Any business, personal brand or blog with a desire to grow and succeed will have an Instagram account. Instagram has reached 800 million active users monthly, and with an attractive Instagram feed, you could potentially attract thousands upon thousands of new customers or brand advocates. By having an Instagram feed structured in a way that engages users, and by growing your following, your business will get exposure, grow and prosper. More Instagram followers will lead to more traffic to your blog, more buyers of your products, more bookings, more notoriety, and generally more success for any business. It’s simply an incredible marketing tool. In order to grow your business through Instagram, you must develop a creative and engaging Instagram feed.
1. Choose a theme, and stick with it.
Your feed must clearly showcase a particular theme. If your theme is travel, stick with photos of bucket list destinations and travel-related memes or quotes. If your theme is veganism, you’d probably stick with high-quality photos of vegan food and healthy lifestyle candids.
2. Unique photos will engage more users.
We’ve seen the photo of the woman tossing a coin in the Trevi Fountain a million times. What engages users more is unique photos that may be in a well-known location (such as Rome’s famous Trevi Fountain) yet show the subject doing something more unique than the typical coin toss. If you really want to showcase some unique photos, I’d highly suggest buying a drone, because photos taken from above with a drone offer a different perspective and are more visually captivating.
3. Ensure your photos are framed well with clean backgrounds.
You’ll want to use good, clean backgrounds for your photos. This could be a white wall, a beautiful mural, a brick wall, a stunning lake, a modern and clean bedroom, etc. Your photos need to be framed well by having an appropriate ratio of background vs. subject and by using the rule of thirds to draw the eye to your subject. This helps your photos consistently be visually appealing.
4. Create balance by alternating text images with photos.
If you’re going to use text posts (such as images that contain quotes or images that tell a joke) the text posts should have your branding on them, and you should alternate text posts with brand-aligned photos. This way, your feed looks balanced. Simply ensure that if your last post was a text post, today’s post needs to be a photo. Instagram user All Twerk and No Pray achieves this perfectly – they even add their cool branding to each text post.
5. Use high-quality images with consistent lighting and filters.
Your images should be high-quality, crisp images that look professional. You could use a professional camera, or you could use one of the newer iPhones since the cameras are quite good on the new iPhones. When it comes to images, the lighting and filters should remain consistent on your Instagram feed.
6. Color-coordinate and keep your photography style consistent.
Your feed will look fantastic if you color-coordinate and choose a few colors that regularly appear in your photos. It’s also important to keep your image style consistent. For example, you might regularly post flat lay photos, or regularly post drone photos, or a mix of the two – but don’t mix too many photography styles as that will not look consistent.
7. Provide detailed and well-written captions.
Imagine how annoying it would be to see a beautiful waterfall in Hawaii on someone’s Instagram feed, without any explanation of where in Hawaii that waterfall is or what it’s like. You’ll get more followers if your captions provide details such as the location of the waterfall, what the temperature of the water is like, whether or not it’s safe to swim there, etc.
8. Use trending hashtags.
Again, this will require some research on your part, but by keeping your Instagram account public and using plenty of trending hashtags in each post, you’re allowing users to find you. Without the hashtags, your account won’t be found by fresh eyes.
9. Post consistently.
Running an Instagram account does require some effort. You can’t be lazy or forget to post content. Your Instagram account will draw more users to it if you are posting once per day. If that’s not doable, aim for posting 3 times per week on the same days every week, or think about hiring someone to manage your Instagram page for you who can post once per day for you.
Erica Gordon is the author of Aren’t You Glad You Read This? The Complete How-To Guide for Singles with a History of Failed Relationships Who Want their Next Relationship to Succeed, available here.