5 Simple Rules for Instagram

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5 Simple Rules for Instagram

Instagram is an awesome platform when used properly. You can put out almost anything as long as it's visually enticing. However, a lot of brands and even a lot of individuals have a hard time filtering out what's truly "gram-worthy" (I don't know if I just made that up or not - it's possible I've heard it before - but I like it). Here are five simple tips you can use both for your business, your personal brand, or yourself to make sure you don't annoy your followers to the point of hitting the dreaded "unfollow" button.

1. Enforce a Strict Two-Post-Per-Day Limit

Unlike Twitter, people look at everything in their Instagram feed. Like Twitter but unlike Facebook, the platform doesn't try to figure out what you want to see; you get everything regardless of how good it is. That means you need to be selective in what you post to Instagram. If you want to push out content 10 times per day, use Twitter. If you want to share an album of pictures, use Facebook. If you have one or two high-quality pictures you want to post, that's what Instagram is here for.

People follow you for a reason, they want to see your pictures, they just don't need them to be the only thing in their feed every time they log in. Once is nice, two is good if you have something genuinely interesting to share, any more than that and you're just clogging up people's feeds, keeping them from the rest of the pictures they actually want to see.

2. Mix It Up

Instagram doesn't work if you post the same stuff all the time. Just because you own a pizza place doesn't mean you can only post close-up pictures of pizza. If you're a small business include local shots, good customers, finished product, pictures or video of your manufacturing process, fun and games in the office, etc.

For you individuals out there, take a look back at your pictures. If more than 60% of them are of your kids, you have a problem. Yes, you love your kids, we know. And yes, for my closest friends and family, I love to see those, but even in those cases it's not the only thing I would like to see in my feed.

3. Use Video

As soon as Instagram realized that auto-playing sound when a user isn't expecting it is one of the worst things you can do (hint to all of you with websites that auto-play sound on non-video pages), video went from a super-annoying new "feature" on Instagram to extremely useful, fun, and engaging. Whatever you do or whoever you are, there has to be something in your life that other people don't get to experience every day. If you work in a big city, use the people, sights, and sounds to create an interesting five second clip. If you're in the country, the sites and sounds of nature can be just as intriguing when framed the right way.

4. Use Hashtags

Unlike most other platforms, you can overuse hashtags without a problem on Instagram. My advice is to use as many as are relevant to the content you're posting, and no more. People will notice if you are purposefully trying to game the system, but they'll appreciate if you're accurately categorizing your content.

5. Avoid Over-Branding

Through one of my brands' Instagram accounts, I follow one other brand in particular that is guilty of this. The problem is, I would follow them personally because I generally enjoy the content they post. Unfortunately, I really have no interest in having your logo continually plastered across my Instagram feed, and neither does anybody else.

The fact that people are following your account means they're going to see your name over and over again, you don't need to slap it onto every picture you post. Additionally, when you do that, it goes against the culture that exists within the platform. Instagram was designed to share pictures (and videos) that were taken with your device the moment they are worth sharing with the world. It's the reason why they don't allow you to post pictures through the website from your computer, and it's become the experience users expect when using the platform.

Say what you need to say in the image or video, let your username be the understated reference to your brand it should be, and include any relevant info you need to in a short description with the picture.

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