Currently, the social media channel that consumes half of my free time is Instagram with Snapchat just barely coming in second. But I’ve found that keeping up with the most recent social media channels can be almost as challenging as herding cats. To avoid making yourself or your business look like an amateur on Instagram, I put together a list of my favorite tips that can help you become an Instagram pro!

Subscribe To Instagram Marketing Websites

To be in the loop with the latest updates regarding social media, I strongly suggest subscribing to a few different websites that will send information about the latest social media updates and trends directly to your inbox. Some of the sites I find most useful include Hubspot, Later and Entrepreneur. Later was created for scheduling posts on Instagram so the emails from them are primarily about Instagram. The other two contain an array of different topics, but I’ve found several useful social media tips in these emails which are linked throughout this post.

#Hashtag Your Posts

Hashtags were born on Twitter and they are now one of the essentials to success on Instagram. Instagrammers search for different subjects using hashtags, and it is the quickest way for your posts and your channel to be found. I suggest keeping hashtags to a minimum in your main caption, many times including up to 3. To add hashtags to your post without ruining your caption, post a comment right after posting the picture with the hashtags that make sense for your post. Here’s an example:

To find out what hashtags to use on your post, check out this article that gives hashtag ideas sorted by topic. I also love this article that I found in Google written by a fabulous local Dallas blogger, Sarah Webb, with even more hashtag ideas.

Post Frequency

You may have noticed a difference in which posts are appearing in your feed after a recent update made later this past summer. Instagram felt it was time to clean up the way they show your posts by showing the accounts you engage with the most first and others later on down the feed. This was great for staying up to date with friends, but not so great for businesses trying to gain and maintain a strong following. This Entrepreneur article about making your Instagram account impressive recommends posting on Instagram 3 times a day, and even more on Facebook.

Captivating Captions

Another tip from the Entrepreneur article discusses the importance of writing a caption that catches the attention of your followers. This is the hardest part of the process for me as puns don’t roll off my tongue like they do for Buzzfeed writers. #CanSomeoneHelpMe This can take time and effort, so it’s important to schedule this process out in your calendar to allow enough time to come up with a creative, well thought out caption for your photo.

Plan Out Your Posts

Later is a handy tool that I discovered after following a blogger who shared her tips on her blog success. You simply create a free account, download the app on your phone and start the scheduling. Whenever it’s time to make a post, you open the app, copy and paste and boom – the post is ready to go live! This is perfect if you like to sit down for 3-4 hours a week planning out your posts and not having to think about what creative caption to come up with every single day.

Bonus: Why Your Business Should Be Active On Instagram Infographic

With over 500 million active Instagram users and over 95 million photos and videos being shared daily, why not take a shot at dipping your business toe into the Instagram pond? No harm no foul, and for many major brands, only brand visibility and increased sales to be made here. If you love infographics like me, take a quick peek at this one here that breaks it down for you in a fun and colorful way.

In short, Instagram is definitely the next big social media channel for business. Users continue to grow, the demographics continue to diversify, and with the new advertising capabilities, you can reach your desired targeted audience. For more information on how you can promote your business effectively on Instagram, send me a note on what you goals are and what questions you have. Cheers!