Recently I started digging into the analytics of my favorite social media channel – Instagram. When using Iconosquare – which I highly recommend – I found some really interesting info and eye-opening insight into the best practices for using the social network that allows folks to “take that photo instantaneously and put it out there on the line.”
1. Timing is Key
No matter how adorable your post may be – and I run my puppy Derby’s Instagram (yes, feel free to judge), so I know about adorable Instagrams – timing is the key to your post’s success. By using Iconosquare to analyze my posts and find the most popular (a.k.a. most liked and commented on posts), I noticed a trend. My most-liked posts all happened to be on Saturdays, Sundays or Mondays in the evenings, around 6pm – 12am.
I also noticed a trend in my least liked photos. Photos posted on Wednesdays, Thursday and Fridays had the least traction – particularly Friday evenings. They were bound to fail! As you can see, this is reflected in the graph above for top interaction times in the puppy-loving community. I apparently need to start posting more on Mondays and Tuesdays to keep up Derby’s appearance in the community!
Keep in mind this may not be the same as your community, so use Iconosquare for the most optimal times to post on your Instagram accounts.
2. Hash(tag) It Out
Oh hashtags, how I love thee – especially on Instagram because the more the merrier! However, I don’t exactly LOVE when my feed is half adorable puppies and half an onslaught of never-ending hashtags. I mean – I get it. Owners want their cute pup’s face featured by the almighty @Petbox, @Pupbox, @DogsofInstagram, @BarkBox and more! That doesn’t give them clearance to add 197749202 hashtags to the description of their post.
What I highly suggest is switching it up. Create a super cute and eye-catching description (if applicable, use emojis) with 3-5 hashtags in it. Then add a comment below with the 197749202 hashtags to help get your post noticed. Plus, when I did this I saw an uptake in comments.
While you’re at it, check your used hashtags and the top hashtags on Instagram with Iconosquare. Pro tip: If you add irrelevant hashtags just for the sake of reach, that’s called spam. Only use the hashtags that are relevant to your photo. Check out @PBR for how to include real-time popular hashtags the RIGHT way.
Also, I know everyone loves to participate in #throwbackthursday – it’s fun to look at photos taken x number of years ago and of adorable little puppies. However; like I said – everyone loves to participate. Don’t expect #throwbackthursday or #tbt to magically get you likes from new users. At this moment, #throwbackthursday has 48,815,529 total photos – that means (according to math) 184,209 #throwbackthursday posts are shared on Instagram every single Thursday since 2010 – that’s 7,675 photos per hour on Thursdays! #TBT has 350,348,463 total photos, so don’t expect magic to happen there either.
3. Editing Apps
While Instagram provides editing tools, they’re still lacking features that other apps offer. Here are a few of our favorites:
- VSCO Cam – This is the one the pros recommend (also, #vscocam happens to be one of the most popular hashtags on Instagram). When Nashville, Walden and X-Pro II aren’t enough, VSCO provides more professional filters that create higher-quality photos. “If you want your photos to look ripped straight out of a back issue of National Geographic (or Vogue), VSCO Cam is your best bet.”
- Aviary – This is one of my personal favorites. If you’re looking to add a bit of that “hipster” edge to your photos, Aviary is perfect for you. It’s clean, simple and easy to use while giving you all the features semi-pros are looking for in an editor. While I’m definitely team iPhone, “Photo Editor by Aviary is a wonderful app for Windows Phone Users.”
- PicLab – When you want to create beautiful photos with text on them – such as for holidays and things – this can be your go-to app. With a simple and easy interface, PicLab provides fun graphics, fonts and filters to create an eye-catching image. I highly recommend using PicLab to promote contests and giveaways – which you can share across platforms!
- Pic Stitch – If you’re looking to create a photo collage, this is the app you need. Not only do photo collages grab more attention, therefore more likes and comments, they are also a great way to mix up your photo content.
4. More Pro Tips
I’ve been using Instagram for a while now, both personally, professionally and for the pup, so I’ve learned a few things both from trial and error as well as watching others:
- Engage! Whether it is following back, leaving a comment saying “thanks for following me,” liking photos with relevant hashtags or replying to comments – be a human!
- Feature fan photos. Some of the most successful brand (and even pup) accounts do a “Feature Friday” that showcases and promotes other accounts. For brands, I recommend featuring fan photos that use hashtags specific to your brand – check out @Starbucks, @PupBox, @GoPro and @Petco for how they regram.
- If you’re going to promote, be fun with it! Examples:
- If you plan to take advantage of holidays, be sure that your picture is HIGHLY relevant. Don’t just post a puppy looking adorable on Thanksgiving and expect it to take off. Post a super cute puppy sitting politely (or not so politely as Derby would do) at the kitchen table or by the turkey. If doing holidays, go all in!
- You want to aim for 10% engagement rate. If you and math aren’t best friends, that means if you have 700 followers, you want to have 70+ likes per photo.
- Post. Quality. Pictures. (Enough said.)
Starting out your Instagram can be a challenge and doing things the white-hat way (a.k.a., NOT BUYING FOLLOWERS), takes patience, diligence and hard work. If you’re in need of help, shoot us a message and we can help you out!
P.S. Be sure to follow our Instagram, @GoBeyondSEO, to see updates from our team!