The term “less is more” always confused me. How could less be more? None of it made sense...until I joined Instagram. The best practices for this social media platform are exemplary of the adage “less is more,” especially as it relates to a successfully shared post. What defines a “successful post” you may ask? For starters, it’s not when Instagram informs you that your upload was successful! What makes a post successful is its ability to convey your brand’s message to the audience. So how do you do that? You need a substantial Instagram presence. There’s a lot more to prospering than just clicking the Share button.
Less is More
People have busy lives, and nobody has time to read the essay that is your caption. If it’s too long, your audience will probably skip over the post entirely and continue scrolling through their feed. According to a study by SimplyMeasured, average captions are 141 characters long, including hashtags. Each post should have a subject or purpose. The photo captures it, whereas the caption simply promotes and explains it. Clutter within the post can be distracting and the follower may be confused about the focus. When it comes to captions, simplicity is key.
The World of Tagging
According to a recent study conducted by SimplyMeasured, captions with @mentions receive 56% more engagement than posts without mentions. By including an @mention in a posts’ caption, you are indicating an association between the account and your brand. In addition to @mentioning, you should use the Tag feature. A user can tag another user directly in the photo.
Every Instagram photo your brand has been tagged in will show up in the Photos of You section of your profile page. This allows your followers to interact with other followers who have also mentioned your brand in their posts, creating a sense of community online.
Hashtags are vital way for your brand to be discovered on Instagram. SimplyMeasured’s study reports that 88% of top brands use at least one hashtag and 91% use less than seven. Posts with at least one hashtag have an average of 12.6% more engagement. A hashtag is like the punchline to your caption—it specifies the subject of your post. The hashtag you put in your caption becomes a hyperlink, allowing users to click on it and be directed to a page of other public photos with that hashtag. Hashtags expose your content to a wider audience and make your brand more discoverable. Additionally, your posts can be found when someone does a search in a search engine for the respective hashtag featured in that post. Nike’s #NoMaybes campaign shows the success of hashtagging. This campaign made Nike 121% more associated with the Women’s World Cup than Adidas, its own sponsor. The hashtag's page on Instagram is filled with Nike followers posting pictures with Nike’s products and the campaign’s message.
Geotagging a post makes it appear on the location page along with every other post that has been geotagged to that location. Posts tagged with a location received 50% higher engagement than posts that had not been tagged.
Instagram is a great way to prove your brand is more than just a brand. You can showcase the lifestyle associated with the product. Give your brand a personality, allowing followers to feel emotionally connected and loyal. Nike’s #NoMaybes campaign was centered around sending a motivational message about the Women’s World World Cup. They were able to associate the product to a message, giving the famous Nike swoosh a personality.
Another strong example is @FreePeople. The company integrated its consumers directly into the brand, creating authenticity. In 2012, the brand encouraged its customers to Instagram pictures of themselves wearing their jeans and adding the hashtag #myfpdenim in the caption. The crowdsourced pictures were selected and used for the product’s webpage on Free People's website. The consumers became the models, and customers were able to see how the product looked on various body types.
As eager as you might be to upload your newest photo, remember that timing is very important. According to Latergramme, an app that allows you to schedule Instagram posts, the best times to Instagram are 2 AM and 5 PM EST, and the worst times are 9 AM and 6 PM, with Wednesday being the best day of the week to post. It varies from day to day, which is why it’s best to plan ahead. Apps such as Takeoff and Schedugram are very helpful.
Do you have any more tips on how to successfully increase engagement and presence on Instagram? Share below!