Tips for using Instagram

How to Improve at Instagram

Whenever I talk with my students, Instagram almost always wins the popularity content in terms of social media networks. It’s easy to see why. Instagram is full of high-quality, creative and inspiring photography with thoughtful captures and is (usually) devoid of the bickering that is pervasive in spaces like Facebook and Twitter.

But Instagram has its own challenges, especially for a new user or someone in social media marketing. So how can you improve at Instagram? You’re in luck – because last week I was at the Online News Association annual conference in Denver, where Instagram’s Lila King shared the most frequently asked questions about Instagram and her advice to tackle those issues.

Question 1: How do I grow my audience faster on Instagram?

Three pieces of advice here: Use location tags (if your photo or video is relevant to a location), post more (King suggested 1-2 posts per day), and have a narrow focus with your posts. If you can become great at a niche, you will build an audience of people expecting more great content from you.

Question 2: How do I get more engagement?

This answer was simple: Video, video, video. Big brands are seeing huge success by posting more videos instead of photos. Bleacher Report, for example, went from a 60:40 photo to video strategy to a 60:40 video to image strategy, and comments went up 63%.

Question 3: What kind of video works best?

King says you have to start with the good stuff. Video view counts after three seconds – so you want eye-catching content at the beginning. Also, make it easy to understand with or without sound. About half the time, people watch without sound, and subtitles can lead to longer watch times. Finally, when in doubt, go square. This is not a hard and fast rule, but if you’re not sure about video orientation, it’s always best to go square. Do so if for no other reason than this: Square videos take up more space when scrolling.

Question 4: How do I find other people’s Instagrams?

There are 95,000,000 things posted every day on Instagram. Use the search function in the app. Take a look at the suggested follows. Search for hashtags. Search location tags. All you have to do is look.

Question 5: What should we do on Stories?

Instagram recently launched Stories, a video and photo feature where the content expires after 24 hours. (Think Snapchat on Instagram.) King says Stories is a great place to experiment. Figure out what your audience might be into and run with it.