tagging your picture #LONDON will get you instant likes, but they are meaningless because the term ‘London’ is too broad. Instead, #HOXTON, #OLDSTREET or a venue like #THEHOXTON will attract a more like-minded engagement. Your picture will also have more longevity because you’ll be in a smaller, more relevant pool of images.
Creating and managing a successful Instagram account can be hard work. You don’t have to do it on your own, though. Try sharing the account with some like-minded friends or colleagues. Create a dedicated WhatsApp group to communicate with each other regularly about what and when to post.
Rules of Engagement
So, yes, it’s true that you need to learn to take pretty pictures and be nice to your fellow ’grammers. But that alone won’t help you rise to the top. Here are some cold, hard facts that will.
- Posts typically see 12.6% more engagement when they include at least one hashtag.
- They also see 36% more engagement with photos compared to videos.
- You are 38% more likely to receive likes when your picture includes a person or face.
- Users see 56% more engagement when they include another user’s handle in their posts.
- Users see 79% more engagement when a post includes a geotag.
Keep these statistics in mind as you are deciding what type of content works best for your account.
Other advice for aspiring Instagrammers?
Be personable. Instagram is a crowded space, so stand out as genuine. Captions should be snappy and grab people’s attention. What’s your personality or tone of voice within the caption: serious, friendly, funny or cheeky? Encourage engagement! Ask questions, interact with your audience through comments and give reciprocal likes/comments to your peers. See Instagram as a community, not a competition. Extend your reach by posting something that’ll resonate with your audience and make them tag their friends. Partner with other influencers to double your exposure as you’ve both got a different audience to gain. Be scientific by keeping an eye on your stats to see which of your posts get the best engagement.
If any of this sounds daunting, just remember that the most important function of Instagram is to appreciate everyone’s creativity and explore your own. Instagram is an opportunity to share your unique lens with the world.
For more advice and inspiration on how to improve your brand account, pick up a copy of Read This if You Want to Be Instagram Famous by Henry Carroll below!