5 Instagram Tips for Beginners

instagram-marketing-tipsNow with 300 million monthly users, it’s hard to ignore Instagram’s potential for your business. But keep in mind that just because Instagram exists – or any other social media platform, for that matter – doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be there. Think about the audience you’re trying to reach and what your social media marketing goals are for that particular network.

So, what’s your strategy for Instagram? Here are five tips to get you started:

1. Consider Your Content
If you’re thinking about using Instagram for your business, chances are you may already be on Facebook and Twitter. If that’s the case, great! But what’s different about Instagram? For starters, it’s a highly visual platform. So, when thinking about what kind of posts you plan to publish, consider how your content may lend itself to eye-catching photography or graphics that drive engagement. You can also publish video on Instagram in the form of 15-second looped videos.

If you’re not National Geographic or Travel & Leisure, don’t worry. That doesn’t mean there isn’t potential for you to generate quality visual content. But it may mean you have to get more creative. Check out what brands similar to yours are already doing, and what other top brands on Instagram (even if unrelated) are doing for new ideas.

2. Keep Your Posts Short
While Instagram posts don’t have a character limit, general rule of thumb these days is the more concise the better. For instance, studies show that posts on Facebook with 80 characters or fewer receive 66% higher traffic, and tweets shorter than 100 characters get 17% higher engagement. When crafting your posts for Instagram, follow suit. Let your image do the storytelling. It’s more likely to convert viewers than what you write in the caption. However, the caption can certainly provide supplementary information.

3. Include a Link
Another way Instagram differs is how it treats links. Instagram doesn’t allow for hyperlinks in photo captions or comments. The only place you can post a clickable link is in the bio section of your profile, and you only have 150 characters to do so, so choose wisely. This puts more emphasis on what you link to – whether it’s your website’s homepage or a landing page for a specific product or campaign.

Keep in mind you can still write out a link in a photo caption, but it won’t be clickable. Common practice is for folks to point people to their bio link by telling them to do so in their photo captions.

4. Stay Engaged
Similar to Facebook and Twitter, Instagram uses hashtags. Learn what hashtags are most active and relevant to your brand, and try a few of them with your posts. Responding to your followers and following back is also important. Don’t forget to utilize UGC, or user-generated content, as part of your content marketing strategy. It’s a great way to show current fans your appreciation and to attract new ones by positioning your brand as engaging.

You can also add follow buttons to your website and newsletter to let people know you’re on Instagram, and you can even promote your Instagram page specifically to new visitors with a custom message using our Marketing Overlay. Learn how you can grow your Instagram audience with 7 tips for getting more followers.

5. Experiment
One of the amazing things about social media today is how quickly it moves. This means more noise and it raises the bar for your performance. On the flip side, it means you have room to experiment. If you post one thing on Monday that doesn’t get great engagement, you can try something new on Tuesday, or even later that same day! But be sure to track your results and use them to improve. This includes factors like the times of day you post, frequency of posts, hashtags you use, your caption, calls-to-action, and more.

These are just starters for considering your Instagram strategy. Any other tips you’d like to add?

  • Great post. Thank you.

  • You’re welcome! Thanks stopping by and reading.

  • Although I do agree with the second point (keeping posts short), I think an important point about it is knowng your target audience.

    I’m a photographer and my wife is a writer. I keep my Instagram posts short and sometimes go over board with the hash tags, while my wife uses very few hash tags and write a long post about the photo and her experience, etc. Her followers love this. I know that my followers are just there to see the photo and don’t really want to read, but her followers are more like – wow nice photo, but such a beautiful write up.

    Her followers engage more with her posts with a lot of text. So yes, I wouldn’t say keeping it short is really that important, as long as you know your audience.

  • Hi Lovell, absolutely. You make a great point! Knowing what works best with your audience is a key part of making your strategy work. Thanks for sharing.

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  • Timbuktu

    Hiya Lovell, I agree if you write wisely then followers engage but don’t over do it! That is what I have found just starting out on Instagram.

    But when I post a comment myself on other IG members posts and get chatting then IG seems to limit the number of posts I make on that particular IG post to only 5. Yet some members seem to post 10 or more?

    Would you as an experienced user obviously, know the rules as to how many post a member can make overtime, and does it increase as seems likely? Where can I find the rule on this, I can’t find anything on it. Thank you in anticipation