I’ve had an Instagram post going round my head for weeks now on the positive aspects of that platform, and I keep meaning to  write, edit and publish it, but get sidetracked Homer Simpson style by some gym, coffee or food activity, but now I deliver. 

I’ll begin with a bold assertion: Instagram is great.

On a personal and business level, I prefer it to any other social media platform.

If your business is not on it, give your head a knock and commit to getting an account and linking it with your Facebook page and soon.

You love a list, I love a list, so let’s list:

  1. Instagram has no follower to follow ratio, unlike Twitter. It’s why many Instagram business accounts have 5000 followers and follow no one back. Instagram allows that sort of rockstar behaviour. You can follow 5000 yourself and have 10 following back or the other way round.
  2. Instagram is a conversation based on photos – not stock photos; it’s supposed to be spontaneous – hence why you can’t upload photos from a desktop – Instagram is mobile app based.
  3. Tell stories. Tell 5 to 30 a day. I do. It increases engagement and they implode after 24 hours but can be deleted any time by you from your story thread. You can even hide your stories from people who you don’t want watching you – your mum, your rivals, that bloke you worked with you who you can’t stand. You get the idea.
  4. Alter story formats: you’ve four options with stories: Live, Normal, Boomerang, Hands Free. Live is just that – you go live and attract viewers or not to your ramblings, but unlike Facebook Live, there’s no option to upload at the end. Once End is clicked that Live video leaves no footprint on your Instagram account. Normal is a still shot: forward or backward facing ideal for pouting selfies. Boomerang meshes a series of short movements and can be effective too. Hands free is a short video that Instagram self times and ends with its counter. Try them. Go to your own profile, click Home bottom left and swipe in from the left to reveal the 4 options.
  5. Hashtags should come in your first comment not the caption of the photo to keep the caption clear. Hashtags are metadata tags which make words searchable online – they’re used on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram where you can add up to 30, though 11 is reckoned to be the optimal amount.
  6. If someone comments, reply by hitting reply, unless it’s a robot asking you to get followers, in which case don’t reply, delete and block. I do. I refuse to let bots beat me on Instagram.
  7. Like other people’s photos by double tapping. You know those types at parties or meetings, you’d like to maim because all they ever do is talk about themselves? Don’t become one of those on Instagram by pouting, hashtagging for England for vanity likes whilst ignoring everyone else. Engage in the platform.
  8. Watch other stories daily. I do. They’re amazing actually in their breadth of content – you’ve got the usual mundanity of someone making a meal or coffee (yes that’s me) but then you have phenomenal insights where someone is in the Alps or attempting to cross a road in India. You learn from watching others and others see you’re watching and may watch you emptying the dishwasher for the second time that day.
  9. Post at least once a day. 5 to 30 stories and one photo to your feed, with hashtags in the comment.
  10. Link it with a Facebook page to get analytics. You’ll quickly learn when the highest engagement is (always after 5pm in the UK), with it spiking, believe it or not, at 2 am. You can boost and sponsor posts too across both Facebook and Instagram.

Finally, imbue it with your personality, your brand.

Social media marketing is about communicating, building trust and rapport, telling stories and showing your personality.

Do it on Instagram.

Call to action: follow me too on there.