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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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The Two Parts of Instagram Success

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Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms available. As its popularity continues to increase, it’s important to make sure your presence stands out in this space. Whether you’re a small business owner, content creator or budding entrepreneur, Instagram can help grow your brand and serve as a bridge to reach your target audience.

Unlike traditional advertising, social media marketing success is uniquely measured by consistency and authenticity. Instagram users are drawn to brands that will make a lasting impact and enrich their feed in some way. Read below for the two most important components of a successful Instagram profile.

Part One: Content

Content is king on Instagram. Users on this platform are consistently scrolling through various posts, leaving only a few seconds to capture your the attention of your audience. Make sure your content is relevant to your brand and interesting enough to grab the viewer’s gaze. There are three main ways to post on Instagram:

  1. Photos – Instagram was created as a medium for still images, and they are still the most popular posts for the majority of users. Photos are a quick and easy way to share your products, services, goals and core messages. Whichever snaps you choose to post, make sure they are well-lit, clear and in focus.
  2. Videos – Originally launched as a 15-second streaming option, Instagram videos can now be as long as 1-minute. Video content should always be focused and concise. The goal is to keep your audience interested and engaged.
  3. Stories – Stories combine both photo and video content. Posts can be seen by tapping your profile photo and are shown for up to 15 seconds. They expire after 24-hours, making them great for quick updates and behind-the-scenes content.

Part Two: Engagement

Engagement is the second part of the equation. Your Instagram efforts will fall short if you’re not reaching out and making an effort to connect with your audience. There are three fundamental engagement methods:

  1. Following – Following like-minded accounts is a great way to be seen by your peers and discover the kind of content others are posting. It also shows users that you’re willing to connect with and view their content, rather than only promoting your own.
  2. Liking – If a post catches your eye, tap the like button. This will help more relevant content appear in your explore feed, and it will alert other people of your presence on the platform. Liking posts are great for brand awareness.
  3. Commenting – Commenting takes the “like” a step further and is a simple way to communicate with other brands and consumers. If a user has left a comment on your post, make sure to respond quickly and thoughtfully. This will help establish a healthy level of trust between you and your audience.

By consistently posting interesting content and being engaged with the community, your Instagram account is sure to grow a large following. You can then make the most of your audience and share your message. Getting your account from zero to a thousand to ten thousand and to a million followers takes a lot of time and dedication. Luckily there are tools to help you achieve your goals faster.

Instagram & Grow Tent

Grow Tent is a tool for Instagram accounts to be successful on the platform. We use Instagram to showcase beautiful content and engage with the community. We use best practices to market accounts to reach the audience you want. Check out our plans here.