5 Ways To Improve Your Instagram Posts
2018 has been quite a year of growth for me. Although I started digging into social media and blogging landscape last year, I really went head first and dove into this magical digital world this year. Despite doing my own homework on many topics for quite awhile, I really feel like I’ve learned a ton over the past several months. This has lead me to discover many creative outlets I never dreamed of pursuing on my own time. Most people would say that Instagram is creative platform without giving it a second thought. However, I’ve grown to learn that my way of posting to Instagram didn’t even begin to scrape the surface on what was actually possible. Frankly, even as I write this piece, I feel like there is still a lot of untapped potential I haven’t yet discovered. Sadly, in my virtual travels, I see a lot of great Instagram posts and talent get wasted due to the format they use to post to the site. Since a lot of my readers are bloggers, I hope to uncover a few tips I’ve learned from experience and Influencers who’ve had a ton of success posting to the site using a few key thought processes.
How To Use Hashtags
Based on my experience it seems like most people understand the power of hashtags. You take a picture, you may or may not edit it, you create the post with a caption, throw a few relevant hashtags on the post, and then click publish. It’s that easy….or is it? Finding a hashtag that is relevant to your post is a very easy thing to do. More than likely yeah word you input will show up right away just by typing in a few characters. However, there is more to hashtagging than simply selecting the first bunch of relevant words that show up. At this point in my social media career, the basic rule of thumb I use when searching for the best hashtags is to only use words that have been used one million times or more. I think 1 million is a good line to draw if you’re hoping for a decent sized audience to find your work. The combination of this and the timing of my posts (something I’ll talk about a little later) generally results in a small burst of likes and engagement within the first half hour or so after the picture has been published.
Believe it or not, how you present your hashtags means a lot too. I often see people place their hashtags within the caption. If you’re hoping to give your post a clean professional appearance, this is not advisable. The focus of your caption should be your “call to action” or any other thoughts you want the visitor to take away from your post. Oftentimes grouping the hashtags with your caption just makes it look cluttered. So what’s the solution? You’ll often see the most savvy Instagram users not only place their hashtags in the first comment, but they will also stack several rows of periods above them. This is done in order to “hide” the hashtags from view when a visitor looks at your post. It’s a small, but smart way to ensure that your profile looks clean.
Once you know some of these tricks it might be tempting to place a large number of hashtags in your post. What some people don’t realize is that less is more in this case. As a matter of fact, too many hashtags can hurt your post’s chances of being seen. So what should you do? I think adding 14-18 relevant hashtags is enough. I try to err on the lower side of this as much as I can as a lower amount tends to result in a better performance for my posts.
Speaking of performance and being seen, always be on the lookout for the dreaded “Banned Instagram Hashtags” list. Certain words tend to become “blacklisted” temporarily or might be deemed inappropriate. Basically, if you search for it and you can’t find it, don’t use it! It could result in your account getting “shadow blocked” or even banned by Instagram. That’s something nobody wants. This is why I always err on the side of 1 million or more when I search for a hashtag. I feel like those words are usually pretty safe to use.
Writing A Solid Caption
There was a time when writing a caption simply meant saying something witty about the post and hitting publish. However, thanks to one blogger/influencer I follow very closely, I’ve learned that it’s always better to write a well thought out caption with your post. If you’re a blogger, you may want to consider establishing this type of style in order to make your Instagram account more aligned with your blog’s mission/goals. You don’t necessarily have to write your life story, but a 1 or 2 paragraph caption could help make your followers feel more engaged with you and your content. Also, although I’m not very good at implementing this rule I’d suggest writing a “call to action” in your post. This means finishing your post with a question that gives the reader a reason to comment on your post. Those who do this well tend to get the most engagement and traffic on their posts. No matter how you look at it, although Instagram is a very visual platform, you may want to put just as much thought into the words you are using and how you get visitors to engage in your posts.
Posting During Peak Hours
Instagram may seem like the type of platform you can post on at any given time (which you can), but there are some times that are better than others. Not only have I read plenty of advice that has helped me with this tactic, I’ve also experimented a little bit too. Based on my experience there tends to be a particular block of time during the day that gets the best results. Much to my surprise, I haven’t had a lot of luck posting during the first part of the business day. Sometimes you can get some good action on posts before 8-9am, but it can be hit or miss. 8am-1pm (approximately) usually doesn’t generate a lot of likes or comments for me. I tend to have the best luck between 2pm-7pm. I will sometimes post a picture after 7pm if I’m feeling ambitious, but it’s not advisable if you’re hoping to get a little more engagement from your posts. not only has the 2pm-7pm window has produced the most success for me, it is a timeframe that most experts advise Instagram users to post their content as well.
According to some experts it’s recommended that Instagram users should post 2-3 times per day. If you’re like me, you may think this is asking a lot. And yes, I do agree that this is asking a lot. Unless you’re truly passionate about photography, chances are you’re not looking to keep taking thousands of pictures in order to stay relevant or overcome the dreaded Instagram algorithm. I’ll even be the first to admit that the thought of posting so much content and looking for so many photo opportunities for my Instagram account can feel exhausting sometimes. However, I have found that posting consistently does generate more traffic. I know this is true because I still generate some traffic even when I back off from posting for a day or two. This certainly wasn’t the case before I started trying out all of these tactics. I can’t necessarily tell people to go out and shoot all kinds of photos everyday, but I can say that is you have a nice backlog of photos laying around on your phone or computer you can easily post atleast one time everyday. The key is to be consistent about the times you are posting and how many pictures you post per day. Instagram likes when users are consistent.
Using Facebook & Telegram Groups
If you’ve been following my blogging/social media posts on here you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of using Facebook and Telegram groups in order to help with engagement on Instagram. This may not have much to do with how your post looks in general, but it may help you to see how a variety of other people are posting as you engage with them. I can vouch for this point as I’ve learned a ton from all of the people I’ve engaged with from around the world. Not only that, but you’ll also get a glimpse of what not to do as well. Both the good and the bad should become more obvious to you as you engage with more and more people.
Does The Work Actually Pay Off?
Some folks might think this is a lot of work to put into something like Instagram, but it does pay off. Especially if you’re looking to create an organic following. Since I’ve made some adjustments to my posting habits I have gained 1300 followers. This happened within two months. If you use Instagram and you’re aware of follow/unfollow game, algorithm, and other factors that tend to hinder progress on your account you will know that what I accomplished is pretty awesome. Although all of the advice I give here is good information I can vouch for, the one thing I would recommend most is consistency. Present, use, engage, and post consistently. Much like anything else, the more organized and orderly your work looks, the better off you’ll be. This rule can be applied to just about any social media platform you use, but it’s especially important if you want to take your Instagram game to the next level!