When starting out your client’s instagram account, it’s always important to think about the content of their posts and feed. Unless you’re using a completely personal account and don’t really care about followers and engagements, you can’t just post random silly things.
You can’t be posting fashion today, then games tomorrow, then music the next day if these are not related to one another. Always think about the target audience and the experience people will get when viewing the posts on your client’s profile. For example, if you’re a yoga account, you will always post things about yoga. Yoga travel, yoga food, yoga techniques, yoga everything.
1. Focus on your niche target audience.
Here are some great examples. Look at the accounts below with a niche following. @motionmarkus is focused on motion graphics, @spoonforkbacon is focused on food styling, @yougottaeatthis is focused on fried and sweet dishes. Despite @spoonforkbacon and @yougottaeatthis being both food accounts, they target entirely different audiences and offer entirely different things. They make sure to be dishing out content that’s targeted to people who are interested in their niche. Basically, remember that if you’re a yoga account, you will always post things about yoga. Yoga travel, yoga food, yoga techniques, yoga everything.
@motionmarkus, an account with a motion graphic niche
@spoonforkbacon, a food account focusing on style and presentation of food
@yougottaeatthis, food account that posts only photos of fried and sweet things
The most successful instagram accounts know their niche and target audience. Even big categories like art and fashion have smaller subcategories. A digital art feed will not be expected to post any traditional oil paintings, and vice versa. Even celebrity accounts have a tailored feed that corresponds to their personality. Nicki Minaj will always be bold and daring. The Rock always post his diet and workout routine.
2. Be creative with instagram stories.
A great feature that often goes overlooked by most businesses and personalities is the amazing ability of instagram stories to connect and interact with audiences. You can make stop motion videos with stories. You can announce a new post through instagram stories as a lot of people swipe through these instagram stories without even scrolling down their home feeds. Instagram stories can make target audiences feel that the brand or account they are following has a personality and can really increase the connection they have with the account.
A lot of crazy things can be done on instagram stories. The best part? They disappear in 24 hours! This gives users a greater freedom to experiment and express things with less negative consequences or risk to the brand or account.
@loweshomeimprovement’s innovative timelapse instagram story
Instagram stories can be made easily on a phone. Simply click on the camera icon at the top left of your feed, and voila, instagram opens the camera for you. Feel free to experiment on all the many features instagram stories offers.
3. Videos and animations go a long way with instagram’s auto-play function.
People have a limited attention span on social media and everyone’s competing for this minuscule amount of attention span present. Motion and visual stimuli are often the best ways to attract and keep this attention. Instagram has an auto-play function that lets the videos play without sound by just scrolling through them.
Observe the quirky and interesting animation @motionmarkus uses that really stimulates the eyes and keeps attention for a few seconds.
Animation by @motionmarkus while scrolling through home feed.
4. Interact with the audience and become one with the community.
A great way to get awareness of your client’s account is simply by interacting with the community. Go to hashtags that are relevant to your account and give feedback and interact with other people’s posts. Give them a friendly comment and make sure to reply to people’s comments on your own posts to keep them engaged with you. This is great for building a relationship with your audience and creating awareness of your account in the community.
Observe the patience of @kaseythegolden to reply to each individual comment in the photos below. This doesn’t mean you should reply to every comment if you have a thousand comments. This just shows that interacting with audiences is a great way to retain their attention, gain engagements, and ensure they stay as loyal followers. @kaseythegolden, an art account, replying and interacting with her audience on her posts. Remember to always be nice and graceful in criticism.
5. Take as much space with portrait photos.
There are 3 different types of photos people see when scrolling through the home feed. The original instagram 1:1 square photos, horizontal landscape photos, and vertical portrait photos. Considering the instagram home feed is built for vertical scrolling on mobile devices, a great way to optimize this space is to use portrait photos often. Portrait photos occupy a huge amount of space compared to squares and horizontals, giving audiences more time to see your photos.See these huge size differences on the home feed?
A landscape photo posted on instagram.
1:1 square default format photo on instagram.
A portrait photo on instagram.
6. Track insights and optimize instagram posts using a business account. Insights.
A great way to truly understand your client’s account and their audiences is to look at the built in insights instagram provides for business accounts. Business accounts provide insights such as reach, engagements, views, profile visits, and many more that can help you customize your approach when posting. You don’t necessarily have to be a business on instagram to create a “business account.” Business accounts can also be non-profits that puts your account into different categories such as Fashion, Celebrity, Arts, etc.You can create turn your client’s account into a business account by doing the following.
1. Go to your profile page and click on the 3 horizontal dashes on the top right corner of your phone screen.
2. Click on the settings button at the bottom of the screen.
3. Find the “Switch to Business Account” button and click on it.
After setting up your business account, you should be able to see the insight button when you click the 3 dash line again. If you click on the insights button you should be able to see something similar to this. Note that if you just set up your account, the insights will be empty as it takes time for instagram to gather data as you post. Instagram will not have any data and insights for posts made before you switch to a business account.
7. Post at optimal times of the day and week.
With business account insights, you can see when followers are most active on instagram. On which day, at what time. This helps you adjust your posting times to ensure your followers get to see and interact with your posts. This helps keep you in your audience’s’ minds and generate more engagements than if your post wasn’t adjusted to the proper time.
An example of this is if your account is targeting office workers. Office workers often have free time before going to work, and after work. These times being 7am – 9am and 5pm – 8pmObserve the user activities below. This Singaporean account’s viewers are mostly from London and New York. Those cities are on the other side of the world from Singapore. It is clear that this account’s followers use instagram mostly at 12am to 6am and that Sunday is the day they are most active. This would mean that the best time to make a post would be on 12am on Sunday night.
8. Tailor hashtags to match with audience interest and feed niche.
This tip ties in with the first tip in finding and staying true to your client’s niche. Hashtags are a great way for people to discover your client’s account on instagram. It is often tempting to jam a lot of hashtags with broad meanings like #art, #music, #fashion#, but these hashtags are very broad and millions of people are posting and browsing in these hashtags that are not part of your niche target audience.
If your client’s account is focused on black and white ink drawings, it’s best to tailor your posts with hashtags like #inkart, #inkdrawing, #inksketch. These hashtags have significantly less posts and audiences than simply #art, #drawing, #sketch, but ensures that the people viewing these hashtags and posts are a part of your target audience and would more likely engage with your posts and follow you.Pay attention to the differences in the number of posts on #ink, #inkart, and #inksketch.
It takes time to tailor hashtags. Follow these steps:
1. List down around 20 hashtags that is related or relevant to your client’s account.
2. Check each individual hashtag and scroll through them
3. Evaluate if the posts in these hashtags are relevant to your client’s account
4. Evaluate if the art style, editing style, filters, and any visuals or imagery are similar to your client’s intended posts.
5. Eliminate hashtags that don’t match with step 3 and 4.
By doing this, you should have approximately 10 hashtags that are relevant to your client’s account and content. It is also useful to do a bit of this hashtag research for every post.
9. Optimize instagram bio and captions with a call to action.
Instagram bios are often overlooked as a way to guide audiences and cause them to take directed actions. You can make audiences follow your client, scroll through your client’s feed, click on a link on your client’s bio, etc. If you didn’t know yet, you can add links on your bio simply by pasting the link onto your bio.
Make your profile viewers take actions and not just click on your client’s profile and immediately click back out. Basically use a call to action.Observe the use of call to actions in the art accounts below. One prompts viewers to see the latest post, and the other tells viewers to message directly for features, ads, and promotions.
10. Consistency. Deliver the promise.
The final tip is what ties everything together. As I said in the beginning, instagram is a long term game. This means that you need to have the commitment to be as consistent as possible with the things you deliver with your client’s account. This may mean keeping a consistent style, posting at consistent times and days, using the same hashtags, adding a story everyday, constantly interacting with your audience, etc.
With effort and commitment, you will see a constant growth in your client’s instagram account. This growth might be small at first, but in time, it just might grow exponentially and rocket your client’s instagram account, making them love you forever and help you continue on the path to how to become a digital marketer.To recap, here’s a checklist of the tips above to ensure you’re optimizing your client’s instagram:
- Find the niche target audience
- Be creative and experiment with instagram stories
- Use videos and animations whenever possible
- Interact with the audience and the community
- Take as much space on the home feed by posting portrait photos
- Track insights and adjusts posts accordingly using business account insights
- Post at optimal times of the day when followers are mostly active
- Tailor hashtags to match with audience interest and niche
- Add a call to action on the instagram bio
- Be consistent
Since you seem to be really interested in boosting your instagram game by reading as far down here, we thought we’d just give you these bonus tips to help you start rolling. If you’re really thinking of becoming a social media wizard and earn money from your social media magic, check out the Social Media Marketing class our school offers and learn how to be a social media marketer.
1. Optimal number of hashtags per post.
Instagram allows users to use 30 hashtags per post, but quantity doesn’t always mean quality. According to Hootsuite, the optimal number of hashtags to gain plenty of engagements is 9 hashtags. Anything less than 9 hashtags is not optimized and will receive much less engagements. Anything more than 12 hashtags also gets significantly less engagements. This means that the sweet spot for the number of hashtags goes from 9 to 12 hashtags per post.
2. Global optimal posting times.
If your client is just starting out on instagram and don’t have enough data and insights to know when their optimal time of posting should be, you can simply follow the chart below. Later has analyzed 12 million instagram posts around the globe and created a week calendar that includes the optimal times to post on each day.Do take note that this calendar is on Eastern Standard Time (East American Time) which is 12 hours behind Thailand. It’s worth to check the actual times these represent on your own timezone.
3. The number one instagram filter in the world.
We have mentioned before the importance of consistency. It may often be difficult to decide which filter to use or how to edit your photos to keep a consistent style, but thankfully Canva has released a research of the top instagram filters in the world. According to the list, the number one filter in the world is Clarendon.
The number 2 spot goes to Juno. You can choose a style depending on where your target audience is in the world.
Now what are you waiting for? Go use your instagram magic to save and boost your clients’ businesses!If you want to learn more in depth about Social Media and Digital Marketing, go check out this page.