With 400 million active users each month, Instagram is second only to Facebook in the social world. Instagram engagement boasts some of the highest rates of any social network and it already has more active advertisers than its nearest neighbor, Twitter.
Back in 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram for about $1 billion. It was a major coup for the startup’s founders and for Facebook itself: Instagram was just 18 months old at the time. Now, it’s become one of the most important parts of the social media ecosystem.
Let’s take a look at some best practices to energize Instagram engagement:
1) Remember the Call to Action
A good call to action is always important, but in Instagram, it’s even more powerful. A CTA makes it clear exactly what you want viewers to do. It should be action-oriented, but there’s plenty of room for imagination. Experiment with putting it in the caption or directly into images.
2) Tap the Power of Hashtags
Hashtags help users find content that’s interesting and relevant to them. You can use them to attract new followers and fire up your existing fanbase. To get the most mileage from them, use a mix of highly-searchable “generic” hashtags and unique branded ones.
3) Create Compelling Captions
A picture is worth a thousand words, but you have 2,000 characters to work with in Instagram image captions – more than 14 times the size of a tweet! The best advertising combines powerful words and images, so try different ideas: Long-form stories, slogans, questions, and more.
4) Put Yourself Out There
Brands often make the mistake of waiting for fans to come to them. Instagram, like Facebook and most other popular networks, is a conversation: Sometimes, you have to be the first to speak! That means setting aside an hour a day to comment on followers’ content can be worth it.
5) Use Other Networks to Amplify Your Content
Instagram is popular, but there’s still plenty of prospects out there who don’t use it. Don’t be afraid to share your Instagram content to other networks, especially Facebook and Twitter. This can increase exposure and help your best posts grab some more momentum.
6) Post at the Right Times
The best time to post will depend on where your followers and prospects live. Still, QuickSprout has developed some insightful research on maximizing engagement with better posting times. 1 p.m. local time gets the most clicks, while 3 p.m. gets the most shares. Who knew?
For social media veterans, Instagram may be easier than it looks. Stick to tried-and-true best practices, adapting to the platform’s uniquely visual presentation style whenever you can. Before long, Instagram will be another trusted part of your social strategy.