Instagram now has over 1 Billion monthly active users with 500 million daily Instagram Story users per day, making it the second most used traditional social platform after Facebook. With an ever-growing user base, Instagram keeps expanding what they offer and 2019 wasn’t any different!
Last year, we saw the addition of new IGTV features, the new IG AR filter availability, new Instagram Story stickers, and so much more! Let’s see if you are utilizing all the tools to most effectively market yourself on Instagram.
Instagram’s primary purpose is for posting photos or videos. Using either your own camera app, or the built in Instagram camera. You can take photos or record a video up to a minute long. Choose the size and filter, adjust the edit applications, add a caption, and you’re good to go!
Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are some tips to make your Instagram really shine!
Types of Content
While Instagram can be used to post promotional photos and videos from press materials to clips of official music videos, this content doesn’t always make for the best fan experience.
Aim for at 70% authentic, non-promotional photo and video posts. Fans get excited by candid insight into the lives of their favorite artists.
Use the multiple photo/video feature to show up to ten pieces of content from events, tours, meet and greets, and more.
Both Instagram and Facebook are making video content a priority in their algorithm, so embrace video content whenever possible
Be sure to take well composed, well lit photos that catch the viewer’s attention. The higher resolution, the better.
Consider adding a theme to your photos through color and filter choice to catch the viewer’s eye and distinguish yourself in their feed.
Try different angled photos to vary your gallery layout.
It’s best practice to upload photo and video natively to each social platform.
- Though, if on rare occasions the content on Instagram makes sense to share to Facebook and/or Twitter, this can be a great way to cross promote your platforms.
- Both services have great Instagram integrations, and by sharing may let your fans know where to find you.
Posts using features like location tagging and hashtags tend to over-index in engagement. Hashtags help users from different communities find content they’d be interested in.
Try expanding your community with some of these:
- #TBT (Throwback Thursday): An older photo
- #OOTD (Outfit of the Day): Fashion
- #justgoshoot: Great for any high quality shot
- #colorgram: Great for any high quality colorful shot
Tagging location on posts adds them to the feed for that spot, boosting discovery and reach. You can tag cities, neighborhoods, and businesses. Include venues for tour promo in advance.
Tagging & Comments
Tagging accounts on photos and video will add your content to their tagged section. This is great for expanding your reach. Tagging accounts in your captions and comments will just notify the person you tagged. Be sure to like a few comments and reply to keep your audience engaged.
Decide whether to be a regular or business/creator account – business/creator accounts have access to analytics and some advertising capabilities. Fill in all the open fields in your bio. The website field is the only place on Instagram that allows a functioning hyperlink for unverified accounts under 10k followers. Don’t leave this field blank. This is the best place for your latest release, Landing Page or website.
In Options, you are able to link to multiple social media accounts through “Linked Accounts.” When linking Facebook you’ll link to your personal account, and from there you can choose to switch to your fan page. While linking accounts is a good idea, it’s still best to post natively as much as possible.
Instagram Stories is a feature that lets you share all the moments of your day through pictures or 15 second videos that disappear after 24 hours. Just swipe right to open your camera, shoot, draw or type, add stickers, and post! Your stories are then archived if you want to add them to a Highlights later on.
Just like tagging a post, type @ and the person’s handle to tag them on your story. Choose from an assortment of fonts, or freehand draw over your story. You can choose from different face filters and visual effects such as: Boomerang, Superzoom, Focus, Rewind, Hands-free, Type, and Music. Videos over 15 seconds are automatically split into multiple stories segments. Select multiple pieces of content from your camera roll.
Additional to the content already being shared in your story, stickers are a great way to grab the attention of a fan and increase the chance of engagement and retention. You can show off your custom created stickers, ask fans questions or have them ask you, and so much more!
Poll: Get your audience’s opinion on Stories with Poll. Check out our previous blog post for some fun Poll ideas.
Hashtag: Have your stories join a community hashtag page by including the hashtag sticker.
Link: Verified accounts, or accounts over 10k followers, can add links to their stories, making it seamless to direct Instagram followers to products.
Stickers: Add a GIF, countdown, quiz, donation, poll, question, or chat sticker to your story. You can upload your own sticker to your GIPHY page to use.
Music: Add music by your artist or others up to 15 seconds long.
Location: Have your story join the story feed for other stories taken in that location.
Countdown Sticker: Create a countdown to an event that fans can then share onto their own IG Stories.
Quiz Sticker: Use this sticker to multiple choice quiz your followers.
Chat Sticker: This sticker allows followers to request access to a private DM group of up to 32 people. When you’re done chatting with the fans you can end the chat, but everyone will still keep the history. Read more about Chat Stickers here.
Music Response to Question Sticker: Now you can have fans respond to Question Stickers with music.
Spotify: While listening to a song on Spotify, you can click the “Share” option button for the option to share the song to your Instagram story. Users can click the “Play on Spotify” option to listen on their own.
Soundcloud: Click the “Share” option while listening to a song to share it to your Instagram Story. This feature is not only great for showing off your catalogue, but to also highlight fan created remixes.
Pandora: Tap the “Share” option from the Now Playing screen on the app and select “Instagram Stories”.
Sharing Posts: On your own post, or someone else’s, click the share button for the option to add the post to your story. Make the post take up as much or as little space as you want. It’s best to have a call to action: new post, click through, etc.
Show off some of your best Instagram Stories with the Highlight feature. Create different buckets as an introduction to your brand for new followers, and to catch up older followers who might have missed important Stories. Create highlights that make sense with your brand: Tour, New Music, etc. Create and add custom Highlight covers for each Highlight bucket. Don’t create too many – this feature should show a new user who you are and what you’re about as easily as possible. Be sure to have multiple stories in each Highlight – build out your stories.
Live allows you to connect with your followers in real time. To go Live just swipe right to open your camera and tap the “Start Live Video” button. You can go live for up to an hour, and once you finish the Live you can choose to add it to your Story.
You can request to join someone else’s Instagram Live to create a joint broadcast. You can share photos and videos from your camera roll while you’re going Live. Use the Sticker question before your Live to ask fans a question or to have them ask you questions to answer. There is also a Q&A feature during a live stream that allows you to clear the clutter of fan comments and just see the questions fans are asking.
Instagram offers an array of stats for you on Instagram as a business/creator account. To become a business/creator account you’ll need a Facebook Fan Page to connect your account to. Go to your profile and tap the menu bar, tap settings, and then ’switch to Business Profile’ or ‘Curator Profile’. Current Instagram breaks down their Insights into 3 categories: Activity, Content, and Audience.
Interactions: Measures the actions people take when engaging with your account i.e: Profile Visits, Website Clicks/Email/Anything else you set up for your account.
Discovery: How many people see your content and where.
Reach: Number of unique accounts that have seen any of your posts.
Impressions: Total number of times all of your posts have been seen.
Posts: measuring your posts by: Comments, Engagement, Follows, Impressions, Likes, Profile Visits, Reach, Saves, Shares, and more You can view data from 7 days up through 2 years.
Stories: measures by backs, exits, link clicks, along with all the same measurements as posts. You can view data from 24 hours, up to 14 days.
Promotions: measures visits to profile, how many people viewed the promotion, impressions, engagements, demographics, and money spent.
You can view top locations by city or country, age range in general or by gender. You can see follower data based on average times when your followers are on Instagram and the days of the week your audience is most active.
How It Works
IGTV is a beast of its own, you can either access your channel through the IG app or through the IGTV app. IGTV is meant for longer form, high quality content. This function is ideal for a series, interviews, vertical music videos, acoustic sets, and more.
- You can now share a preview of your IGTV videos to your Instagram feed.
- Sharing both vertical and landscape videos on IGTV are available. Viewers can click landscape videos to expand to full-screen or simply rotate their phone.
- You’ll now be able to organize your IGTV videos into a series with a consistent title and theme. Unlike Feed, Stories or Live, IGTV allows you to brand and create your own series that your audience can look forward to.
On IGTV, you can review engagement, views, likes, comments, and retention rate.
Apps Created by Instagram
Instagram has also created their own photo tool apps to help you create great content:
- Boomerang: Make gif-like video posts
- Hyperlapse: Create your own time-lapse videos
- Layout: Create photo collages and comparisons
Not in the Instagram family, Later is an external app that allows you to plan, schedule, and publish your content to Instagram. It’s a great app for when you’re on the go, or want to work on a gallery theme.
Repost for Instagram
Repost, another external app, lets you share content from other galleries while still giving credit to the original photographer. This app is a nice way to give fans or partners a shout out on your feed.
Instagram is all about quality content. Editing really comes down to what works best for you. Here are some free apps worth checking out: VSCO, Snapseed, Darkroom, Afterlight, Enlight Quickshot, Lightroom, and Unfol.
For a presentation version of these best practices check out our slideshow below: