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The DOs and DON’Ts of Instagram

Ahhh, Instagram. What do you think of when you hear the word? We start seeing gorgeous photos and beautiful feeds in front of our eyes. But throughout the years it has become so much more than a pretty social media platform, Instagram marketing becoming a real thing.

Curious what you can do to increase your brand’s Instagram engagement? Here are some tips to help you:

DO posts regularly. As with any social network, consistency is the key. The exact number of posts depends upon how much you have to say. Better to post fewer updates with great photos and videos than a larger volume that aren’t going to capture the interest of your audience. Nevertheless, data shows that brands that post between two and 10 times per day get the best results with their Instagram marketing efforts.

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DO engage with your followers.
Social Media is not only about expressing yourself, it’s also a place to interact with friends, family, fans etc. Let your followers know they’re heard: like, follow, comment, do anything to show you care.

DON’T follow and unfollow and follow and unfollow again. Who doesn’t love a new follower? But don’t try too hard to get somebody’s attention. The haunting follow/unfollow cycle is very annoying. Just follow and leave it to Instagram to take its course. 

DO tag! It’s a great way to engage with other brands and people. There are two types of tagging to be aware of – tagging accounts in the actual photo versus tagging them in the caption. If you choose to tag in the caption, the account name will be displayed without people having to click to show it, giving immediate exposure. However, tagging the account in the photo adds it to their profile’s tagged photo section, allowing people who follow them to see it even if they don’t follow you.

DON’T preach, tell a story instead. You should never forget that this social network is supposed to be a ‘visual inspiration platform’. Become a storyteller and offer ‘micro-stories’ via your captions, videos, Instagram Stories, and profile.

DO get your customers involved in content creation. User-Generated Content (UGC) on Instagram is the holy grail for marketers. It’s authentic and shows loyalty to your brand, so use it! Create a unique hashtag, ask your followers to post a photo using it, and then repost your favorites to your brand’s account. By doing this, fans will feel more connected to your brand and you’ll create engagement.

DO take advantage of Instagram stories and Instagram live. Stories and live videos are a great way to pop up on people’s feeds who don’t follow you, but probably should. Also, this is a great alternative to giving your followers a peek into your everyday life, without ruining your awesome Instagram feed.

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DON’T use Instagram only for promotion.
Use extra caution with over promoting your products. People on Instagram are looking for beautiful, striking images, not sales pitches. Be creative! If using Instagram Ads (the platform’s official paid advertisements) make sure that your content is targeted to your audience and still feels natural.

DO use video. Explore the full range of Instagram video formats. 1 in 4 consumers lose interest in a company if it doesn’t offer video. Use video to capture anything interesting related to your brand. The 60-sec video limit allows your company to create content that is fun and informational without losing your viewer’s interest. Remember: as in the case of photos, quality matters!

DO use video subtitles and closed captions. Research shows that captioning a video increases average video view time by 12%, as many users choose to watch without sound. In this case, without subtitles or captions, your video doesn’t stand a chance.

DO invest in high-quality images. Instagram is a visual platform, so images are key to helping you tell a story. They need to be authentic and original. Instagram isn’t the place for stock photos!

DON’T overuse emojis, but use them effectively. Remember, they are searchable – users can seek out posts that include specific emojis. Nevertheless, it’s essential to create a strategy on whether or how to use them, without risking to look too informal.

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DO direct people to your Bio.
Your Bio is your chance to tell people where to go and what to do. Use those precious 150 characters to create a strong call-to-action and guide them. One major difference between Instagram and other social platforms is that it doesn’t allow links in comments or captions. As a result, the link in your bio is your only chance to get people to click through and visit your website. Tease your audience by posting a photo then direct them to the link in your bio to follow through. You can change it as frequently as you want.

DON’T forget to check your insights. You can get important data about the activity on your profile, info about your audience and the reach of your content. You can also find free analytics tools to help you track your metrics and analyze your results. Remember, no matter what you use, it’s the key to success.

DO give GIFs a chance. Let’s face it, they’re fun fun FUN. It also inspired Instagram to create its own GIF making feature: the Boomerang. It’s very popular among the younger generation, so give it a try.

DO have fun with it. At the end of the day, your social media should be fun! None of us live a perfect life, and even though we use Instagram to show the highlights, we all want to know you’re human from time to time. Be relatable; it’ll make your content all the more appealing to your followers.

Maybe you’ve noticed that there’s no tip about the use of hashtags. We’ve skipped those deliberately, as they require a separate post altogether. To be continued…

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