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What Are Instagram Stories?

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Introduced in 2016, Instagram stories is described by Mark Zukerburg as a way to “share a series of videos or photos — and have them disappear after 24 hours.” It has since evolved. It now includes a variety of fun features and can be used to highlight special moments, launch a livestream session, promote a product or service. As these features continue to develop, it becomes more important for brands to learn the platform and adapt. Below we explain what Instagram stories are and how they can be used to increase your social media exposure.

What is a Story?

On Instagram, a “story” is a short video clip or photo that appears on your profile for a single day. This kind of content can be less curated than your normal posts. It’s a great medium for quick bursts of follower engagement because every day is a chance for a new story.

Types of Stories

Some accounts post personal behind-the-scenes moments, while others share sneak peeks of upcoming projects. Livestreams offer real-time communication with your followers. Verified business profiles have access to more story tools than personal accounts. These include promoted stories, user analytics (also known as “insights”) and a “swipe up” feature that links back to your product or service.

Stories for Your Business

The type of content and ideas you share in an Instagram story depends solely on your business objectives. If you are trying to increase awareness about your product or service, show why it’s important. Explain how it can be used in everyday life. If your goal is to inform and educate your audience on certain topics, Instagram stories can be a great driver to your resources. Take it one story at a time, and find a way to work them into your existing social media strategy.

Stories Highlights

Instagram has more recently rolled out highlights, which allows users to save stories indefinitely. This archive can be viewed by anyone who clicks on your profile, and each one can be tailored to a specific theme or subject. Use highlights to save brand-relevant content that may not otherwise fit into your feed.

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How to Get New Instagram Followers!

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Instagram is currently one of the most popular social networking sites. As the platform continues to grow, getting new followers will becoming more and more difficult. Users are streamlining their feed and selectively choosing which accounts to follow, so refining your strategy is increasingly important. Read below for primary ways to gain new Instagram followers.

Post Quality Content

The first step to getting instagram followers is keeping your account active. Post new content to your feed at least once or twice per day, but space them out to avoid coming off as spam. Back to back updates can clog your followers’ feed and may prompt them to unfollow your account.

In addition to posting regularly, it’s also important to make your feed look nice. When potential followers look at your profile, it should pique their interest and encourage them to click the follow button. Try editing your photos in a similar manner for a cohesive look.

Hashtag and Geotag

Hashtags are marked by a number (#) symbol, while geotagging is done by flagging your exact location on any given post. Both are a great way to increase engagement. Users search hashtags to find specific posts and geotags to browse updates from a specific area. If you tag your content accordingly, they’ll find and follow your content.

Hashtags should be relevant to your brand or business and can be categorized by topic, location, idea and more. Include them on every post for a boost in visibility. On the other hand, geotagging works best in popular locations. Not every update will be a good fit for this tactic.

Engage

Another straightforward way to gain new instagram followers is by engaging with like-minded users. Check out the explore tab to find interesting posts and new accounts to follow, or look for people posting similar hashtags. Like and comment when something stands out. You’ll find that many people will return the favor.

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How to Have a Great Instagram Feed

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Instagram is one of the most popular and influential social media platforms available. The service is free to use and easy to learn, making it a valuable marketing tool for any brand. Unlike other social sites, an Instagram feed focuses heavily on visuals and engagement. One does not thrive without the other, and it’s not enough to just post a photo with a short descriptor. The goal is to foster community and inspire your audience to connect with your core message.

Consider what your brand stands for and post accordingly. Whether you’re sharing photos, videos or stories, there are a few ways to make sure your feed stands out and makes a memorable impact. Read below for tips on how to have a great Instagram feed.

Consistency

The first rule for a thriving Instagram feed is to post regularly. Many users follow thousands of profiles and are subsequently scrolling through hundreds of posts each day. Your brand can’t make a proper statement if your content isn’t appearing often enough.

Make it a point to post at least once per day. If engagement is still low, try posting twice per day. The content should always align with your unique style, and each post should complement the ones before and after. If you’re struggling to keep up on a daily basis, use a feed-planning app like Planoly or UNUM to outline posts and captions ahead of time. This will make uploads quicker and easier.

*Tip: To avoid being labeled as spam, don’t post back-to-back updates. Spread them throughout the day to reach users in different time zones.

Quality

In addition to a consistent upload schedule, it’s important to post photos that look good. These snaps don’t need to come from a professional camera or world-class photographer. Smartphone cameras have come a long way and can produce high-quality images that work well in any feed.

Whatever you’re taking a picture of, make sure the lighting is crisp and the main subject is correctly in focus. Photos in your Instagram feed should be likable – something that will make users stop scrolling and actually read your captions. Additionally, your captions should be engaging and informative. Use a call to action or ask questions to encourage a discussion in the comments.

*Tip: Try posting images or videos with a similar color scheme for continuity and visual harmony.

Drive Back To Your Brand

There’s more to having a great Instagram feed than the daily content. It’s also important to have a quality bio. At first glance, new users should be able to identify who you are and what you have to offer. They should also be able to make contact quite easily. Switch to a business profile for an in-app email feature, or list an email address above your profile link. Make sure to closely monitor the inbox and respond in a timely manner.

*Tip: Use your profile link wisely. Update the URL as often as needed, especially if this is where you’re directing people from your posts.

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How to Take Better Pictures with Your Smartphone

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Great pictures are always within reach, thanks to modern smartphone camera technology. It’s been said that “the best camera is the one you have with you,” and if you’re looking for quality photos for a noteworthy Instagram feed, your mobile device is a great option. Below we’re sharing the fundamentals for high-quality smartphone photos.

Lighting

Sunlight is the best source of light for crisp, clear smartphone photos. It offers a natural glow and helps keep your smartphone camera from producing grainy images. Position your subject next to a window or outside in a bit of shade, and avoid direct beams of sunshine for the best lighting conditions.

Angles

The right angles for your pictures will vary from one to the other. Some shots, like flat lay snaps, look best from above. Alternatively, food and drink images usually look better when taken at eye level. There are no absolute rules, so play around with the positioning of your smartphone photos until you find what you like.

Composition

After you’ve mastered lighting and angle techniques, it’s time to consider the composition of your smartphone photos. The goal is to capture the attention of your audience, so everything in your photo should draw the eye to your subject. Play around with negative space, or crop the final snaps so the focus point is centered. Mixing up the composition is a great way to add visual interest.

Editing

Even the best smartphone photos need a little editing from time to time, and there are many apps available for both iOS and Android. These applications offer full control over the brightness, contrast, saturation, tint, and temperature of your images to help fine-tune the final product as needed. Small edits can make a big difference while intense edits can transform the entire photo. It’s important to find a style that fits the message you’re trying to share. This can take time, so find apps that are easy and fun to use while you explore the process.