Instagram goes a long way to creating buzz, traffic and even revenue when you get the formula just right.
Welcomed by a room full of members and guests, Luba Fateeva gave an insightful talk about the power of having an engaging and popular Instagram account with regards to increasing chances to promote services, sell products, as well as connecting with the right people.
Her passion for Instagram was clear as she enthusiastically opened her presentation by declaring it the most powerful and fastest growing social networking tool today. Luba certainly had everyone’s attention.
Launched in October 2010, Instagram is a fairly new network but it’s growing at a rapid rate. At the time of writing, there are 800 million active monthly users. Just six months ago, in July 2017, there were 600 million. It’s growing at a record speed with 4.2 billion likes and 95 million posts daily.
Comparing Instagram to other social media
Facebook, which was established in 2002, has now reached maturity. It is no longer growing. Instead, it’s changing and becoming more a commercial platform for it’s 2 billion monthly users.
LinkedIn has 457 million users, however it’s popularity worldwide is decreasing. Twitter currently has 330 million users, and Pinterest, 175 million users.
Instagram is the fastest growing social networking tool today.
- 35% of all internet users worldwide are on Instagram.
- 68% of users are female.
- 59% of users are age 18-29.
- 33% of users are age 30-49.
Are your potential clients part of this group?
The greatest power of Instagram is it’s engagement.
Instagram has 84 times more engagement than Twitter, 54 times more engagement than Pinterest, and 10 times more engagement than Facebook.
6 Steps to Getting Started with Instagram
Are you using Instagram for your business? If not, it’s time to get started! Luba shared her six steps to getting started with Instagram.
Step 1. Set up your Instagram account
Download the free app and register an account.
Step 2. Use Content Development Tools
ALWAYS post your best photo!
- Take lots of photos
- Edit the best one
- Post it (with a caption, geo-tag and hashtags)
Use content development tools to edit your photos, such as:
These are both user-friendly apps for editing photos.
Step 3. Add your profile details: bio, links, call-to-action
Include what you do and what you’re passionate about in your bio. Be inspiring. Your profile is the only place on Instagram for an active link – use it! Share your website, latest blog post, an event, newsletter signup link. Change it up and refer to it in your posts.
Step 4. Business vs Private Account
A business account gives you advantages such as statistics on post reach, comments, likes, popular days and times, age and location of visitor – these are important insights for entrepreneurs. The peaks indicate the ideal time for you to post a new image.
Unsure if you want a business account? Start with a personal account; you can convert it later.
Step 5. Share quality content
Visual images reach the brain faster than text. Your thoughts need to be translated to an image. Use images to build your brand and show your personality.
There is a shallow realm between private and business. Share both.
Step 6. Write compelling captions
Think of each image being equivalent to a blog post. Write motivational text in the caption or something the viewer can get something out of – inspire them or teach them something useful.
The goal is to build relationships with your audience. Hard sales do not work.
For maximum engagement, ensure your posts are entertaining, informative or have a call-to-action.
Tips for Account Growth
Already using Instagram? Luba shared a few tips to help grow your following:
Be found locally by adding your location with a geo-tag, such as “The Hague, The Netherlands”.
Hashtags are used to group images with a specific theme or content, such as “#vsco, #vscodaily, #instadaily. Hashtags are active links. When you follow the link you’ll see a feed of Top Posts and Most Recent posts for that specific hashtag.
Include a few highly relevant hashtags in your caption; five hashtags are are ideal, the maximum allowed is 30. Post the rest in the first comment.
Be smart with your usage of hashtags. Use well-known hashtags to be seen in their recent posts.
Research your hashtags. Think about why you want to be seen in that particular group. Be intentional with your choices.
Build your own tribe by creating your own hashtag. Come up with something unique, fun and memorable. Use it all the time.
Vary your hashtags. Use different ones for different posts. Keep a running list in your Notes app with groups of hashtags for different topics. You can copy/paste them into Instagram. Review and update your lists regularly.
Always react to the comments you receive. You can appreciate comments by liking them (tap on the heart).
- Create authentic content
Use your own photography. If you are using someone else’s photo, always receive permission and give credit in the caption. You can tag other users by placing the @ symbol in front of their username, eg. @o_r_a_n_g_e_h_o_l_i_d_a_y
- Use Instagram stories
Stories are more popular than posts. Stories are video content that display in your feed for 24 hours. You can record them within the app, or add videos/images from your camera roll. Add a story to your Highlights reel and it will stay visible on your profile.
Be efficient with your time on Instagram, plan what to post and when. Add content development periods to your calendar where you prepare your images and captions. Do this weekly (or monthly) and post your pre-made content throughout the week.
Thank you, Luba!
Photos: Luba Fateeva
Author: Natalie Carstens is a documentary family photographer with a love of capturing personal stories of pregnancy, childbirth, and the precious early weeks at home with a newborn baby. Her photographs tell a piece of your family story in a beautiful way.