July 14, 2016
"Instafamous," a term used mainly by Millennials, describes those with a high Instagram presence, determined by the number of likes and followers. Although it has only been around for only five years, Instagram is the world's most popular social media, only second to Facebook and its 1.654 billion active users. With the mobile industry still growing, Instagram has yet to hit its full potential. Last month, Instagram's active monthly user count surpassed 500 million, with more than 300 million using Instagram daily.
More than 95 million posts are uploaded daily along with 4.2 billion likes daily, and 80% of Instagram users are outside of the United States. Over 50% of Fortune 500 companies use Instagram actively to promote their brand. These numbers are hard to ignore, and if you or your company are not using this social medium, you're missing out on a significant marketing opportunity.
Instagram is brilliant for marketing primarily due to the platform's focus and simplicity. Unlike other social media platforms, Instagram posts can only be photographs or videos, both set to certain size and time limits. This emphasis on visual media is not only attractive for professional photographers but also for the greater public, as the 4.2 billion daily likes on photos indicate. The old saying that a picture speaks a thousand words has been the root of Instagram and its rise.
With a new, enhanced white themed background and menu buttons, the user's eyes are more focused on a profile's posts within Instagram itself; the images pop and help attract attention to the content of each post. Instagram's uniformity and simplicity also help users easily compare posts and profiles side-by-side. As a result, competition for followers and likes run high. Many people go to Instagram to check out a brand or company's profile or even use it as a means to scope out a potential real estate agent or service provider. Simply put, it's worthwhile to start establishing an Instagram presence for yourself and your business.
1. Invest in a theme:
With over 500 million active accounts, why should people follow you? Not because of your cute dog or your delicious meals, but because you stick to a particular theme in your posts. To gain followers, a certain quality and quantity of posts. While the content of each post is most valuable, the best socialites on Instagram have a consistent theme to their profiles. No matter what your theme is, make sure it is consistent throughout your profile, especially if the account is representing a company.
Going further, using photo-editing apps to apply a specific set of filters or color hues is a great way to unite your posts and make your profile more of a collection rather than a jumble of photos (Refer down to tip #4). The most successful Instagram accounts play a consistent game of patience and determination, stick to it and the rewards will be abundant.
2. Never post outside of a schedule:
Posting too little makes you irrelevant, and too much makes you an annoying burden to your followers. Precision is what is necessary in establishing a healthy time table for posts. A few times every week, around three posts, is a good place to start. Ultimately, posting once a day is a good goal to strive for. Once you have achieved a strong Instagram presence, more than one post per day is acceptable, but until that day comes, stick to a maximum of one post per day. The best days to post are Monday and Thursday, and the best times to post is between 2 p.m. - 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. - 9 p.m, according to a study by CoSchedule.
3. Self-confidence is key:
Social media today is a big, wide, and, at times, harsh world, so make sure your voice is heard through captions. The caption is where most users fail the most. A caption should not narrate the post, but rather compliment it. Captions give context to the post, and to relate the post to to other posts, utilization of hashtags is essential. Hashtags help attract non-followers and widen your audience, however don't overuse hashtags.
Sticking to a limit of 15 hashtags is a good rule to live by. Make sure to also use hashtags relevant to your post and profile, not just randomly popular ones in hope that people will see your post. Hashtags, if used correctly, can help you gain a tailored, engaging group of followers who are more likely to like, comment and share your page compared to other followers would.
4. Try out other apps:
No matter if you use a professional DSLR camera or your cellphone camera, ensure your post looks as visually appealing as possible. There are so many applications out there, from paid ones like Photoshop to free ones like the tools in your phone's photo app, to help. Especially for beginners just starting out, be creative and use a variety of apps to make every post great.
A fact to remember while editing media for Instagram posts, brighter photos are more popular, in terms of engagement, by 24% according to a study by the firm Curalate. Personally, the VSCO App and Afterlight App, along with Instagram's own Layout and Boomerang apps are my go to's, but there are many more out there!
5. Attract others:
Engagement with other users is the #1 method to increasing your followers. Comment, like, follow, and repost others, especially if they are in your target audience or have a similar account. Engaging with others will draw interest into your own account and get more eyes on you and your brand. For real estate agents starting out on Instagram should follow major real estate-related Instagram accounts, such as Realtor Magazine and RE/MAX.
They might be your competition, but following them can ensure relevance and make it easier for others to find and follow you. Attracting others to your Instagram account can also be done outside of Instagram itself. Have your profile link or name on your homepage, business cards, and other social media accounts like Twitter and Facebook!
With over 200,000 businesses utilizing Instagram for advertisement, you are not going to achieve thousands of adoring followers and likes immediately. Nevertheless, once you've established yourself with these tips, you too can be Instafamous!