With its great vibes, photo ops, and user-friendly interface, Instagram is popular in the social media world. And it’s not just for tweens and body builders. Instagram offers a powerful tool for any small business owner. A strong presence on the gram lets you build your brand awareness, boost sales, expand your client reach, and grow your audience engagement. And the stuff of influencers starts with a few simple tips. Read on for our guide on how to make a fabulous Instagram post.
1.When’s the best time to post?
While there’s some debate on this, our verdict for 2022 is Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 1 PM except for Tuesday, where the window is 11 AM to 2 PM. Some people continue to swear by the midday, midweek philosophy, which also falls within our recommended slots. Other users report excellent visibility in the middle of the night, though this is not excellent for engagement—or your sleep hygiene.
In any case, you probably want to post a little more than every Wednesday. Instagram, and any social media strategy, is a bit like exercise. It’s best to pick a program you can stick to. We recommend creating a realistic schedule, starting with at least twice per week.
2. But I’m not a professional photographer. What’s the best way to take stellar Instagram photos?
If you have a smartphone, you have most of what you need to create compelling images. Take your photos in natural light and add a few exciting filters for some extra self-esteem and artistic flair.
Image size on Instagram used to be a minor challenge since the app only published perfectly square photos. But these days, the platform has become more flexible. You can now upload horizontal (landscape) or vertical portrait photos. That said, Instagram will crop landscape photos, sometimes in strange ways or with a frustrating black border. For the ideal Instagram photo size, your best bet is to use either a square ratio (1:1) or portrait (4:5), both settings on most people’s smartphones. Oh, and that’s another thing—instead of taking your photos directly in the app, use the camera function on your phone before uploading (and adding filters) afterwards.
3. I have more than one photo. Should I do separate posts or publish them together?
How wonderful for you. (Some people are stuck in a content slump.) If you feel like writing two captions, for sure you can do two separate posts. But you might also consider an image carousel. An Instagram carousel consists of up to ten images (you can make one with videos too, but we’ll get to that later). Start strong with a catchy photo (your gorgeous happy face will do) or a splash of cliff-hanger text (3 Things I Learned From Sleeping on the Floor). Your followers will know it’s a carousel from a little white square that automatically appears in the right-hand corner of your first image. To view, mobile users can swipe left and the desktop folks can click on a > to view your stunning display.
They say that Instagram carousels get tons more reach and engagement than regular posts. Collage posts are also popular, and made possible by a separate Instagram-run app called Layout. Layout lets you select multiple photos which it will arrange in a fun collage, to be displayed on a single image. If an external app feels too tiring, the layout feature is available in—
4. Instagram Stories. How do I make one of these?
For the commitment phobic among us, stories are like ephemeral news flashes that users can view for a limited time of 24 hours. When you publish a story, a festive colourful ring will appear around your profile pic right at the top of your followers’ Instagram feeds. It’s prime real estate, and a great way to get into your audience’s heads.
The temporary factor creates a sense of novelty and urgency, making users more likely to click. And it’s a wonderful marketing tool (or head trip) because you can see who has taken the time to watch, whether or not they gave it a heart.
Stories are ideal for timely calls-to-actions, polls, quizzes, and contests. You can showcase your latest content, your customer’s rave reviews, or a supplier’s lifesaving delivery. (Don’t forget to tag everybody!) You can also just share your lunch or anything you just don’t want to leave on your profile forever—scandalous, mundane, or otherwise. Instagram will break up your story into separate photos, or if you post videos, they’ll be divided into 60-second sections. And let’s talk about videos for a minute.
5. Do I have to post videos? What’s all this about reels?
Well… People really like them! They’re saying that video content has twice as much engagement on Instagram than regular posts. We all know that the pandemic made it hard to concentrate, and short, punchy videos are a great match for everyone’s wavering attention spans.
When it comes to filming, as with photos, you want excellent lighting and a powerful lead. For a shorter video, record vertically with your photo. Longer videos can be filmed horizontally so people can turn their phones for a fullscreen viewing experience. And if you’re feeling fancy, you can try an external video editing app like InShot, Clips, or Adobe Rush.
If you’re not feeling fancy, Instagram Reels might seem a little intimidating. But just think of them as one tiny video clip after another—up to a maximum of 30 seconds. (So fast! So painless!) Instagram makes it reasonably easy to edit and add audio and effects directly in the app. Once you share your reel, if you have a public account, it will appear on high-traffic places like the Reels tab or Explore page. Just about anyone on Instagram and Facebook can see and share it, even if they’re not your followers. Pretty golden marketing wise.
Who can share and see your reels on Instagrams https://help.instagram.com/1392551434468488
6. What should I put in my Instagram captions?
While Instagram is an image-focussed platform, your words still matter. But you don’t need too many words. Instagram captions are limited to a maximum of 2200 characters. There’s no hard-and-fast rule, but posts with the most engagement tend to have a sweet spot of 50 characters or 7-13 words. That’s pretty short. Sometimes you can break the rules, though you didn’t hear that from us.
Whether or not you’re going to go long, be sure to intersperse your content with your favourite emojis. At Linkeo, we enjoy emojipedia.org.
Hashtags are also a must. Ranging from #ThrowbackThursday to #iloveicecream, they help to categorize your content by theme (#creativelife), post-type (#newblog), or mood (#yesplease). Hashtags are clickable, so users can find content from their favourite topics. Remember that popular doesn’t always mean best, since your post is not likely to be discovered out of the eight million and one #instagoods and #photoofthedays out there. Choose something specific to your field and your post (#faceyoga, #facegym, or #facegym). On Instagram, you can include up to ten clickable hashtags, but the optimal number falls between 3 and 5.
7. Do I need a business account?
We say yes. A professional account lets you take your Instagram presence to the next level.
5 Exciting Perks of an Instagram Business Account
- You’ll have a special space on your profile for your contact info. From there, a contact button will magically appear on your account so that mobile users can call you right away.
- The option to pre-schedule posts so you can plan ahead for weeks when you’re busy or on vacation. To preprogram posts, you’ll need a third-party tool like Later, Buffer, or Loomly.
- Better access to analytics that let you grow your audience and tailor your content to your followers.
- A charming “link sticker” that lets followers click to get to your latest blog post, product page, or contact form.
- Sales opportunities with Shoppable Posts and Instagram Checkout (U.S. only). With Instagram Shop, businesses can tag their posts so that followers can shop directly on Instagram business profiles. For now, this feature is only available for U.S. businesses, but here’s hoping it spreads to include Canada, Australia, and all our other favourite places.
Switching out your personal account to a business one is pretty simple. We’ll let our friends at Instagram walk you through the steps.
We feel you, and we’re here. If your #currentmood isn’t diving into Instagram, our Community Managers can get you started with a steady and high-value social media presence. It’s a great way to build up your brand image with consistent content and regular opportunities for audience engagement. Follower by follower, we’ll help you reach the people who need you. Book an appointment and let’s get them clicking.