All about Instagram Content
In this section, we tell you what and how to publish on Instagram. We open up over all the steps, vital strategies and best free, and paid tools known to man.
What Questions are Covered?
What Tools are Described?
These are the basic support tools that help you publish on Instagram more efficiently and
Posts and Stories Scheduler
Easy-to-use content planner with wide function range.
Easy search for relevant hashtags by photo, URL, and keywords.
Downloader for Instagram
Fast and free way to save content from Instagram.
The free selection of most popular Instagram hashtags.
Search for Instagram
Fast search for Creators by names, phone numbers, emails, bios, etc.
Profile Analyzer for Instagram
Precise analysis of any Instagram account: engagement, publication time, etc.
Creating an Instagram Account: Personal, Business and Creator Types
How can you choose the account type that will benefit you most?
We disclose all the pros and cons of personal and business profiles.
When you register on Instagram, your first question will be, “What account should I create?” Indeed, you will benefit from taking the matter seriously. Your type of account should match the objective you are pursuing.
There are two types of accounts: Personal and Professional. Professional accounts, in turn, are divided into Creator and Business types.
1. Personal Account
A personal account is for you if you have no intention to run any business or blog there. Initially, it was the only type of Instagram account available.
But there were some inconveniences:
- The inability of the user to contact the account owner from the app
The phone number could only be indicated in the “About Me” section or the text of a post. So users could only contact the owner of the account after writing the number somewhere and then dialing it on their smartphone.
- Lack of statistics
You could only watch the number of followers and track whether your account is growing or not from that. The effectiveness of your content could only be estimated by the number of likes.
- Lack of official promotion methods
It was at a time when mass following and mass liking services gained traction in the absence of any official way to reach a large targeted audience.
To overcome these inconveniences, Instagram introduced Business accounts.
2. Business Account
On Instagram, you can see how many followers interacted with the contacts section (e.g. called, looked at the address) and analyze your followers – when they are online and which posts they interact with most. An analysis of these statistics will help you understand which hashtags bring more views and which type of posts do not reach your audience and, accordingly, you should quit posting.
- Convenient contact process for customers
Followers will not have to write down a phone number somewhere to call you. They just need to click on the “Call” button under the profile header in a business profile. You can also add a button with an address or email.
A business profile allows you to run Post and Stories promotions directly on the Instagram app.
- Shopping Tags
For the online store category, the function of adding Shopping Tags to photos is available. This is a tag which shows the name, a small description, the price of the product and a link to the site where you can buy it.
3. Creator Account
Not only commercial accounts but also bloggers switched to Business accounts in the hope of getting statistics and the ability to run ads. Therefore, in 2019 Instagram introduced another type of account specifically for bloggers. Consider the benefits of a Creator account.
- Detailed statistics on the growth of followers
In the business account, growth is monitored weekly, in the Creator account, it is monitored daily. This makes it easier to understand where the followers came from. You can select the desired day and see all the posts and stories that you published on that day.
- Collaboration with brands
Now the function of branded advertising posts is available for all users of the Creator account. You can configure this feature in the Creator section, which will appear after the transition.
- Sort messages in Direct
Unlike Business accounts, which have an Inbox and a Requests tab, there are three tabs, “Primary,” “General” and “Requests,” in the Direct of the Creator account. You can sort important messages on the Primary tab, and the remaining messages on the General tab.
After approving the message from the “Requests” tab, Instagram will immediately prompt you to select the tab for transferring the message. You can configure notifications (enable or disable) separately for each tab.
- Flexible account categories
The Creator account has more categories you can use to label your account, such as a web designer or an architectural designer. This can help your audience to find you.
4. How do you switch account type?
Go to Settings, then choose Account and then Switch to Professional Account.
Choose your account type and complete the switch.
You can also switch from Professional to Personal or from one Professional type to another one. The process is the same.
▶ Can I switch from a Business to a Creator account?
Yes, you can. Again, you need to go to Settings → Account → Switch to Creator Account.
▶ What’s the difference between Business and Creator accounts?
Business accounts provide tools and insights valuable for businesses — shopping tags, check-out, clients’ behavior stats.
As for the Creator account, you get useful insights about your audience activity and engagement
Shaping your Account: Choosing the Name, Brand Message, and Overall Aesthetics
How to fill out the profile info and choose the right account ‘mood.’ We teach the basics,
unknown tricks, and useful tools for shaping an eye-catching profile.
Most users make mistakes from the very beginning and then wonder why they don’t succeed. Arranging your profile information is the first thing you should pay attention to. And it's not as easy as it seems.
1. How to name the account
Username is the most important parameter that allows users to find you on Instagram. Therefore, carefully analyze the possibility of reaching your audience or potential customers through it.
1.1 General rules for choosing the username
The social network has a number of requirements for the profile name. Among them:
- Uniqueness. Your username is a kind of account access code, so it must be one of a kind. If your option is already taken, try replacing letters with similar ones or adding characters.
- Latin. Instagram supports only the Latin alphabet.
- No spaces. Phrases are most often separated by a hyphen, underscore, or periods.
- Lower case. Even if you write your name, you cannot use capital letters.
- Moral standards. No abusive words are allowed.
As you can see, there are not so many restrictions, so there is room for imagination. Now you need to understand which way to go.
1.2 Choosing a name for brands
The most obvious business decision is to use the brand name, which is already known to your audience and used on other sites. In this case, finding and contacting you will be simple.
- If you create several pages for different locations, then it is better to add a city or a region in the name. Then it will be easier for users to navigate.
- It could happen that the brand name is already taken. In that case you can add the word official or store at the end to make it unique.
- For those entrepreneurs who create a business only on Instagram, it is better to adopt a username with good keywords for search. Mention what you sell and where so that people will discover your page more often.
1.3 Choosing a name for influencers
Bloggers and influencers have no restrictions on the choice of username. The choice will depend only on the subject of the page and the preferences of the target audience.
The blogger’s username can be completely crazy and unexpected. But only if it evokes the right emotions and is remembered easily, will it be of benefit.
- The obvious option is your first and last name — a good solution for everyone who builds a personal brand and is already known to the public. Often this approach is chosen by owners of small personal blogs.
- It’s great if the name and surname are rare and stand out. If it’s easy to get lost in the search results by your last name, it’s better to choose a more creative profile name.
- Recollect your nickname as a child, your favorite character in a book or film, a musical group. If it’s something personal, but harmonious, use it.
- If nothing comes to mind, try to shorten the name, make up an interesting word from the initials, or translate your name.
- If you provide services, indicate your profession in the username. It will be more convenient both for users and for search algorithms.
- It’s a good idea to put a motto or phrase that characterizes your lifestyle in the profile name.
1.4 What Instagram names are better not to use?
When choosing a name, the key factor should be memorability: the more understandable the name, the easier it will be for users to find you, tag you in publications and Stories, and show them to friends.
- Numbers, repetitions of letters, and punctuation marks are a bad idea. Your profile name will be difficult to remember and distinguish from others.
- Also, do not create a name that looks like a password. There should definitely be more letters than numbers.
- Do not use long phrases. You can use signs instead. Otherwise, it can take forever to read your nickname.
- Of course, the name should reflect your brand or industry, and not be a meaningless code. If the company has representative offices in other countries, make sure that the usernames are designed in the same style. It will emphasize the global brand.
- Do not forget to check competitor accounts so that you do not get mixed up with them!
1.5 Key recommendations:
- Profile name should not be longer than 12-15 characters.
- Avoid characters that are not on the standard keyboard (e.g. numbers and underscores). It will be inconvenient for users to switch the keyboard to find the desired character.
- If the name consists of two words, separate them with a dot. In most mobile devices, it is on the main keyboard.
2. Rules for writing a Bio
Much depends on the topic of the page: is it a blog, a store, a company, a service? But even if you have a very serious brand, it is important that you do not limit bio to bare facts and contacts — show your human face. It is for this that you will be remembered.
While preparing this article, our team looked through no less than 500 bios. We saw different brands, people and projects. But only those in which there was a highlight were remembered.
2.1 What should you mention in your Bio?
1. Tell a story about yourself
Try to answer the question, “Who are you? Why will it be interesting to follow your life?” Tell users about your family, work, interests, outlook, and personality traits.
2. Mention your interests
Tell us how you live, what makes your story special, what you are a pro in. Let like-minded people understand that they will find a lot of useful and relevant content on this page.
Experiment with the pitch: for example, why be a “stylist” when you can be a “style fairy” in your Bio?
3. Share your contacts
If you want to do business from your Instagram profile, share your contacts. At the same time, do not forget about user convenience.
Add the address, email, phone, profiles for communication, and give a clickable link.
4. Add a call to action (CTA)
By calling for an action, you increase the number of interactions and motivate users to get in touch.
Often, “pointing” emojis are added to the CTA, which help direct the reader’s eye to the desired link. Why not use this trick if it works?
2.2 Bio templates for personal brands and businesses
For personal accounts and personal brands (influencers):
[Interest 1] + [Interest 2] + [Interest 3] / [Location]
[Call to action][Link]
[Occupation], [Something that makes you different]
Founder [personal brand][Link]
[Something that sets you apart]
[Call to action]
[Link or email address]
For companies and organizations:
[Who you are] + [What you are doing] + [For whom you are doing this] + [How are you are doing this]
[Call to action] + [Hashtag][Link]
[Unique positioning statement]
[Call to action]
[Who you are] + [What you are doing]
[Call to action]
A couple of examples:
2.3 Beautiful Bio on Instagram: secrets and lifehacks
- Change the font in the Bio
Using tools such as LingoJam, you can change the font in the Bio. Just enter your text in the input line and the tool will offer various options. Copy the result and paste in the Bio.
- Add symbols
The CoolSymbol tool helps you add unusual characters to your profile description. In case the emoji is not enough. Click on the icon you like and paste it into the text.
This is a cool idea for a business account on Instagram. Instagram allows you to add only one link to your Bio. Using special services, you can collect all your contacts – website, social networks, instant messengers – in just one link.
- Line spacing in the header
With InstaSpace, you can break your profile description into neat lines. Paste your text, click the button and the result is immediately copied to the clipboard.
- Additional block
If you have a Professional Account, you can add buttons with Contact info. Thus, your visitors can get your email/phone number and contact you.
3. Overall Aesthetics and Feel
When promoting a business on Instagram, you need to catch a user at first glance. If a person is not attracted by an image, they are unlikely to read about the wonderful properties of your products and follow the links. And when you post useful content, it’s also important to structure it for users: placing images in a profile on a grid gives a ton of possibilities.
- Chess order — alternating images with quotes or contrasting pastel photos.
Do not limit yourself — come up with a unique sequence. If you have an online store, alternate photos of products with text content (reviews, useful information). Choose what suits your page content.
- In line is another simple and effective way to personalize your account.
Each row can be devoted to one topic or product. You can group by color, style, or type of content. Placement in a line can be not only horizontal but also vertical.
- Free order
The above methods all require some self-discipline: you upload photos according to a schedule — today is one color, tomorrow is another; today is the photo of the product, tomorrow is the inscription. If the needs of the business require publishing some content urgently without taking into account the order, you will like this option.
Such a layout gives the profile the necessary structure as we clearly see different groups of content.
- Geometric frames
You do not have to limit yourself to only square frames. Rectangular, round — experiment with different geometric shapes.
- Colored frames
Use not only white frames – black and all colors of the rainbow are also good. The use of such frames is ideal for designing a portfolio of a photographer, artist or designer. The frame highlights each photo individually and focuses on the image itself.
Sometimes, using frames, you can not only emphasize a specific photo, but link the images together as well so that the profile looks seamless.
A profile with such a design is difficult to leave. Flipping through it, you don’t notice how time flies. Photos and elements harmoniously flow into each other.
Do you have a sales blog about your industry? Then this is the perfect feed format. It’s easy to guide and direct the reader to the selected sections. And additional design elements immediately tell about the topic of the page.
And you can make it even easier — cut one photo into 9 or 12 parts. Using this method, “insta-landing pages” can be created: the separate images all work together to make a “page. “If you need a landing page on Instagram, you can’t find a better option.
To create Collage and Puzzle designs, you will need third-party applications or skills to work with Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom.
3.4 Color in design
- Primary color selection
An account composed of black and white photographs will always look stylish and harmonious. But it can be a little monotonous for a commercial profile. Therefore, you can select one or more primary colors and use them in the content.
Do you have branded colors? Make a page with their help. If not, choose the ones that suit the image you are creating and are well perceived by the audience.
- Mood and tone
Use the same settings when processing photos. This will give integrity to the page. Bright and contrasting or airy and weightless? It’s up to you.
To get this effect, apply one filter to all photos. Whatever your Instagram is dedicated to, this technique will add appeal and harmoniously combine all the elements.
Sometimes the use of a single color scheme for an account is very limited. You can make smooth transitions between colors like gradients. Thus, the color will serve as a structure – so you can create sections with photos: first, a series of one color, then a transition and a series of a different color.
- Plan and perspective
Choose a perspective from which photos will be taken. Photos with a repeating element make the profile recognizable. It is successfully used by cafes, food delivery services, tattoo artists and so on.
Black and white photography, minimalism, pop art, comics, doodling — such motifs allow you to design your components in the same style. It’s a great idea for illustrators, artists, designers who have found their own style.
3.5 Covers for Highlights
Recently, not only photographs have affected the appearance of a profile. Many users save their Stories in their profile, and for these you can make covers that fit into the style of your account. The covers are very small, so the images there should be concise and clear.
Very often, illustrations are taken as covers. Simple icons can be downloaded on the Net or made independently.
Perhaps your company already has a set of frequently used illustrations or icons on the site or interesting fragments of the corporate pattern — they can be used as covers for Highlights.
You can create such covers right on Instagram or with Canva.
▶ Is there any universal style that suits most of the brands?
It’s up to you to decide. For different audiences, different styles are needed. Design your profile so that it matches your brand.
Rules of Successful Publications on Instagram
What can you publish on Instagram? What is forbidden on Instagram?
Does the publication time matter? Our team answers these questions below.
If you start posting random pictures without any concept in mind, it is as useless as using a chocolate teapot. You should be aware of all the possibilities Instagram offers as well as of all the rules it makes.
1. Formats and types of Instagram content
First, remember, you can create content for:
- Feed. This is your Gallery, and several formats are available: photo, video, carousel.
- Also, you can go live, but in this case preparing content is not necessary.
Types of content. You can divide them into selling, informational (educational), and entertaining.
The main focus of a commercial account is on selling content. If you really sell something on Instagram, people follow you precisely because they like you, and they most likely want to buy something from you.
It is unlikely that a person follows a commercial account just to have fun. They sign up for a clothing account to buy clothes, for sporting goods to buy sporting goods.
Do not write too much informative and entertaining content
in a commercial account, this annoys the user and confuses him.
- Product photo and offer
- The choice of goods of the day
- Photos before and after
- User experience
- Positive feedback from real customers – mini-stories of how they solved their problem using your product
- Storytelling (stories related to your product)
- Photos with niche leaders
- Special offers, promotions and discounts
It is not difficult to make such content, and here we lay out a list of sources from which you can generate educational content for at least a year!
- Industry news — expert reports, new startups, changes in the market as a whole, the experience of foreign colleagues, market trends. For clarity, you can use infographics.
- Reputational stories — share your successes, demonstrate your case studies, specialist certificates, share your opinion about a course or event, analyze projects of followers, show that you are an expert in your niche.
- Reviews — products or services, marketing tools, new products.
- Product Features — FAQ, busting myths about products.
- Details — TOP 10 products, comparison charts.
- The life of the company, top employees, photos of the workplace, announcements of a new product line.
- Behind the Scenes — the process of developing or creating, backstage, life hacks, photo of event preparation, photos from the corporate party.
This is everything that does not sell directly or educate, but affects the emotions of your audience.
- Congratulations to followers on holiday
- Atmospheric photos
- Unexpected ways to use the product
- Contests and sweepstakes
- Games with followers
Now that you understand the content types, you are ready to make up a content plan.
2. A content plan. Why do you need it?
2.1 What is a content plan and why do you need it?
If you want your Instagram posts to get the maximum reach and appear not only in the followers’ feed, but also in the recommendations section, regular posting is necessary.
Especially if you have a “young” page, and there are still not a large number of loyal followers, you need to upload posts regularly, update the content and prevent the audience from forgetting about you.
To post regularly is not as easy as it seems, not only because it can be difficult to find new ideas for posts. Each blog has a specific goal, carries a specific idea, and all publications in it should correspond to it and be aimed at achieving this goal.
If you publish posts haphazardly, “at the call of the soul,” the Instagram account will cease to be an effective tool for promotion and sales, and will simply turn into a “cozy personal blog.”
The content plan for Instagram is a strategic tool. It creates discipline and helps to develop your account as efficiently as possible, respond to the most urgent requests of the audience and implement your marketing strategy.
The content plan allows you to:
- Solve the problem of generating ideas for content in advance.
- Create an interesting and relevant feed for followers.
- Conduct effective advertising campaigns.
- Build funnels (series of posts).
- Analyze the effectiveness of different types of content and publication times.
- Set short-term goals and change the content in an optimal way to achieve them.
- Ensure that your visual concept does not go astray, and each picture corresponds to a relevant text.
A simple tip: the main thing is to follow the developed plan, and then everything will be fine.
2.2 How does the content depend on the topic and life cycle of the blog?
At the initial stage, all pages have the same goal — to gain followers. For this, different tools are used — targeted advertising, contests, advertising with bloggers. A common feature for all cases is that they attract followers who come to you in order to benefit from your account.
At the very beginning, you do not yet know your audience, so it will be difficult for you to pick up really interesting content for them. Therefore, choose something light, easy to perceive, engage them in communication. Explain complex things in simple words, develop the topic for which they came because that is what caught their interest.
People are reluctant to buy at the time of following, so you should not immediately put pressure on them with selling posts. Now you are working on recruiting new followers and increasing the loyalty of your existing ones.
That means your content should correspond with the stage your account currently is.
2.3 What content is needed for different purposes?
If your page's goal is to sell goods and services, you obviously need to focus on selling content and content that increases trust — reviews, photo galleries and videos of the work process, or your trading floor. Of course, you need high-quality photos of your goods and materials. If you yourself are doing some work or speaking on behalf of the brand, then your personal photos.
For promotion through a personal brand (including those who provide services), select expert content, communicate with readers, give consultations, and answer questions. Theoretically, in such a blog, you can minimize the share of selling content — expert and training content will work no worse (and may even work better) than “buy” posts. Personal presence is perfectly realized through storytelling, IGTV, and live broadcasts.
Your content should be ready for use — not just abstract knowledge, but an instruction according to which the reader can do something and get a good result. Accordingly, galleries, videos, as well as stories, videos on the channel, and broadcasts will be appropriate here.
Even if you have a blog for moms where you just talk about your experiences with motherhood, it should be useful! Therefore, share life hacks (on preparing first-aid kits for vacation, on flights with a child, on maternal burnout, on allergies on vacation, on getting used to kindergarten, on educating a child’s taste). Stories simply about your life are unlikely to be of interest to readers (unless, of course, you lead an incredibly interesting life combining motherhood with rock music, rock climbing and a volunteer mission in Africa!).
3. How to create a content plan and stick to it?
1. Make up a table in Excel or Google Sheets and specify all the information, according to the example below.
2. Indicate the days of the week and the time of the publishing.
3. Fill out the picture/video, text, hashtags, link, and geolocation.
The main thing to remember is that you must describe the post in such a way that when you publish it, no questions come up — you just copy everything, paste and post it.
4. Publish posts following the content plan that you created.
You can use a post planner and scheduler for Instagram to ease the process and free up time for marketing. You won’t have to set the alarm on your phone so as not to miss the publication time.
4. Basics of successful posting on Instagram
Users expect regular updates from you — that’s what they come for. If you post rarely or irregularly, users will forget about you. It’s not an issue for them to unfollow you, remember that.
Consider publishing every day or two.
Instagram Scheduler will help you to mainstream publications.
- Alternation of types of content and formats
Try to combine different types of content and different formats. You can find an example of alternating content in the sample content plan given above.
Thus, your audience won’t get tired of sameness. For example, if a clothing brand posts only photos of products without any other information, it will find its follower numbers dropping — it’s just boring. Once a purchase is made, users will unfollow you because you present no interest anymore.
- Proper captions
Do not underestimate the power of text on Instagram. Create meaningful captions. You have a maximum of 2,200 characters for that.
Do not forget to structure the text: titles, subtitles, and paragraphs.
Make the first line killer. This line will be visible before the “more” button, which shows the rest of the caption. Make sure it’s catchy enough.
Use symbols to point out vital info. Use Messletters for that.
Use emoji so that it is not too formal.
Add a call to action at the end or ask questions addressed to your audience to engage them more.
- Right hashtags
We have already told you about how to use hashtags for promotion. You can read the full information in the Promotion section.
Don’t forget to add some space before the list of hashtags so that it doesn’t distract from the text itself. Adding them to the first comment is another option.
- Right time for publication
One of the most important points you should be aware of is when your target audience is ready to browse their Instagram feed. This activity time is the best time for publication.
To discover the best time for publication: analyze the performance of posts with Instagram Analyzer. With this tool, you can find out the most popular posting time of your competitors or monitor the time of the best engagement for yourself.
But if you are just starting out on Instagram and do not know your audience well, use the information provided by our colleagues from SproutSocial:
But remember that this information is very general. To publish effectively, you need to study your target audience.
▶ Do I need a content plan if I offer nail services?
If you want to make a brand/personal brand out of this service, we advise you to create a content plan. It can be simple but diverse.
▶ How do I know when my target audience is online?
You can track that via Instagram statistics and by analyzing the time of publications with the best engagement.
How to Present your Personal Brand/Goods/Services?
Branding affects everything ranging from your reputation to your sales. We explain how to dish up yourself or your business.
There are products about which you hardly even need to write anything — for example, jewelry. Just show the photo — its beauty sells itself without further ado. Unfortunately, you can fail even such a simple task if you do not post good photos of the product.
Therefore, we prepared a photo guide. Instead of a dozen standard life hacks, we will talk about the basic requirements for a photo, identify the main types of photos that a business must have in order for sales to get off the ground, and provide recommendations on how to show people, processes and products to create a company brand.
1. What photos do sell?
It is not only selling content that sells well. As we found out, reputational content can sell equally well.
Therefore, we use the following types of photos:
Product showcasing: With the help of such photos we present the product and model range.
Social evidence: It includes customer reviews and user generated content (UGC) — photos taken directly by users.
Atmospheric photos: They convey the brand’s philosophy, show the way of life of customers, and inform the target audience about company products.
Such photos can be used in engaging content that does not present any particular product but demonstrates who the target audience is. Such posts can convey the quality of the goods and the priorities of the company without words.
These types of posts are actively used by businesses that do not offer something material.
Banners for discounts, promotions, auctions, sweepstakes.
Instagram banners, where there is more text than photos, traditionally gain fewer likes. Therefore, we recommend using these small stickers that do not cover half of the photo.
2. Photo Specifications
- Photo are in .jpg or .png format.
- Size is a minimum of 1600 pixel width in the narrow dimension.
- All photos are clear and sharp.
- All photos are without processing and filters applied but with good lighting.
Bad example: an unattractive picture of a dummy with poor lighting.
Good example: bright, soft lighting with no filters applied — a designer can work with it.
- All photos are voluminously lit, without overexposure.
Bad example: the photo is overexposed, removing detail from the dress and depth from the whole photo.
Good example: despite the white color of the dress, its contours are illuminated and can be viewed in detail.
- All photos have the correct white balance.
Bad example: white looks yellow, and the picture looks dirty and unprofessional.
Good: white goes into the cold spectrum, refreshing the photo.
- Product is a focal point.
Bad example: you can’t understand what the account sells from this photo. Is it shoes, a bag or a top? (Hint: it’s shoes.)
Good example: despite other details, you can clearly see and understand what is offered to you.
3. Basic principles for creating photos: Advice of professionals
Instagram controversy on the topic “a single style or variety” will probably never stop. But I think that a single style and diversity both have the right to exist in your account. Nevertheless, I recommend that businesses adhere to a single style, but personal profiles can be run in a variety of ways.
General rules for both styles:
- Photos must be of good quality.
- Content should be catchy.
- Unusual things will interest people.
- Content must be associated with your account. Ideally, when the user sees a photo in the stream and does not look at the avatar, it recognizes your “handwriting.”
Here are some tips to make your profile catchy:
Take diverse photos and combine them. Take pictures of landscapes, details, try new angles. When you are going to upload a photo, look at the last and third photos and try not to repeat the plan. For example, one photo is a selfie, and the third one is a flat lay (simple overhead shot of a product), so the next photo can be something like architecture or a landscape.
Alternate “loaded” photos with “unloaded” ones. If the last photo shows a city with many details, make the next photo light and airy. Let your Instagram profile breath.
Ideas for a photo. Add to your life profile. A gallery with perfect layouts is good, but users are interested in live accounts. Show your personality!
Watch out for lighting. This is the first rule of quality visual content. If you want your Instagram to become harmonious, take photos in the same light. A win-win option is daylight and diffused light.
Pay attention to the background. If you are doing flat lay, choose a textural background instead of the standard white one: plaid, wood, concrete, fleecy carpet, silk blouse, a slightly wrinkled sheet, a large knit sweater. Thus, the attention of followers will focus on you and your image.
Use applications for processing. For photo processing: Snapseed, VSCO, Lightroom, PS Express, Afterlight, PicsArt, Priime, PicTapGo, Enlight, Facetune. Simple color correction will be enough. To add text to the photo, try using: Over, Fontmania, Canva, PicsArt, AppForType, Font Studio.
Look for your style, experiment, be inspired by the best!
▶ What camera should I use?
You don’t have to purchase a professional camera. Your iPhone will be good enough.
▶ Should I edit photos? How?
If you think it’s needed, you can edit the photo, especially if you want to stick to a single color theme.
How Should you Work with User-Generated Content?
When running an Instagram account, many users face the problem of generating content. You may run out of ideas, have a crisis of creativity, or sometimes just feel lazy. And creating great content takes a huge amount of time. User-generated content on Instagram can solve this problem, either partially or completely.
We will explain how to use User Generated Content (UGC) on your Instagram.
1. The benefits of UGC on Instagram
Let's start by listing the virtues of user-generated content on Instagram:
- It arouses the trust of other users. This is especially true for commercial accounts when people share photos from your cafe or beauty studio. It raises trust.
- Additional audience coverage. When users post photos on their profile, you get their followers as an audience.
- You have more time to create. You do not spend anything on creating such content. People themselves are happy to take photos and share them.
2. How to motivate users to create content for you
Give them a discount. For example, if the buyer liked your product or service, give them a discount on their next purchase for leaving a review.
Hold a contest. Hold a contest of photos with a promoted product among your followers, and publish the best pictures in your profile.
Do not forget about Stories. Encourage followers not only to post photos in their account but also to create Stories with you. And here everything is much simpler, because a Story is temporary content. Mentioning your product or service there is easier for people because it will not appear in their profile.
Create favorable conditions. If you sell auto parts, you will agree that pictures with them are unlikely to appear on the Instagram of bloggers and even ordinary people, due to the highly specific context.
You need to create a special place where your customers want to take a picture and post it to their Instagram. Even a banal press wall and beautiful packages are better than nothing.
Create a trend or a flash mob. Make a specific challenge or a trend to take photos with you. Make people want to take a picture in your office or at the point of sale.
To create a trend, it is better to attract first-rate stars or Instagram influencers with the most related audience for you.
Share your popularity. If you have a large number of followers, you can “offer your fame” in return for user-generated content. The user sends a photo, you post it at your place and tag the author. As a result, everyone is happy — you have content, and the author gets new followers.
A lot of big brands do that — for example, GoPro and Adobe.
3. How to use user generated content
We will analyze two typical situations when UGC can be used to fill an account, both fully and partially.
It is more suitable for accounts of commercial companies when you post user photos with your product, screenshots of a chat or reviews, as well as photo contests or just a photo where you were tagged.
Add a comment to the publication to make it clear to others what it is and why it is published with you. Plus, let's get more information on how to get the same placement.
This model is very popular in thematic public pages. Accounts of services or products that aren’t visually attractive use this model. The user sends the photo to direct and the photo is placed in the profile with a tag. This is a win-win model — everyone benefits from all sides.
Also, this filling model will be relevant for the selection of the best photos of photographers on a specific topic — for example, wedding or travel.
Also, this model is relevant when you create a network of Instagram accounts or “grow” accounts for sale.
4. Repost or an original photo?
Both methods can be used. But no doubt, the original photo is better for the general look of your Feed.
You can either ask for a full resolution picture from the account owner or download it with Instagram Downloader.
Just enter the link of the posts or a username and save the content. Don’t forget to tag the owner. It’s a good idea to ask for permission in advance.
To make a repost on Instagram, you need a third-party apps like Repost for Instagram or Regram Posts.
▶ Is it necessary to post UGC for all types of businesses?
It’s up to you. UGC brings a lot of benefits such as social proof and increased brand awareness. However, these photos/videos should be quality and eye-catching. If your customers do not provide this kind of content, do not include UGC in your content plan.
All about Writing Good Texts on Instagram
We know a couple of people who claim that it’s the text that rules on Instagram, not photos or videos. But while we are convinced Instagram is a territory of visual content, this does not mean that the text can be easily neglected.
There are a couple of nuances that will help create an attractive caption for a photo or video on Instagram.
1. If you do not know where to start, start with: “So, in short...”
No kidding. Just start writing like that, and then tell the thought you wanted to communicate. Such an informal beginning will allow you to remove psychological clamps, the fear of a blank sheet. Just remember to edit a post before posting.
If such a beginning doesn’t get your creativity going, try this one: “Imagine...”
2. Write to a “friend” / understand the target audience
Sometimes we face resistance from beginner account owners: “I don’t know what to write about. Should I write about the fact that I drank some coffee this morning?”
Here is our tip: Just start “chatting with a friend.” He/she can be real or imaginary, but he/she should be similar to your Target Audience.
Start “telling” your friend about what you are doing, for whom, why, and what is the benefit of your product. Then combine it into one post.
Everyone can chat with friends. Use this superpower to create cool texts!
3. If you don’t feel like writing, don’t write
We recommend publishing posts every day or two. Sometimes, such structured approach can make people create useless content.
It’s not necessary to write texts every day to promote your account.
If you do not like to write, you can try a different format — record a video, shoot a screencast, draw comics. Look for your format, your way of communicating with followers, which will be comfortable and allow you to convey the necessary information.
4. Do not forget about the paragraphs
Any text will be easier to read if it contains paragraphs. Separate fragments with different semantic accents from each other with an empty line.
But follow the rule: one thought = one post
The fewer ideas that are embedded in the text, the easier it is perceived. You can do a boring exercise: Ask yourself:
- “Why do we need this post?” / state the purpose of the post.
- “Does this text fit the purpose?”
- “Does this paragraph fit the purpose?”
- “Is this sentence consistent with the goal?”
Anything that does not fit should be deleted!
5. Post a large text in the carousel
On Instagram, it is better to write small notes, shorter than 2,000 characters. Any long text should be shortened.
If you can’t shorten it in any way, try placing it in the first comment or taking a screenshot and posting it as a carousel. Neither option is very good, but we would choose “take a screenshot and post it as a carousel,” because this way you can additionally involve your followers in reading the post, and the first comment is better used for hashtags.
6. Use subtitles in the video
If you publish videos in which the words you say are important, put subtitles in the video. A lot of people watch videos without sound, and subtitles help to understand some important information being transmitted.
Some mobile apps can transfer everything that you say into text for subtitles (such as Clipomatic and Clips). Or you can shoot the video with the teleprompter, reading out the prepared text, and then place the text as subtitles in any video editor.
7. Work on the text constantly
Publishing every day is useful, but not necessary. However, you need to work with texts every day to become truly skillful!
Creating text is like fitness: The winner is not the one who buys a gym membership for six months and only goes to the gym once, it’s the one who does a little activity every day and follows the proper exercises to build up muscles.
The content workout is the same — it’s more important to accustom yourself to working on texts daily. Analyze old posts, look for improvement options. Analyze other people's posts, and ponder why some turned out good, while others turned out worse. Read books, take courses and so on.
8. Always add Call to Action (CTA)
Each post should contain a CTA. Without it, the post won’t bring much benefit. You can call for different actions:
- Ask followers for feedback.
- Tell stories and find out if anyone has had something similar.
- Ask to follow the links in the profile, do reposts and so on.
9. Write about people
People like people, and most of all we like ourselves. When people read a text and recognize themselves in it, the text causes more reactions. And it gives more coverage than if the text is not about us.
10. Make a powerful introduction
There are no headlines on Instagram, but this does not mean that powerful entries can be neglected. If the first sentence is about nothing, far fewer people will want to read further.
11. Remove 35% “without looking back”
Almost any text can be shortened without loss of meaning. Delete filler words, repetitions, interjections, participles and so on. There is a 99% chance your text will be better if it is shortened.
12. Add cases from the past
Take 5 minutes to meditate, take a deep breath and try to recall a case from the past that would fall into this association. Tell this case and tie it to your goal.
13. Start from the end
Posts can be laid out in different structures and models: someone may write according to the AIDA model, someone else may favor Joe Sugarman’s ideas.
But try to move away from the structure and first write the sentence which should be at the end. Then write a sentence which should be before the last one. If you still have time, write a proposal that should be before the penultimate sentence. Continue until the very beginning.
14. Write as you speak
Read aloud what you just wrote. Truly out loud, loud and with expression, not mumbling. If you did not have enough air or stammered when you said something, rewrite it.
There is another option: first outline the thesis, then start explaining it aloud. Then, transcribe that into the text.
15. Light up!
If you write posts just because they need to be written, most likely, they will not work out very well. It is much more beneficial to write about things that you can’t keep silent about rather than those things you don’t like to talk about.
You can limit yourself to a selection and always write about only on 2–5 topics that you understand and which are important to you.
But in fact, no rules exist.
If you try, you can find thousands of people who will advise something else. But it doesn’t matter: just take on board and try to follow the recommendations that you personally like.
▶ Should I always write long captions?
It’s better to mix up long captions with short ones. But all of them should be meaningful.
How do you Hashtag your Business or Services and Categorize Content?
We share how you can make hashtags on Instagram work for the benefit of your business.
There is a simple formula, and following it will make it easier for visitors to find the right things and get the best offers. Read how to simplify the life of yourself and your customers in a few hours.
1. What do you need to know about hashtags?
Hashtags are an identification tool. We like to compare hashtags with the sections in a bookshop: they are signposts to help you find the category of book that you are looking for.
Thanks to the labels on the book shelves, you can quickly find the shelf containing your topic, and on that shelf the book you are looking for. Hashtags work the same way.
If the record has no hashtag, it cannot be found by category. However, hashtags are only relevant if people are looking for the category that the hashtags represents.
2. What are navigation hashtags?
But hashtags can and should be made to work for your business. To do this, use navigation hashtags that direct your audience to the specific content.
For example, a blogger posts his content with #blogerrecommends and the audience knows that by this hashtag they can only find the recommendations of the blogger.
E-stores can mark their goods with navigational hashtags so that potential customers find it and navigate the assortment easy.
Take a look at the example of Longchamp’s account:
Navigation hashtags send those interested deep into the account. They study the content, like and ponder the purchase. Managers can rush into chatting with customers with such hashtags instead of spending time on less profitable activities like uploading photos. In general, this greatly speeds up sales process.
3. How do you make a navigation hashtag system?
The process consists of several stages.
Step 1. Determine whether or not to make this system. You need to evaluate how useful the navigation hashtags will be. Usually, a system is needed only if you have a lot of product items or you regularly make different categories to which followers should be directed.
Let's consider a travel blogger. She talks about the countries she has visited. Obviously, her followers will contact her for “what to eat,” “what to see” and “where to go.” In this case, the blogger can add navigation hashtags.
Imagine that instead of a travel blogger, we have a mono-product brand. It makes no sense to create navigation hashtags for such an account.
Step 2. Determine the rules by which we create hashtags and how we divide the content into categories. These rules need to be made clear to all project participants so that the account, managers and the customer know how to write hashtags correctly.
Step 3. Edit old publications and add the necessary hashtag to them. Don’t forget to use them in all new posts.
Step 4. Notify your followers that you have these hashtags. Your audience will not use them, but when they find out that this system is in place for you, it will be great.
4. What should you pay attention to?
Fix all the hashtags in Google Sheets. This will help to avoid duplicates, allow project participants to monitor changes, and it will also help to quickly create a new hashtag.
For example, let’s create it for an imaginary LIME brand:
Check all the hashtags on Instagram: maybe someone is already using them. In this case, create a new hashtag.
Tell your followers about the hashtag system everywhere: in the feed, in Stories and Highlights.
▶ If I sell only one service, should I categorize my content somehow?
No, it’s not necessary to create rubrics for single service brands.
Stories on Instagram: Secrets of Engagement
We tell how to create Stories on Instagram and make use of them.
I bet you didn’t know that two years ago Instagram began to lose ground. Yes, one of the most popular social networks in the world has begun to yield to the booming Snapchat app. It was then that Instagram sounded the alarm and launched Stories, and this gave them a second life.
If you use Instagram to promote your business or personal brand, then this section will be useful to you.
1. Technical aspects you need to know
1.1 Main modes of Stories
To create a Story, you need to click on the circle with your avatar in the upper left corner on the Home page. Select the mode you want. To do this, swipe left or right. There are currently 6 modes available in Stories:
- Normal Mode
To create a photo, tap the white button in the center. To take a video, press and hold it. Tapping the “flash” icon will turn on the flash.
- Live Mode
This will allow you to broadcast live video to all Instagrammers. After the end, live can be saved, adding hashtags and geolocation, and put in another service — IGTV. In live mode, you can select the camera position: front or back. And if desired, choose an interesting face filter.
Also, a lot of functionality is available to you from the editing menu — gifs, questions, tests, countdown timer:
- Create Mode
Here, you can create everything in text format. The background is set and text is written. To change the background for your text, click on the circle at the top :
By clicking the dice (top of screen), you get a lot of content suggestions.
- Boomerang Mode
It allows you to create short videos that automatically scroll forward and backward.
- Superzoom Mode
This mode allows you to create a “dramatic” face zoom. By default, the effect lasts 3 seconds, to extend, continue to hold the button. Currently 10 video effects are available:
- Hands-free mode
The advantage of this mode is there is no need to hold down the button to shoot video, as is done in normal mode.
1.2 Standard editing features
After taking a picture or video, you will be taken to the editing screen. Let's go through its functionality – it is visual and simple. This is the menu at the top of the screen.
- By clicking on the cross in the upper left corner you can reset everything that you created.
- To save stories to the smartphone’s memory, click on the arrow icon.
- If you want to select a mask, then click on the emoticon icon:
- So that you can tag a business partner on the Story, click on the link icon. Authors, public figures, and publishers can add affiliate tags to their branded content. Remember that only partners with a business profile are shown in the search results.
- The stickers function allows you to add to your Story not only funny stickers and emojis, but also geo, temperature, date, gif, poll, or voting. A special slider for reactions to the story is available – click to select a smiley. You can also add a hashtag, mark another Instagram account and take a picture from the camera. Not so long ago, a countdown timer appeared. :
- The stroke icon allows you to enter the drawing mode: pencil, brush, marker, and eraser are available. There is a dropper to select the desired color:
- To add text, select “Aa.” You can adjust the font size, position, color and rotate the text in different directions. To select a background filter, swipe left or right.
- You can choose to whom exactly you want to send the story. You can send it to a specific user, or make the story available to all users.
- Moreover, Instagram added the ability to create a separate list of the closest friends — you can select a specific group of users and broadcast your Story only to them.
2. Perks of Stories for Business
There are 3 reasons why business people need to pay attention to this tool:
- The reach of publications in the feed is increasing. Stories can create intrigue or attract people to the main posts in the feed. In addition, now there are people who, instead of the news feed, are watching only Stories.
- Targeted advertising is much cheaper. In the Stories, there is so far little competition.
- Engaging the audience. To warm up your followers, you can conduct polls, quests, quizzes and more in the Stories. People are interested in such activities, so it comes with a bang. It helps increase audience engagement.
Nice tool, huh? Now you just need to start using it. But doing it right, because simply uploading photos of goods from your store, from a series of 50 photos one by one, will only scare away your followers and encourage them to unfollow you.
1. Add a link
If you have 10,000 followers, then a new function opens for you – the ability to attach a link in the Instagram history.
To do this, you need to take a picture or shoot a video, and then click on the link icon in the upper right corner.
We also advise you to place the tag of your personal profile in the picture through @____ so most users can easily find you and quickly go to your profile. This is also the answer to the question of how to tag a friend in Stories.
With active interaction, the reach increases significantly. Instagram considers this content interesting and brings it to the top positions of the feed in the Discover section.
And from there, more than one hundred followers can come, literally in a matter of hours.
2. Use Highlights
Everything you upload to Instagram Stories can be saved in your Highlights not only for 24 hours. They form in a certain sequence, and special stories can be added to each of these small windows.
For business, this is good in that you can create a certain type of price list or a guide that users can study without leaving the app.
3. Go Live
Followers like to watch the life of companies not from outside, but from inside. And this tool can be used to its fullest.
Here is a list of ideas that will help make your business account livelier and more interesting for potential customers:
- Live broadcast your events.
- Conduct lessons and master classes online.
- Tell your followers about your new products and services.
- Broadcast in Q&A (questions and answers) format.
One of the important points that even experienced SMM specialists forget about is to pre-specify the date and time and notify your followers about upcoming topics.
This format of communication will help your company gather a loyal audience, as people like to communicate with brands and receive feedback from them.
4. Use geolocation and hashtags
When a user posts a story and adds geolocation, it helps other people find where it is.
This is true in cases where you need to contact people in the neighborhood. By attaching a geolocation, you “place yourself” in this place.
And it’s precisely by the hashtag that other users can find your Stories.
The size of the text is adjustable as well as the size of the stickers. You can choose colors, add a background for the text, align it around the edges, and fill the screen.
5. Track statistics
Each Instagram user sees people who have watched their Stories. This is a kind of guest counter that Instagram has.
To do this, just click on the “eye” icon. If you constantly study browsing stories, you can easily identify your fans.
I strongly advise you to actively work with this information in the future. At a minimum, you will find out who your target audience is and, in principle, will understand it much better.
6. Add GIFs
With the help of a gif in your story you can not only have fun, you can make a video file out of your photo.
This will surely attract new people to your profile.
7. Communicate constantly
People can comment on the Stories. Each comment immediately goes to Direct.
This is great as account engagement is increasing. Don’t forget to add a call to action to motivate people to respond. Or ask followers questions and ask them to answer, go to specific posts or just invite them to participate in surveys and contests.
You know, the more users communicate with you, the more they trust you, which means they are more likely to buy from you.
8. Remind about yourself more often
Instagram Stories feeds are built on a sequential basis. To stay in front, you need to publish 5-10 Stories daily. Of course, they should be done in accordance with the theme of your profile.
But this does not mean that you need to constantly upload dozens of photos to keep first place.
You can’t overfeed the audience, otherwise they will get used to the fact that you have too much content and will flip through it at the speed of light, whereas you need them to examine your content carefully.
9. Conduct polls
Do you want to know what your followers want/think? The most effective and fastest way to do that is to conduct a survey on Instagram.
Thanks to polls, you will not only learn the opinions of people, but also promote your account, since this type of story increases the involvement of users.
And the best part about the poll is that people can watch the results live, and you in turn will see in the history statistics not only the percentage ratio, but also the number of people who voted for a particular option.
Voting is available for 24 hours, and the results are updated in real time.
3. Perks of Stories for personal accounts
First of all, Instagram was created for personal communication, which means that this social network is aimed at entertaining users.
And if you do not have a business account, we advise you not to neglect Stories, since they help in promoting your account very well.
1. Face filters
This is one of the ideas that Instagram developers have successfully “borrowed” from Snapchat.
The implementation was excellent. To revitalize your Stories, you can try on the ears of different animals, wear glasses or don a crown.
To use masks in Stories you need to go to the camera, rotate it and select the icon with a smile.
All available masks are displayed below. Choose the right one and record an interesting Story.
To discover more face filters, scroll left and find the magnifying glass icon:
2. Custom markers
Surely you already know that in Stories you can draw with a marker. However, you may not know that this tool is highly customizable.
For a successful test, you need to shoot a video or take a photo, and then select the marker at the top of the screen with a tap on the icon.
First, you can adjust the width of the marker. Move the size scale down or up. This will adjust the thickness. Next, adjust the color of the marker.
Usually, only 9 classic colors and 18 shades are shown on Instagram. But there is a secret — the whole range of colors is simply closed to you.
To access it, hold the button in any color. After a couple of seconds, you will see the entire color map.
Another way to help you get into the recommended Stories is to use the eraser to get creative.
The eraser has only appeared recently and is considered a new tool. To use it, you need to make a Story and click on the marker icon.
The eraser is used to best effect when you layer a solid color over an image or video background and then reveal only selected parts of the background by erasing the color. Thanks to this tool, you can create some really unusual art.
4. Download Stories
How do you save a story from Instagram? In the settings you should enable the automatic download of all videos and photos.
What is this for? You do not know what materials may come in handy one day. A random old photo will suddenly prove necessary for a new story.
For example, let’s say you decide to post some product, and in a couple of weeks you need to post that it’s sold out. If you saved a photo or video from stories, then just take out the saved photo and put a couple of stickers and text on it. Voila!
Instagram Stories Downloader will come in handy as well.
5. Hide stories from specific people
This is necessary when some followers should not see your content. Maybe you are preparing a cool surprise for someone. Or maybe you just decided to block the user because they write negative messages, but you don’t want to completely block their access to your account.
To do this, open the “Settings” tab, select the Stories settings there and click on the button “Hide my Stories from ...”.
Tricks you didn’t know
We’ve prepared Stories tricks that will make your account the most popular profile.
Of course, this will require not only promotion according to the content plan, but also a significant amount of time.
1. Chronology at the end of the day
Useful life hack from experienced bloggers: lay out Stories at the end of the day. At a minimum, this will give you a chance to select all the content in the last 24 hours.
And during this time you will be able to think through the logic of past events, without haste, and you can add the necessary effects and not regret what was done.
And most importantly, your audience will be able to follow everything that happened to you in the correct sequence.
It may seem stupid, but if you are shooting a process, then watching it in a scattered form is not very interesting. Everything should be structured in your story.
2. Become a director
Stories can make you a full-fledged director who makes a mini-film. In a good movie, there are always 3 things: the introduction, plot and denouement.
Simple shots do not surprise anyone, and the viewer remains indifferent to them. How do you create a story that they want to watch?
It is necessary to make the effect of immersion. Only in this case you will see hundreds of views and messages in Direct.
For example, in December last year, IKEA posted unusual Stories in its profile.
The company showed an advent calendar, which they made from a standard hanger. A box with the right number opens on each day. Then a bundle appears with the name of the product. This is fascinating, and there is a desire to look at the Stories further.
Suppose you find a small lonely kitten. You took him to the veterinarian and they examined him there.
It is logical that you can’t leave him in the clinic, so you are forced to take the animal home.
But often there are situations when the kitten has nowhere to stay because of other pets you have at home. In this case, you can use Stories to quickly find shelter for a kitten or dog.
Storytelling is a format for interacting with an audience through narratives, parables or anecdotes. This format is always welcomed by followers.
Thanks to Instagram stories, you can demonstrate what is happening behind the scenes of your company. For example, restaurants show how cooks prepare delicious dishes for customers.
Ordinary stories for a period of years become boring and familiar. In order for them to attract attention (this is especially important for boring work accounts), the stories can be improved in multiple ways and effects can be used.
You have learned some of the methods above. Now you will learn about some special applications for all sorts of additional improvements. We have chosen the best for you:
- KiraKira – add sparkles to video and photos.
- Chromic – select a lot of filters for video.
- Carve – mount vertical videos.
- VSCO – apply cool filters to the boomerang function.
- Flipagram – add animation and music.
- Snow – make animated collages and masks.
- Cut story – cut long videos into 15 second ones.
- Spark post – use animated texts and interesting effects on photos.
- Hype type – create announcements of publications.
▶ Can you name some accounts we can take an example from?
@elisedarma, @storyeditt, @vanessalau.co, and @alexbeadon all share some ideas and tips for Instagram Stories for businesses and individuals.
How do you Go Live on Instagram Effectively?
Instagram Live is one of the tools of Stories that allows you to communicate with your followers and not only share experiences, but demonstrate the environment in real time. We explain all the nitty-gritty details of it.
1. What are the advantages of the tool?
1. It is not required to purchase special equipment to go live, it’s enough to have a phone with a good camera and a stand or tripod.
2. Live broadcasting is shown in first place in the list of Stories at the top of the news feed. Finally, there is a way to forget about the Instagram algorithm and be in the front!
3. Followers who have Instagram notifications turned on receive a notification about the start of the live broadcast.
4. Live broadcasts create the effect of FOMO (fear of missing out), or the syndrome of lost profit. The audience understands that something important is happening, and is afraid to miss it.
5. At the end of the broadcast, you can save it in Story, add
hashtags and geolocation, and put it on IGTV. Subsequently, this will help in attracting a new audience to your account and increase your reach.
6. Instagram is actively promoting its live broadcasts and, as a result, shows you to a larger number of users. It’s worth trying to go live every week in order to stay “visible” to followers and improve social network position.
7. The statistics of the broadcasts are easy to track: the number of viewers is displayed after the broadcast, and more detailed data is available in the corresponding section.
Live broadcasting is a useful tool that will help you get closer to your target audience and establish effective communication. And it requires consistent training.
2. What to pay attention to while preparing for Live?
- Purpose. What do you want to achieve with the live broadcast? Attract attention to a new product? Strengthen relationships with the audience? Share important achievements or answer questions? Guided by a marketing strategy, you can set the right goals, select the appropriate topics and start preparation.
- Announcement / Promotion. You can post on the topic of the broadcast, offer several options to choose from or ask a question to your followers. Do not forget about motivation: a giveaway, a discount or an exclusive offer for participants. The number of viewers can be increased by notifying your audience about the live broadcast the day before in the feed and duplicating the information in Stories. If you have a budget, it’s good to include paid live promotion (for example, using targeted advertising).
- Communication style and logic. Not everyone can quickly come up with answers to witty comments of followers, or speak freely on any topic, or make jokes, and so on. More often, the audience hears a lingering “errrr.” That is why the appropriate communication is so important.
- Time limit. Live has a time limit of 1 hour.
- Camera. Now is the time to allow Instagram access to your camera on your phone.
- Settings. Before going live, check the settings. Here you can hide the broadcast from some followers, prohibit sharing the video or reply to messages. In addition, the settings allow Stories to be automatically posted to the business account page on Facebook. If you want to save space in the phone’s memory, select “Save to Archive,” then the video will be still be available to you after 24 hours.
- Important privacy settings. Choose “Hide abusive comments” so as not to be distracted by them during the broadcast.
- Atmosphere. What will the audience see when they join the live broadcast? It is easy to find out if you put yourself in the position of the follower. Based on the purpose of the live broadcast and the communication format, you can choose a suitable place or “build a frame.” If you just want to chat with the audience, you can find a cozy cafe, a beautiful place in the city or communicate from the car. Are you planning to talk about the new product? Why not place the logo of the trademark or company in the frame?
3. How to go live on Instagram?
So, you set a goal, notified followers, chose an awesome place and thought out what you will talk about. What next?
1. Open the Camera icon at the top of your Instagram app or swipe right.
2. Choose Live from the bottom of the Story formats. See how many people are online. If there are few people, it is better to move the broadcast to another time. Account statistics will help you in choosing the right broadcast time.
3. Choose the camera position: vertical or horizontal.
4. If you wish, pick out an interesting mask. Instagram offers a huge selection: from the faces of animals to sunglasses and arrows in front of your eyes. Filters can be selected both before and during the broadcast.
5. Set up your phone so that it’s convenient for you to communicate with your audience. Try not to be distracted or annoyed.
6. Press “Live” and welcome!
7. It is important to remember that live broadcasting is interactive: you share news / emotions / stories with the audience and get instant feedback.
4. What should you consider during the live broadcast?
1. Not all followers have the opportunity to join your Live right from the start. A periodic reminder of the topic of the broadcast will help new participants get involved in communication faster. Better yet, pin up the comment with the topic.
You can also insert a link to the landing page or website, a discount promotional code, contact details and other important information in the comments.
2. If before the live broadcast you asked your followers to ask you questions in Stories, use special live-stickers. Pick the most interesting ones, and answer.
You can respond to comments immediately or turn them off.
3. If you need to show the audience the surroundings, just tap twice on the screen.
4. When you broadcast a question-and-answer (Q&A) format and do not have time to give feedback to all participants, ask them to send questions to you in Direct, and then post the answers in Stories.
5. You can invite guests to your Live. Just click on the icon with two emoticons next to the comments field and select the follower you want to add to the Live. The follower will receive a notification that he can accept or reject. In addition, your followers have the opportunity to send a request for participation in your Live. The number of requests is displayed above the icon with two emoticons. Click on it and you will see everyone who sent a request.
6. And you can share the results of the broadcast. After the broadcast is over, you will see the number of viewers on the screen. If the indicator is good, take a screenshot, post it in the Story and thank all the participants. This is further proof of how you value communication with your viewers. Live broadcasts can also be saved and hosted, for example, on IGTV to increase coverage.
5. Basic live formats
Question and answer (Q&A). The most common format that allows you to get closer to followers. It is better to carry out the announcement of this broadcast 2-3 days in advance and periodically encourage followers to send questions by leaving them in the comments to the announcement.
Contests for the best question with a good gift will help to make the broadcast interesting. Offer a free initial consultation to promote services or a discount, trial sample, certificate, bonuses or – in the case of a personal brand— a meeting, a book, access to a seminar, etc.
The live Q&A broadcast can be carried out together with the invited guest, specialist, and colleagues. This will enhance the value of communication.
The announcement and promotion of goods, services, events may be accompanied by a series of live broadcasts. For example, a new clothing collection can be promoted through live broadcasts from a design studio where sketching is done, then again at the fashion show and during the presentations in a mall or company store.
It is important to remember: do not share important news at the beginning of the broadcast. Wait for the number of participants to increase, and then report it.
Intrigue your audience, open up all new facets of your company, make it clear that you have no secrets, and now you are ready to open your virtual doors, disclose secrets, and share your immediate plans. Give followers a sense of ownership and they will love you even more.
Interview. This format, as with “Question and Answer,” requires preparation and a preliminary announcement. Before introducing a guest, it’s worth holding a small contest and giving your followers a chance to guess the guest’s name or ask to leave questions in the comments or send to Direct. You can ask a guest to choose a winner at the end of the broadcast. This will help in keeping the attention of the participants.
Excursions. Engaged in promoting your company? Organize an online tour of the office, introduce followers to a team of specialists, invite the most active participants in the broadcast for a cup of coffee or offer to do a free audit.
Come up with your own format, whether it’s a review of a book or film, culinary experiments, psychology, training, a master class — it does not matter. The main thing is that the topic is useful and interesting for the target audience.
Live gives a sense of infinity. Communicate, share, invite “behind the scenes,” talk about how products work, criticize or become an object of criticism. Bold, honest and informative live broadcasts encourage participants to comment, save and share with friends. Often, live broadcasts become trendsetters, motivate and inspire. This is one of the most valuable tools for getting feedback from followers and interacting with them. Do not stop – experiment with formats and, most importantly, be yourself.
▶ How can I stop being afraid of Live streaming?
You can get over your fear of Live by carefully preparing your script, especially the intro and checking equipment.
Think less about how you look, focus on the value of information you communicate during the Live broadcast.
How can I stop being afraid of Live streaming?
How do you Analyze the Performance of your Content Strategy
You have developed a content strategy, published posts or launched official advertisements. But how can you understand what they have brought to you in the end? The only answer is analytics.
Analytics allows you to spend less on promotion and make the right decisions based on the results. What to analyze and what indicators to measure while working on the Instagram network will be discussed in this section.
KPI is key performance indicators, an important marketing concept. And if we are talking about Instagram, KPI will analyze:
- Change in the number of followers
- Change in reach
- Number of visits to the account
- Number of visits to the site through the account (if the blog has a link to the main site)
- Number of inquiries
An indicator such as the number of hits can also be estimated. But it is better to pay attention to the number of inquiries (calls, messages to Direct, etc.), rather than sales. Why is that? If an incompetent manager answers the buyer at the stage of the call, the sale may fail precisely for this reason, and not because of a bad account promotion campaign.
2. Acquisition and conversion as performance indicators
When it comes to analyzing activity on Instagram, it often means engagement rate. There is a simple formula:
engagement = likes + comments
But getting thousands of likes has not surprised anyone for a long time. This indicator by itself has long faded in an analysis and is not measured independently.
Another factor is comments. It is impossible to cheat on real, lively and meaningful comments. You cannot force people to communicate if a profile is not interesting to them.
If we talk about conversion in social networks, then in different cases it will be measured in different ways. If the product / service is sold only through Instagram, then a conversion is a sale. And we measure the usual ROI, the ratio of profit to cost.
However, there is a second case, where the main sales channel is a website, and social media is just an addition. It is extremely important here to indicate the purpose for which the account was created: following the URL, traffic, brand recognition, etc. You set a goal and, accordingly, analyze it. Measure the number of targeted actions (conversions) performed by followers — this is an excellent indicator of success.
3. Traffic and number of followers
The number of followers on your Instagram account slowly but surely becomes unimportant. And that’s all because it plays absolutely no role. In the ten-thousand-follower accounts the activity can be significantly less than in blogs with 1,000-2,000 followers. What difference does the number of followers make if they don't buy or comment on anything?
It’s better to analyze traffic here. This is especially true when you launch a specific content strategy. The number of unique visitors is tracked and, if everything goes well, it will grow. Look at both daily indicators and monthly growth.
4. Hashtags and their analytics
After Instagram introduced hashtags, they simply cannot be ignored.
correct hashtag = new followers
Tracking their performance and the number of followers they brought is very simple thanks to Instagram Insights. Click View Insights under any post to find the stats. This is available for all professional accounts.
▶ How often should I analyze the performance of my account?
You should do it regularly if you want to improve your strategy and grow on Instagram.