on February 02, 2015 Instagram

The Instagram Diaries: What It Is and What It Is Not

Understand the 'gram.

Though Instagram may have started out as a repository for pretty pictures and hip filters, the value of the platform is rising dramatically, catching up to (and possibly even surpassing) that of Twitter.

But before you sign up for an Insta account and start ‘grammin, there are a couple of things you need to know.

Starbucks Instagram photo

1) Instagram isn’t Facebook

Facebook marketing strategies won’t work on Instagram. If you’ve tried your hand at social media marketing before, you know that it isn’t ‘one size fits all’.

Nearly everyone has a Facebook page. What’s more, nearly every business has a Facebook page, and everyone’s competing to be seen and heard in an extremely crowded social marketplace.

Instagram isn’t quite so crowded yet, and it should stay that way. Users want to fill their feeds with pictures of their friends, the occasional actor and musician, and maybe a few favorite brands. What’s more, they’re choosy. They won’t follow just because they’ve shopped with you once or twice.

They will follow you if you have something to say and something to show. And if you manage to capture the attention of your fans, you’re posting into a much more curated and much more valuable feed.

Keep in mind, though, that the tolerance for feed clutter is pretty low.  On Facebook, you might be able to get away with 5-10 posts a week, but on Instagram, that kind of post volume is likely to get you ‘unfollowed’. 

So, how do you get into the hearts and minds of Instagram users? 

Intel Instagram photo

2) Post what you’d like to see

  • DON’T post half-heartedly. - Ugly images will get you tossed out of the follower pile so fast it’ll make your head spin. Istagram is a sweet, sweet refuge from some of the other relatively ugly and uninspired platforms. Instagram is meant to be pretty and if you’re not contributing pretty, you’re going to find yourself on the outs.
  • DON’T post images that are covered in text. - If you post images that are super-imposed with text, you’re prioritizing the copy over the visual, in which case your post belongs on Twitter or Facebook, not on Instagram. Instagram isn’t a place for you to throw ad copy at your followers or inundate them with one ‘call to action’ after another.

It’s a place for you to show them how your brand’s personality, so show off a little.

  • DO post well-composed, ‘pretty’ images and put the info in the caption. - Have a sale going on? Put some effort into a stunning display, snap a pic and put details in the caption. There’s a place for text, but keep it short and sweet and make sure the focus is something that’s easy on the eyes. 
  • DO make yourself accessible. - Make sure you’re easy to find and interact with. Giveaways and contests are a good way to get in front of users, but they’ll fall flat if your account has no personality. Be fun, be funny, be human. It’s okay to post things that aren’t directly related to your bottom line. Regram images. Build a reputation on curation. Find what you like and go with it. While targeting is important, trying to construct Instagram posts around customer conversions is ill-advised. Make it fun and the conversions will follow.

Tacobell Instagram Photo

There’s a lot to consider when jumping onto a new platform, but as long as you keep the Instagram community in mind and ‘fit in’ with their tastes, you’ll find that Insta may be the most fun social media marketing platform yet. Good luck!

Have questions about 'gramming or about social in general? Ask us!

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Chatterkick Team

The Chatterkick team is made up of envelope-pushers, big thinkers, brainstormers, and conversation starters. We live and breathe social media advertising and all its analytics and data. We love to create engaged, happy social media communities around businesses, and we are dedicated to creating a glowing brand reputation, culture, and voice for our clients. This blog was brought to you in collaboration with multiple Chatterkick team members.