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Improve Your Instagram for Business with These 7 Tips and Tricks

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instagram for business tips and tricks

By Melanie Yunk | February 23, 2016

Earlier this year, I wrote of new year's resolutions for social media, where we recommended using more images and expanding to new platforms. Using Instagram for business provides the opportunity to achieve both of these resolutions, as well as the occasion to explore a more visually- and aesthetically-oriented style of social media.

Our team at Roaring Pajamas spends considerable time studying and honing the art and science of Instagram. With the help of our resident Instagram expert, Kelly Adame, we compiled tips and tricks to help businesses learn how to use Instagram. Here are our thoughts on how to make your business roar on Instagram.

Consider Frequency and Timing

At Roaring Pajamas, we suggest posting once a day, four to six times per week and mainly on weekdays. Occasionally, though, the team mixes it up with a weekend post. For timing, find a couple of times a day that work best and alternate between those times with each post.

Kelly recommends identifying the "sweet spot" of days and times with the greatest Instagram engagement. Careful, hands-on monitoring of the account yields optimal engagement metrics.

Create a Look, Feel and Voice Consistent With the Brand

As with any marketing effort, consistent look, feel and voice help brands achieve the greatest success. This applies to the types and content of photos used, filters (if any) employed, fonts and words imposed on images, captions written and other Instagram accounts followed.

For an excellent check on brand consistency, inspect the business Instagram feed in aggregate; click on the brand profile to see thumbnails of three images across and three or four images down. Viewing multiples posts at once clearly shows the cohesiveness of the visuals and story. If it looks funky and incongruent, adjust the imagery going forward.

A little confession, we recently audited the Roaring Pajamas business Instagram feed and realized we have some work to do. While our Instagram-specific posts follow brand guidelines, the images in our blog posts that we cross-promoted on Instagram were not visually united. Firm believers in practicing what you preach, we implemented plans to change this… like stat!

Form a Hashtag Strategy

In our experience, five to 12 hashtags per Instagram business post proves ideal. We don’t use trending hashtags and prefer a combination of popular, moderate and less popular hashtags.

A few other hashtag rules:

  • Use only meaningful hashtags; don't use non-relevant tags just to get likes or followers. Such examples of non-relevant, gratuitous hashtags include #instafollow #instalike #likeforlike.
  • Apply hashtags after a caption otherwise the copy appears messy. That said; if one must include a hashtagged caption, stick to just one hashtag.
  • Consider devising custom hashtags to establish a gallery of your content. For example, Stella and Dot created #stelladotstyle to showcase stylists and customers rocking the brand’s jewels.
  • Search a hashtag before using it to ensure it makes sense for the brand and that it doesn’t have other meanings. Some hashtags are used by people to post negative content, nudity, obscene language and other types of content not suitable for business. We make sure hashtags are “good for business” before using them.
  • Review and use our 5 Hashtag Rules post, all of which apply to Instagram.

Develop and Edit Images and Other Visuals Like a Pro

Not everyone is a creative director or graphic designer but, even without those credentials, most everyone can utilize a myriad of applications and make an Instagram feed look professional. Four of our favorite tools for creating and editing visuals include:

  • Canva: Empowers users to create cool graphics in multiples sizes quite simply.
  • VSCO: Offers excellent editing and filtering options available on iOS and Android.
  • Word Swag: Allows users to add text to photos easily via an iOS app.
  • Moldiv: Lets users combine and edit multiple photos to make amazing collages.
  • PicPlayPost: Makes it easy for users to combine photos, videos, GIFs and music to create a video collage for posting on Instagram and other social media.

Employ Instagram Tools

Enhance a brand page with selections from the ever-growing crop of Instagram tools. Some of our faves include:

  • Hootsuite: Allows one to format posts, follow competitors, observe hashtags and keep track of keywords.
  • Iconosquare: Provides excellent statistics on best posting times, engagement details and other key metrics.
  • Latergramme: Equips users with a simple tool to manage and schedule images on social media.
  • Repost: Makes it easy to repost favorite photos and videos on Instagram while giving credit to the original poster.

Establish Best Practices and Guidelines

Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes, and this adage certainly applies to social media adoption. We’ve learned many lessons over the years about best practices for business use of Instagram. In addition to everything above, check out these “Instagram DON’Ts” our team lives by:

  • Don't make every post about selling.
  • Don't make your captions too long. We like captions no longer than a paragraph unless it's for a contest or giveaway that requires more information.
  • Don’t forget to be personable or get personal. For a personal brand, a personal presence in images and on the page is non-negotiable. Do this by showing behind-the-scenes shots, office views and candids while out and about.

Learn From the Best

Follow brands you admire and gain a sense of what makes them great. A few businesses on Instagram our team enjoys following include Starbucks, Refinery 29, Target, Tieks and - for major shoe envy - Louboutinworld.

In addition to our thoughts on here, Social Media Examiner’s 26 Tips for Using Instagram for Business provides excellent ideas to get started. We also regularly read the Instagram business blog for success stories, unique insights on growing a business on Instagram and the latest platform news.

Anything we missed? Let us know and happy Instagramming!

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