Instagram has seen tremendous growth over the past few years. As a result, more businesses are flocking to the visual-driven app in hopes of reaching its younger demographic. Most businesses have done well with learning the basics of Instagram, but they’ve only scratched the surface.
If you’ve been limiting your brand to only posting a picture with quickly written captions, it’s time to take it up a notch. Start using these 10 Instagram hacks to be a more effective social media marketer.
1. Make Your Bio Link Dynamic
You get one clickable link in your Instagram account, but you can change it as much as you’d like. Instead of using your home page URL and never touching it again, use the link in your bio to promote your latest content or special promotions. Create a post (or a series of posts) on Instagram with a call to action to click the link in your bio for more information.
One of the most colorful holidays of the year is splashing its vibrant glow around the world for the annual #Holi festival. Thousands of people in #SouthAsia flocked to the streets to welcome #spring and celebrate life in color. Click the link in our profile for more on this vibrant festival. (Image: Burhaan Kinu/ Getty Images)
This Instagram hack makes it easier to measure social media traffic to specific pages from the platform. Just make sure you use UTM parameters or a link shortener like Bitly to track your traffic.
Another great way to use the link in your bio is to gather email subscribers. You can split test different landing pages and offers to see which gives you the best results.
2. Add Line Breaks in Your Bio & Captions
Have you ever scrolled through your Instagram feed and noticed a post with an extremely long caption, without any line breaks? Chances are you kept scrolling without giving it a second look.
Huge blocks of text on Instagram can be difficult to read and skim. Luckily, there’s a hack that lets you turn that ugly text block into organized paragraphs. For Android users, you can just use the return button on the keyboard to create line breaks. Unfortunately, iOS users don’t have that option, but here’s how to do it.
You can’t add line breaks within the Instagram app on your iPhone, so you’ll need to use a separate app to write your caption. Most notepad apps will work. Then write your Instagram caption exactly how you want it to appear on the app, including the line breaks between paragraphs. Copy the text and paste it into your Instagram post. The end result is a caption that’s a lot easier on the eyes and has a better chance of being read.
Here’s a video that walks you through the process.
You can do the same thing with your bio.
3. Learn Instagram’s Lingo
Using hashtags is a great way to make it easy for people to find your content on Instagram. Unlike other social networks like Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, you can’t search for keywords in Instagram. Instead, you search by hashtags.
So if you want your marketing-related post to show up when people are searching, you would include the hashtag #marketing in your post.
In addition to niche specific hashtags, there are some universal ones that will give your posts more visibility. Here are some popular hashtags that can be used by any brand on a continuous basis.
- #instagood: Use this hashtag when you post a picture that you’re particularly proud of. The hashtag was started by the account @instagood to highlight some of the top photos on Instagram.
- #tbt: This is an acronym for Throwback Thursday. You can use it when you’re posting pictures from the past. For example, you could post a photo from when you first started your company or an event you attended years ago. Obviously, this hashtag is reserved for Thursdays.
- #photooftheday and #picoftheday: When you’re posting multiple pictures each day, you can use either of these hashtags to highlight your top photo for the day. You can get creative and use this hashtag to spotlight the top posts from fans that tag you in photos.
- #selfie: It should go without saying, but if you’re posting a selfie, it doesn’t hurt to add this hashtag.
- #like4like: If you’re trying to drive engagement for your posts, this hashtag signals to other users that if they like your post, you’ll return the favor. Don’t rely on this tactic though. Build organic engagement for your posts as a long term strategy.
- #foodstagram: Instagram has become the go-to app for sharing photos of what you’re eating. Use this hashtag when you’re posting pictures of meals. Hack No. 6 will come in handy for these photos.
- #nofilter: You can use this hashtag when you’re posting photos that haven’t been edited or altered with filters. Next to the Mayfair filter, posts without any filters received the most engagement according to data from Track Maven.
4. Resize Photos for Instagram
Do you have a photo that you took a while back that would be perfect for Instagram? Don’t just rush to post it. First, make sure that it’s sized and correctly cropped. You can do this manually by cropping your pictures to fit Instagram’s dimensions, but a better solution is to use Landscape.
Landscape is a free tool that resizes your photos to fit perfectly on Instagram and other social networks.
First, upload the picture you want to resize, and select the social networks you want to upload to.
Then choose the size you want your image to be.
Finish it off by cropping your picture to get the right look, and you’re all set!
If you have photos you took a while back with a digital camera and want to share them on Instagram, this hack will make sure you don’t lose quality when you upload it.
5. Regram & Tag Influencers
Sharing content from other users is a great way to build relationships on social media. Twitter has Retweets. Pinterest has Repins. Instagram has regramming. However, Instagram doesn’t have a built-in feature to regram posts by other users. But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
There are several Instagram apps such as Websta and Repost for Instagram that will let you repost photos from other users without having to take screenshots and cropping.
When you repost another user’s photo, make sure you tag them in the caption so they receive a notification, and also to credit the original source.
6. Become an Amateur Photographer
You don’t have to pay for photography classes, but learning some basic skills can prevent your pictures from looking like they were taken with an old school flip phone. Here are some great Instagram hacks for beginners to take better photos:
- Use natural lighting: We’ve all seen dark photos with poor lighting on Instagram. They don’t stand out and look low quality. Sunlight is nature’s Instagram filter! Give your pictures a more professional look by opening up the blinds or going outside to capture as much natural light as possible. This photo from Serious Eats shows how much of a difference lighting makes.
- Choose a focal point: Your photos should have a clear point of focus that your image centers around. Whether it’s a person, product or another object, choose a focal point for each photo to give your pictures more direction and clarity.
- Color matters: Beautiful vibrant colors can really make your pictures stand out. When you’re taking pictures, look for settings that have eye-catching colors, rather than a monotone color scheme that just blends together.
- Get the right angle: Changing the angle of your photo can drastically change the outcome. Most people default into a head on angle, looking directly in front of them. But getting a view from below, higher up or close up can add a more dramatic look to your post.
- Embrace white space: Instead of trying to crowd your pictures with as many objects as possible, sometimes it can be helpful to use white space to make your photos look more crisp and less busy.
- Don’t over-edit: You shouldn’t spend hours on photoshop editing a picture for Instagram. Photos that have been drastically altered come off as fake and unnatural.
7. Use the Right Apps
Part of Instagram’s appeal is its simplicity, but that comes at a cost. Because of Instagram’s minimalist approach, you don’t get certain features that would help you be a more efficient marketer, such as advanced image and video editing.
In order to go beyond the basic features of Instagram, you’ll need the help of some external apps. With so many to choose from, you could quickly use up all your phone’s storage testing different apps. But we’ll save you some time. Take a look at our list of 21 free Instagram apps that will help you create better posts or learn more about Sprout’s Instagram integration.
8. Find Users With the Same Size Audience
Doing outreach on Instagram is a great way to grow your audience. The mistake a lot of people make is reaching out to the top tier accounts with a much larger following. Depending on the situation, this may work sometimes. But in order to get better results, try sticking to users with an audience size that’s comparable to your own.
The reason behind this is that there should be some exchange of value. When you’re reaching out to people with a similar sized following, there’s an even trade off. But when one account has 500k followers while the other has 100, the relationship is clearly leaning toward one side. Also, keep in mind that accounts with larger audiences get approached frequently for collaborations and shoutouts, so they’re aware of the value they bring.
There are some exceptions. For instance, if you have a smaller following, but your audience is very engaged, that’s an advantage that larger brands will find appealing. Think about what your brand can offer when you’re reaching out for shoutouts or collaborations.
9. Post Teasers Before Announcements
Do you have a big announcement you want to make on Instagram? Instead of waiting until the day of, plan out a series of teasers to get your audience intrigued and amped up. This will keep people coming back to your page on a regular basis, which is going to be particularly important in the wake of Instagram’s algorithm change.
When Ubisoft was getting ready to release Tom Clancy: The Division, it didn’t just create one post. Fans were teased with screenshots and even a countdown to the game’s release.
Develop a strategy for your Instagram posts to build hype and create an experience.
10. Customize Your Instagram Feed
A lot of brands have become creative with the way they use Instagram’s grid-style feed. One of the most popular tactics we’ve seen is creating full-sized banners out of multiple posts.
Photography duo Sarah and Graeme Nickerson have perfected the art of Instagram banners.
There are several apps available that make it easy to create Instagram banners. The way they work is by taking a full image, and dividing it up into individual Instagram sized posts.
You should also be mindful of how your Instagram posts look next to each other. Even if you’re not trying to create a banner like the one above, you still want to maintain visual consistency in your feed. Some users like to stick to a specific color scheme or style of photo. Photographer Marioly Vazquez uses a pastel color scheme to create a cohesive look for her feed.
Look at your Instagram feed as a whole, rather than a series of individual unrelated posts.
Bonus Instagram Hack
One last Instagram hack is to leave a majority of your hashtags in the comments section instead of inside your caption. When Instagram searches for hashtags in posts, it doesn’t just look at your caption, it also looks at hashtags used in the comments section.
By adding your hashtags inside a comment immediately after publishing your post, you’re able to keep your caption clear and concise. You can use one or two hashtags in your caption, then leave any additional ones as a comment.
What are some of your favorite Instagram hacks? Leave a comment below and let us know!