What Is Instagram?

 

Instagram is only available to upload via the app on your mobile phone or tablet. The desktop version does have some search and commenting capability, but at the moment you cannot upload images to your Instagram account via the desktop.

Why use Instagram?

  • Instagram is a very visual platform and we all know that a picture is worth a thousand words.
  • Instagram is reported to get 58% more engagement on business posts than Facebook does.
  • You can connect directly with customers. So a bit like Twitter you can actually look for people you want to follow and comment on their posts. It allows you to reach out to people for free.
  • The use of localised hashtags could be a great source of word-of-mouth referrals. You can actually network online with people in your area.
  • You don’t have to create all of your own content. User generated content can be a great way to expand your account and reach.

What can you post on Instagram?

Staff Pictures

People genuinely want to get to know the people in your business. It makes your service much more personal. But don’t just post head shots of the people that work for you – why not have them doing something fun that shows off their personality?

They could be playing with a dog on the beach, lying down with a cat on a rug, or playing a game with a dog at the groomers. It doesn’t really matter what the activity is, but they should be showing a fun, smiley, happy side of themselves – something high energy that will draw people to them.

Quotes

Quotes are highly shared across social media so it makes sense to post them on Instagram. There are hundreds of pet quotes that you could make into great Instagram posts. People love to be inspired and they love their pets, so it makes a great combination.
Try using different backgrounds – some plain or some pictures of pets. Make sure the text stands out and doesn’t get lost in the picture.

Blog Posts

We want to get people onto our website and promoting your blog posts is a great way to do this. Create an eye-catching image with your blog post title overlaid on it and talk in your comments a little about what the blog post includes. Then create a Call to Action (CTA) and advise people that the link to your blog post is in your bio.
You can either use one bit.ly link to promote your blog page or create custom links each time you post a new blog post.
We want to get people onto our website and promoting your blog posts is a great way to do this. Create an eye-catching image with your blog post title overlaid on it and talk in your comments a little about what the blog post includes. Then create a Call to Action (CTA) and advise people that the link to your blog post is in your bio.
You can either use one bit.ly link to promote your blog page or create custom links each time you post a new blog post.

Blog Posts

You might have a new product or service that you want to promote and Instagram is a great way to get that in front of lots of people.
Don’t post stock photos or buy me now images. You need to keep the promotion in the same style as Instagram.

Trending Hashtag Jacking

You can see on Instagram what is trending and it can be a great chance for you create something that is relevant to that trending hashtag, but still ties in with your brand. For example, maybe a sporting event is trending and you can post a picture of your dog in the same colours or next to a hat of the team.
Or perhaps there is a news story or an annual event trending. If you can find a way to use that hashtag and it is appropriate for your business then it can be a great way to grow your account.

Creating The Perfect Instagram Post

Having quality images are key to having a really successful Instagram account. You really have to put a lot of effort into creating the right images and making sure that they really reflect your brand and the purpose of the account.

For example, if you have an account for your pet business then no one wants to see a picture of your dinner on there. People are following you expecting to see images of animals and that is what you should give them. If you have a personal account, of course, post anything you like, but for your featured business account stick to the theme of the account.

Tips for Creating Quality Posts

Clear Images

Instagram is all about pictures so don’t use poor quality pictures. You want pictures that are bright, clear, and eye-catching. It really is worth taking the time to choose the perfect picture.
Try to take your pictures outside in natural light. Outdoor lighting is perfect for taking good quality pictures. Think about the angle of the photo, the position in the frame, and the background you are including.

Use Apps To Create Posts

Wordswag (iPhone) is perfect for creating posts. You can use images from Pixabay or upload your own then use text overlay to create brilliant quotes.
Phonto – You can upload your own pictures, add text, cool pictures, and overlays.
Legend (iPhone) – You can use this to create animated quotes. Upload a picture, type in your quote, and it creates a six second video. These are great for Instagram and Facebook.
Layout (Android and iPhone) – is owned by Instagram and is excellent for putting pictures together to create collages. A collage is a great way to tell a story on Instagram by grouping similar photos together. For example, a collage or your staff or a before and after picture.
Frameswagg (iPhone) – an app for creating collages with different frames
Photogrid (iPhone and Android) – great for creating collages, adding backgrounds, and making images with templates.
Canva.com (PC or MAC) – Canva has lots of templates for Instagram posts. You can only use Canva on your PC or MAC. However, once created you can either share to your phone using drop box or email it to your phone. If you are creating a batch of images at the start of each week, this can be a great way to do it.

Use Instagram’s Built-In Photo Editing Features

Instagram has a lot of built-in features to add filters and adjust the quality of your photo. You can do a lot inside the app itself.
The following additional apps are great for creating specific types of posts and adding borders, creating collages, or adding overlays.

How to attract a targeted follower base

Use Hashtags

If you don’t have hashtags on your Instagram posts then you don’t exist. It’s the way other users find your account and decide whether or not to follow you.
It’s worth spending time to create a list of hashtags that work for your business. Don’t just pick the obvious hashtags like #cat, #dog, etc.
You need to come up with less popular and more localised hashtags that you will be more visible in. For example #newyorkpetsitter or #londondoggroomer.
You can create a hashtag for your company in the hope that other followers might use it when talking about your business. This takes time to build, though, and to get your fans to use.
You can use up to 30 hashtags on each post. I recommend making your comment about your post with one or two hashtags then making a second comment with your main list of hashtags.

Share Your Posts To Facebook and Twitter

Another great way to get more followers on Instagram is to let your Facebook and Twitter followers know you are there.
You can link your Facebook and Twitter accounts to Instagram, which means when you go to post to Instagram, you can select the accounts you want to share it to. There are other options for sharing, but the main ones I would use are Facebook and Twitter.
Don’t share every post on all platforms. Otherwise, there is no reason for those people to come over to your Instagram account to see your content.

Start Conversations

You need to post on other people’s images and like their posts. If you aren’t social, they won’t know you are there. As I mentioned, the beauty of Instagram is you can actively seek out people to follow and to engage with.
Set some time aside each day to do this. Don’t ask for a return follow – just comment and like. Gradually you will build a following of ideal clients.

Where to Find Hashtags

Websta.com allows you to look for hashtags. You type in a word and it gives you other hashtags that you might be able to use.
Tagsfor likes is a very easy place to get hashtags. Be selective, though, about the ones you want to use.
Instagram is a great place to find hashtags. Search for different words and you can then see how many people have already used them. Avoid the really popular ones as you are less likely to be seen on a very popular hashtag that everyone is using.

Repost Other People’s Content.

If you share other people’s content to your page, not only will it likely get you a new follower, but it also gives you additional content to share that you don’t have to create.
Two things, though, if you do repost other people’s content:
Ask them if it is ok to share their content – so you could post on their picture that you love the picture and can you share it. Make sure you tag them in the message so they see it.
If they say it’s ok to share, always credit them as the source and use the hashtag #repost.
There are apps you can use for reposting such as repost and regram.

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