Thanks to online buzz and industry studies, entrepreneurs are beginning to see the real value in using Instagram as another tool in their marketing arsenal. Paired with the fact that 13% of all Internet users have an Instagram account, the popularity of this image-based social media channel is picking up steam. Facts are also showing that engagement from Instagram users is as much as 10 times greater than other platforms.
Instagram is a cool free photo sharing service that works with Apple iOS and Android devices. It even allows you to take photos that are reminiscent of Polaroid pictures with some unique lighting effects. You can share photos with friends on Instagram and post them to other social media sites. Instagram boasts 15 million users, and with its recent acquisition by Facebook, it is expected those numbers will continue to grow. However, like any other social media channel, there are best practices and strategies business professionals need to keep in mind before attempting success on this platform.
Hashtags Rule: Like on Facebook and Twitter, hashtags are used to accompany photos shared on Instagram. And also like on other social media platforms, using relevant hashtags is the best way to discover new accounts and pick up followers. While hashtags on Facebook and Twitter should be limited to less than 5, research shows a higher number of hashtags, say 11 or more have a far more effective reach. Users can find out what hashtags are hot and trending by checking out sites like Hashtag.org and TopHashtags.comUse relevant hashtags on Instagram to discover new accounts and pick up followers.Click To Tweet
Filter? Or No Filter (THAT is the Question): Instagram has a plethora (around 20) of fun filters users can use to add shading, drama or other interesting effects to their photos. When deciding whether or not to use a filter, however, a study from social media guru Heyo showed that Normal (no filter) is the most popular filter, with Mayfair and Inkwell both coming in a close second for business purposes. If having all of those pesky filters in sight is distracting or too tempting, users can remove the ones they don’t want to use/see easily. To hide a filter, just tap and hold a finger down on the one you want to remove. You’ll now be able to drag it upward into the “Drag to hide” box above.
Optimum Times: The short answer to the question, “What are the best times to post on Instagram?” is…there really isn’t an optimum time. Instagram experts suggest doing some testing to discover the best times for your business or use tools like Iconosquare to learn key metrics about your account. Inconosquare helps users find their total number of likes received, their most liked photos ever, the average number of likes and comments per photo, their follower growth charts and more advanced analytics.
Not all businesses can benefit from a tool like Instagram, but if your business regularly uses images to share information about your products and services, this free tool may be worth another look. Instagram is yet another way to share your business activities, favorite quotes and photos, and milestones with your potential customers and following in a streamlined, trendy and non-cumbersome way.
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