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Instagram: Tips and Tricks – Lesson One

I’m going to do a series on how to use Instagram for business. I have been using it quite a bit for the last six months and have seen my follower count rise from 200 to 1300, my average like per image has gone up from around 10, to 200 (and if I get less than 100 likes on an image, I see it as a failure), and my interaction rate has gone up by around 700% – what surprises people most when I talk about Instagram, is how much business I get through it.

I get, on average, about 3 solid leads per month through Instagram. 3 leads isn’t much I hear you scream, but that’s 3 leads I didn’t have without it, and for the 30 seconds per day it takes me to post, that’s worth it – 3 websites per month, that’s a business in itself anyhow.

So, onto my tips. Today is all about using finding your groove and using hashtags to get your stuff out there, it’s great having wonderful images, but if nobody is finding them, you’re never going to grow. And growth is what it is all about.

Find Your Niche

First off, you need to work out who you’re talking to. I’m a web designer and developer, so my shots are all code or design work, images of my screen, or my setup, or my desk – you get the idea.

Once you know who you are, and who you’re talking to, the job becomes easier. Look at what other other people like you take images of, what images get lots of likes, why are they getting so much engagement on their images? By analysing others, you quickly work out what you should be doing and what people are responding to.

When I started out, my IG was a big mix of images. They were all over the place, but I focussed my attention on things like this:

ig-setup

And boom, overnight I got 100 new likes, and 30 new followers. As your followers grow, your likes naturally increase, and as that happens, your followers will go up, as you have more chance of being featured in the top posts section for a hashtag.

Work those Hashtags

It’s really important to tag correctly. I always go with a few tags by default – usually those are: #WebDesign #WebDevelopment #html #css #javascript

After that, it depends on the focus of the image. But I always keep it niche – don’t go for things like IGDaily or other hashtags that have millions of views. You want things that are related to you and your industry. If you’re a web designer, obviously you want to use #WebDesigner or #WebDesign (or both). If you are a charity, don’t just use #Charity – use it in conjunction with what you actually do – for instance, if you are a charity that deals with Bullying for instance, then you may use #Charity #bullying #stopbullying #stopbullys #bully – do your research and work out what hashtags suit your content.

A quick trick is to use the days of the week to enhance your hashtags – now, these can vary from day to day, and it kind of goes against what I said about being specific, but you should utilise these where possible, as from experience, these hashtags do tend to get me more likes than not using them… it does depend on your image, so pick wisely.

Monday: #MondayBlues #ManicMonday #MusicMonday #MondayFunday

Tuesday: #TransformationTuesday (aka #tt) #TravelTuesday #TuesdayTreat #TuesdayBoozeday

Wednesday: #HumpDay #WellnessWednesday #WednesdayWisdom #WayBackWednesday #WisdomWednesday

Thursday: #ThrowbackThursday (aka #tbt) #ThankfulThursday #Thursdate #ThirstyThursday #ThursdayFunDay

Friday: #FridayNight #FridayFunday #FlashbackFriday #FollowFriday #FeatureFriday #FridayReads

Now, it’s worth noting that you can and should expand on these – make your own ones that fit you and see if anyone else is using a similar version perhaps. For me, I found quite a bit of joy with #WordpressWednesday being a coder, but you need to experiment with your own market.

So, in short, find your niche, find your target hashtags and for the love of all things holy, take good pictures!

You’ll be growing your account in no time, and believe me, once you start, you won’t stop!