An average of 80 million photos are uploaded to Instagram each day. That’s a whole lot of #squadgoals and #ootd shots.

It’s also a very good reason to make sure your Instagram strategy stands out from the crowd.

With its ever-increasing user growth and high brand engagement rates (according to Forrester, brand engagement on Instagram was 10x higher than Facebook, 54x higher than Pinterest, and 84x higher than Twitter), it’s clear that Instagram is becoming an increasingly valuable social network for marketers in all industries.

 

In this post, we’ll look at five ways to take your Instagram strategy from good to great – and provide tangible tips to put into effect along the way.

1.Define Your Visual Style

 

Because Instagram is the most visual social network, the first place to start when upgrading your strategy is upgrading your imagery.

Every image you upload should be a part of a cohesive visual experience – consistency is created not just by what content you post but how that content is styled visually, from composition to color.

Whether your brand personality is bold and boundary-pushing, rugged and outdoorsy, or wholesome and family-focused, your visual style is key to conveying who your brand is and what your brand stands for.

Keep in mind that your Instagram visuals should align with your overall visual branding. Note how nearly every photo on Coca-Cola’s Instagram features the brand’s signature red.

This applies to brand fonts as well. Take a look at Slow & Low whiskey, for example: When posting text-heavy images, they use the same font as on their packaging. This consistency ensures that when a photo appears in a fan’s feed, there’s instant brand recognition.

 

2. Be Prepared to Meet High Expectations

 

Take a look at any account climbing towards Instagram-famous, and the one thing you won’t ever see is lackluster photography.

With over 40 billion photos to look at on Instagram, no one has time for a grainy, dark, or cluttered photo. Given this, you know you need high-quality photos – but this doesn’t mean you need the resources to staff a professional photo shoot for every Instagram post.

Batch photo shoots, where a photographer captures a batch of images all at once, whether in studio or at site-specific locations, are a great way to make the most of your time and money – for many brands, this may involve creating the bulk of a month’s Instagram content in one day. This enables companies to create a cache of images that can be scheduled in advance, and supplemented with real-time captures.

 

3. Perfect Your Content Mix and Cadence

 

Keep your fans and followers engaged with a varied content mix.

An easy way to do this is to divide your content editorial calendar into multiple content buckets that all ladder up to your overall brand story.

Good exampla is Instagram account of Bay Area design studio Most Modest as an example: scrolling through Most Modest’s feed reveals a handful of distinct content types: product shots, workshop/process shots, close-up detail shots, and lifestyle shots, all of which combine to tell the story of a brand devoted to thoughtful details, a modern, playful aesthetic, and functional design, that takes pride in their team and community.

ariety is great when it comes to content types, but when it comes to your content cadence, a consistent publishing schedule is necessary, whether that means 2x a day or 5x a week.

 

4. To Hashtag or Not to Hashtag

 

For many, hashtag overkill is akin to the much-maligned practice of keyword stuffing that once gave SEO a tarnished reputation.

A crowded clump of hashtags is a surefire way to appear spammy – but that doesn’t mean the fewer, the better. Hashtags are an important part of the Instagram ecosystem; they serve as one of the easiest ways to find content tailored to your interests – and for others to discover your content.

Hashtags can build your community, increase your engagement, and grow your followers. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, but for many brands a best practice is under 10. One study determined that seven hashtags is the optimal number, but finding the right balance between ‘not even trying’ and ‘spam alert’ will depend on your brand voice, content, and audience.

When it comes to using hashtags to attract new followers and get your images in front of new eyes, a little strategic thinking goes a long way. While you don’t want to avoid using popular hashtags, many of these hashtag streams are so gigantic (for example as of today #tbt pulls in 343+ million photos) that your image will be rapidly pushed toward the bottom of an ever-lengthening collection.

This is where niche hashtags – specific and relevant to your image – come in.

 

5. Harness the Power of the Branded Hashtag

 

As of 2015, 70% of the most-used hashtags among 100 leading global companies were branded, and that number is surely rising as more brands find their fit on the fast-growing network.

Branded hashtags can help create community among your fans, and can be the perfect way to encourage and consolidate user-generated content.

Branded hashtags don’t need to be limited to the traditional form of a brand name (#KitKat) or tagline (Kit Kat’s #HaveAbreak). By creating original hashtags relevant to imagery that moves beyond product-specific callouts, brands can attract a wider audience by displaying the lifestyle ethos behind the product.

On Instagram, as on all social, a little strategy goes a long way. Keeping these five tips in mind will ensure your brand’s presence is truly #inspo-worthy.

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If you would you like to know more about how Dot4digital can help you with your Instagram account, you are very welcome to get in touch.