4 pillars for Instagram success

19th February, 2016

So you’re ready to dip your toe in the water and enter the world of Instagram, but need to learn more about how to make it work for you. Maybe you’ve heard about Instagram’s 400 million users and are excited about the potential?

Instagram is different to other social media networks. It’s almost solely created and consumed on mobile. Users can browse posts on a computer, but photos can only be uploaded from mobile devices. If your product or brand relies heavily on the visual, this social media network may tie in to your values nicely.

READ: 5 tips to developing an effective social media policy

Here are four pillars you need to consider when using Instagram.

1. Content

How are you going to add value to a visual network? It’s a good question to ponder, as there are already many businesses using great photos to share their stories.

Instagram has filters and photo editing tools to make your photo better. Yet, you’ll only stand out by having a good idea on what your brand should represent on Instagram.

For example: A restaurant may take the photo of their special of the day and share. It is timely, relevant and adds value to its users. A retailer may display new products first on Instagram, which makes users feel exclusive. An event company may share behind-the-scenes photos to provide a unique insight and demonstrate the wide range of services they provide.

The key is to connect with other users in a way that feels helpful, engaging and personal.

2. Hashtags

Hashtags serve as categories and are a great way to filter content.

As more and more content is produced, the importance of hashtags is only going to increase. Put some time aside to brainstorm what hashtags are popular in your industry and which ones are relevant for each post.

Hashtags make it easier for your potential audience to find you. Think of how you would describe your photo to someone who can’t see it; each word you describe can be a hashtag. Don’t forget to include the relevant locations and use adjectives in your description.

Using relevant and better known hashtags can also introduce a wider audience to your photo. For example: Tourism Australia recently promoted #restaurantaustralia. A restaurant can add this hashtag to its photo, which increases exposure to potential customers.

3. Location

Instagram is mobile, just like you are. Mostly people take photos at different locations, and if someone is interested in the photo, chances are they are also interested in the location of that photo.

For some reason, location tagging is an underutilised feature of Instagram, even though it’s an easy thing to do. Consider this statistic from a study cited in AdWeek: “While just 5 percent of Instagram posts tag a location, the ones that do use this feature get 79 percent more engagement.”

READ: How to align your social media and business objectives

4. Mentions

A network like Instagram gives users a voice and enables communication between brands and users. Work it to your advantage.

Make your brand’s voice heard in the right places — don’t be afraid of engaging with other users by mentioning them in a post. A smarter way to go about mentions is to find out who is doing what in your industry. Identify the influencers, the connectors and the fans of your brand. Follow them, and join in the conversation by using mentions when it’s relevant.

Using mentions also demonstrates your business is active on Instagram and encourages users to follow you and interact with you.