Social Media Best Practices: Instagram Part 2


Now that you know the basics of what, when and how often to post on Instagram, let’s a take a deeper dive into how to make your brand stand out in its sea of images. From how to build, retain and engage your fanbase to effectively using hashtags, this list will help you take your brand’s Instagram presence to the next level.

Instagram Part 2: Building and Engaging Your Audience

Now that you know the basics of what, when and how often to post on Instagram, let’s a take a deeper dive into how to make your brand stand out in its sea of images. From how to build, retain and engage your fanbase to effectively using hashtags, this list will help you take your brand’s Instagram presence to the next level.

Building and Retaining Your Fanbase

The, ‘If you build it, they will come.” mindset does not work on Instagram. It’s up to you to cultivate your fanbase. To begin, follow these four steps:

Step 1: Broadcast to your existing social networks that your brand is now on Instagram (or has been on Instagram) and invite them to follow along.
Step 2: Implement Instagram calls-to-action/icons on your website/email communications/other marketing channels
Step 3: Follow potential fans. Search relevant hashtags, brand names, industry specific terms and follow potential fans. Some of these fans will follow you back!
Step 4: Consistency. If you have a fan that is on the cusp of following you, knowing that you regularly post great content could be the key to converting them to a follower. It also helps to keep your current fanbase active and engaged in the brand.

Engaging your Followers

So now that your fans are flocking and following your account it’s time to start posting, but what exactly should your strategy be to encourage maximum engagement?

Content:Instagram is all about instant gratification, as such, Instagram videos as a whole, don’t see as much engagement as their motionless counterparts. However, some videos/brands see massive engagement with video if it’s well -shot, interesting and follows video best practices.

For most brands, photos should account for 80–90% of their Instagram mix. If you’re deciding on whether or not a post should be taken as a video ask yourself these questions:

  • Would motion or audio make this post more interesting?
  • Does a static post not fully capture the the moment?
  • Can I currently shoot a well-lit and steady video?

Other video best practices include:

  • Use one filter through the whole video
  • Don’t over edit—authenticity is a powerful aspect of Instagram
  • Utilize all available 15 seconds of filming
  • Keep your hand steady while filming

Filters: In general, #nofilter is the best filter. You’re on Instagram to showcase your brand or product, not to show off how awesome Kelvin is (or isn’t). For the non-brand/product shots a filter can be used if it helps establish a tone or mood in the shot.

Contests: Contests are definitely one of the most popular (and fun) ways to keep fans engaged on Instagram. With a contest you can reward your followers for interacting with your brand, sharing their own pictures and videos and for being generally awesome. With SocialToaster, we make hosting a challenge super simple by tracking contest hashtags and participation for you.

Using Hashtags

Hashtags—as you may have guessed—are a big part of reaching the widest audience possible and encouraging engagement on Instagram. This list of points to consider should help untangle things a bit:

Placement: Hashtags can be placed in a few different ways. However, at SocialToaster we recommend either incorporating the hashtags into the natural language of the post (if you’re only using one or two), or placing them in a new comment following your post (if you’re using more than two). The latter strategy is particular helpful for posts that receive several comments as your hashtag comment will become hidden in the comment stream.
Count: In a study of 150,000 posts from brands on Instagram, Piqora estimates that 73% of brands are using either too few or too many hashtags per post. According to their study,  7 hashtags per post bolsters up to 23% more likes.
Selection: Now let’s talk about the hashtags themselves—what should they be?

  • Your brand name should definitely be a hashtag; this makes it easy for fans to find your content and each other.
  • If your brand already has a campaign hashtag, use it! If not, think of an actionable hashtag like #ShareaCoke which allows fans to be the subject of the campaign instead of just the audience.
  • Connect with circles or communities your brand is or would like to be a part of. Whether your brand is best suited for the #Fitsipration crowd or the #CraftBeerLovers, there’s more than likely a hashtag or two that can connect you with those fans.
  • Tie in with the local or regional footprint of your brand (if you’re a smaller company) hashtagging to your city, county or state if able.
  • Don’t be afraid to join in on the macro-Instagram fun with the occasional #Tbt post or other regular Instagram occurrences.


By now we have probably all figured out that Instagram does not make links clickable in captions or comments (unless paid for), so where can we put them? One place that should absolutely have your website URL is the profile section; there it will be clickable. Now how do we draw attention to your link?

There are three options:

  1. You can write “click the link in our profile” (or something to that effect) in your caption.

  2. You can put a call to action to visit your website in the location section of a post.

  3. You can also put your website URL directly in the location section, however it will not be clickable.

The location section can also be useful to draw attention/engagement to your other social platforms as well. For example PBR in this post uses the location section to draw eyeballs to their Snapchat account.

Did you get all that? We know that was a lot to take in, but an effectively run Instagram is a necessary part of your brand’s social strategy. At SocialToaster, we understand this and have the know-how to amplify your brand’s Instagram presence. To talk to the experts, give us a call at 855.628.6278 or visit today!


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